Salmon, People, and Place
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No wild animal has more profoundly influenced the cultures and well-being of societies in North America than salmon. Salmon and people have been entwined in a relationship for millennia. This six-week course is an exploration and celebration of this relationship, as well as an examination of the current major issues, including habitat alterations, climate change, and management actions currently straining the relationship between salmon and salmon-dependent people. We will put significant emphasis on learning about salmon and people in Alaska, a place containing the last stronghold of pristine salmon ecosystems anywhere.
Students should expect to read, discuss online, and host and facilitate dialogues in their own communities, using their newfound knowledge beyond our virtual classroom. Together we will examine how the biology of salmon roots them in place and in turn serves to shape human societies and ecosystems.
We will learn from Indigenous elders and youth and understand the system of local management that has sustained salmon for generations. Students will compare and contrast traditional Indigenous management with current practices that are focused on maximizing yield, and will learn concepts such as spawner-recruit analysis and escapement goals.
This course is ideal for those interested in careers in natural resource management and will be of interest to anyone with a love for the natural wild world. By the completion of the course students will be informed and empowered to confront the challenges facing the relationships between salmon and salmon-dependent societies in the 21st century.
Passion for salmon and salmon-ecosystems has been a part of my identity for as long as I can remember. Although trained as an evolutionary ecologist, the work that I and my students do increasingly incorporates the need to sustain not only the salmon and their habitats but also the connections between salmon and people.