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Posted on May 16, 2019

Pioneer students wave goodbye to fish

Without a hint of sadness, students from Pioneer Elementary School watched as their schoolmates got tossed in the water.
Not their human schoolmates, but instead the salmon fingerlings that lived in a fish tank at PES for weeks, until they were old enough to be released into the Columbia River.
The big day arrived last week, with students lining up to witness Grant County PUD’s Tiffany Bishop, who helps coordinate the Salmon in the Classroom program, go ankle-deep into the chilly Columbia waters to ensure a smooth bucket-to-river transition.
In the meantime, she quizzed the students on the salmon’s lifespan, the clarity and temperature of the water, and the fish’s upcoming trip downriver to the Pacific Ocean.
“When they get to be a grown-up in the ocean, what are they going to do?” she asked.
“Swim back to us!” the children shouted in unison.
“And do what?” Bishop asked.
“Have babies!” the children retorted.
Switching back and forth between English and Spanish, Bishop involved the children in checking out how clean the river water was, comparing it to a bottle of potable water, as well as comparing a nearby dead fish to the newbies in the bucket.
The PUD has helped spawn similar Salmon in the Classroom programs all over Grant County, Bishop has said, and as far as Cashmere in Chelan County.

By Sebastian Moraga,

Pioneer Elementary teacher Sarah Hausken (in white) and Grant County PUD’s Tiffany Bishop (in blue) prepare to show Pioneer Elementary students how murky the water needs to be for salmon to thrive in it. Fingerlings that had lived in the PES library for a few weeks were returned to the Columbia River.

Photo by Sebastian Moraga/Post-Register