This is our classroom aquarium, home to 500 eyed eggs of the Oncorhynchus kisutch, also known as coho or silver salmon. We have decorated it with stones from around the village.
Every year my 8th graders raise silvers from eggs to fry. My students love this project and I have no lack of volunteers wanting to clean the tank and treat the water. It is their first stop on the way into the classroom.
The Athabascan communities along the Yukon River depend on the salmon for much of their diet. Every year in late summer, when the salmon run for their spawning grounds in the clear and gravelly bottomed streams farther upriver, you will see fish wheels churning along the shores of the Yukon as fishermen harvest the silvers. They will be smoked, jarred, dried and cached for the winter. You can read about the construction of a fish wheel here and see salmon smoking here on Chris’ page.
This project is generously sponsored and maintained by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and other organizations like 4H. Out there in the Yukon, wild salmon eggs lie in redds, waiting to hatch under frigid waters capped by ice. And in our classroom our own silvers are almost ready to break out. Already you can see them squirming inside their translucent shells. We can’t wait!