The city and Federal Way Public Schools are joining forces in the name of salmon.
Storming the Sound with Salmon is aimed at enhancing science education and environmental awareness.
Eleven schools in Federal Way will feature the program by 2013. Federal Way hopes to create a model for other schools across the region and state. Cities such as Gig Harbor, Brier, Marysville and Puyallup have already shown an interest in Federal Way's template.
One of the program's goals is to emphasize stormwater education and its role in the environment — including stormwater's effects on the health of Puget Sound, which is the lifeblood of the state's economy. A $73,000 grant from the Department of Ecology will help develop the curriculum and train teachers.
The salmon project is a hands-on method for fostering environmental stewardship among students. On April 23, more than 100 students from Panther Lake and Camelot elementary schools released baby coho salmon into Hylebos Creek. (SEE PHOTOS)
Standing in 18 inches of water in the muddy creek, Federal Way surface water manager William Appleton and Ken Miller of the public works department released the salmon fry from their temporary plastic cups. Students had fun naming their salmon while watching from the safety of the boardwalk bridge at West Hylebos Wetlands Park. Dozens of juvenile salmon with names like Jack, Superman and Weirdo will begin their new lives in the Federal Way creek where they will grow, spawn and die.
Aside from the salmon release, students learned about the life cycle of salmon through an interactive game. The students also got to see — and smell — a dead dissected coho salmon. Across the park, students planted cedar trees.
The salmon released on Monday were raised in a giant water tank at Federal Way City Hall as part of the Salmon at City Hall program, which began in 2011. The City Hall project led to Storming the Sound with Salmon.
Eventually, Federal Way students will raise their own salmon hatchlings. Federal Way school officials say the Storming the Sound with Salmon program suits the district's science learning standards.
To see photos from Storming the Sound with Salmon, click here.