APRIL 14, 1997

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Hollywood students release coho into Little Bear Creek

Sammamish Splash winds up

coho released

Tyler DeLay (standing, center) holds onto a tub containing a coho salmon fingerling. He and his Hollywood Elementary schoolmates released 500 fingerlings on Little Bear Creek after raising the fish from eggs as part of the Sammamish Splash project.
Photo by Andrew Walgamott/Northwest News.

coho salmon by Andrew Walgamott, staff reporter
Last week, students from Hollywood Hill Elementary planted the last of 500 coho salmon fingerlings in Little Bear Creek. The release marked the end of Sammamish Splash, a salmon habitat and personal impact awareness program coordinated by Margaret Weidner, chemist and Ph.D.
   Weidner said the main focus of Sammamish Splash was to connect the kids with a salmon stream, that in this case happens to be flowing through an industrial area. "We're trying to get the kids to understand what they do at home affects what happens in the stream," said Weidner.
   Creekside, Weidner had set up a table with live examples of pollution-intolerant bugs such as mayflies and caddisflies. "Most people don't know there is a really clean stream here," Weidner said of Little Bear.
   Students took little cups of water and a fingerling apiece down to the creek and gently released the fish. Some kids named their fish and followed them as the fingerlings sped upstream for shelter.
   "It was really fun releasing the fish," Nicole Armstrong, a third grader, said later.
   "I liked learning about the bugs and releasing the fish. We're learning a lot of stuff," said third grader Chase Gunnell.
   Weidner said the effort was more an educational experience than a restocking effort, citing the expected 1 percent survival rate of coho salmon from egg to returning adult. "We learned that not many salmon survive being hatched," said Mike Murphy, another third grader.
   Weidner said students were the force behind the project. "It's adult monitored, but student driven," she said.
   Sixth graders at Hollywood raised the fingerlings from eggs in an aquarium Clark Productions of Woodinville donated. The project was funded by federal and state grants, and local businesses. The City Council also donated a $1,000.
   Weidner said this was the first year of the program and she would do it as long as there was an interest at the school.