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Rural Teachers’ In-Service Offers Lessons About Salmon



Fairbanks, Alaska—Two-dozen teachers from rural Alaska communities will attend an in-service training in Fairbanks Sept. 22-25 designed to increase science literacy by using a subject familiar to most of their students — salmon.

The in-service supports a classroom salmon incubation project coordinated by the Cooperative Extension Service 4-H Natural Resource and Youth Development Program. Other in-service co-sponsors include Alaska Sea Grant and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The training will take place at the Alpine Lodge in Fairbanks.

Teachers will learn how to participate in the project, while scientists and researchers will talk about the salmon life cycle, Alaska rivers and the ecological concepts underlying the project. They will tie their presentations to the curriculum, as well as climate change, sustainability and stewardship. Scientists will also speak about their research projects and offer opportunities to involve students and communities.

Organizer Peter Stortz, the 4-H natural resource and youth development specialist, inherited the program shortly after it began in 1991. Its original purpose was to use natural resource education to provide math and science literacy to students in communities hit hardest by declining salmon returns and prices during the 1990s. That goal remains relevant today, Stortz said.

The teachers will represent mostly small Bush communities, such as Akiak, Aniak, Atmautluak, Grayling, Koyuk, Noorvik, Quinhagak, Ruby, Chuathbaluk, St. Mary’s, Grayling, Koyuk, Igiugig, Kwethluk, Napaskiak and Togiak, as well as Nome, Nenana, Tok and Delta Junction. More than 70 rural schools have been involved with the program since its beginning.
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