Perils of Plastics – A Classroom Activity

Perils of Plastic is an activity for grades 6-12 to help students learn about the world’s largest “landfill,” make a connection to their own lives, and calculate how much trash they generate in a week, a year, and ten years.


Image result for plastics in ocean



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Looking For Money To Grow Your Program?

cashHere is a list of  Teacher Grants Catalog that may help you do more as you help students explore fish, watersheds, and how human actions impact these.

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Spring Hill Elementary School project

Laura Spain projectHere is the end of year student project used for Open House!  Kids make ceramic trout with all appropriate anatomy, lateral line, etc.    Then make a river habitat inside their cubbies for their trout to be displayed in for Open House!!  They have to write facts to go inside as well.

Super fun!



Laura Spain = Teacher supreme

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Surveys and Studies Show Alameda Creek Trout Are Still Migratory

trout in handThe San Francisco Public Utility Commission (SFPUC) has been surveying Alameda Creek’s native rainbow trout populations below the major dams for several years, to track population sizes and determine if resident rainbow trout are smolting. A smolt is a young trout after the parr stage, when it becomes silvery and migrates to the sea for the first time.

The SFPUC has been operating a screw trap and a fyke net trap in upper Alameda creek to sample native fish, and although only a handful of trout have been caught this year, some of them appear to be smolting. A smolt caught in 2015 in the upper Sunol Valley was definitely headed to the Bay to become a steelhead. The SFPUC surveys are confirming suspicions that our resident trout populations below the dam still have some migratory component that can smolt, go to the ocean, and return as adult steelhead.

Check out more photos and videos of the Alameda Creek trout surveys on the Alameda Creek Alliance Facebook page.

A recent report by the Institute of Marine Sciences and Southwest Fisheries Science Center has documented that Alameda Creek’s landlocked rainbow trout above the major dams, in Calaveras Reservoir and San Antonio Reservoir, still have a strong genetic marker for migratory behavior. The report, Ancestry and Adaptive Evolution of Anadromous, Resident, and Adfluvial Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus Mykiss) in the San Francisco Bay Area, looked at resident steelhead/rainbow trout populations in the San Francisco Bay Area. Genetic analysis determined that resident trout in Bay Area streams are more closely related to native coastal steelhead than to Central Valley trout, that there is no evidence of interbreeding with hatchery rainbow trout, and that trout populations above and below dams and other barriers within Bay Area watersheds are each other’s closest relatives.

The study looked at an adaptive genome associated with migratory life-history traits in trout, and found substantial evolutionary differences between trout above and below Bay Area dams. Within the Bay Area, most trout populations above dams had low frequencies of alleles associated with anadromy (migration to and from fresh to salt water). However, in Alameda Creek, trout in Arroyo Hondo and Indian Creek, which flow into the large Calaveras and San Antonio Reservoirs, have retained the genetic variants and migratory behavior associated with anadromy. Alameda Creek reservoir fish had the highest observed frequencies of migratory alleles.

In other words, Alameda Creek trout below the dams still produce steelhead offspring, and trout above the dams still strongly retain the genetic marker for migratory steelhead behavior. Good news for using these trout populations to jump—start a restored steelhead run once the fish ladders are completed in the lower creek.

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Fly Fishing For Kids

The Bay Area Youth fly Fishers (BAYFF)  is a volunteer led collaboration of fly fishing clubs and conservation organizations throughout the Bay Area to teach kids the skills and focus of fly fishing and to introduce them to the science of fish and watershed conservation in a fun and active way. The BAYFF program leverages the successful “Trout in the Classroom” program run by the California Department of Wildlife along with many of BAYFF groups’ volunteers with the intent of the program being to move kids to the next level – beyond the classroom setting into the outdoors.

teaching kids to fly fish

The first BAYFF event will be in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco and will open to the public for registration on April 30. Teaching is done by experienced program volunteers – many of whom are experts in their field. This is not a fishing derby. Instruction for the initial event will be at the (fishless) Golden Gate Park casting ponds. The focus will be on building youth participants’ competence and knowledge. The mission of the BAYFF is to enable youth to grow in character and confidence by learning outdoor skills and respect for nature.

  • Where? Golden Gate Angling & Casting Club (1232 John F. Kennedy Dr)
  • What? 4 separate FUN learning sessions
    • Casting
    • Knot tying
    • Fly tying
    • Conservation & Entomology
  • When? Saturday, May 19th, 2018, 9:15am to 3:00pm
  • Who? Ages 8-12, grades 4-7

The event has a small fee for youth participants to cover the BBQ lunch and snacks provided and parents are free. All necessary fly fishing equipment is loaned free for the event as well. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian throughout the event.

More information on the program and how to register for this event can be found on the BAYFF website

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Fish Skin Used To Heal Bears Burned in the Recent Southern California Fires

We all know that bears love fish and this article adds a new dimension to that relationship. This contains a heartwarming short video that is appropriate for students.

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Resiliency to Fire

The North Bay wildfires had a major impact on the lands and waters in Sonoma, Napa, and surrounding counties.

Stewardship staff have been actively working with the Resource Conservation District, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Napa County, CALFIRE and others to address immediate post-fire concerns such as erosion risk and damaged infrastructure.

We hope that the following set of photos provided by the Land Trust of Napa County, taken in the few months following the North Bay fires, help to illustrate some of this natural resiliency and recovery.


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