This will be my final round of research for this cycle, but I will most likely be continuing my next cycle with something along the lines of this project. I have really enjoyed sharing my research as well as incorporating some personal experiences into this cycle. My research this round is almost solely focused on the hatchery, as its main points will be about upcoming projects and future of the hatchery and why I'm trying to promote it and raise awareness. Here's my inquiry question again:
How can I promote stewardship of the Hoy Creek Hatchery in my community?
In my community, the Hoy Creek Hatchery is popular among local residents who are out for a walk and happen to pass by. As a volunteer there, I always converse with these people and talk to them about what's happening at the hatchery just to let them know. However, for those who don't walk around in the urban forest (Hoy-Scott Linear Park) surrounding the hatchery, it's almost unknown. Coincidentally, the group of people that has the least awareness of the hatchery and its importance is youth between 13 and 19, the exact group of people who also have the biggest potential to effect change and promote the hatchery.
Youth in the community will be the next leaders of the city and be responsible for environmental initiatives and projects. In my opinion, the hatchery is both important as a functional place to promote healthy ecosystems as well as a place that could be used to unite a community. In terms of promoting a healthy ecosystem, volunteers for the hatchery raise salmon that are nearly identical to those in the wild, so this initiative is really important because it keeps one of our most important resources thriving in a world where most species are in declining. Volunteers also do trail maintenance: things like removing invasive plants, garbage pick-up, and tree planting, which creates a healthy environment both for the organisms living in it and for visitors walking through. It represents a part of the community that is working to better the environment in a non-profit style, using volunteers who care about the well-being of the ecosystem surrounding them. This is why I am trying to raise stewardship regarding the hatchery on this platform and trying to educate other youth about it; volunteers for the hatchery are mainly teenagers, but there aren't a lot of them. If people are at least aware of the hatchery and its mission, more and more people will learn about it and respect its role, and therefore keep it functioning in the future.
The hatchery also helps bring together the community on festival days (Salmon Come Home and Salmon Leave Home). Many people gather at the hatchery, and there are many environmental organizations who come and set up tents to help educate the public as well. There are indigenous speakers, and activities for kids, so the festivals are really educational for everyone. Such events are the best ways to promote stewardship of the hatchery when they are broadcast in advance; some people may just drop by, but even doing just that is enough to inspire people. Another thing that the hatchery acts as is an indicator of climate change. Stream temperatures and levels, riparian zones, and amount of fish returning are all indicators of the functionality of the ecosystem and help predict the effects of climate change.
Obviously the hatchery plays a prevalent role in my life, and it's actually going through an exciting time because it has received grants to potentially upgrade the facility (as it is quite small). This could receive media attention and bring to light the importance of the hatchery to a greater amount of people. Although it's only one hatchery, one organization that is trying to help our environment within the community, its impact stretches beyond that, and as awareness about it is raised, more initiatives may be introduced.
Thank you for reading this round, and as always, leave any feedback or comments below!