By Christian Banks, Ruger Erickson, and Anthony Smith
Henley High School
Henley High School students in the business and engineering programs have been helping native redband trout by creating and installing natural structures in Crooked Creek near Fort Klamath. On May 29, they installed them.
These structures are meant to help by providing cover and habitat for young redband trout. Juvenile redband trout are the main food source for everything living in or around the creek from larger trout to raccoons. Because of this project, Henley students have designed and built natural structures made of materials that would be found out in the woods near the creek. Their goal is to make it easier for the young trout to grow to adulthood at which point it is harder for them to be preyed upon.
“I was really impressed because when I took on this project,” said Jordan Ortega, the fish biologist in charge of the project. “I anticipated that there would be absolutely no benefit to the fish, and this would mostly be an educational exercise to kinda get kids exposed to what’s important to juvenile trout, but to my surprise, when all these high schoolers brought this habitat I was like ‘Dang! This is gonna actually help fish.’ ”Jordan Ortego, Fish Biologist
This is the Henley students’ third iteration doing this project which began in 2018. Business students solicited funds from the Go Green Initiative and Klamath Country Flycasters, advertised and wrote press releases for the project, and Engineering students designed and built structures. Both groups installed them, Wednesday.
Some students had the chance to do this event twice, once in business and once in engineering. One of these students is Chase Vanderlip.
“This is better than a test or quiz because you are actually doing something and learning from it,” Vanderlip said.
While on this trip, students also got to visit the Fort Klamath Fish Hatchery and feed fish. Afterward, they also got to go to Collier Memorial State Park and look at spawning fish while enjoying a quick tour of the area by Ortega and doctoral candidate Nick Jernberg, who were instrumental in the project.
Funds were exhausted after three projects. To donate to the Henley Redband Restoration Project, contact Henley High School’s Dr. Kristi Lebkowsky or Luke Ovgard at 541-883-5040.