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About Salmon Watch

Salmon Watch touches the hearts and minds of children to save rivers, streams, salmon, and other wildlife.


The Salmon Watch environmental education program teaches elementary and middle school students about the importance of wild salmon conservation and watershed management. The program is designed to instill in students and other participants a deeper appreciation of their wild salmon heritage and the importance of being well-informed and responsible citizens.


We aim to help participants:

  • Appreciate the interdependence between humans and the ecosystem in which we live
  • Recognize wild salmon as an important indicator of watershed health
  • Understand the value of protecting native fish stocks
  • Receive core-standard, STEM oriented education in the classroom
  • Raise community awareness about healthy watersheds


Salmon Watch was founded by Oregon Trout (later The Freshwater Trust) in 1993. Over the past two decades, the program has educated more than 60,000 schoolchildren in Oregon. The program was discontinued by The Freshwater Trust at the end of 2010 (due to a shift in organizational mission) and is now under the leadership of the World Salmon Council.

Why It Matters

If we want our children as adults to value their natural heritage and to make informed and thoughtful decisions about natural resource issues, we must enable them to understand and relate to the natural world on a personal level. Our youth, however, live increasingly urban and technological lives, isolated from the natural environment. Salmon Watch enables students to connect with nature and experience the relationships of humans to their environment through learning about the life cycle of wild salmon.

Salmon Watch also inspires hundreds of public agency experts and others to volunteer as field trip station educators, sharing their expertise and real-world experiences. These volunteers in turn help students to increase their knowledge of how scientific research in ecology is done. Engaging with these professionals also allows students to learn about diverse natural resource and STEM career opportunities.

Program Timing and Location

Benton County Salmon Watch takes place each year in October and November – just in time to view the salmon returning home to their natal rivers and streams! Our field trips take place at Clemens County Park in Alsea, where we are lucky to be able to see spawning salmon, hunting eagles, crawling crawdads, and other amazing wildlife.

Learning Stations

Students rotate through 4 Learning Stations throughout their field trip. Each station is designed to give students the opportunity to direct their own learning, and to guide them closer to answering our field trip Driving Question: Is this a healthy river for salmon?

Learning Stations include:

  • Salmon Observation and Life Cycle
  • Riparian Ecology
  • Water Quality
  • Aquatic Macroinvertebrates

To learn more about these stations, download the Salmon Watch Volunteer Guide.