The Flycaster's Education Foundation manages our Salmon and Trout Education Program (STEP). This program has been developed to provide students with a chance to learn "hands on" about salmon and steelhead and the habitats in which they live. The K-12 program uses a thematic first hand approach, offering teachers the tools and the ideas for integrating math, science, language, arts, etc.
The Flycaster Educational Foundation provides education, conservation, and youth programs... to the area public. These programs are focused mainly on flyfishing and/or conservation. In recent years, the STEP program has been a very significant part of the Flycaster Education Committee's activities.
Students learn about salmon and steelhead life cycles, their habitat requirements and the problems and solutions to preserving these "indicator" species and the watersheds in which they live. Teachers who wish to learn and participate in teaching STEP are offered a two-day workshop, which provides cooperative learning utilizing actual lessons from the curriculum material. Teachers learn actual methods and techniques for working with groups of students out on a stream and how to process streamside information back in the classroom. Teachers are provided with a copy of the STEP curriculum, lesson plans, and a packet of resource materials. For teachers who desire to participate in classroom incubation, guidance is given in the materials required, actual set-up and the permitting process required to allow live wild steelhead eggs to be raised to fry stage a then be released into a local stream.
STEP is a comprehensive curriculum that encompasses all subjects including but not limited to biology, mathematics, reading and art. It uses the "salmonid life cycles and habitat requirements" as central theme and has been recognized by state educators as a "model of thematic teaching". In most instances, an aquarium and chiller will be placed in the class room. Fertilized eggs (supplied under permit from the Department of Fish and Game by the Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project Research Facility) are placed in the aquarium. Through teacher training and their use of the "resource kit", students learn that there is much more involved than simply watching a salmon egg hatch. After the eggs have successfully hatched and the fry have matured to the point of the "yolk and the fry sac" being absorbed, the fry are released into a pre-selected coastal stream in an effort to enhance native fish populations.
Note: This program is funded by the Flycaster's Education Foundation. The cost of teacher training, a copy of the lesson plan, chillers, etc. are all covered by Flycasters. The policies of the Flycaster Educational's STEP program are administered by the Monterey Bay Salmon & Trout Project