WDFW honors WHS teacher
October 6, 2022
Jeff Rooklidge, a science teacher at Wahkiakum High School, was named the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Educator of the Year for Region 5, which was "delighted to recognize [Rooklidge] for his work mentoring students to become the natural resource stewards of the future."
"To win an award like that is because you are blessed by people that support and help you so much, that is certainly true of me," Rooklidge said.
According to the WDFW piece on Rooklidge, he is "well known in Wahkiakum County for the different environmental science opportunities he creates for his students."
Lisa Brown, a fish and wildlife biologist for WDFW, invited Rooklidge to team up on spawning ground surveys several years ago.
"He was super excited about this, and his students attended one of our stream survey trainings to learn the protocols and were given iPads to collect data," Brown reported to WDFW. "They have been surveying a portion of Duck Creek ever since."
Last fall Brown contacted Rooklidge to get an update and donate equipment. This is what he had to say:
"Wow, we had the best year for our survey work on Duck Creek," Rooklidge told Brown. "I have been taking students to Duck Creek for almost 15 years and this year's run was crazy good. Bucks all over the place fighting. Numerous fish under the bridge displaying courtship behaviors and paired up. In most years they have come through and transitioned into the upper reaches in a week. This year we had so many Coho and they just kept coming for a good three-four weeks. We observed hens digging redds under the bridge and got to see so many Coho move up river past Cothren's at the end of the road. Lots of wild fish and tagged fish. A big rain event blew out the Beaver Dams so I was worried that the redds got washed out. But all in all, it was a fun, tremendous learning experience to see spawning play out right in front of our eyes in such vivid detail with such a big run on that little stream. Yes, we are still at it. I am close to retirement and plan on continuing our survey work for next year."