SALEM, Ore — Oregon Hatchery Research Center employees are taking educational outreach to a new level by integrating OHRC fish research activities into primary and secondary school curriculums.
“We’re working collaboratively with educators to design a science-based curriculum that follows students from first grade through 12th grade and provides an opportunity at each grade level for students to be involved with an activity at the research center,” said Assistant OHRC Manager Joseph O’Neil.
The curriculum will incorporate a variety of hands-on activities. For example, students will learn about fish anatomy by dissecting a fish, and learn about spawning behaviors by observing salmon in the OHRC simulated streams.
The curriculum will also include components on fish and invertebrate identification, and art activities.
“We want to be more involved with schools instead of just providing tours,” said O’Neil. “The idea is to incorporate the research we are doing here into earth science and life science classes. Ideally, it enhances what teachers are doing and gives students a chance to work outside of the classroom with natural resource professionals.”
O’Neil’s goal is to incorporate OHRC activities into other courses as well. Industrial art students could build picnic tables, or students in foreign language courses could help develop bilingual brochures. Currently, middle school history students are currently documenting history of the area by conducting interviews, taking photos and gathering video footage.
“We hope to develop a curriculum that can be used agency wide,” said O’Neil. “It doesn’t have to be specific to research. Our program will have an outline so that education becomes a key in developing working relationships between teachers, students and employees at ODFW facilities.”
O’Neil, with assistance from instructors, produced curriculums for grades three, four and seven and is currently working on a program for fifth and sixth graders. Eventually all students in grades one through twelve will participate in learning activities at the facility.
The mission of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is to protect and enhance Oregon's fish and wildlife and their habitats for use and enjoyment by present and future generations. The agency consists of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission, a commission-appointed director and a statewide staff of approximately 950 permanent employees. Headquartered in Salem, ODFW has regional offices in Clackamas, Roseburg, Bend, and La Grande with ten district offices located throughout the state. For additional information, please visit www.dfw.state.or.us.