From left, Tara Willard, School District #83 Indigenous education worker, teacher Sue Whitehead, Molly Cooperman and Brenda Melnychuk of The Adams River Salmon Society pose with Grade 6/7 students and their entry into the How Can We Help the Salmon Come Home contest. (Lachlan Labere/Salmon Arm Observer)

Salmon Arm students win province-wide Great Waters Challenge

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

A group of Salmon Arm students were singled out as the winners of a B.C.-wide competition that gets youth thinking about how to preserve one of B.C.’s most prolific forms of wildlife: the wild salmon.

Students in Sue Whitehead and Bev Dewitt’s Grade 6-7 classes at Shuswap Middle School (SMS), with the support of their teachers, Indigenous Education Worker Tara Willard and Elder Mike Arnouse, have won the province-wide Great Waters Challenge for their Indigenous Perspective on Salmon Survival Inquiry Project which included a mural, Ancient River Song and teaching video.

(Video: Shuswap Middle School)

In response to ever-growing concern about the future of salmon in the province, the Adams River Salmon Society first held a contest to educate youths about the issues in the fall, during the Salmon Run.

Related: Shuswap society hosts contest abou helping salmon spawn

The contest was designed to support B.C.’s new curriculum, letting teachers do projects using the essential question of “how can we help salmon come home?” with their classes.

The cumulative projects were then be submitted to the contest, which was promoted during the Salute to Sockeye Festival, with some entries making it into the province-wide contest.

The Great Waters Challenge invited students from across B.C. to share their ideas on how to make it easier for migrating salmon to return to their spawning grounds. The SMS classes created the mural, song and video which won the contest, but other classes in the district also participated. Dayton Massey, a Grade 11 Salmon Arm Secondary student, decorated his skis with salmon insignia and SMS Grade 6 student Cole Buckmeir created art around the issue of oil pollution in oceans and waterways.

The prize for the SMS classes that won the contest is admission to the Vancouver Aquarium and the 4D: Big Picture Conservation program for the classes, which will take place on April 12.

Related: Helping salmon come home to the Shuswap

Unfortunately, the prize did not include transportation or accommodation costs so the students will now be fundraising to make their way to Vancouver.

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