Barney Peterson (TAS, 2006) and Her Students Raise and Release Thousands of Coho Salmon

Barney Peterson (TAS 2006) and Her Students Raise and Release Thousands of Coho Salmon 

Barney Peterson and her fourth-grade students at Monroe Elementary School in Everett, WA, have been raising and releasing Coho Salmon fry for the last 14 years! Each January the class receives 300-400 eyed eggs for their classroom hatchery. Students are responsible for monitoring water quality and feeding the fish as they develop from eggs to fry. They try to wait as long in the school year as possible before releasing the growing fry, so they have the best chance of survival. This typically occurs in March. Watch a video of a developing salmon embryo that was captured by Barney’s class here.

Students from other grades and classes routinely visit the classroom to learn about the fish rearing program. Throughout the time that Ms. Peterson and her students are raising salmon, the class hosts speakers from NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center at the University of Washington and Snohomish County Surface Water Management to gain understanding of why it is important to release their fish in the same drainage from which the eggs were harvested. Students take a field trip to Osprey Park in Sultan, WA where each student makes several trips from their transport buckets to the riverbank of the Sultan River, a tributary to the Snohomish River and part of the Puget Sound Watershed. Students whisper advice to their fry as they gently pour them into the water. The goal of the project is to develop a sense of environmental stewardship and connection to the outdoor environment. This program is sponsored by an annual grant from the Everett Steelhead and Salmon club.

Ms. Peterson has been an educator for 26 years. She is a 2015 Washington Regional Teacher of the Year and a 2014-2015 District Teacher of the Year. She received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching in 2006. 

Woman wearing a knit scarf
Barney Peterson