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Salmon survival game plays out on board

The Forest Service and partners created Salmon Life Cycle, for schools and other educational programs
Thursday, January 27, 2005

A new board game will teach children the life cycle of salmon and steelhead trout.

The U.S. Forest Service and 12 partners ordered 1,200 of the games to be made by the federal printing office at cost of $36,000. The Salmon Life Cycle game will be distributed to schools in the lower Columbia River Basin, and will be available at any national forest headquarters office in Oregon and Washington or from the partners, Glen Sachet , spokesman for Mount Hood National Forest, said Wednesday.

The game will be loaned, similar to checking out a book from a library, and will not be sold, Sachet said.

"This started about 10 years ago with a big paper version of the game that we'd take to lay out on the floor of a school gym," he explained. But that version had limited utility and the Forest Service recruited Portland Public Schools, U.S. Fish and Wildife Service, Trout Unlimited and others to share in cost of providing the board games to reach more children.

The game resembles the old-time "Life" board game, Sachet said. At the roll of dice, up to six players advance around the board with a photo card on a stand depicting a coho, chinook, chum, pink or sockeye salmon or a steelhead. The goal is to migrate to sea and return to spawn without being killed by predators, dam turbines or other hazards.

Art for the game was created by Irene Stumpf, a Forest Service employee in Willamette National Forest, who died in 2001.

"We've had calls from Alaska and other places beyond the Northwest, so there's a lot of interest," Sachet said. "We'd like to see someone step forward and print a lot more of the games so every school in the Northwest could have one."

The game is designed for children in grades 6to 10, but other children and adults also can enjoy and learn from it, he said.

Jim Kadera: 503-294-5919; jimkadera@news.oregonian.com

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