News and Events of the Bering Strait School District
Sunday February 18th 2018



5th Grade Classroom Coho Salmon Aquarium

By Melissa Towarak

Unalakleet Schools

On September 17, 2012 Mr. Busk took the Unalakleet 5th Grade class to the Little North River to meet with local NSECD and Regional Fish and Game members to initiate our classroom incubation for local Coho (Silver) Salmon.  The students were able to observe how to fertilize, dissect, and incubate the Salmon eggs. After lunch, the students were able to create fish-print shirts instructed by local artist, Gary Eckenweiler.


About 2 weeks later, the 5th Grade class took a field trip to the local incubation center, located at our old Post Office.  There, they learned about the incubator and how the NSEDC members combined the milt and eggs to become fertilized.  They then were able to see the bright, orange- colored, fertilized eggs.  Another 2 months later, NSEDC placed the “Eyed” eggs (eyed meaning the eye is visible in the egg) into our classroom aquarium.  The eggs remained in our aquarium until they hatched as Alevins prior to Christmas Break.

Upon returning from Christmas Break, the students were able to see all the Alevins that survived the fertilization process (approximately 200 out of 1,000).  Mr. Busk then returned to the classroom to teach the students the daily routine of caring for the aquarium and how to keep track of how many “degree days” old the eyed-eggs are.


As the students maintained the aquarium, they were able to observe the egg sac being absorbed (main source of food for the Alevins) to change into fry.  Once the fish had no source of food from the egg sac, the students began to feed the fry along with their daily maintenance.

As of today, February 1, 2013, approximately 100 to 150 Fry are feeding on fish food.  We will continue to have the fish in our classroom until NSEDC is ready to release the smolt into the wild this spring.

Prior to our great field trip adventures and excitement of fertilizing, hatching and observing the salmon eggs; the 5th Grade students learned about the life cycle of a salmon, the internal and external anatomy of a salmon, and the ecology/habitat needed for the salmon to survive.  We look forward to continuing our knowledge of local fish.