WENATCHEE, Wash. November 8, 2004. Sarah
K. Eichler, a senior at Cashmere High School, is one of 65 students
to participate in the American Fisheries Society 2004 Hutton Junior
Fisheries Biology Program. Eichler’s $3,000 scholarship enabled
her to work with Dr. Karl Polivka, a research fishery biologist,
at the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station.
Polivka, based at the Station’s Forestry Sciences Laboratory
in Wenatchee, mentored and supervised Eichler during her more than
6 week work program at the lab.
The goal of the Hutton Program
is to stimulate interest in careers in fisheries science and management
among groups underrepresented
in the fisheries professions, including minorities and women. For
most students, the program is their first exposure to a professional
work setting. They learn what qualities are necessary to be successful
in a research science environment and how to work with a team.
Sarah’s participation in my research was exceptionally beneficial
to me and the rest of the aquatic research team,” Polivka
says. “She worked beyond the expectations laid out by the
scholarship to see that the needs of each research project were
met. I think Sarah learned a lot from the experience, and I certainly
learned a lot about being a mentor and thoroughly enjoyed having
her in my program.”
The program is open to all high school
students regardless of race, creed, or gender. But because the
goal of the program is to increase
diversity within the fisheries professions, preference is given
to qualified women and minority applicants. Students are matched
with a professional mentor for a summer-long, hands-on experience
in a marine or freshwater setting. A $3,000 scholarship is awarded
to each student accepted into the program.
Eichler worked on two
studies in Dr. Polivka’s research program.
The first was a study of behavioral interactions among threatened
wild stocks of chinook salmon and steelhead trout and reintroduced
coho salmon from a hatchery supplementation program. The second
study examed small, steep, fishless streams flowing into Lake Wenatchee
and their role in near-shore habitat used by chinook salmon smolts
migrating through the lake from the upper Wenatchee River basin.
The study also analyzed sculpins, or lake resident fish.
conducted field observations on individual fish, distinguishing
fish species under water and making notes of specific interactions
among feeding fish. She also became familiar with the aquatic insects
in streams that serve as the major food resources for the fish
Her work with Dr. Polivka benefited the PNW Research Station’s
Aquatic and Land Interactions (ALI) research program at the Wenatchee
laboratory. The mission of the ALI Program is to increase the understanding
of the effects of natural processes and human activities on the
interactions between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.
Program, now 4 years old, received 328 student applications
in 2004 from the United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Canada,
and selected 65 students to receive scholarships and mentorships.
Eight of these students participated in previous summers
and are returning for another year. Of the exceptional students
in 2004, over half are minorities, and 40 percent are nonminority
Financial support for the Hutton Program is provided
by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, USDA Forest Service,
Fisheries Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Bureau
of Land Management, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Progress
Energy, and other partners. For information about the American
Fisheries Society and the Hutton Junior Fisheries Biology
Program, visit www.fisheries.org.