Portland, August 6th. Sunny skies greeted the 100-plus OMSI supporters celebrating the opening of a new educational exhibit on Salmon. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries (NOAA) and the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI) joined forces to create the big sidewalk mural outside OMSI’s back door. Among those cheering were: Barry Thom (Deputy Regional Administrator of the NOAA), Alix Smith (NMFS/NWR Communications), Dr. Jane Lubchenco (NOAA Administrator), Cecilia Nguyen (OMSI Exhibit Developer), and Kate O’Neil, (the OMSI Project Manager). In the back row: Will Stelle (Regional Administrator for NOAA Fisheries) Nancy Stueber (President of OMSI), Kim Hall (OMSI Senior Production Lead) Blane Bellerud (NOAA biologist) and Chad Jacobsen (OMSI Design Manager). (Photo Credit, Gia Goodrich)
The mural and carved granite uses interactive media and works of art to help the public visualize and understand this dynamic relationship. By describing how people’s choices influence salmon and local ecosystems, Salmon at Your Doorstep promises to attract and engage large numbers of visitors—more than 800,000 museum visitors and at least 500,000 public users of the Willamette waterfront annually.
The Salmon at Your Doorstep mural is part of a larger partnership between NOAA Fisheries Northwest Region and OMSI. Both organizations share a strategic goal of promoting lifelong collaborative education and public awareness. By bringing environmental awareness to Portland’s urban shoreline, NOAA and OMSI seek to enhance public knowledge of the environmental challenges we face in the 21st century.
The Willamette River is home to six salmon species listed under the Endangered Species Act. Upper Willamette River Chinook and steelhead spawn and rear throughout the entire basin; while Lower Columbia River Chinook, steelhead, coho, and Columbia River chum use the lower portions of the Willamette River, below Willamette Falls. These threatened species face several challenges, including degraded habitat and poor water quality. Bringing environmental education to the Willamette shoreline will help visitors understand how they personally are tied to the landscape and how their actions affect the health and recovery of salmon. The mural is a wonderful way to help people of all ages make these connections in a fun and engaging way.