The beginning of fall and the snowbirds are getting ready to fly south for the winter!
However, around the same time the Little Campbell Hatchery is expecting an influx of residents returning to their birth place after an epic journey that took some of them to the Gulf of Alaska and back home again. With only their inbuilt GPS’s to guide them, they are anxiously awaiting the first major rainfalls (unlike the local residents) so they can take the next step in ensuring the salmon will return for generations to come.
They could not do this without some help from a dedicated group of volunteers who will spend countless hours at the hatchery over the next 7 months to ensure the vast majority of the 160,000 salmon, steelhead and cutthroat trout fry will get off to a good start. Although many of them will not survive the time spent in the Campbell River or the ocean, especially now we have a seal visiting us at the hatchery. Bears, fishermen, killer whales, and even more seals also await them.
I have the pleasure of volunteering at the hatchery (which many of my friends didn’t even know it existed!). I scrub out the rearing pens with a great group of volunteers who made me feel welcome from the first day I started.
The Semiahmoo Fish and Game Club sponsor the Salmon in the Classroom project where schools raise salmonids in the classroom and then visit the hatchery to release them in the spring. Over 90,000 school children, teachers and parents have visited the hatchery over the years.
I also take groups of school kids on tours- both in the classroom and on the nature trails. I love the kindergarten kids as their questions and often their answers always bring a smile to my face. Rachel Carson said in her book, “The Sense of Wonder” we often lose our Sense of Wonder, but these primary-aged school kids constantly remind me that we as adults, don’t have to lose ours.
“What do you know about Salmon?” I asked a kindergarten class. The answers ranged from “They come in cans” to “They make great Sushi!!” Perhaps it was my fault for asking the wrong question. The reason for my letter is that we are always looking for volunteers to do everything from netting and counting the salmon at the counting fence, to helping take the eggs and milt, clipping the fins on the juvenile salmon, maintaining the hatchery and making coffee
For you retired people who love working with kids, how about telling our next generation of adults what a great story the migration of the salmon really is, and how we make sure that in years to come this huge influx of returning residents will be there every fall.
So if you want to check us out you can find us at 1284 184th Street. If you come on a Saturday morning be sure to bring the family and we will sign you up and you might get a cup of coffee and a cookie!
Chris Johnson, Hatchery Volunteer
School tours take place from March and
throughout the school year.
If you are interested in volunteering in a
fun and rewarding experience,
please contact Darryl Day at