Students release salmon into the Columbia River - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Students release salmon into the Columbia River

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KENNEWICK, Wash.--  Hundreds of elementary school students got to release salmon into the Columbia River Tuesday. 

The annual "Salmon Summit" is part of the "Salmon in the Classroom" program.  The fourth and fifth graders have tanks in their classrooms for part of the school year and get to raise the salmon from eggs, while learning all about them.

Fourth grader Scott Jacobs says, "Their lifecycle is really interesting because they start out really small and they grow into these gigantic creatures."

"I like learning how they go in the ocean and come back to where they were before and then lay their eggs," explains Teresa Sijgers, also a 4th grader.

Lila Roe, a 4th grader, says her favorite part is the eggs.  "Sometimes they're like yellow on the inside and they're really tiny."

In December, the state announced it wouldn't fund the "Salmon in the Classroom" program, but the Benton and Franklin Conservation Districts were able to pull together the funds to foot the bill.

The Salmon Summit continues on Wednesday in Columbia Park.  Over the 2 days, more than 4,000 students are expected to release the salmon into the river.