By Jenny Ammon

It was with some tribulation, excitement, anxiety, and hope that Marion SWCD decided to host Salmon Watch 2021. There are constantly changing rules, guidelines, and stipulations while working with schools, school districts, teachers, and students. It was this landscape of unknowns that made the need for connection to nature paramount for Salmon Watch 2021 to happen live and in person. 

Safety and following the guidelines are important to Marion SWCD, and communicating these is a priority between the SWCD and the schools/teachers. We held a volunteer training to discuss the masking, distancing, and sanitizing protocols prior to our first field trip on September 14. 

Salmon Watch programming was originally conceived in 1993 and has educated over 60,000 schoolchildren in Oregon! Partnerships between SWCDs, Watershed Councils, and nonprofit groups like Freshwaters Illustrated and the World Salmon Council has led to the awesome experiential education that inspires the next champions of conservation. Marion SWCD has been presenting Salmon Watch since 2009, and we were thrilled to be a part of the Salmon Watch Streaming in 2020. 

Salmon Watch Streaming is a series of short videos highlighting the education of Salmon Watch field trips. The videos feature students and volunteer educators who discuss riparian habitat, macroinvertebrates, water quality, and salmon biology. The site also includes vocabulary lists, quizlets, kahoots (an online quiz game that explains important vocabulary around a topic teachers are trying to convey) , and 360-degree interactive drone footage to better understand how all these subjects interact and interconnect.

We are thrilled to share the magic of seeing salmon returning from their harrowing migration journey in the North Santiam River with 12 schools this fall, and grateful for the amazing videos created to supplement the in-person learning.  https://worldsalmoncouncil.org/salmonwatch/