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BRIEF: Bellingham Public Library will host a salmon send off on March 30

After raising the fish from eggs to fry, the community will gather to release the salmon into Whatcom Creek

Once holding pink eggs that blended with the gravel, the library’s tank is now filled with the silver of small darting fish. After nearly two months of growing amongst story times and curious community members, the salmon are ready to be released. 

The Bellingham Public Library is hosting a release party to transition the fish from their tank in the children’s department, to Whatcom Creek at the Maritime Heritage Park. The event will take place at 1:00 p.m. on March 30, 2024, starting with a gathering at the central branch of the library for a ceremony before moving to the park. 

The 200 chum salmon eggs came to the library through a partnership with the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association as a way to give the public insight into the salmon’s life cycle. Nathan Zabel, the education program manager at NSEA, runs a salmon-rearing program called Students For Salmon, and has been at the forefront of the collaboration. 

“The release ceremony is a combination of tribal acknowledgement and how people can stay involved in ongoing salmon recovery efforts,” Zabel said. “It’s a species that we can rally around, that we can really help work together to recover.”

Deputy Library Directory Bethany Hoglund oversees youth services at the library, which includes monitoring the salmon tank as they grew from eggs to fry. 

“I know I’m not alone in feeling a maternal-like sense of pride as they grow and now explore the tank animatedly,” Hoglund said in an email. “They truly bring a sense of joy and wonder into our library and our community.”

More about the salmon at the library and salmon recovery efforts in Whatcom County can be found here. 

“We are all looking forward to learning about the process of releasing the salmon into the creek,” Hoglund said in an email. “Gathering together as a group of library patrons and community members who have been watching these salmon hatch and grow.”

Halley Buxton

Halley Buxton (she/her) is a city life reporter for The Front. She is in her final year at Western with a major in creative writing and a minor in journalism. In her spare time she loves reading, writing with friends and collecting CDs. You can contact her at

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