Environmental School teacher Ola Cholewa, left, and members of The Fish Ladder Awareness Team with their posters. (Special to The News)

Environmental School teacher Ola Cholewa, left, and members of The Fish Ladder Awareness Team with their posters. (Special to The News)

Maple Ridge students promote fish ladder in bus stops

Posters by students of the Environmental School to run in bus stops across the city

Posters promoting a fish ladder along the Alouette River done by students at a Maple Ridge school will be given prominent display in bus shelters across the city.

Pattison Outdoor advertising has agreed to feature three posters from the Environmental School’s club, The Fish Ladder Awareness Team. The posters will run a little more than one metre wide and about two metres tall.

About 22 posters in all were created by students from Grades 3 to 9 who are part of the school’s club and who would like to see a fish ladder put along the Alouette River to allow sockeye and other salmon species into the Alouette Lake reservoir to rebuild the sockeye run.

The rest of the posters will be posted in public places across town.

READ MORE: New club in fight for fish ladder in Maple Ridge

In addition, letters written by the students in support of the fish ladder will be sent to all levels of government including: Maple Ridge Mayor Mike Morden; the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries; Fisheries and Oceans Canada; and BC Hydro.

In one letter student Kai Moerman wrote, “I think BC Hydro should build a fish ladder. It would help the health of the sockeye salmon run by giving the salmon access to Alouette Lake, making spawning possible for them.”

READ MORE: Fish ladder for Alouette dam would boost threatened wild sockeye

“There is a way for the dam to be effective in more ways than one. If there was a fish ladder built upon the Alouette, the salmon could get to the other side without human contact. It provides a way over the dam so that the sockeye could reproduce by spawning in the lake and then make their way back down to the ocean when they are ready. It would allow them to move freely, and I believe the salmon should be able to do this,” wrote Nate Cerhit, another student member of the club.

The Fish Ladder Awareness Team was formed about three months ago and the students have been learning from local experts about the ladder, including local environmentalist Jack Emberly, who was proud of their achievement.

“I think it’s fantastic,” said Emberly, who also writes and environmental column for The News.

“I’m so proud of these kids for their advocacy about salmon, their passion. And I think if we’re going to save them (the salmon), it’s going to be because of the work of kids like this,” he said, also crediting teacher Ola Cholewa, who guides the club.

Posters should be visible throughout Maple Ridge over the next couple of weeks.

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