New local Science Pub to begin with presentation on salmon

State fish biologist Karen Hans will discuss declining salmon populations in the Willamette and the efforts under way to restore the fish runs as the South Santiam Watershed Council hosts its first-ever Science Pub later this month.

The event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 25 at Schmizza Public House, 2602 Hwy. 20, Lebanon. There is no cost to attend.

“Have pizza and the beverage of your choice while learning about salmon restoration at this family friendly event,” said Watershed Council Coordinator Eric Andersen. The presentation will last 45 to 60 minutes. “Stay longer for more conversations.”

For each beer purchased, Schmizza will donate $1 to the Watershed Council. The funds will go toward the Watershed Council’s restoration work.

“It’s something they do all over the place,” Andersen said. “They do them all over the country. It’s an informal talk, presentation.”

Science Pub Corvallis, for instance, is held the second Monday of each month at the Old World Deli in downtown Corvallis. Sponsored by Terra Magazine, together with the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and the Downtown Corvallis Association, it “offers cool presentations in an informal atmosphere where you can interact with experts and where there are no silly questions. No scientific background is required – just bring your curiosity, sense of humor, and appetite for food, drinks and knowledge!” according to its Facebook page.

The Watershed Council is trying to get to know more people in the community and interest them in the council’s work. Andersen said.

The council has regularly had special speakers during its regular meeting from 3 to 5 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month.

This month, Kevin Bladon, assistant professors in the Department of Forest Engineering, Resources and Management at Oregon State University, will talk about the effects of wildfire and source water quality and quantity at the council’s meeting on Oct. 7 in the Community Meeting Room at Lebanon Public Library, 55 Academy St.

The Watershed Council doesn’t always have a speaker during its regular meetings, Andersen said. Many people cannot attend at that time of day, and the atmosphere is different.

“We want to start this up on a somewhat regular basis,” Andersen said. The Science Pub offers a low-key family atmosphere, beer and pizza with the science.

The event will be held in a tented area outside. Heaters will be set up and used if needed.

The science relates to the speaker’s experience, Andersen said. As the council plans more, they won’t all relate to watershed restoration.

“This is our first one,” Andersen said. “We know Karen really well. We wanted to start with what we know.”

Going forward, the program may include talks about the solar eclipse, food science or geology, for example.

“We might try to do it in different places,” Andersen said. Other businesses have expressed interest.

This month’s speaker Hans has been a Salmon and Trout Enhancement Program biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for many years, Andersen said, and she has worked with the Watershed Council for many years.

She assists the Watershed Council when a landowner is curious about what kind of fish he or she may have in a stream. The council and Hans will try to trap some fish and take a look.

She also has been involved locally with schools and outdoor school programs, Andersen said. She helps arrange fish tanks for classrooms where students raise salmon fry for release into the wild.

Hans gets children out of the classroom and into the field, he said. “They’re out in nature hearing about fish and forestry.”

The South Santiam Watershed Council’s goal is to involve local people in the enhancement and protection of the South Santiam Watershed for the social and economic benefit of its landowners, managers and users.

The organization, funded through donations and the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, works with landowners to restore streams throughout the watershed.

The council may be reached at (541) 367-5564. Its office is located in the Sweet Home Ranger District office, 4431 Hwy. 20.