I am a young salmon. I live in the Ohio River, which is a big river that flows through Kentucky. I was born here and only know this river. My friends and I spend our days swimming around and looking for food. We eat anything we can find, including fish and insects. When we get older, some of us will go up to the northern part of the river where it’s cooler. We will lay eggs there and die soon after. The eggs will hatch into baby salmon that make their way down the river to open ocean.
When a young salmon swims downriver to the place where it was born, the fish can’t help but pause and reflect on the journey ahead. “I never really thought about what goes into this trip,” he thinks. “Sure, I know that one day I’ll be going back to spawn and die in the very stream that birthed me, but how does that actually happen? What’s my life going to be like for the next few years?”
The salmon is about to embark on one of nature’s great journeys—and one that is definitely worth pondering. This special fish will venture through many different environments and climates before returning home as an adult to breed his own offspring. He’ll face obstacles both natural and human-made, such as escaping predators, finding food, and avoiding pollution. But this fish has some incredible instincts on his side—instincts that guarantee he’ll return to his birth home even if he travels far away and meets many other fish along the way.