Salmon at the Arboretum


Bringing Salmon to the Virtual Classroom

A "Salmon in the Classroom" program partnership between

Yakima Area Arboretum (YAA),

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), &

Yakima Basin Environmental Education Program (YBEEP) and made possible thanks to Heritage University (HU).

We are hosting these chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) in a year where many classrooms will not be partaking in the very popular “Salmon in the Classroom” curriculum due to staffing and time constraints. We will be supporting our local schools in a time when traditional field trips and unique learning opportunities are not available due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. We will be posting updates on the chinook salmon eggs/young in the form of written observations, pictures, videos, and more on this page. As the weeks go on, we will also be creating and sharing different lessons and learning opportunities below that talk and teach about salmon and their development, which can be used for free in any classrooms by any students in any setting.


Schools, classrooms, and youth groups can also request “virtual fieldtrips” to view and see eggs/salmon live and to be able to talk with Arboretum staff and volunteers working on the project over Zoom. Requests for specific curriculum or information is also encouraged to be able to meet the needs of our local students and families. Please contact Education and Outreach Coordinator Garrett Brenden for more information.

Continue Below for Observations, Lessons, Information, and More!

Salmon Tank Observations & Reports

General Information for the Salmon Aquarium

Start Date: January 4, 2022

Salmon Species: Chinook/King (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)

Number of Eggs/Salmon: ~210 eggs as of 1/4/22

Aquarium Size: 55 Gallons

Aquarium Temperature: 48F - 52F (9C to 11C)

  • January 4th, 2022- Approximately 200 chinook salmon eggs (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) were delivered to the Arboretum.
  • The eggs came with black spots and a dull white line toward the outside of the egg. The spots were the developing eyes of the baby salmon and the white line was the spine forming for the fish.
  • Of the eggs received, one (1) dead egg was removed immediately (right photo), all other eggs looked healthy. The dead eggs was orange and not as see-through as the pink, live eggs. Most tanks lose a few eggs in the first few weeks so everything is still in order for now.
  • January 20th, 2022- We had our first Chinook salmon babies hatch this morning! The salmon are called "Alevin" at this stage while they still have their yolks sacs attached to their bellies as they continue to develop. More and more salmon will be hatching over the days/week and soon they will be one big wiggling mass!
  • February 16th, 2022- All of our babies are hatched and are now called "Alevin" while they have their bright orange yolk sac bellies! They like to congregate together, likely for stability, since normally they would be hatching under gravel, out of the way from any water currents that would toss them around
  • February 28th, 2022- Our little "Alevins" are starting to use up their belly nutrients and are swimming up in the water column, looking for free floating food. When they have used up their yolk sac, we call them "fry". In the wild, the baby salmon would be snacking on small invertebrates like small, baby aquatic and terrestrial insect.


Big Plans for Small Eggs

A look at the salmon lifecycle from egg to kelt! This activity pairs nicely with Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group and YBEEP's Salmon Lifecycle video.


Posters & Signage at the Salmon Tank

2021 SitC Forest Poster.png
Salmon ID.png
salmon cycle 8x12 _1_.jpg

External Links and More Information

Mid-Columbia Regional Fisheries Enhancement Group Salmon Videos Page

Franklin Conservation District Salmon in the Classroom Updates

Yakama Nation Fisheries Resources for Educators

Washington's State of Salmon 2020 Report

Seattle Aquarium Salmon Resources

Making an Impact for an Iconic Species

We will be working with WDFW and YBEEP, following their guidelines and timelines to ensure a successful first year with raising salmon. Here is a look at their general timeline.

These chinook salmon will be raised at the Arboretum until they are fry (young salmon) and will be released into the Yakima River in May/early June so they may swim downstream to make it out to the ocean to grow up and eventually return to the Yakima River to spawn and continue the salmon cycle.

The aim of the program isn't just raising fish to help their species recover, it also raises awareness about fish, water quality, habitat, and so much more!

Thank You for Your Support

A huge, tail-swishing, dam jumping thank you to our partner organizations and our Arboretum supporters that made this all happen!

Yakima Basin Environmental Education Program (YBEEP)

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)

Heritage University (HU)

Bruce Whitmore