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On November 15th a small group of youth ages 13-17 from Thurston County Juvenile Court visited the McLane Creek Nature Trail in Olympia as part of the environmental education programming with the Chehalis Basin Education Consortium and Capital Region ESD 113. The day was clear, sunny and cold. It was a perfect afternoon to view the Chum salmon returning up the small creek to spawn. At the viewing site, two trained “Salmon Stewards” greeted the students. The Salmon Stewards taught the students about the salmon lifecycle and the spawning behaviors. Some of the students on the trip had also been to a previous field experience on October 11th where we viewed the Chinook salmon returning to the Deschutes River in Tumwater. The students were able to compare the two salmon species and the obstacles they faced in returning to their birthplaces to spawn.

Spawning Chum salmon

Overall, the students were mesmerized by the up close view of the active salmon, asked great questions and learned some strategies on how to be better stewards for our local wildlife.