Hatchery Staff Comes Together During Extreme Isolation

Kristin Bates thought she knew what the future would bring when she started working at Makah National Fish Hatchery in December 2019.

As the hatchery’s new project leader, Bates expected they would do what they’ve always done – rear salmon and steelhead, collaborate with the Makah Tribe, engage with visitors, and continue to work as a dynamic team at a remote facility on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington.

All pretty normal stuff for a hatchery.

But normal was soon shattered as the COVID pandemic enveloped the hatchery, Makah Reservation, and whole world in March 2020. It led Bates and her team down a two-year path of isolation, extreme challenges, self-reliance and … kindness. Yes, kindness.

“It wasn’t easy being blindsided by COVID, but I do know how we made it through,” Bates said. “Instead of picking each other apart, acting selfishly and staying stagnant in what was going wrong, we as a staff decided to rise above. Who we were during the pandemic was probably not who we would be in normal times. So we gave each other a little extra space, patience and kindness.”

Continue reading at fws.gov.

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