The Atlantic Salmon Conservation Schools Network (ASCSN) is a network of schools studying the conservation of Atlantic Salmon and was established in 2016 by David Ritchie from Scotland. Miramichi Valley High School is one of the schools involved along with schools from Scotland, United States, Finland, France, Greenland, Germany and Spain. The aim of the network is for schools to study their own local salmon river and share this information with the rest of the network whether it be through direct meeting opportunities or through media opportunities online.
A focal event of this project will be in 2019, the International Year of the Salmon. We are excited to be co-hosting over 45 students and 10 adult supervisors, who will be travelling to the Miramichi to learn more about our conservation efforts. Participants will spend 2.5 days in the Miramichi and 2.5 days in East Machias, Maine. These two locations are 322 km apart and accessible by a 3.5 hour trip by ground transportation provided by the host countries. The host Miramichi team will be led by Ashley Hallihan, a teacher from Blackville High School, along with MVHS Fly Fishing Club organizers Jason Curtis and MVHS science teacher Tony Svarc. We will be providing lodging at traditional fishing lodges along the Miramichi River. We plan to have access to water where guides will teach participants fly fishing techniques for the common species to all participating countries - Salmo salar. We are also planning to offer fly tying lessons and zip-line across the Little Southwest Miramichi River. We will be organizing presentations from a variety of speakers (conservation organizations, an author, CAST research team) and tours of local facilities (MSA Fish Hatchery, Doaktown Salmon Museum). ASCSN participants will experience recreational activities along with learning about the heritage and conservation efforts on the Miramichi River. The four main educational themes for our event will be: genetics, salmon scale analysis, stream survey and film.
The host Maine team will be led by Don Sprangers, a science teacher from Washington Academy. The accommodations will be a dormitory with a focus on restoration projects (large-wood-additions, small dam removal, tree planting, in-stream assessment). Participants will be working with hatchery managers, field biologists, and civil engineers to improve salmon habitat. ASCSN participants will become involved with the restoration of an endangered species in the United States.
We are excited to share this amazing opportunity and showcase the Miramichi River to youth from both shores of the Atlantic Ocean. In a time when salmon conservation is crucial, a global gathering of like-minded youths is an excellent opportunity to promote stewardship and showcase the importance of conserving this amazing species.