For 6 years, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation Fish and Wildlife Department have partnered with the Okanogan High School Ecology of the Okanogan class and Okanogan Conservation District to study the possible benefits of opening a side channel for additional habitat near Woody Island.

During each school year, students conduct monthly visits to study the ecology of the area and learn about fish management from local fish biologists and the connection between humans and the rivers. Due to COVID restrictions, the 2020-2021 class created a video describing how they prepare for data collection days and why they have been collecting data at Woody Island since 2014. See their final product on Okanogan Conservation District’s YouTube channel or at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74Anqjo2ES0

One student, Dakota, said this about the course, “This class has been one of the best classes I have ever had. My classmates and teacher have been like family to me. I joined this class hoping to learn about the outdoors, but I received much more than that. Not only have I increased my knowledge, but I have learned the value of teamwork and accuracy. When I come to this class, I am treated fairly and respectfully by everyone, which is definitely hard to come by these days. This class has also changed me as a person. I have learned to ask for help and give it when it is needed, to know that everyone deserves their own opinion, and other things.”

This project was completed thanks to a partnership between Okanogan High School, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation Fish and Wildlife Department, Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board, and Okanogan Conservation District.

Students work together in groups to collect data at each transect. Photo credit: Chelsea Trout, Okanogan High School

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