Two classes from Bert Edwards elementary school in Kamloops plus the primary students from Neqweyqwelsten School in Chu Chua took part in the 20th annual Coho Day put on by Simpcw First Nation at the Dunn Creek hatchery on Thursday, Oct. 29.
“Our Coho Day is about promoting our facility and its stewardship capabilities within the valley from Kamloops to McBride,” said Tina Donald, one of the organizers.
Dunn Creek hatchery is currently raising coho from Dunn Creek and, new this year, from Deadman River on behalf of Skeetchestn Indian Band. It also provides all the brood pairs for School District 73’s coho tank program, she said.
Stations at Coho Day included the fence site operation on Dunn Creek, where students saw how coho are counted as they go upstream.
Simpcw member Leon Eustache told traditional stories, either by the creek or in a nearby pit house.
A bug station put on by Ron Hudema, formerly of Clearwater Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), taught about aquatic insects.
Tom Nevin, DFO community advisor to Dunn Creek hatchery, used a fish wheel to show the students the low probability of salmon survival.
The hatchery near Dunn Lake has been in operation since 1983. It started out raising coho and chinook on south end of Dunn Lake in lake pens. In the late 1980s its location changed to the north of the lake. It moved to its current position on Dunn Creek (downstream from the lake) in 1993.
Other agencies and individuals that participated in Coho Day included District of Clearwater, District of Barriere, Kinder Morgan Canada, Chief Nathan Matthew, BC Parks, Secwepemc Fisheries, Tolko, plus Simpcw and hatchery staff.
Below: Smoke comes out of a pit-house near the Dunn Lake hatchery that was used by Simpcw First Nations member Leon Eustache to tell traditional stories to students.