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Students participate in Michigan program raising salmon

MIDLAND, Michigan (AP) — Fifth-graders recently said goodbye to the 117 Chinook salmon they had raised in their classroom for months as the fish were carried away by the current of the Pine River.
                Pine River Elementary School in the Bullock Creek district is one of three schools in the Great Lakes Bay Region raising Chinook salmon. The eggs were provided to Rebecca Dubuque’s fifth-grade classroom in October by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources with support from the Great Lakes Bay Region Steelheaders Chapter.
                About 300 schools across the state take part raising salmon in classrooms with the goal of encouraging students to become advocates for the Great Lakes and the environment, Susan Rummel, a member of the Great Lakes Bay Region Steelheaders Chapter, told the Midland Daily News.
It is Dubuque’s fourth year raising salmon in her classroom, said the fifth-grade teacher. Raising more than 100 salmon is worth it in the end, because it gets her kids interested in salmon, conservation and the fishing industry, Dubuque said.
Dubuque’s students all had jobs to take care of the salmon, from changing the water three times a week, feeding them and tracking their growth.
                Funding for about $1,200 in equipment to raise the salmon was provided through the Great Lakes Bay Region Steelheaders Chapter. Tanks had to be aerated and kept at 55 degrees Fahrenheit using chillers.
                The Chinook salmon were about four inches long when the students released them into the Pine River at the Chippewa Nature Center on May 4. The fish had reached a point in their life where they were about to imprint — meaning they should to the Pine River where students released them when they are ready to spawn.
                A new dock on the Pine River at the nature center allowed more children to witness the release of the salmon.
                Students took turns scooping salmon out of a bucket with a net and letting them swim downriver.

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