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Michigan Salmon in the Classroom Program continues to grow

Ryan Hagerty
United States Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS)

Across Michigan, students ranging from third to twelfth grade are getting the opportunity to interact directly with one of the state’s greatest natural resources right in their classrooms.

Growing larger every year is Michigan’s Salmon in the Classroom program. With three hundred teachers currently enrolled and 25 being added each fall, Salmon in the Classroom is now the second largest of its kind in the country.

Regulated and run by the Department of Natural Resources’ Aquatic Coordination Director Tracy Page, Salmon in the Classroom gives students the opportunity to spend their school year raising and caring for Chinook Salmon before releasing them into an approved stream in May.

Page said she wants to eventually get districts to utilize salmon at different grades.

“They take something different from the program at every level, so the more opportunities we can provide and the more backup we can give the districts and the teachers, the better off the students are in the long run,” Page said.

The idea is to get the program into as many districts as possible so that more students have the chance to learn from the salmon.

“It opens doors that many of these students have never had opened for them and provides a connection to a resource that is hard to build a connection with. It’s easy to go see a squirrel or deer, but it’s hard to see what’s happening under the Great Lakes," Page said, in reference to the opportunities that Salmon in the Classroom provides.

The program also helps connect students with their local fishery chapters and communities, something that they may not have explored otherwise.

The Michigan DNR is a financial supporter of WCMU.

Brianna Edgar is a newsroom intern covering the Tri-Cities for WCMU.