By Victoria Lee and Brecken Sales, Grade 6

On Friday, November 2, Grade 6 and Grade 3 went on an exciting field trip to Charters River Interpretive Centre in Sooke. This was the first of many opportunities our two classes will have to work together as we learn about salmon. This field trip was a lot of fun, if you like to see (and smell!) salmon spawning. The group we were in started at the river where we watched huge salmon spawning and then actually got to dissect one! We knew it was male, because as soon as it was cut open, its milt came gushing out (“interesting”). Then the leader showed us the heart, liver, stomach, gills and all of the parts you could eat. Right after that the leader covered up the salmon and took us to the next station (the Interpretive Centre).

When we got to the Interpretive Centre we looked at a salmon scale under a microscope. It was a scale that we had taken off of the fish down by the river. We all loved how it was translucent. We learned that the rings on the scale could be used to tell how old the salmon was. We also saw a large relief map of the area we were visiting. We were able to plot the journey of the salmon from the spawning stage to its ocean migration. Then we saw a giant cold-water fish tank. “Can we look under it?” everyone asked. “Sure!” We all helped take off the cover and underneath was … perch, shrimp, crabs and even starfish. The leader then talked about all of the different stages of a salmon’s life (the life cycle).

Soon after that we walked over to the Hatchery. There were a few different tubs but only one had water in it. We all looked down into the green tub and saw little fry about 10 cm long. One observation we had was that most of the fry swam in groups or schools.

So far this has been our first salmon field trip and an extremely fun one at that! A reporter from the Sooke News was also at the Interpretive Centre, click here to read the article online.