Learning about nature at the Little River Weir

DNR employee John Zakrajsek talks to fifth grade students from Brethren Elementary School about the history of salmon in Lake Michigan and the Little Manistee River. The students were visiting the Little Manistee River Weir. (Dave Yarnell/News Advocate)

DNR employee John Zakrajsek talks to fifth grade students from Brethren Elementary School about the history of salmon in Lake Michigan and the Little Manistee River. The students were visiting the Little Manistee River Weir. (Dave Yarnell/News Advocate)

STRONACH TWP. — About 50 students from Brethren Elementary School took time on Thursday to learn about the life cycle of salmon at the Little Manistee Weir.

“We’ve brought our fifth graders here every year, starting about 10 years ago,” said teacher Tami Bonzheim, whose class made the trip along with Carol Rackow’s.

She explained that the school is part of a program called Salmon in the Classroom, which is sponsored by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

“The students learn the life cycle of salmon, and that’s important because it’s a natural resource in our area,” Bonzheim said. “Many of our kids are very familiar with it because that’s how their family gets a lot of their food — hunting and fishing. It’s neat that they are learning one more aspect of nature around them, and it falls right into our common core standards in science.”

DNR employees Edward Shaw and John Zakrajsek showed the facility to the students. Shaw said that many students come through the facility this time of year to learn about the process of taking eggs from the salmon that are travelling upstream to spawn and die.

Shaw explained to the students that the salmon are coming up stream to laying their eggs to begin, and then die, which ends their life cycle.

“We don’t want a big stinky mess on the river, do we?” he said to the students. “Can you imagine 10,000 dead fish on the river?”

Shaw said that all of the fish go toward human consumption or pet food.

“The eggs that we don’t use get used for fishing bait or they get sold overseas or here in the U.S. for caviar. People actually eat the eggs,” he said.

“Eeewwwww,” the students answered.

“They’re not bad,” Shaw replied. “Actually, they are pretty good.”

DNR employee Edward Shaw hands salmon eggs to fifth grade students from Brethren Elementary School who were visiting the Little Manistee River Weir. (Dave Yarnell/News Advocate)

DNR employee Edward Shaw hands salmon eggs to fifth grade students from Brethren Elementary School who were visiting the Little Manistee River Weir. (Dave Yarnell/News Advocate)

 

avatar

Posted by Dave Yarnell

Dave was formerly the News Advocate features writer and retired in November 2013.

Leave a Reply