On September 19th, CalTrout’s Bay Area Manager Patrick Samuel and CalTrout-UC Davis Cold Water Fish Scientist Dr. Rob Lusardi taught a group of teachers about coho salmon at Walker Creek.
The teaching tour gathered at the Walker Creek Ranch Outdoor School and Conference Center which sees around 4,000 5th grade and 6th-grade students every year. Walker Creek Ranch has a creek running through the property and is great habitat for endangered coho salmon and an ideal place to teach students about the river ecosystem.
Patrick Samuel started off the day with an introduction to the coho salmon lifecycle. Then Dr. Rob Lusardi went into the creek to collect a bug sample using a net and explained how to identify the invertebrates that make up the coho salmon diet. These samples can be collected and brought back to the classroom and analyzed under a microscope to classify each species.
The purpose of this trip was to train teachers to emulate this process in their own classroom, making the curriculum adaptable and shareable to others. This trip is part of a larger initiative to introduce students to science through exploration. Through experiential learning and exploring in the creek, our goal is to inspire curiosity and encourage students to look closely at the world around them, and expand their comfort zone in working with bugs and mud.
Walker Creek Ranch is a habitat haven which is evident in the other creature cameos we saw throughout the day including grey foxes, deer, jackrabbits, salamanders, and racer snakes.