Taiya Inlet Watershed Council Brings Salmon to the Classroom

Taiya Inlet Watershed Council connects kids to their backyard watersheds and fishy neighbors with the Salmon in the Classroom program.

TIWC Coordinator Rachel Ford gives us an update on Salmon in the Schools at Skagway Elementary school!


Skagway Salmon in the classroom
K-2 students play the food web game to learn where fish get their dinner

This is the third year of our Salmon in the Classroom program and what an interesting year it has been! Last year we were able to acquire local king salmon eggs collected and fertilized by the Department of Fish and Game and were therefore able to release our salmon at fry stage. This year, the Elementary school students have been watching the salmon life cycle through a cohort of coho eggs native to the Juneau area. Because they are not local, we are unable to release our salmon.  However, I’ve been having fun preparing lessons for each of the classes K-2, 3-4, and 5-6.


K-2Talking Watersheds
K-2 students talking watersheds



In K-2 we’ve gained a greater understanding of what a watershed is by building a watershed model and discussing how impacts to the land affect the water. We’ve looked at aquatic insects found in our watershed, have discussed estuaries, and played the life cycle game.


In 3-4, we’ve talked about watersheds, estuaries, food webs, and have looked deeper into how fish swim.


In 5-6 we talked to two Alaska Department of Fish and Game employees who told us about what the department does and how we can support their efforts to manage fish and wildlife. We also looked at the transboundary rivers in Southeast Alaska that are major salmon streams, talked about stormwater pollution, adaptations to salt water at the smolt stage, and food webs.


The teachers in these classrooms have expanded on the lessons I’ve given to help their students appreciate the life and habitat of our salmon populations.


TIWC’s Salmon in the Classroom program addresses the need for education about natural resources at an early level. The program’s goal is to expose Skagway youth to the needs of their local salmon populations and educate them on how their actions can affect those needs. The program is bolstered an made successful through the partnership between TIWC staff and the teachers at Skagway Elementary School. The program currently receives funding support from a local charter fishing business. 

To learn more about or become involved in this or other community watershed projects in Skagway, contact:

Rachel Ford, Program Coordinator

rachel.ford@taiya.org (907) 983-2426