In Pictures: The 2015 Kokanee Fish Festival

By David F. Rooney
Started several years ago by Kindergarten teacher Linda Dickson and other elementary school educators, the Kokanee Fish Festival has become a marvellous way to teach kids about the natural wonders of our region.
Also called redfish, the kokanee are a landlocked species of salmon ¬†that spawn each autumn in local creeks and streams. I’ve been taking photos of this event for years as well as participating in the fish art kids create during the Fish Fest.
Rain or shine the Fish Fest ¬†delights children and adults alike. It’s one of the effective ways we have to helping our children build life-long connections with the natural world and with 9ur human community.
My hat’s off to the women who who keep this piece of community life alive. Here are some photos from this year’s Kokanee Fish Festival held beside the fish ladder at Bridge Creek on Friday, September 25. I hope you enjoy them:

Rain didn't stop children from across the city from visiting Bridge Creek on Friday for the annual Kokanee Fish Festival. David F. Rooney photo
Steady rain didn’t stop children from across the city from visiting Bridge Creek on Friday for the annual Kokanee Fish Festival. Children in Grades One and Two ffrom Begbie View, Columbia Park and Arrow Heights Elementary Schools and from Ecole des Glaciers, as well as many home-school kids participated in this lively event. David F. Rooney photo

Kids had fun learning about more than just our region's iconic redfish. Theay learned about the Columbia River helped shape our landscape. David F. Rooney photo
Kids had fun learning about more than just our region’s iconic redfish. Theay learned about the Columbia River helped shape our landscape. David F. Rooney photo

Keith Stevenson was one of the parents who chaperoned kids from Arrow Heights Elementary. Here, he helps them understand how some of the most common things created by people, things like plastic bags, are really quite damaging to the environment. David F. Rooney photo
Keith Stevenson was one of the parents who chaperoned kids from Arrow Heights Elementary. Here, he helps them understand how some of the most common things created by people, things like plastic bags, are really quite damaging to the environment. David F. Rooney photo

Tara Sylvestre helps kids at the Fish Art Station during this small community-based festival. Children decorated Tibetan prayer flags with paintings of fish. David F. Rooney photo
Tara Sylvestre helps kids at the Fish Art Station during this small community-based festival. Children decorated Tibetan prayer flags with paintings of fish. David F. Rooney photo

Matt Kieller (right) had great fun organizing the school children and helping them imagine that they were baby kokanee fry hatching from eggs laid in the river. David F. Rooney photo
Matt Kieller (right) had great fun organizing the school children and helping them imagine that they were baby kokanee fry hatching from eggs laid in the river. David F. Rooney photo

As part of this mixture of play and biology Matt had kids stand inside hoops and pretend they were getting ready to head from the streams where they were born and... David F. Rooney photo
As part of this mixture of play and biology Matt had kids stand inside hoops and pretend they were getting ready to head from the streams where they were born and… David F. Rooney photo

... start heading downtstream towards the lake where they'd thrive as they aged... David F. Rooney photo
… start heading downtstream towards the lake where they’d thrive as they aged… David F. Rooney photo

...Well, some of them would thrive if they managed to avoid being eaten by larger predatory fish, a role Matt played with enthusiasm. The kids really enjoyed this playful bit of learning. David F. Rooney photo
…Well, some of them would thrive if they managed to avoid being eaten by larger predatory fish, a role Matt played with enthusiasm. The kids really enjoyed this playful bit of learning. David F. Rooney photo

Students from Ecole d'Glaciers work on the flags for their school. David F. Rooney photo
Students from Ecole des Glaciers work on the flags for their school. David F. Rooney photo

As the morning wore on, the kids worked up an appetite. David F. Rooney photo
As the morning wore on, the kids worked up an appetite. David F. Rooney photo

While there is an undeniable ick factor to the kokanee dissections carried out by biologist Karen Bray, mst kids are fascinated by the process and by this brief encounter with death. David F. Rooney photo
While there is an undeniable ick factor to the kokanee dissections carried out by biologist Karen Bray, mst kids are fascinated by the process and by this brief encounter with death. David F. Rooney photo

Alice Weber of Parks Canada enjoyed teaching the kids bout the different species of salmonid found in our river, streams and lakes. David F. Rooney photo
Alice Weber of Parks Canada enjoyed teaching the kids bout the different species of salmonid found in our river, streams and lakes. David F. Rooney photo

The smiles on their young faces betrayed the kids' delight at Alice's little catch-a-fish-then-identify-it game. David F. Rooney photo
The smiles on their young faces betrayed the kids’ delight at Alice’s little catch-a-fish-then-identify-it game. David F. Rooney photo

Aboriginal Education Assistant showed curi9us children how manyt of BC's First Nations people wove nets. David F. Rooney photo
Aboriginal Education Assistant showed curi9us children how manyt of BC’s First Nations people wove nets. David F. Rooney photo

As they do every year members of the Revelstoke Rod & Gun Club like Cyril Keates, Jack Carten, Gary Krestinsky and George Buhler, posing here with his dog Buck, patrolled Bridge Creek on the look out for bears. In all the years this festival has been held our urasine members have never been a problem. The noise made by all the school children who participate in this event has been more than enough to scare off the bears. David F. Rooney photo
As they do every year members of the Revelstoke Rod & Gun Club like Cyril Keates, Jack Carten, Gary Krestinsky and George Buhler, posing here with his dog Buck, patrolled Bridge Creek on the look out for bears. In all the years this festival has been held our urasine members have never been a problem. The noise made by all the school children who participate in this event has been more than enough to scare off the bears. David F. Rooney photo

Bear Aware Coordinator Sue Davies hands out pamphlets to some of the children. David F. Rooney photo
Bear Aware Coordinator Sue Davies hands out pamphlets to some of the children. David F. Rooney photo

Kokanee Fish Fest Coordinator Jenn Meens indulges in a little face painting. David F. Rooney photo
Kokanee Fish Fest Coordinator Jenn Meens indulges in a little face painting. David F. Rooney photo

Laura Gaster of the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society talks to the kids about some of the strange plants and animals that are threatening our lands and rivers. David F. Rooney photo
Laura Gaster of the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society talks to the kids about some of the strange plants and animals that are threatening our lands and rivers. David F. Rooney photo