McMaster students teach youth about science, salmon and sustainability

May 26, 2009

McMaster students teach youth about science, salmon and sustainability

More than 100 students gathered at Burlington's Lowville Park to release salmon into Bronte Creek.

Earlier this month, volunteers from McMaster's Let's Talk Science Partnership Program (LTSPP) helped local students release over 200 Atlantic salmon into Bronte Creek as part of an effort to both increase salmon populations in Hamilton waters and get young people involved in science.

The release took place at Burlington's Lowville Park on May 15, with over 100 students from three different schools in attendance. Volunteers from LTSPP had been visiting the schools since February to teach youth about salmon, sustainability and the environment. With the help of undergraduate and graduate volunteers from McMaster, teachers and students learned how to raise the fish from eggs.

Although the reintroduction project contributes to the rehabilitation of the local environment, ultimately it exists just as much for the students as for the salmon.

"We have a chance to involve kids in science in a real hands-on and meaningful way," says Allison Sills, associate dean of science at McMaster. "Far too often science in elementary school can be stripped down to the memorization of inconsequential facts and that's not what science is all about."

Every year the McMaster group works with youth throughout Hamilton on a number of projects with the goal of inspiring Canada's next generation of scientists.

Coordinators say the project was a great success as an additional 30 youth were involved this year over last, thanks to a Promo Science grant awarded by the National Science and Engineering Council of Canada. Next year, LTSPP hopes that award funds will allow them to reach 60 more youth than this year.

For more information on the LTSPP, please visit their website.