LSSU released 27,000-plus Atlantic salmon yearlings that it had spawned and raised into the St. Marys River, continuing a decades-long tradition of annual replenishment and mindful sustainability. The refilling occurred on June 8 late in the evening to deter birds from swooping in to feed.
The event also honored Martin Vanderploeg, CEO and cofounder of Workiva Inc., a cloud-based software technology company for managing business data and headquartered in Ames, IA, who made a significant donation to CFRE, who enjoys freshwater fishing on the St. Marys River, and who called CFRE “a world-class program” and the Atlantic salmon release “a great event for the community.” LSSU designated the batch of Atlantic salmon the “Vanderploeg Class of 2022” in recognition of his late father.
The donation from Vanderploeg will further CFRE’s education, research, and outreach; bolster learning opportunities and hands-on experiences for its students and the public; increase innovative pathways for first-generation LSSU students to gain the industry knowledge, practical skills, and inner strength necessary to craft a life of meaningful employment, personal fulfillment, and outdoors preservation; and create an endowed professorship at CFRE.
“Marty has made a significant financial commitment to our students, many of whom are first generation attending college,” said LSSU President Dr. Rodney S. Hanley. “These first generation students are special people who are making their own paths and making their own futures. They, and all our students, are the reason we’re here. We invest in them and they go forth to serve and make this world a better place. Investing in people is what LSSU is all about. When Marty committed to support our Atlantic salmon hatchery, part of the Center for Freshwater Research and Education, he left it to us how best to use his gift. That’s a big responsibility and one we did not take lightly. After considerable thought and discussion we decided to invest in our students by investing in our faculty. Marty’s generosity has provided LSSU with its first endowed position. His gift will help us recruit and retain the very best educators and researchers in fisheries science. From now on those who have the privilege of being named the, Marvin VanDerPloeg Endowed Professor at the Center for Freshwater Research and Education, which is named in honor of Marty’s father, will be the very best educators in the field of fisheries science.”
LSSU has named Atlantic salmon hatchery yearlings after Lake State stakeholders in 2002 (former LSSU President Dr. Robert D. Arbuckle), 2003 (Richard Zink), 2007 (John Giuliani, in attendance), 2011 (Gale Gleason and Bill Gregory, cofounders of the fish hatchery), and 2016 (Dick Barch, in attendance). LSSU has released tens of thousands of Atlantic salmon yearlings into St. Marys River annually since 1987 and has used its own brood stock to supply the eggs since 2004.