Unique to Deroche
Elementary is our “Forest & Stream” Stewardship Program. We have a stream running through our school
property which has given us a remarkable site to teach students ecology,
environmental studies, aquatic life and the importance of watershed
We started our “Forest
& Stream” Program in 2016 as an initiative to restore a salmon spawning
stream, long blocked due to construction and overgrowth. We have worked hard at removing invasive
blackberries and replanting non-invasive plants along the stream side. We have set up an outdoor classroom area and
were able to incorporate walking trails throughout the forest area. We have also constructed a bridge over the
stream to serve as a learning platform and interpretative area.
While education is an
integral part of our program, the project also allows our students and the community
to become actively involved in salmon enhancement with a commitment to
preserving and protecting this important watershed area. What we love most about the program is that
it will be a viable project for years to come and the benefits to fish habitat will
be long lasing and widespread.
We are grateful to the
various groups for their support including:
the Sasquatch Lions Club, Fraser
Valley Regional District, Fraser Valley Watershed Coalition, Barsanti
Environmental Services, Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource
Operations, DFO, Pacific Salmon Foundation, Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds,
Communities in Bloom, RBC Blue Water Project, Inch Creek Hatchery, TD Friends of the Environment Program, TW
Excavating and Lacey Construction.Program Highlights:
Our first big event for our "Forest and Stream" Program was our Streamside Replanting day on October 13, 2017. A special thank you to the Fraser Valley Watershed Coalition and Leq'am:el for helping us with this work and to our volunteers, especially the MacLean family and FVWC Field Crew, who helped with the labour intensive task of removing overgrown blackberries prior to the replanting.
Our next big accomplishment was the construction of our bridge over the stream. It serves as a great platform for the students to view the stream from above. The bridge also connects to our learning trails and leads to our Outdoor Classroom area. Thank you to Tom Cassel and Ian Kerr from TW Excavating for the bridge work and to the MacLeans for volunteering their time to help with the installation. Check out our
Building our Bridge PowerPoint!
Our next event was a special day for us. On April 20, 2018 we had our first Chum Salmon Release and Stream Dedication Ceremony. It was very exciting and rewarding for our students and school community as we released over 40,000 Chum Salmon into our school stream as part of our stream rehabilitation work. Thanks to DFO and Inch Creek Hatchery for making this possible. Pictured above is one of our teachers and students releasing their bucket of fry into the stream.
The next phase of our project was the construction of our outdoor structure. It gives us a protected area for students to gather for year-round instruction regardless of the weather. We are very grateful to Lacey Construction and their crew for building such a spectacular structure for us - it's beautiful! Check out our Building our Structure PowerPoint!
Salmon Release and "Forest & Stream" Dedication Ceremony 2019:
On April 12th, 2019 students, parents, guests and staff released another 40,000 Chum Salmon into our school stream. It was an amazing day! We had a ceremony by the stream followed by a ribbon cutting to honour our "Forest & Stream" supporters, followed by a special luncheon. Thank you to DFO/Inch Creek for making this day possible and thank you to all the parents, community members and dignitaries who came out to enjoy this special day with us! Pictured below is some of our students participating in the fish release. Click on our April 15th newsletter
for some photo highlights of the day and check out the Mission Record Newspaper article
about the event.
We started using our Outdoor Structure right away but we only had a couple of gym benches to use for students to sit on. By September though, thanks to TD Friends of the Environment Fund, our classroom was equipped with 2 outdoor mats and 4 new picnic tables. We also added a whiteboard which we had framed into a wooden cabinet with door to help protect it from the outdoor elements. TD FEF also provided us with some funding to help purchase some learning materials for outdoor instruction. We feel very blessed to have such a wonderful space at our school for our students to learn and grow, and are very grateful for the continued support from various groups.
Salmon Release 2020
Our Salmon Release for 2020 looked a little different due to COVID restrictions. We are calling this year our COHO-vid Release! A special thank you to Inch Creek Hatchery for coming to the school and releasing another 40,000 fry into the stream for us. We wish the students could have been there to see it but we made sure we video taped the release and were able to share the pictures with everyone.
Salmon have Returned!
We are very excited to announce that the Salmon are returning! Here's a video clip taken on November 18, 2020. See if you can spot the Salmon!
Salmon Release 2021
On April 9th Inch Creek Hatchery, as they have done for the past three years, delivered 40,000 salmon fry to our school to allow our stream to be a spawning ground. Miraculously, four years from now, after the salmon have traveled in the Pacific Ocean as far away as Japan, a portion of them will return to the same stream and place they started from. What a thrill it was to see our students releasing the buckets teaming with fish, into the stream. With the restrictions for Covid still in place, we were only able to have the salmon ceremony split by lower grades and upper grades. Div 3 & 4 went down first to experience the salmon ceremony, followed by the older grades (Div 1 & 2).
The students also listened to Jason Thompson and Phil Sherwood, two cultural leaders from the Leq'a:mel Band, speak about the significance of the salmon, and they drummed and sang the salmon song. As well as learning valuable lessons about life cycles and ecology, we desire that our students will take hope and encouragement from the courageous determination and beneficial life of a salmon, as they navigate the challenges they will face in life.