Selected General Resources for Teaching about Alaska’s Wild Salmon


1.  Materials for teaching about salmon that were written outside of Alaska can be useful in many respects. Teachers should note, however, that the story of salmon in Alaska is unique:

(1) 98% of Alaska’s salmon stocks are healthy, so emphasis here is on maintaining salmon stocks and their habitats, and harvesting salmon. In Washington, Oregon, California, and British Columbia the emphasis is toward healing and restoration.

(2) Alaska salmon have adapted to habitat conditions, such as lower water temperatures, that stocks in other regions cannot tolerate.

(3) Regulations (such as those for subsistence harvest or hatcheries) and Native traditions are often different in Alaska from those in British Columbia and the Lower 48.

2. Web site addresses often change. If you have problems accessing any sites listed in this guide, please let Jon know and he will try to help.


Alaska Department of Fish and Game web site - - includes a wealth of information about salmon fisheries, research, and management. Follow links to Teacher Resources and materials especially for kids.

Alaska Natural Resources and Outdoor Education Association (ANROE)  - - has a “Guide to Alaska Natural Resource Education Materials” and a link to “Aquatic/Marine Resources” in the Alaska Science and Math Curriculum materials. Also see their publication Targeting Excellence: Aligning Alaskan Environmental Education with Standards.  

Salmonids in the Classroom is a creative and complete Intermediate and Primary level curriculum developed by the Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The Intermediate curriculum covers freshwater beginnings, life at sea, and return to the river. The Primary curriculum has been modified for Alaska by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. This is available from B.C. Teachers’ Federation, Lesson Aids Service, 100-500 West 6th Ave., Vancouver, B.C. V5Z 4P2.

Alaska Sea Grant College

This web site has good general information on Alaska fisheries and offers publications on managing fishing businesses, seafood handling & harvesting, and more.

Publication on Pacific Salmon Fisheries -

This web site contains the full text of “Pacific Salmon Fisheries: Climate, Information and Adaptation in a Conflict-Ridden Context” by Kathleen Miller of the Environmental and Societal Impacts Group at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. It provides excellent, though fairly technical, background on several key topics covered in this teacher’s guide, including:

·   why genetic diversity and preserving wild salmon stocks is important (Alaska’s Wild Salmon, chapter 1),

·   climate change and the changing abundance of salmon (Alaska’s Wild Salmon, chapter 3), and

·   the Pacific Salmon Treaty and issues of fish management between the U.S. and Canada (Alaska’s Wild Salmon, chapter 7).

Project Wild, Project Wild Aquatic – ADF&G Div. of Wildlife Conservation

These curricula include some information on salmon. Note that you must take training to get the materials. Information on these and other workshops for teachers are found under the Education link of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Division of Wildlife Conservation.

Wildlife Conservation page

North American Association for Environmental Education web site has a huge section on Classroom Resources.

EPA Environmental Education Center has a link on Water Curriculum Resources and activities.

FishBanks Ltd. web site describes (and sells) a PC simulation game from the University of New Hampshire Institute for Policy and Social Research.


Kidfish web site from British Columbia is described as a “web-based tool for teaching grade 5 to 7 students.” It focuses on aquatic fish, freshwater habitat, fly-tying, and stewardship. The site includes information and activities for students, thought-provoking questions and lesson plans for teachers.

Discovering Alaska’s Salmon: A Children’s Activity Book by Laurel Devaney and Putt Clark may be useful for younger middle school students, with 29 pages of puzzles, coloring, and other activities. Available from Alaska Natural Resources and Outdoor Education Association, P.O. Box 110536, Anchorage, AK 99511-0536, or from

The Pacific Salmon and Steelhead Coloring Book, produced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and available for printing off the web, is filled with valuable information. The page touting the value of hatcheries, however, is controversial.

Alaska Science Forum, from the University of Alaska Geophysical Institute, publishes articles written for newspapers in an entertaining, accessible style. Topics among the 61 articles on salmon include “otolith marking” of hatchery and wild salmon, pollutants found in Alaska salmon, and how salmon navigate.


Web searches using any search engine often produce teacher lesson plans on salmon from students and teachers at colleges, universities, and school districts. Try terms such as “teaching about salmon” or “teacher materials salmon.” 

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