Hatchery Tours and Educational Programs
In addition to providing hatchery tours and open house events, SSRAH provides presentations to interested groups and organizations. SSRAH also maintains two educational programs on the elementary school and college levels whereby young people receive training and real-life, hands-on experience with Atlantic salmon.
Fish Friends Program
Partnering with the US Fish & Wildlife Service and Atlantic Salmon Federation, SSRA has maintained a Fish Friends program with regional elementary schools. SSRA provides fertilized salmon eggs to 5th grade natural sciences classrooms. The eggs are incubated in aquariums with conditioned water.
While incubation is taking place, students learn about salmon biology, life cycles and migrations and monitor the eggs daily. Other topics of study and discussion are the various issues that have contributed to salmon population declines, and other challenges faced by conservationists in salmon restoration efforts.
When incubation is complete, the students witness the miracle of the hatching process. Students continue to monitor the alevin (hatchlings) daily as they develop to the fry stage.
Throughout the program, the aquarium's water temperature is adjusted to coincide with the SSRA hatchery which corresponds to the average temperatures of various tributaries in the Saco River watershed. As the alevin deplete the nutrients in their yolk sac, preparations for program completion are made. The students tour the SSRA hatchery, and are accompanied on a field trip to one of the Saco tributaries where they will release "their" salmon; bidding them farewell and good chance.