VetsWork: Life at the Leavenworth Fish Hatchery

One month into my internship and I’ve already learned so much. My VetsWork AmeriCorps position is with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, specifically at the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery as a visitor service assistant. Like any new position, different location and fresh beginning, the first month seems to be the busiest. The first few days started with briefly familiarizing myself with the ins-and-outs of the Fish and Wildlife Service, which falls under the Department of the Interior. I then quickly jumped into the abundant and diverse work of the Information and Education Department. This included involvement in current programs such as hatchery tours, snowshoe tours, high school education programs on site, and community education programs off site. One thing I learned right away was that the programs don’t stop coming, so constant planning is a large task for the department. I’ve received various trainings and have been learning about the day to day operations of a large-scale hatchery. There’s a lot to learn! My experience so far has been nothing less than great… and pleasantly busy!

Swiftwater Safety Training

This was the first training I received shortly after arriving to my service site. It was two full days that broke down roughly into 3 hours in the classroom, 3 hours in the river from the shore with no boats, and 6 hours on the river in a personal watercraft, winding miles down the Wenatchee River through a few decent rapids! When I was told about the training I believe I said “that’s sweet” aloud, but then my next thought was “Um wait, it’s like 19 degrees out with 10 feet of snow everywhere, does the training start in June?” I got my certificate the following Thursday!

Snowshoe Tour

Here was one of our scheduled preschool tour groups. We started with a hatchery tour then took them on a one mile snowshoe tour that closely follows the hatchery’s Icicle Creek Nature Trail. As you can see, we had to keep it fun for the little adventurers.

A Glance at Trail Maintenance

Fish Health Education Tour

There’s a small high school on site that is with us here learning about fish health and the workings of a hatchery. They are a fun group of students and seem to be enjoying the opportunity for a much more hands on learning experience. There are multiple schools that come to the hatchery and any school is welcome and encouraged to come and get as much education as possible.


Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery has been hosting the Nordic events of the Special Olympics Washington Winter Games for over 15 years! I was glad to be here all weekend in support of the event. Pictured here is the Games oldest athlete with supporters.