Brenda Hobbs’ Grade 2 class at James Hill Elementary helped bring the Salmon Enhancement Program back, after the federal government decided to halt funding for the program. The students posed with Cloverdale-Langley City MP John Aldag recently. Submitted photo

Langley students help to revive salmon education program

Federal government responds to campaign that included elementary and secondary schools

Students from James Hill Elementary and Langley Fundamental Middle & Secondary School have helped to resuscitate the much-loved Salmon Enhancement Program.

Earlier this year, the federal government decided to halt funding for the program, which has been used for many years to help educate students about local salmon, as they watch them grow in their classrooms and then release them into local streams.

News of the program not receiving any more federal funding didn’t sit well with students from the two Langley schools.

“The ending of this program hit our school very hard as the students in Mrs. Hobbs’ Grade 2 class have been privileged to be exposed to this program for so many years,” said James Hill Elementary principal Chris Wejr.

Hobbs is also the district leader with the program.

After hearing that the funding was being cut off, Hobbs’ students along with Grade 6 students from Langley Fundamental wrote letters to Dominic LeBlanc, Canada’s Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.

“Due to their efforts, along with an online petition, the government reversed its decision and funding will continue,” Wejr said.

Cloverdale-Langley City MP John Aldag shared the news in a video on his Facebook page last week.

“Students at James Hill Elementary School and Langley Fundamental School wrote Minister Dominic LeBlanc to have their say on recent cuts to the #SalmonInTheClassroom program,” Aldag wrote on his Facebook page.

“The Minister and Parliamentary Secretary Terry Beech, MP listened to how vitally important this program is and not only restored funding, but also topped it up.”

In the video, Aldag said, “They wrote to express how important the SalmonInTheClassroom program is to their class and our community.”

On June 28, Aldag spent an hour in the classroom with the James Hill Elementary students to honour their efforts.

Hobbs, who has been involved with the program for more than 30 years, calls it “the heartbeat.”

“I think it’s a fantastic program,” she said. “Students are always enthralled with it. Often, one of the students’ fondest memories from James Hill is the salmon program. It’s wonderful, and I’m so happy that the government decided to reverse their decision and save it. It’s a wonderful learning experience for the students.”