Fourth-graders from Madras Elementary took a field trip to Canyon Creek Campground last week.

JENNIFFER GRANT/MADRAS PIONEER - Fisheries biologist Megan Mooney leads students on a hike along the river, where they saw kokane salmon.Fourth-graders from Madras Elementary took a field trip to Canyon Creek Campground at the Metolius River last week, to study kokanee and bull trout spawning in the river and aquatic insects, and help plant trees.

Sponsored by the Middle Deschutes Watershed, the field trips were held Oct. 24-26, with one fourth-grade class going each day.

Students took a hike to see a spring coming out of a hillside that feeds the Metolius River. Instructors for the trip included Derek Staab, Jodi Wilmoth and Megan Mooney, from Trout Unlimited; Kate Wellons, from the watershed council, who helped with the tree planting; and Mike Riehler, a Forest Service district fish biologist.

The fourth-graders learned about the "riparian zone" vegetation by the river, which protects the river from mud, runoff, and creates habitat for fish. Roots from plants also keep the banks stable.

On the hike, the difference between cedar, Douglas fir, spruce, larch, and ponderosa pine trees was pointed out. They compared the different types of trunks, leaves, bark, pine needles and branches.

While studying aquatic bugs, students learned about the food chain along the river, where bugs eat plants, fish eat the bugs, and animals eat the fish. They also saw kokanee salmon spawning.

At the bug station, students identified and learned about the Mayfly, caddisfly, and stonefly.

In one area, they helped plant wild rose bushes, ponderosa pines, ocean spray an service berry bushes, wild cherry trees, and wax currant bushes.

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