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An Incredible Journey: A Series of Educational Resources to Promote Salmon Stewardship

For thousands of years, salmon have played a vital role in cultures and economies around the world.

Their annual migration has inspired dances, festivals, poems, and family recipes. From the West Coast of the United States to Russia and Sweden to Canada, these iconic fish have been the centerpiece of many different community traditions and fishing economies. Salmon are also a vital link in many marine, freshwater, and riparian food chains and a keystone species in many different ecosystems.

Due to issues such as climate change, passage barriers, habitat loss, and water pollution, many populations are facing extinction. As some salmon populations dwindle—and in some cases disappear—ripple effects are felt throughout ecosystems, cultures, and economies. An Incredible Journey is a series of educational resources designed to highlight the challenges facing these iconic species and how communities, organizations, and governments are working together to help salmon overcome passage barriers, restore riparian habitats, and reduce water pollution.

For questions or comments about this series, please email wcr.education@noaa.gov.

Children's Book

Cover image for An Incredible Journey


The An Incredible Journey children's book (Spanish version) introduces elementary schoolers to the salmon life cycle and concepts such as ecosystems, keystone species, salmon culture, and stewardship. The book concludes with six case studies about kids who are making a difference on salmon-related issues. The illustrations were developed by Anke Gladnick through our Science in Studio program in partnership with the Pacific Northwest College of Art.

Request hardcopies

Board Game

Salmon survival board-game

The Salmon Survival board game (Spanish version) walks participants through the salmon life cycle. During each life stage, participants attempt to survive the natural and human-made challenges salmon face, such as drought, passage barriers, and predators. But don’t despair: the game also features ways that people are helping salmon, such as building rain gardens, conserving water, and constructing fish ladders.

A limited supply of board games are available for public schools and nonprofit organizations conducting salmon outreach in the United States. To request a printed copy, please email wcr.education@noaa.gov.


An Incredible Journey Curriculum cover

The An Incredible Journey curriculum for grades 4-5 is filled with 10 hands-on lesson plans that explore:

  • The salmon life cycle.
  • The cultural, environmental, and economic importance of salmon.
  • The major issues facing salmon today.
  • How individuals can get involved to protect and conserve these iconic species.

While this curriculum was designed to be used as a complete unit, individual lessons can be used as a springboard for units of study on animal migrations, keystone species, watershed health, stewardship, and more.


Title image for Life Cycle of the Pacific Salmon animation

Life Cycle of the Pacific Salmon is a colorful 5-minute animation that takes you on the incredible journey of a Pacific salmon's life—from fry to adult spawner. Learn more about the different habitats salmon depend on and the challenges they face throughout their different stages. This animation was developed in partnership with the Pacific Northwest College of Art and the National Marine Sanctuaries Foundation.

Last updated by West Coast Regional Office on August 28, 2023