We have exciting news for this year’s Kokanee salmon run up Mission Creek: the numbers of Kokanee spawning this year are pointing to a banner season, echoing the record year that the Coast saw for their salmon run. The numbers are intriguing to Fish Interpreters at the EECO Centre (Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan).
I recently spoke with Fish Interpreter Nicole Marzinzik to find out about how the run is going this year, and she was very pleased – and we should all be! This means that coming down to the Mission Creek Greenway to watch spawning Kokanee is more exciting than ever right now.
The EECO is a fantastic resource for locals and visitors. For instance, let’s say you have relatives in town with curious kids. Did you know that you can head to the EECO (located on Springfield Rd., at the intersection of Leckie Rd) and take part in interpretive programs designed to teach people of all ages about Kokanee salmon? They even do a fish dissection as part of the program, so that participants can get really familiar with the differences between male and female fish, and fish of various ages. Inside the EECO there is an exhibit about Kokanee on right now called “Something’s Fishy” – it will run until the Thanksgiving weekend, along with the EECO’s interpretive programs (as long as the salmon are still spawning at that time). All these interesting education exhibits and programs are free of charge.
You can learn all kinds of things about Kokanee from a Fish Interpreter. For instance, Kokanee salmon are a relative of Sockeye salmon. Also, most of the Kokanee you’ll see in the Mission Creek are from 3 to 5 years old, and each year brings different physical characteristics with it. Also, there are different kinds of spawning salmon: shore spawners and fish that swim up the creeks. Finally, people may come away with some new perspectives on how our environment is different now for the fish than it was years ago, as well as how they can impact on our environment in positive ways.
Once the Kokanee run has come to an end, the EECO will feature a new exhibit called “Meet Your Wild Neighbours”, where you can learn interesting things about some common animals that you might come across in your daily life. Be sure to check into the EECO regularly for the new exhibits that they present, or simply to walk through their display gardens behind the centre: the Xeriscape Garden and the Compost Garden (where you’ll find all kinds of veggies growing!). It’s amazing what you can learn by spending some time at the EECO Centre.
EECO Centre is located at 2363 A Springfield Road, Kelowna, Tel: (250) 469-6140. It is run by the Regional District of the Central Okanagan.