Julia Jupp’s dream of becoming a marine biologist began a few years ago when she took a liking to prodding washed up fish with a stick during her walks along the beach shore.
Now, eight years old and three years the wiser, she’s far closer to her dream than most kids her age.
In the years since her fish poking discovery, Julia took a keen interest in the ocean and began reading National Geographic. At school, she started learning about plastics and microplastics and their impact on marine life.
But, the real breakthrough didn’t happen until the pandemic hit.
Itching for activities, Julia and her family would take walks along the Goldstream River near their house and observe hatchery volunteers collecting salmon from the run.
“She (Julia) would patiently watch them for the hour or two hours it took them to collect the salmon that were swimming,” said Julia’s mom, Joscilyn Jupp.
|Julia Jupp and Goldstream Hatchery biologist and fish advisor Peter McCully. (Courtesy of Joscilyn Jupp)|
It wasn’t long before biologist and Goldstream Hatchery fish advisor Peter McCully noticed Julia’s fascination and invited her and her mom up to the hatchery to learn more.
“Julia really struck a chord in the way that she was terribly interested, and asked what I figured were really cogent questions for a person that age,” McCully said.
Soon, Julia was granted full membership and headed to the hatchery each week to help feed and milk the salmon and learn from the biologists there.
“Her whole world opened up,” Joscilyn said.
But, volunteering wasn’t enough for Julia – she wanted to donate money too. Soon, Julia and her mom were producing handmade fish key chains. In the first week, they made $450. In total, they raised $2,300.
“It was a hit!” Julia said, calling her time at the hatchery a “life-time experience.”
Having young people interested in their work is fundamental to the success of the hatchery because youth are the ones who have the greatest say in the future, McCully explained.
Unlike government-run hatcheries, Goldstream isn’t in the business of producing fish for harvest or turning a profit. Instead, they’re focused on providing salmon to watersheds that have few or no fish left.
By educating young people on the impacts of their activities, the hatchery is investing in a future where their efforts will be less dire.
Julia plans to do her part by launching a new line of fish merchandise in the spring.
“We enjoy it. It’s happy and fun.”
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