Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery is fishing for volunteers

July 27, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 6 p.m. July 27, 2011

Jane Kuechle

Onlookers teem to the bridge across Issaquah Creek and Issaquah Salmon Hatchery grounds each fall as coho and chinook salmon complete a long journey from the Pacific Ocean.

In order to share information and tales about the salmon species’ life cycle, Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery needs volunteers to serve as guides. The spawning season stretches from September through November.

FISH, a nonprofit organization, conducts educational tours for school groups and other hatchery visitors on weekdays each autumn, as traffic transforms the quiet hatchery grounds into a bona fide tourist destination.

FISH Executive Director Jane Kuechle said the ideal docent candidate is “somebody who likes to impart knowledge and who likes to teach.”

Get involved

Friends of the Issaquah Hatchery volunteer training

  • 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 27
  • Watershed Science Center at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, 80 Newport Way S.W.
  • Call the FISH hotline at 427-0259 or email Volunteer Coordinator Beverly Lee at volunteer@issaquahfish.org to sign up as a volunteer or enroll in the training. FISH volunteers must be 18 or older.
  • Learn more about the organization at www.issaquahfish.org.

Volunteers complete a daylong training program before joining the docent ranks. Kuechle joined FISH as executive director June 13, and she plans to complete the program, too.

“Some of the people that you would be giving tours to at the hatchery are schoolchildren, as well as adults,” she said. “There’s a full range of people who go through the hatchery on tours.”

In addition to hatchery tours, FISH advocates for retaining and improving the historic hatchery, promotes watershed stewardship and helps state hatchery employees spawn salmon.

Docents also promote community involvement and participate in the Salmon Days Festival — a blockbuster event at the hatchery. FISH docents don vests and hold signs aloft as they roam the hatchery grounds during the festival.

Salmon Days attracts more than 100,000 people to the hatchery and downtown Issaquah in a typical year.

The event offers docents “a chance to be able to share their knowledge and their love of salmon and the hatchery and downtown Issaquah,” Kuechle said.

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