Monthly Update – November 2021

Megan Brady from SPSSEG explaining chum salmon spawning to TnT members.

The chum salmon are back! If you had the chance to visit one of Thurston County’s rivers or creeks this month, you probably saw lots of salmon returning to South Puget Sound freshwater systems after spending years swimming through the Pacific Ocean. We at South Sound GREEN love this time of year when we can teach students about chum salmon inside and out while bringing them to the creek, even if we need to do it virtually!

Following the success of last year’s virtual field trip offerings, we again offered virtual chum salmon field trips from McLane Creek to students throughout Thurston County! This year, we engaged over 1,000 students in these virtual trips, where students were able to watch salmon spawning activities and ask live questions to a SSG educator. We also brought back our in-person and virtual salmon dissections, as well as our interactive Digital McLane Journal we developed last year, to offer new perspectives and information about these amazing salmon. You may not be able to find many live salmon at the McLane Creek Nature Trail right now, but you can still check out salmon carcasses and observe lots of other wildlife!

We also continued to coordinate water quality monitoring and benthic macroinvertebrate lessons this month. Ranging from elementary to high school, these at-school “field days” were a way for us to bring the creek to the students, and a way for students to interact with hands-on chemistry experiments and biological specimens. Let’s not forget to mention our latest Teens in Thurston (TnT) volunteer group meeting! We observed salmon at the Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail, did some trail clean up, and learned a lot about salmon from South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group (SPSSEG) educator Megan Brady. If you’re interested in participating, please reach out to Sam at snadell@thurstoncd.com.