Students learn salmon life cycle during “Hatchery in the Classroom” pgm.

Students learn salmon life cycle during “Hatchery in the Classroom” pgm. »Play Video
Steelhead fingerlings released into Lapwai Creek.
LAPWAI, ID - Hundreds of kids gathered at Spalding Historical Park Thursday to celebrate the end of a long school program.

KLEW news learns more about the program sponsored by area organizations to get kids in touch with the outdoors.

It was an exciting day on the banks of Lapwai Creek as hundreds of kids gathered to see months of hard work pay off in a big way.

"We're helping them release the baby fish that they raised," said Clearwater Fish Hatchery Culturist Dan Dillon.

These little guys are steelhead and they're in the fingerling stages of their lives. And the kids have been taking care of them since February and got to release them Thursday.

"They named their fishes," said Dillon. "We've had a lot of Nemos go out today."

Dillon said those little Nemos will eventually make their way to the Pacific Ocean thanks to area schools who raised them over the past few months. It's all part of a "Hatchery in the Classroom" program, that teaches kids about the salmon life cycle.

"Tomorrow we'll have about 200 students as well so in total we'll have about 400 students throughout the Thursday, Friday of this release day," said Bruns.

But it's not all fun and games. The students learned about the harsh realities of the life of a salmon.

"They might release 100 fish and one might make it back as an adult," said Dillon.

Dillon says he hopes the lessons they learned throughout the last couple months make them aware of how important it is to protect the habitat of wildlife.

"These fish were almost extinct and if it wasn't for people who cared deeply about getting anadormous fisheries back into Idaho, we wouldn't have them," said Dillon.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game are the main sponsors of the program, but members of the Nez Perce Tribe, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Dworshak National Fish Hatchery and the Nez Perce County Sheriff's Posse are all part of the two day event.