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    “Real Life” Science

    By Dylan Tomine


    Both of my kids love their science classes in school, and Skyla often mentions wanting to be a marine biologist when she grows up. So when the field biologists from the Wild Fish Conservancy invited us to participate in some beach-seine sampling, as part of their project to assess juvenile salmon habitat around Puget Sound, we jumped at the opportunity.

    These guys were incredibly friendly and patient with the kids, happy to explain each process as they captured individual fish, measured and recorded them without harm, then placed them into another bucket for release once the netting was done. A great lesson in how science works in the field and the importance of consistent methodology.

    Above: Frank Staller, field technician for the Wild Fish Conservancy, explains the sampling process to Skyla and Weston. Puget Sound, Washington. Photo: Dylan Tomine  

    Once the kids were familiar with how it all worked, the guys put them to work. I don’t know how much actual “help” the kids provided, but it was a fantastic experience for the kids to feel like they were contributing.


    The crew: James Fletcher, Frank Staller, Justin Eastman and Aaron Jorgenson show the kids how it all works on the first set. Photo: Dylan Tomine


    Measuring and recording the catch. Photo: Dylan Tomine  


    Skyla, junior marine biologist, observes a coho salmon and cutthroat trout. Photo: Dylan Tomine


    The abundance and variety of life captured in the seine impressed the kids, who are used to just observing from above the water while fishing. They caught juvenile chum, coho and pink salmon, cutthroat trout, a starry flounder, several varieties of sculpins, marine worms, shrimp … endless fascination. Huge thanks to everyone at Wild Fish Conservancy for making us feel like part of the crew and for all the important work you’re doing to protect the fish we love.




    Dylan Tomine is a Patagonia fly fishing ambassador and the author of Closer to the Ground: An Outdoor Family’s Year On The Water, In The Woods and At The Table. He lives on the coast of Washington with his wife and two kids. You can read an excerpt from Dylan’s book right here on The Cleanest Line or check out Dylan’s blog (the origin of today's post) for more musings on family, foraging and fly fishing in the northwest.


    Dylan is on the road this spring with some special guests to talk about food, foraging, and getting kids outside. Check the tour page on his website for the most up-to-date information.

    Seattle, WA
    April 12, 2016
    Patagonia Seattle
    Doors open 7:00pm, Event starts 7:30pm
    In conversation with Bruce Barcott, author of The Measure of a Mountain, The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw, and Weed the People.

    Vancouver, BC
    April 27, 2016
    Patagonia Vancouver
    Doors open 7:00pm, Event starts 7:30pm

    New York, NY
    May 18, 2016
    Patagonia Upper West Side
    Doors open 7:00pm, Event starts 7:30pm
    In conversation with New Yorker cover artist—and my brother—Adrian Tomine, author/illustrator of Summer Blonde, Shortcomings, and Killing and Dying.



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