BALDWIN — Baldwin Junior High teacher Don Schwass offered a hands-on experience for his sixth-grade students who participated in the Salmon in a Classroom project.

His class was nearly one of 300 classrooms in Michigan to raise salmon from eggs to smolt. On Friday, May 25, David Pratt, of Pere Marquette Trout Unlimited, helped Schwass and his students release 90 Chinook Salmon smolts into the Pere Marquette River. PMTU supplied the classroom with necessary materials to raise the fish.

“I picked up the eggs in the first part of November. They were put into the aquarium here at school,” Schwass said. “They hatched in mid-January. We learned about invasive species, the stages of salmon development, how salmon know hot to return to their home stream and about the reason fish are stocked to increase the rate of survival.”

As a Michigan Department of Natural Resources course available for any third- through 12th-grade classrooms in the state, the program teaches habitat niche, life cycles and seasons, water chemistry, natural resource management and stakeholder role-playing. The course also offers students the opportunity to care about conservation and their local environment.