Monday, April 22, 2013

Volunteers: Our Greatest Natural Resource

FWS Volunteer David Loranger helps collect milt from a male steelhead
It is about 9:00 am on a Tuesday morning. The spawning room at Dworshak Fish Hatchery is buzzing with activity as male and female B-run steelhead are sorted, eggs and milt are removed and mixed, and fertilized eggs are put into incubation trays. Looking around the busy scene there are many familiar faces. About half of the spawning crew is made up of volunteers.

Jerry Berger welcomes a group of children to the Hatchery
Out in the parking lot school buses arrive. As about 100 excited 4th graders hurry to the hatchery building a strong southern voice booms over the children’s excited chatter. Volunteer, Joe Davis, efficiently divides the large group into three manageable groups. With a smile he leads his group to the spawning balcony where he explains the spawning process that is going on below. Tom Dougherty, and Jerry Berger, both long time FWS volunteers, take their groups to
Joe Davis explains the spawning process to Hatchery visitors
other areas of the hatchery to teach the children about Tribal culture, or various life stages of salmon. 

We have two teams of volunteers at the hatchery; those that help in production and those that help with outreach. And, of course, there is crossover between the two groups. 

Our production volunteers gladly show up early on Tuesday mornings to help with steelhead and Chinook spawning. You can always depend on these volunteers for a smile and a joke, they are always eager to learn and exemplary at the jobs they do. They are here because they truly enjoy the work and care about the Clearwater River B-run steelhead and Spring Chinook, the resources they help to maintain. 
John Case and Cynthia Tews always ready to lend a helping hand

Roger Myers loves to work the sorting table
Our outreach volunteers are absolutely amazing. They have taken the lead as guides for hatchery tours. They touch the lives of hundreds of children, teachers, and parents every year. Without these volunteers we wouldn’t be able accommodate nearly as many school tours as we currently do. 

Tom Dougherty gets ready for Kid's Fishing Day

All our volunteers come out to help with special events such as Kid’s Fishing Day and Veteran’s Fishing Day. 
Alyssa Olson and Ciana Ball work the Gyotaku table at Kid's Fishing Day

Author, Cynthia Ozick said, “We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude”. In honor of Volunteer Appreciation Week we at Dworshak Fish Hatchery would like to send out a heartfelt thanks to our extraordinary cadre of volunteers.

Thank You Cynthia, Gary, James, Jerry, Jim, Joe, John C., John S., Johnny, Mike, Rodger, Tom, Butch, David, Will, Ciana, Cameron, Alyssa, Ryan, Kasey, Mary Margret, Shane, Monique, Denise, and Lila for the 500 hours of service you give each year!  You are an invaluable gift to the Hatchery and beyond!

Photos and Text by Angela Feldmann


  1. Thanks, Angela for the recognition; however, the entire staff at DNFA treats us volunteers royally and we truly feel a part of the organization and love to be a part of the Dworshak team. I'm confident that I speak for all of the volunteers and thank everyone on the staff for their help in making our contribution easy and enjoyable.