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Anchorage students explore science and salmon at Westchester Lagoon


More than 300 fourth graders from the Anchorage School District will gather at Westchester Lagoon on May 16-18 to receive hands-on learning about what it takes for salmon to survive and complete their life cycle in the city’s Chester Creek watershed and other urban streams. It’s part of the district’s effort to boost science, technology, engineering and math education.

Media are invited to cover the event on the morning of May 16. Buses with students from College Gate, Inlet View and Nunaka Valley elementary schools are scheduled to arrive at 10 a.m.

With help from Alaska Sea Grant through its Alaska Seas and Watersheds curriculum, the students have learned about their watershed and the salmon life cycle during classroom instruction. They have visited the stream nearest their school to apply their knowledge to determine if salmon can survive there.

During their visit to Westchester Lagoon, students will collect water quality data and macro-invertebrates in the lagoon, upstream from where Chester Creek flows into Cook Inlet. They will also observe juvenile salmon captured in minnow traps, and learn about the human history that has changed the area in ways that have both harmed and helped salmon. Westchester Lagoon is where freshwater meets saltwater, both of which salmon need to survive, so it provides an excellent location to promote marine literacy among Anchorage students.

This learning event is part of the Anchorage School District’s Watershed Education Program developed by the Anchorage School District STEM Department in partnership with Alaska Sea Grant, Alaska Geographic, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the 4-H program of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service, Get Outdoors Anchorage, and the Anchorage Parks Foundation.

Alaska Sea Grant is a statewide marine research, education, and outreach program, and is a partnership between the University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program agents provide assistance that helps Alaskans wisely use, conserve and enjoy marine and coastal resources.


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