Image by Rhonda Porter Plumb
In past years, students from the local school have come down to the Hope Bay Stream for the annual Eggstravaganza. During this event they learn about the salmon life cycle and the importance of a healthy riparian habitat for baby salmon. They have also helped plant native flora, learned to spot invasive species, and welcomed the DFO staff as they arrive with the chum salmon eggs to place into the stream.
After a three year hiatus due to Covid-19 and record floods, the Eggstravaganza returned on Feb 6. Despite rainy and windy weather, a flat tire on the DFO truck, and a break down of the school bus, all persevered, and 27 students from Emily Raichura and Leanne Sutherland’s classes met with Pender Islands Conservancy staff and volunteers at the Hope Bay Bible Camp to welcome Heather Wright from the DFO Community Salmon program, and her cooler full of 30,000 salmon eggs.
Heather gave each class a brief talk about salmon and a lesson in salmon yoga. The students had been learning about salmon and impressed Heather with how much they could tell her about salmon and asked many interesting questions. Their enthusiasm was infectious and un-dampened by the rain.
The students helped to transfer the eggs from special aerated tubes (courtesy of the fish hatchery at Goldstream) into the hatching cassette, and watched Conservancy staff and volunteers place the cassette carefully into the stream, where the eggs will be safe from predators and flood waters until they hatch into alevin (sac-fry). They will then make their way out of the bottom of cassette and into the safety of the spawning gravel below. Once they have consumed the last of their egg sacs, they will emerge from the gravel as fry and start their journey to the estuary, and eventually out to the open sea.
The salmon project and the Eggstravaganza are examples of the wonderful power of partnership. The Hope Bay Bible camp has been very supportive of this program, and the combined efforts of the DFO, teachers from Pender Island School, the volunteers of Fish hatchery at Goldstream, and the Pender Conservancy all made the day a big success..
Images by Rhonda Porter Plumb