An Issaquah teen is using his Eagle Scout project to help struggling fish populations.
The Issaquah salmon hatchery focuses on letting kids get up close and personal with fish, but it has struggled due to state funding issues. It's remained open in large part thanks to help from the non-profit Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery (FISH).
"The most important thing we can do right now is talk to the children, because they're the next generation. If they understand the importance of salmon habitat, the environment and what role they play in it, that brings us the best chance of success for the future," said FISH Executive Director Robin Kelley.
Kelley recently got a call from the Mayor asking if she'd meet with a 14-year-old Boy Scout named Theodore Koshar. Once in the same room, Koshar presented his ideas. The project that stood out involved memorial bricks and an updated sidewalk entrance to the hatchery.
"We had a little bit of anxiety about a project this large being taken on by someone of Theodore's age. Once we worked with him, we saw how determined he was, how enthusiastic he was, and he won over our board," Kelley said.
Koshar plans to pave a new path for fish recovery – literally. He is selling bricks people can engrave and he will personally install them around the hatchery's sidewalk entrance. The money will go to FISH in support of their education and habitat programs.
"Everything is important. The fish are there for predators as their prey," Koshar said.
Koshar has visited the hatchery often over the years, just like many kids who pass through and learn about fish life cycles and habitat needs.
"If kids aren't interested in wildlife and nature, that's bad for future generations," Koshar said.
The bricks range from $40 to $100. To purchase, visit Brics R Us.