Solano County Office of Education has received a NOAA B-WET grant that will allow for the expansion of the Spinning Salmon program into Solano County through collaboration with the Center for Community and Citizen Science.
The Spinning Salmon Project connects high school students with scientists looking into Thiamine Deficiency Complex. Thiamine Deficiency Complex (TDC) was first documented in California’s salmon in 2020. The lack of thiamine, a compound critical for essential metabolic processes, leads to spinning, lethargy, and eventual death in salmon juveniles. The Center for Community and Citizen Science saw this as an opportunity to implement youth-focused community and citizen science to engage youth in authentic research, while contributing essential data to TDC research, specifically monitoring of mortality rates. Through a double-blind study, scientists measured thiamine concentration in salmon eggs, which were then distributed to classrooms where students monitored the survival and TDC symptoms of their progeny.
During the 2021/2022 school year, the Center for Community and Citizen Science began a collaboration with NOAA, the Center for Watershed Sciences, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife that developed a youth run citizen science project looking at thiamine deficiency in central valley salmon. The pilot year built out the student research protocols, tools for data analysis and curriculum for middle and high school students.
Funding from the NOAA B-WET grant expands the project into Solano County for the next three years to include teacher training, aquariums, and student field experiences with various Solano County community partners that are supporting the resilience of the watershed. Year one of the project will recruit teachers from county court and/or continuing education schools.
Overall, this program offers:
- Teacher stipends covering time for training as well as implementation
- Funding for all classroom materials (tanks will be able to be kept on site if ongoing participation will continue after grant period)
- Coordination of and funding for field experiences, including some transportation funds
- Classroom materials focusing on highlighting CTE pathways
- Ongoing mentoring and support
- Direct connections with the researchers and scientific community