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Hero for a day home.

Heroes of Conservation.

Harlan Kredit, The Outdoors Instructor

Harlan Kredit, The Outdoors Instructor
High School Science Teacher, Lynden, Wash.

For 30 years, Kredit has used projects in the local Fishtrap Creek watershed as a focus of his curriculum. To date, his classes have raised over 2 million salmon in a student-built hatchery and planted 15,000 trees.

When I was a kid, Fishtrap Creek ran by my house, and I couldn't wait for fall to see those big fish running out of Puget Sound. By 1974 when I took the job at the high school, there were hardly any fish left.

For our first class project, we hatched 5,000 salmon eggs using a pump, a kiddie pool, and a fiberglass box that our boys made in shop. Since then we've really adopted this watershed-it's our stream. My senior biology class is in charge of the hatchery; my sophomores do the riparian-zone work, like planting trees. My first day with a new class, I say, "If there are any wusses, go to somebody else's classroom." We designate field trips by three levels: Slightly Grubby, Medium Grubby, and Maximum Grubby. Like this past year I had my sophomores at the elementary school in a downpour teaching fourth graders how to plant trees. If you want kids to invest in something, empower them to do it. Like our hatchery: I have a student manager who comes down on weekends because he doesn't want anything to go wrong on his watch. Or our smolt channel-when the bridge over it floated away, six students came out on a Saturday to get it back. And they take that responsibility into the community. I've had students come into class and say, "Mr. Kredit, we went fishing and saw so-and-so dumping antifreeze in a storm drain and we told him not to." I love kids, but more than that, I love to challenge those kids to take care of a place like this. And they're doing it. This past October, one of my students and his father and I were in the hatchery about 10 at night installing a generator, and suddenly we hear from the creek, splash-splash, splash. Sure enough, those big salmon were running.

-- Kimberly Hiss