Baby Chinook Program

Since 2001, the Grand Haven Offshore Challenge has been sponsoring local classrooms by supplying equipment and support to participate in the Michigan DNRE Salmon in the Classroom program.  For the 2009 – 2010 school year we are sponsoring 8 classrooms in Ottawa and Muskegon counties.

Salmon in the Classroom is an exciting program that teaches students about our state's Great Lakes ecosystem and fisheries management through interactive, hands-on learning.  This instrumental learning experience allows students the opportunity to raise, care for and maintain the salmon in their classroom from fall until spring. The program culminates at the end of the school year with the release of the young fish in a local watershed that feeds one of the Great Lakes.

For many students, participation in the program provides a truly motivational experience. To watch life unfold before their eyes, to guide the growth and health of developing fish, and later release those fish into a natural, quality habitat can be a life changing experience for some.

Click here to see what the students are writing about having salmon in their classroom.


Schools involved this school year are:

Tim Olson - West Ottawa Public Schools
Craig Kingma - Harbor Lights Middle School, Holland
Anamie Occhipinti - Harbor Lights Middle School, Holland
Robert Whipkey - White Pines Middle School 6th Grade, Grand Haven
Robert DeBruyn - White Pines Middle School 7th Grade, Grand Haven
Andy Bos - Oakview Elementary School 3rd Grade, Muskegon
Lori Veurink - Mona Shores Junior High School, Muskegon
Norm Green - Spring Lake Schools, 6th Grade

2014 West Ottawa Public Schools Salmon Release!

Oakview Elementary School Salmon Cam


Tim Olson"I am a 6th grade science teacher at Macatawa Bay Middle School at West Ottawa. I have been raising salmon for 5 years now. This has been one of the most enjoyable activities that I do in my classroom for students and myself. There is no better way to study the life cycle of the salmon than to experience their daily growth from egg to fry. Our students have become an active part of the salmon ecosystem in our great lakes."
-Tim Olson : Macatwa Bay Middle School Teacher

Craig Kingma"Everyday, in every class, there are students crowded around the tank to see how the salmon have changed. I teach 6th grade at Macatawa Bay M.S. in West Ottawa and this is the first year I have had salmon in the classroom. What a great way to learn about life cycles, habitat, food webs, watersheds, and our responsibility in all those. Thanks!"
-Craig Kingma : Macatawa Bay Middle School

"I am a teacher at Harbor Lights Middle School. I am excited to be a part of the Baby Chinook Program for the second time this year. My students have really taken an interest in the salmon, their life cycle, and the salmon's place/role in the environment of Michigan. Having the salmon right in our own classroom is a unique experience that students will remember for years. Thank you for giving us this one of a kind opportunity to become familiar with salmon!"
-Anamie Occhipinti : Harbor Lights Middle School Science Teacher

"It is so exciting to bring the Salmon in the Classroom program to Mona Shores Middle School Library Media Center. We have nearly 1,000 students who can observe the tank every day. This hands-on learning program allows the students to learn about the lifecycle and habitat of salmon; the importance of a balanced ecosystem and conservation; and how to be good stewards of our natural resources."
-Lori Veurink : Mona Shores Middle School

Jon SelbigI am doing my year-long student teaching internship in the Muskegon Public School District this year. I have been lucky enough to witness many of the previous salmon in the classroom spring releases, near the boat at Chinook Pier, and it is truly a great sight to see! Therefore, I thought this would be a fantastic program to bring to Muskegon Public Schools and Oakview Elementary School. My cooperating teacher, Andy Bos, thought it was a great idea and was a full supporter of the program from day one. We are extremely grateful to be given the opportunity to participate in such a fantastic program and plan to involve all 500 plus Oakview students in a life-long study of the Chinook Salmon until their release into Lake Michigan in the spring. Nothing is comparable to learning about life cycles than first-hand!!!"
-Jon Selbig : Oakview Elementary School Muskegon