Hatchery foundation opens educational center

Celebration will include cake, punch, a raffle and a membership drive

Staff writerMay 7, 2014 

Members of the Puyallup Historical Hatchery Foundation are welcoming the public to the grand opening of its new educational center at the Puyallup Fish Hatchery — a community-driven project two years in the making.

“As a director and president of the Puyallup Historical Hatchery Foundation, I am very excited we are opening up our educational center,” David Couch said.

The grand opening starts at 2 p.m. and goes until 4 p.m. on Saturday.

“This grand opening will be the culmination of two years of hard work,” Couch added. “Our educational center will be an amazing resource for future educational opportunities in Puyallup. Our center features educational activities, videos and displays. It will be open to the public and school field trips. This center should support our elementary science education curriculum.”

Georga Prossick, a founding director of the foundation, said representatives from the Puyallup Sumner Chamber of Commerce and Fish and Wildlife will be in attendance as will Puyallup Mayor John Knutsen and Rep. Hans Zeiger, R-Puyallup.

Cake and punch will be provided, Prossick said.

“The cake will be in the shape of a fish,” Prossick added. “A group of children will be there to cut the ribbon and be the first ones in the educational center.”

A raffle will be drawn and those from the community attending will have the opportunity to become members of the foundation.

It was nearly two years ago that the Puyallup Fish Hatchery was in a perilous state. Community residents passionate about the hatchery feared the state Department of Fish and Wildlife would sell the property to Pacific Seafoods. Because of a grass-roots effort, the department decided to end negotiations with the private company May 30, 2012.

In quick order, the Puyallup Historical Hatchery Foundation was formed. The group is responsible for the care and preservation of the historic hatchery.

Fundraising efforts spearheaded by foundation Director Diana Martin have brought in more than $20,000 in grants, all to help the completion of the education center.

Several speakers will present Saturday, including Haley Shaw, who has volunteered at the fish hatchery since last fall. She is graduating in June from Washington Virtual Academies and is pursuing an associate degree at Pierce College.

Since learning the ropes at the hatchery — cleaning the ponds and feeding salmon — Shaw said her experience has been rewarding. She’s inspired to work in fish and wildlife as a career.

Shaw said the new educational center will make the hatchery more than just a facility. It will make it a destination.

“It’s something that is specifically made for the education of what we do,” Shaw said. “The educational center is more fun for the kids. If you have the main educational center along with the hatchery — it draws people in. The word ‘education’ I think makes people want to flock to it.”

If you go

The grand opening of the educational center will be from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday. The Puyallup Fish Hatchery is at 1416 14th St. S.W. Visit the foundation on Facebook at Puyallup Historical Hatchery Foundation.

Andrew Fickes: 253-552-7001 andrew.fickes @puyallupherald.com Twitter: @herald_andrew

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