Skyridge students up to something fishy

By: Loryll Nicolaisen, Journal staff writer
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There’s been something fishy going on at Skyridge School. For the past few weeks, Heather Watkins-Koolhof and her third-graders have been taking care of 30 Chinook salmon eggs, and have delighted in watching the eggs change day by day into fry. “Fry — that is the stage when they don’t have a yolk sack,” explained third-grader Abby Jones. The salmon eggs made their way to Skyridge by way of a partnership between the California Department of Fish & Game and the Granite Bay Flycasters Club. Abby said the best part about raising salmon eggs is “getting to see them grow up and getting to see every day what they change into.” “It was also fun because we got to see if the eggs were hatched or not,” she said. Of the 30 eggs the class started out with, only two survived long enough to be released in a local waterway, which the class did Friday on a field trip that also included a visit to the Nimbus Fish Hatchery. “I guess they start in the river, go out to the ocean and go back to where they hatched,” third-grader Aiden Krauss said. Why most of the eggs didn’t make it to the fry stage of the Chinook salmon life cycle is a mystery to teacher and pupils alike. “I think it was something about the water, maybe too cold or too hot,” Aiden hypothesized. Nonetheless, Aiden enjoyed having the fish in class. “It’s pretty fun raising salmon, Chinook salmon,” he said. Watkins-Koolhof said the Chinook served as a springboard for lessons in a multitude of subjects, from ecology to math. “You get to experience the life cycle, instead of just learning about it. It’s the wonder of metamorphosis, actually experiencing it in the classroom,” she said. “It incorporates everything, and you figure students learn different ways, and you’ve got all these different modalities.” The Journal’s Loryll Nicolaisen can be reached at