Each October, Kodiak’s fourth grade students take a field trip to observe Pillar Creek Hatchery’s coho salmon egg take. During the trip KRAA staff provide a presentation that includes salmon identification, life cycle and anatomy. Following the presentation, KRAA staff demonstrate to the students how hatchery personnel collect eggs and milt from coho salmon. The eggs are taken to Pillar Creek Hatchery for incubation and to be otolith marked.
Once the eggs are otolith marked and have eyed at Pillar Creek Hatchery, approximately 250 are taken to each participating school and placed in the classroom incubator. The students observe the changes throughout the winter as the eggs progress from an eyed egg to the newly-hatched alevin, and finally fry. The students also record the daily temperature. In the early spring, when the alevin absorb their yolk sacs and become fry, they must be fed. Pillar Creek Hatchery provides each classroom with a supply of salmon food. At the end of the school year, the salmon fry are released into Island Lake, and the students take a field trip to Pillar Creek Hatchery.