The salmon in our backyards provide a unique opportunity for students to study a keystone species that weaves together many cultural, environmental, and economic connections. For thousands of years, salmon migrations have inspired dances, festivals, poems, and family recipes. For millennia, salmon have been a vital link between marine, freshwater, and riparian food chains—in fact, more than 130 species count on salmon for nutrients! From the West Coast of the United States to Russia and from Sweden to Canada, these iconic fish have been the centerpiece of many intergenerational fishing communities. NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region invites you to download our FREE series on salmon, use it to connect your students to their local watersheds, and share your feedback with us.
The An Incredible Journey curriculum for grades 4-5 is filled with 10 hands-on lesson plans that explore the salmon life cycle; the cultural, environmental, and economic importance of salmon; the major issues facing salmon today; and how individuals can get involved to protect and conserve these iconic species. Free download.
The Salmon Survival board game (Spanish edition) walks participants through the salmon life cycle. During each life stage, participants attempt to survive the natural and human-made challenges salmon face—such as drought, passage barriers, and predators—and learn how people are helping salmon. Free download.
The An Incredible Journey children's book (Spanish edition) introduces kids to the salmon life cycle and concepts such as ecosystems, keystone species, salmon culture, and stewardship. The book concludes with six case studies about kids around the country who are making a difference on salmon-related issues. Free download.
Since salmon are the center of many cultures, ecosystems, and economies around the world, they are a naturally interdisciplinary topic for any classroom. By studying salmon, students have the opportunity to:
Grapple with many real-world challenges such as habitat loss, climate change, and urban runoff;
Evaluate the cultural, environmental, and economic importance of a keystone species from their community; and
Design solutions to promote habitat conservation and species recovery.
If you have any questions about these products or would like to partner on salmon outreach, please feel free to reach out.
Alicia Keefe, M.Ed.
Education and Outreach Coordinator
NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region