Sammy the Salmon by Beth Shobe – Trinity Presbyterian Church

Presented by Karen, Gage, and Mika Gallati at “Ocean” worship service – May 8, 2011

  • Start with a large clear glass bowl full of water, and medium sized clear glass bowl full of water.
  • Cut a 5″ x  7″ sponge into the shape of a fish, and attach to a wooden dowel.
  • “Swim” fish in large bowl of water, as materials listed below are added to water
  • At the end of presentation – “fish” sponge will be squeezed out into medium sized bowl of water

“Sammy the Salmon” Story

Sammy is a happy young salmon.  He was born in the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River in a protected wilderness area. His habitat provides him with all of his needs – food, water, shelter and space.  Although he lives in nice clean water and has lots of healthy food to eat, it is now time for him to head downstream toward the Pacific Ocean with all of his friends. As the river meanders through the countryside, the first thing Sammy passes is a farmer’s field.  In order to make room for more crops, the farmer had cut down all of the trees.  He has just plowed a new field.  The big tree roots used to hold the soil in place.  Now, because the trees are gone, some of the soil is starting to erode into the Clearwater River every time it rains. (ADD SOIL)

Now that the farmer has planted his crops, he adds fertilizer to make the plants grow nice and big for harvest.  Instead of staying in the field and helping the crops grow, some of the fertilizer rides “piggyback” on the eroding soil and ends up in the

Clearwater River as well.  As Sammy continues downstream toward Lewiston and he goes by a housing development. Everyone here wants to have a really green lawn so they are also using lots of fertilizer to help their grass and gardens grow.  Some of this fertilizer is also washing into the river. The fertilizer makes the plants on the banks of the river grow very fast and thick.  Eventually, the Clearwater River can’t supply all of the new plants will all of the nutrients they need.  As a result, the plants die and start to decay just as Sammy and his friends are making their way to the ocean.  Decomposing plants use oxygen.  These decaying plants are now using up some of Sammy’s oxygen. (ADD SUGAR)

Sammy finally reaches Lewiston where the Clearwater River meets the Snake River.  As he swims pass Lewiston and into the Snake River, he passes several large parking lots and roads. Although most people try to be careful to not directly pollute the water, oil from some of their cars and trucks has been leaking out.  Every time there is a rainstorm this oil is being washed into the river. (ADD OIL)

During a recent cold spell, ice has formed on the bridges in Lewiston.  County trucks spread salt on the road to prevent any accidents from happening.  After it warms up again, rain is now washing the salty slush into the river where Sammy and his friends are swimming. (ADD SALT)

After passing Lewiston, Sammy continues his long trek down the Snake River.  He passes a beautiful park with trees and flowers.  A lot of families come here to play and have picnics.  After one day in the park, one messy family accidently left trash from their lunch at their picnic spot near the river.  The trash is now blowing into the river. (ADD CONFETTI)

Now, despite all of the things introduced into the water that he depends on, Sammy forges ahead and continues on to his destination – the ocean.  He is now in Washington and he passes another city on the banks of the Snake River.  As the Snake River leaves this city, there are several factories that are located along it.  Although regulations are strict, some chemicals are still being dumped into the river and into the water that Sammy is depending on. (ADD SOAP)

Now in central Washington, Sammy is getting closer to his destination but still has a bit more to go!  The Snake River has now joined the Columbia River.  Sammy is now swimming in the Columbia River near the Tri-Cities.  The Columbia River now passes both the city dump and the wastewater treatment plant.  The dump and plant do their best to keep things from reaching the water but some of the gunk and goo still make it to the river. (ADD RED FOOD COLORING)

Now, although he has almost made it to the ocean, Sammy again passes several more farms and he notices something else being introduced into his river habitat.  Pesticides and herbicides are being sprayed to keep the pesky insects and weeds away. Unfortunately, when it rains, some of these chemicals are draining right into his river. (ADD GREEN FOOD COLORING)

Despite all the obstacles he faced over the hundreds and hundreds of miles he swam, Sammy has finally made it to the ocean! Do you think he is now safe from pollution?

  1. Have class discussion.
    1. Did the addition of different pollutions affect Sammy differently?
    2. Do you think pollutants might interact with one another to make things worse?
    3. What do you think is inside Sammy now?
    4. Do you think pollutants that affect Sammy could affect other animals (or us)?
  2. One by one, one student from each group will come up front and squeeze Sammy the Salmon into an empty, clean container.
    1. What has happened to Sammy’s water?
    2. Students should observe that every sort of pollutant has worked its way inside of Sammy.
    3. Discuss how this happens to actual fish and that when we eat them; we are eating all of our own pollution!

Written By Beth Shobe – Trinity Presbyterian Church

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