Fish Camp

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Garrison Dam National Fish Hatchery features a week of Fish Camp right before school starts. The camp is from 10:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m. Monday-Friday and kids can come one day or every day. Each

attending child fills out a nametag that includes their fish name for the day.  

Thanks to a small grant, backpacks, binoculars, a bird identification book, and quart jars were purchased to use for camp. The kids loved the backpacks and at the end of the week, they each got to keep them as well as a bird book, and binoculars.   

Each day of fish camp we have a different topic and a different craft.   

One day participants walked the hatchery trails looking for caterpillars to bring back to the visitor center. At the visitor center, the kids fed the caterpillars fresh milkweed and watched them grow. They loved coming in every morning to see how much progress the caterpillars made. New milkweed was collected every day for the soon-to-be butterflies. Even though the kids didn’t get to see the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly during this one week, we talked about what was next for the caterpillars. Another day of camp, North Dakota Game and Fish talked about how many different fish are in North Dakota and how they determine where and when to stock the state’s lakes.  

More fun-filled camp days included: 

  • Putting our backpacks on, pulling out our binoculars and bird book, and walking the trails to see how many birds we were able to identify. 
  • Painted turtles which are always a big hit with the kids. The hatchery’s painted turtles have their own raceway, so as the turtles “raced” we explained important and interesting facts about western painted turtles.  
  • Knife River Indian Village staff brought over rubber fish for fish painting. The kids enjoyed making fish prints with many different colors and different types of fish.

Sadly, and too fast, the last day of camp arrived. Kids made biospheres and looked at plankton under a microscope. They were given a jar, added some plankton, and coon tail which are aquatic plants, to make their own biospheres. 

The day ended with feeding the fish. Ready, 1 2 3 throw your fish food!  

Story Tags

Connecting people with nature
Education outreach