By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Fun with fish

Ken Dollinger has a special passion for both fish and children, particularly students, to whom he can share his knowledge of a subject like the salmon life cycle.

“Last year I was a certified angling instructor, teaching hundreds of kids how to fish,” he said. “This year they were looking for volunteers to deliver fresh eggs to schools.”

Volunteers deliver to 140 Oregon schools, including three in Yamhill County, under the ODFW Salmon and Trout Enhancement Program. 

On the same day he visited Amity, Dollinger also delivered young fish to Dundee Elementary School and Faulconer-Chapman School in Sheridan. He saw students in seven classrooms.

In past years, 200 eggs have been left at each participating school. With production down at Oregon hatcheries, the number this year was reduced to 100 per school. Dollinger picks up his eggs at the Clackamas Fish Hatchery located at Milo McIver State Park.

What benefits does he want the students to enjoy as a result of his visits?

“Awareness and appreciation for the natural cycles of life and how independent they are,” Dollinger said. “Clean water means living fish. It’s a cycle of life. They learn a lot of things and do it in a fun way.”

He said many of the students who are exposed to his presentations have named the fish — the eggs — and will say goodbye to them as they deposit them into a river to live out their life.

“Kids and fish, it’s a bomb,” Dollinger said.

He loves the idea that these students are doing something positive for the environment and the fish he dearly loves.

“It’s positive for the kids and for the schools,” Dollinger said. “It’s a serious win/win.”


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