Dorothy Chambers holds up a large salmon for the crowd of preschoolers to admire. (Photo courtesy Dorothy Chambers)

Bright red salmon appear at Saanich’s Colquitz River fish fence

Local preschool group looks on in delight while volunteers work

The Saanich Neighbourhood Place Full o’Beans Preschool stopped by the Colquitz River fish fence on Tuesday morning to watch volunteers pull the bright red salmon from the fish fence.

The preschool is located inside the G. R. Pearkes Recreation Centre which shares a parking lot with Cuthbert Holmes Park – where the fish fence was built.

The children – dressed in full rain gear – stop by just about every day to watch Salmon in the City volunteers pull fish out of the trap for data collection before plopping them back into the Colquitz River.

READ ALSO: First coho of the season spotted in the Colquitz River

Squeals of excitement ring out every time Dorothy Chambers, Colquitz River advocate and Salmon in the City volunteer, lifts yet another salmon out of the water.

Beatrice Toner, community engagement coordinator for Saanich Neighbourhood Place, noted that the Full o’Beans preschool “prioritizes being outdoors” and having the children explore what they’re interested in.

The group takes an outdoor walk through the park on a daily basis and always checks in at the fish fence to see if there’s something exciting happening, she explained.

“It’s really a highlight for them to see that evolution over the fall.”

The children also read books and go over learning materials relating to salmon in their classroom, Toner noted. The preschool is inquiry based and child-led, so the curriculum is tailored to the children’s interests and they love nature as they’re outdoors so often.

READ ALSO: Colquitz River salmon draw school kids and passers-by alike

The salmon are coming through the fence more steadily now, Chambers noted. She indicated that four bright red males and three females were pulled from the trap at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday. Volunteers assessed the fish while the children looked on before putting them back into the river so they could continue on their spawning journey.

Chambers and the other Salmon in the City volunteers expect to be counting salmon at the trap several times each day until the end of November or December this year. All collected data is reported to Fisheries and Oceans Canada to keep track of the local salmon population.


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