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Start 'em young
There has been much ‘Twittering’ of late as various organisations across the UK are venturing into classrooms to engage with children via aquatic beasties, and particularly our totemic species - the brown trout.
WTT chums at the Clyde River Foundation (CRF) coordinate #Clydeintheclassroom. It’s a huge venture, working with some 90 classes to engage with >2000 kids this year alone. It’s also very much a hands-on project, using aspects of the trout life history to promote awareness of river ecology, to engage with nature, and to help young people across the River Clyde catchment develop a sense of pride in their local environment. Furthermore, it provides a great basis for outdoor learning and STEM education.
On a recent visit to chat with Willie Yeomans, Catchment Manager at CRF, I learned that through the project, they have engaged with over 20,000 children at almost 400 schools. Check out the info-graphic above; that's some reach! Willie is keen to point out that on the Clyde, the trout are not used as part of a stocking project but purely as an educational tool; they’ve used triploids for a number of years now.
I’ve also been chatting with Gareth Jones, Catchment Science Coordinator for Ribble Life Together at Ribble Rivers Trust. Within the Ribble catchment and currently only in primary schools, they operate #troutintheclassroom with similar aims to those of Clyde RF. At Ribble, they are building upon the trout life-cycle by adding a variety of new activities from angling development / coaching, invertebrate monitoring, mayfly in the classroom, demonstration tables for river form and functioning, to poetry and musical events. Check out some of the enthusiastic school blog posts available on Burnley’s Urban River Enhancement Site.
In my day, things like this were definitely 'extra-curricular'! Excellent ventures I'm sure you'll agree, and they are not the only ones, just two I have personally come across recently. If you are a Twitter user, try the #hashtags mentioned above to see the kids (and trout) in action!
WTT has for a long time offered a similar educational project - Mayfly in the classroom – with free, downloadable resources on the WTT website, here.