There’s a steam running through the woods at our Suwa’lkh site that used to be the spawning ground for many salmon. But now, because of overfishing, invasive species and pollution, very few salmon spawn there.
However, the students at Suwa’lkh have been rehabilitating the forest (including the stream) AND reintroducing salmon to the stream!
The students named the first salmon to hatch Beyoncé, and because there were 55 salmon to hatch, they were collectively called 55th Harmony.
The students fed and took care of the salmon, learning about the stages of salmon life, creating info to share with fellow students, and even making signs for the stream.
Finally, in May, the students released the salmon into the stream and read pieces they’d written at a ceremony with Indigenous elders and members of the Kwikwetlem First Nation.
In the fall, everyone was excited to see that salmon returned to the stream to spawn!
This is a sign that the rehabilitation work we’ve all be doing together has been worthwhile and it’s also a good sign for the coming years. It’s also encouraging us to double the work we’re doing to support the youth in leading the way to reindigenize this forest.
In two years, the youth’s own salmon will also return to the Suwa’lkh stream to spawn their own babies!
In the meantime, we just got our new batch of salmon eggs for this year, and the leadership program students are starting to take care of them already! Here’s to another salmon-y year!