Students and the Public Race to Recover Salmon in Virtual Fish Tracking Game
For immediate release: 4/20/2021 – Seattle, WA
Survive the Sound invites everyone to compete with friends and learn about salmon and steelhead – a salmonid and Washington’s State fish – by picking a young steelhead, joining a team, and tracking it as it migrates through Puget Sound to the Pacific Ocean. Competition to build the largest team heats up in the second half of April, and participants receive daily updates on fish progress during the migration from May 3-7.
Seattle – Five years ago, salmon recovery nonprofit Long Live the Kings (LLTK) developed Survive the Sound as a free, interactive, and virtual game to engage and educate the public about salmon and steelhead – Washington’s State Fish – and contribute to their recovery. Today, the game soars to new heights through integration of a full-suite salmon science curriculum into virtual and in-person classrooms.
“With students around the state having to learn remotely this year due to the pandemic, Survive the Sound provides a connection to our environment and learning opportunity using real data for fish trying to swim from their native rivers to the Pacific Ocean.”
– Jacques White, Executive Director Long Live the Kings
Survive the Sound is the first of its kind to gamify real data, obtained from acoustic transmitters implanted in out-migrating fish by scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The data is part of LLTK’s greater research initiatives, to track steelhead migrations from natal streams to the Pacific Ocean.
From now until May 2nd, Survive the Sound participants pick from 48 funny fish avatars, build a team, and invite friends, family, coworkers, and classmates to race. Beginning on May 3rd, participants watch on an interactive map as their fish embarks on a harrowing journey – avoiding predators, fighting disease, and navigating obstacles – on their way to the Pacific Ocean.
Daily updates will alert participants whether their fish has survived another day or perished to one of many challenges along their migration route. Gratification is awarded to participants who chose a surviving fish, and the team with the most surviving fish wins. In this way, participants are motivated to build the largest team of fish to have the best odds of having the most surviving fish on their team. Throughout the Survive the Sound experience, participants will learn about salmon and steelhead, the challenges they face in the Salish Sea, what is being done to recover imperiled populations, and ways to take action in their daily lives.
With support from Boeing in 2021, LLTK designed a full-suite education toolkit to accompany the Survive the Sound game. Classroom materials, video lessons, an activity journal, STEM learning opportunities, and teacher trainings to support in-person and virtual salmon science learning are available for free to anyone at SurvivetheSound.org/classroom. LLTK seeks to reinvigorate state-wide salmon science curriculums and establish a large constituency of vocal salmon advocates through Survive the Sound.
“My first and second grade students really enjoyed following the steelhead in Survive the Sound. Students were invested and engaged. They wanted to know more.”
– Susan Foley, Elementary School Teacher
The game is free to play, but participants may donate to support LLTK, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that has been working to restore wild salmon and steelhead and support sustainable fishing in the Pacific Northwest for more than 30 years.
How Survive the Sound Works
Each year, wild steelhead are caught as they make their way downriver from their natal streams. LLTK and partners implant the fish with tracking devices as part of their larger research efforts to understand juvenile salmonid survival in the Salish Sea. Each tag emits a unique acoustic ping heard by receivers placed underwater throughout Puget Sound. This tracking data can supply locations and sometimes depth and temperature. The steelhead in Survive the Sound represent real fish that were tracked in the past and scientists at LLTK pick a representative sample of 48 fish to include each year.
This work is part of the larger LLTK efforts. The Hood Canal Bridge Assessment and the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project, an international US/Canada effort to determine why certain species of salmon and steelhead are dying in the combined marine waters of Puget Sound and Strait of Georgia.
Why it Matters
Currently, only about 15% of wild steelhead survive their trek through the marine environment of Puget Sound. They’re now listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Unless we can better understand the reasons for steelhead’s decline in Puget Sound and mitigate the threats they face, there is serious concern that steelhead may slip into extinction.
Survive the Sound provides scientists with important new data about steelhead’s lifecycle, gives the public an opportunity to engage with wild steelhead in a fun and interactive way, and raises essential funds for Long Live the Kings’ salmon and steelhead recovery projects.
To learn more, visit www.survivethesound.org.
Survive the Sound is possible thanks to the following sponsors:
Anchor QEA, The Boeing Company, Chinook Book, Environmental Science Associates, Foundry 10, Hancock Forest Management, Herrera Environmental Consultants, MiiR, Montana Banana, Nisqually Indian Tribe, Pike Place Chowder, Pike Place Fish, Puget Sound Steel, Q13 Fox, Seattle Public Utilities, Stalcup Family Team, Tacoma Public Utilities, The Tulalip Tribes, & Vulcan
For more information contact:
Lucas Hall, Long Live the Kings, firstname.lastname@example.org, (206) 382-9555 Ext. 30