Salmon in the Library

For the second year in a row, North Mason Timberland Library is excited to be part of Salmon in the Library, an extension of the Salmon in the Schools, opens a new window project.  Salmon in the Schools is a collaboration between 15 nonprofits across the state that allows students to experience the salmon lifecycle and explore salmon habitats.  Here in Mason County, the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group, opens a new window (HCSEG) is the organization that oversees the Salmon in the Schools program.  HCSEG strives to deepen the connection between land, people, and salmon through restoration, education, and research. Their mission is to ensure that wild salmon are once again abundant in the Pacific Northwest. 

The Salmon Center at HCSEG creates educational programming, conducts research, and demonstrates sustainable agricultural practices at the edge of salmon habitat.  They have salmon tanks in 13 locations: Sand Hill Elementary (Belfair), Grapeview Elementary (Grapeview), Pioneer Middle School (Shelton), Belfair Elementary (Belfair), Southside Elementary (Shelton), Hood Canal School (Skokomish), Sunfield (Port Hadlock-Irondale/Chimacum), Satsop Elementary (Elma), Mary M. Knight (Elma), Brinnon Elementary (Brinnon), Quilcene Elementary (Quilcene), North Mason Timberland Library (Belfair), and The Salmon Center (Belfair).  Students get to watch salmon hatch and grow, learn about their life cycle, and then partake in an exciting release event in the spring. 

The Salmon Center also provides interactive salmon education for elementary to high school aged students.  The formal educational programming is presented at every location except the Salmon Center and is broken down into three presentations:  

  1. Species of PNW salmon and the first 3 stages of their lifecycle 
  2. Fry and parr stages of the salmon life cycle and the habitats that are critical for salmon survival
  3. Last two phases of the life cycle (smolt and adult), estuary and ocean habitats, and what can be done to support salmon populations

While the Salmon in the Library program is geared toward homeschool groups and families who do not have access to Salmon in the Schools, anyone can visit the library and view the salmon in the tank as they transform from eggs to fry, participate in the Salmon Center educational presentations, and join in on the fun of release day in early April.  The Salmon Center also presented the salmon program in Spanish, Salmones en la biblioteca, at North Mason Timberland Library on March 2nd, to further extend the reach of salmon education in our community. 

This year, the salmon eggs were placed in the tank in early January and we started seeing alevin a few weeks later.  During that stage, they were very shy, and hid among the gravel at the bottom of the tank while feeding off their nutrient-rich yolk sacs.  About a week ago, we started seeing their transformation from alevin to fry and now library staff have the cool job of feeding them everyday.  They will continue to grow in the tank until early April, at which time the Salmon Center will hold a release event at Sweetwater Creek.

If you find yourself in the neighborhood, be sure to stop by North Mason Timberland, opens a new window to say hi to our little salmon friends then head down the road and visit the Salmon Center, opens a new window as well.  They are open M-F 8am -5pm. 

Be sure to stay on the lookout for information about the release event in early April and remember, you can always find out what's going on at North Mason Timberland by checking out our events calendar, opens a new window.