Teachers from all across Idaho will take more knowledge of Idaho's wildlife with them when they return to the classroom this fall.
Project WILD II, an advanced program offered by Fish and Game for school teachers who have already taken Project WILD courses, recently concluded after teachers had the opportunity for "hands-on" experience with salmon migration.
"I have this awe and this energy now," Meridian Middle School teacher Lesley Cantrell said. "I am going to be able to share that with my students and I think that teachers have to take that passion and relay it back to their students and maybe get that passion going with them." Cantrell is a certified 'WILD' teacherÉ someone who has completed a one-credit graduate course called Project WILD and then signed up for more, including the weeklong camping workshop called Project WILD II. The group of 40 teachers worked at the South Fork of the Salmon River fish trap. There, they helped hatchery managers sort, measure, weigh, and release spring chinook salmon. The wild and hatchery salmon migrated 900 miles from the ocean back to the stream where they were raised in order to spawn.
"What we do is look at all different species and try to get into hands on as much as we possibly can. And children really are the beneficiaries because they are the ones who learn about wildlife and the appreciation of it," John Gahl, Fish and Game education coordinator, said.
The concept of Project WILD began here in the West and has expanded to all 50 states. Idaho is the only state in the U.S. with a second course, Project WILD II.