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Students in Coos Bay get 'live science' experience with Salmon release

Students in Coos Bay get 'live science' experience with Salmon release (SBG).

COOS BAY, Ore. - If you were just to glance, it is almost like a mini Marine Biologists Training Camp in Coos Bay, with a bunch of excited first graders in the area for the annual salmon release.

The kids at Blossom Gulch Elementary are putting their studies to the test, and getting hands on experience this spring.

It's the 20th annual Salmon release, which is a tradition in Coos Bay and North Bend schools. A thousand salmon are heading to the Pacific Ocean from the creek next to the school.

"In a week or two, they'll go out into the bay, eventually into the ocean," said Gary Vonderohe, of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. "Go up towards Alaska and Canada, and in roughly 3-5 years, we'll see these fish returning back as adults."

First grade teacher, Janet Ward, says they've spent about a month learning about the life cycle of salmon, and their studies have not come full circle.

"They really understand how the fish changes, and we also had a reading book that we did," said Ward. "They really are super interested in this curriculum."

According to Vanderohe, this event was created for the community.

"This release here provides a bank fishing opportunity along the boardwalk," said Vonderohe.

The return of salmon helps boost salmon populations and local fishing. The release of salmon also helps boost the curiosity of the kids.

"The spark has to come somewhere, so hopefully out of the hundred kids that are here, hopefully there's a few that will go into natural resources," said Vonderohe.

Over the course of those 20 years, more than 4 million salmon have been released back into the ocean.

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