For the past several years, students from the local school have come down to the Hope Bay Stream for the annual Eggstravaganza. There, they learn about the importance of a healthy riparian habitat for baby salmon, help plant native flora, and welcome the DFO staff as they arrive with the Chum salmon eggs to place into the stream.
In 2020 we had a fine day indeed, with cooperation from the weather and enthusiastic engagement from the students. Volunteers were prepared with willow and dogwood whips, fencing, snippers, etc., and while awaiting the arrival of the DFO patrol boat carrying 40,000 eggs, invasive species were removed, native shrubs were planted, and baby cedars were placed in protective cages to keep them safe from marauding munching deer. Most of the students had been studying salmon in class and they were excited to be putting that knowledge to use!
Almost 90 students learned about the life cycle of the salmon, got to hold some salmon eggs, and helped put the eggs into the hatching cassette. The cassette was then carefully placed in the stream on a bed of gravel, secured to the bank with ropes and weighted down with rocks.
We gave a big thanks to Melissa from the DFO and the folks at the Goldstream hatchery for their support of the project, and to everyone who participated. A special thank you went to the exceptional goodwill of the Hope Bay Bible Camp staff in hosting the event.
The Eggstravaganza January 30, 2019 at Hope Bay
What a great day! There were three Department of Fisheries and Oceans personnel, two classes of school children, the folks at Hope Bay Bible Camp, several Pender Islands Conservancy members, and 40,000 Chum salmon eggs in attendance. Our DFO community liaison officer, Melissa Nottingham along with two DFO Conservation officers, Cam and Kelly, arrived by boat at Hope Bay with a cooler full of salmon eggs, in special aerated tubes, courtesy of the fish hatchery at Goldstream. It was a riot of fun. The students from Ms. Raichura and Mr. Kennedy’s classes of the Pender School were eager, energetic, and very well behaved. They were thrilled to be able to hold an egg and see eyes of the embryos within. Although the students had already learned a lot about salmon and invasive species, they listened attentively and asked many interesting questions. Their enthusiasm and energy were infectious.
The eggs were safely installed in the special hatching cassette, which was carefully placed into the stream, under the watchful eyes of all and with many wishes of good luck. The eggs will develop into sac-fry (alevin) and swim out of the cassette into the gravel. The young salmon will grow in the gravel until they are ready to emerge and swim downstream, into the Hope Bay Estuary. Hopefully, they will eventually make it out safely to sea.
Afterward, Bob Cooper and the rest of the Hope Bay Bible camp staff invited us into the hall to warm up and provided hot drinks. The DFO staff stated they had a wonderful time, and all agreed it was a great day. And, perhaps, if all goes well, we can all get together again in four years’ time to watch some of the salmon return.
2018 Work Bee Report
On a very rainy day in November, students from Steve Dunsmuir and Emily Raichura's classes from the Pender Island School planted cedar saplings, put willow shoots into the stream banks, raked maple leaves off the paths and onto the forest floor as mulch, and valiantly attacked the invasive spurge daphne. Everyone seemed to be having fun, despite the rain and hard work. A special thanks to Lisa Fleming for helping to coordinate the activity, and to Bob Cooper of the Hope Bay Bible Camp for hosting and providing a warm place for the students to eat lunch.
Lisa Fleming, had this to say about the children who worked so enthusiastically during the work bee: “If you’re ever feeling gloomy about the state of the world, you need to spend time with these awesome Pender kids! They were so respectful and cooperative, they worked hard, accomplished tons and most importantly were all so very enthusiastic about helping the salmon. Go kids! You’ll save the world someday.”
Thanks to Lisa, Bob Simons, Rhondda Porter and Bob Cooper, and a special thanks to the teachers and children for making a great day of habitat restoration happen!