Salmon in the Classroom 2017-18
South Yakima CD & Benton CD Partnership

Four schools in Sunnyside participated in “Salmon in the Classroom” for the 2017-18 school year: Chief Kamiakin Elementary, Pioneer Elementary, Sunnyside Christian Elementary, and Sunnyside Christian High School. The Conservation District staff biologist and assistant delivered eggs and fish food, provided technical assistance, coordinated appropriate state permits, inspected and repaired equipment, provided teacher training, conducted classroom presentations and coordinated field trips for students to release salmon. For elementary classes, staff and volunteers dissected a pair of adult salmon as a demonstration. Afterwards, elementary students were invited to touch all the parts of the fish, which was a huge for students. Two separate classroom presentations were given at Sunnyside Christian High School. For the high school biology class, staff led a hands-on presentation of a trout dissection. An eight to ten inch trout was provided for each pair of students.

Racheal Little show students trout anatomy.
Salmon release Prosser Hatchery

The staff biologist explained and demonstrated a step by step Dissection, points emphasized student safety, anatomy and dissection technique. Teacher Jon Riebe very much appreciated this presentation, especially the donated trout specimens. These trout were captured by hook and line, and some students were very interested to find bait inside the trout stomachs. A second presentation was given at Sunnyside High School for the Anatomy & Physiology class. The Anatomy & Physiology presentation was a dissection demonstration performed on male and female adult salmon. The content of this presentation was more advanced and students concentrated on note-taking and anatomical drawings of the specimens.


To release the salmon, all students attended field trips to the Prosser Hatchery on the Yakima River. Sunnyside Christian Elementary and High School attend the field trip on the same day. This practice fosters leadership in the high school students. Partner organizations and volunteers were recruited to assist with these events and provide supplemental activities.  All students enjoyed hatchery tours, with highlights including the opportunity to hold live fish, Lamprey class, The Life cycle of the salmon, watch six foot sturgeon swimming and feed young salmon.

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