The Fish Whisperer

Posted by – Shawn Keenan, Water Resources Coordinator

On a sunny Friday afternoon last month, 160 Chinook salmon  were released into the Clinton River at Riverside Park, located in Downtown Auburn Hills.  These aren’t your usual fish.  They were raised by Mike Mansour, Naturalist at our own Hawk Woods Nature Center.


The fish were part of the “Salmon in the Classroom” Program with Ms. Francess and Ms. Garcia’s fourth grade classes at Will Roger Elementary School.  Mike started out with 300 salmon eggs he received from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) last fall.

For seven months, great care and attention was provided to maintain high water quality and the right temperature to attain a greater survival rate.  Once the eggs hatched, the young fish had to be kept on a special diet and feeding schedule.  Mike’s efforts paid off big this year with 160 salmon making it to the release date.

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The program, designed by the MDNR, helps build a connection between students and the natural resources found around them, like the Clinton River.  Students learn about the life cycle of salmon including the challenges they face during their journey to Lake St. Clair.  Some will even travel as far as Lake Erie.

We wish all 160 salmon the best luck on their journey and hope to see them back in three or four years to complete the cycle.