Salmon in the Schools Program

Salmon in the Schools supports hands-on learning for Seattle students, while growing environmental stewardship. Every year, around 70 schools raise young salmon and learn about how human actions impact salmon and our local waterways.

In January, our First and Sixth Grade’ classes receive salmon eggs and begin to learn about the salmon lifecycle and what kind of habitat salmon need to thrive. In spring, these students take a field trip to a local creek, in our case the Fauntleroy Watershed, to release the salmon they’ve raised during the school year.

While applying such core skills as observation and data collection, students learn about life cycles, interrelationships in ecosystems, environmental stewardship, and the importance of salmon to Pacific Northwest commerce and culture. Teachers and tank volunteers involve students in caring for their fish, monitoring water chemistry, and documenting fish behavior. They link this study to other units and many foster a “salmon climate” that extends learning and awareness to multiple classrooms and grades.

Simultaneously, the program also teaches students the role we all have to play in protecting our local watersheds. Students learn that after they release their salmon, the work of taking care of our watersheds continues every day. Check out our 2024 Salmon Release Field Trip Pic Video Collage!

The Salmon Chant

In addition to learning and caring for the salmon, our students also get to learn and sign our OLG Salmon Chant. This is a fun and catchy chant which our children not only love to memorize and recite but which also helps them remember the lifecycle of a salmon. They recite it as a group in front of their peers and teachers, while adding fun movements to make it even more special and fun! Take a look at a couple of videos below showing our students reciting our traditional OLG Salmon Chant!

OLG’s Salmon Chant

The Egg
I am the tiny, bright orange salmon egg.
I wait the long, wet winter.
The wild winds wave in the forest
above the surface of my stream.
The Alevin
50 degrees for 50 days
I am ready to soften my shell.
I am ready my spine to uncurl.
My big black-green eyes are ready to see the world!
I hatch.
But what’s outside?
I huddle, I hide.
Pebbles above me, pebbles below me,
pebbles all around me.
Yolk sac feeding.
The Fry
I swim free for the first time.
A little fry, a pine needle with eyes.
I face the current swift and free.
I memorize this smell.
The Fingerling
Mother? Father?
Quick! I swim, darting, dodging.
We are a silver school of sisters, brothers.
Tiny fingerling plankton feeding and fed upon!
The Smolt
Growing, changing, we journey to the sea.
Smolt are we! Traveling to the ocean, so wide and so deep.
The Young Adult
Feasting on ocean delights,
we are the royalty of the blue!
The Adult
Time for returning, fattened for travel.
Fasting we struggle, jumping up ladders.
Going home to our stream, to spawn, and then die.
The Egg
Yet again, bright orange spheres,
in he pebbles lie.