Salmon In The Classroom
The Salmon in the Classroom educational project continues to go from strength to strength. During 2010 a total of 11 primary schools were involved including Glenburn Primary, Prestwick, South Ayrshire up to Mayfield Primary, Saltcoats, North Ayrshire. Small rural and large urban schools participated providing an opportunity for pupils to learn about all aspects of their local river and the salmon life cycle in particular.
The project starts with a presentation to the class on their local rivers, including threats to wildlife such as pollution, habitat loss and overfishing. The salmon life cycle is then covered in detail including spawning, migration and the many life stage names . After advice on how to look after salmon eggs, the class is provided with an aquarium containing around 100 salmon eggs.
The aquaria are fitted with thermostatic coolers, to cope with high classroom temperatures keeping the water at the same temperature as the river. The coolers ensure a high survival rate and allow the children to see the development of the fish for longer before they are released. Pupils keep a daily record of the progress of the salmon and create posters on the salmon life cycle. Eggs have been supplied by local hatcheries approved by District Salmon Fishery Boards using only native salmon. Once the eggs have hatched and the yolk sac almost absorbed the children help release the fish back into their local river in the spring. The final day of the project includes a visit to the river again in summer for an electrofishing demonstration and bug-hunting. Children learn to identify different fish species and how to assess water quality by sampling river invertebrates.
The project has significantly expanded since 2005, when 4 schools took part. In 2010 the following primary schools have taken part; Wellington, Nether Robertland, Crossroads, Dundonald, Loanhead, Blacklands, Kilmaurs, Glenburn, St Johns, Castlepark and Mayfield.
In 2009 we started to supply every pupil with their own ruler. The front of each ruler details the salmon lifecycle, showing a photo and name of each stage. On the reverse side is a photo of each of the six rivers in Ayrshire. The rulers have been a high success with every school and prove to be a valued item with the project. ART are currently looking for a ruler sponsor so they can continue to be supplied to each pupil during 2011. If you may be interested please get in contact. An example of the ruler can be found below.
For further background information please click here.
We are grateful to the following funders for supporting this project in 2010. Scottish Natural Heritage, Spirit Aerosystems and East Ayrshire Council
Poster by Loanhead Primary P5/6 pupils, 2010
Poster by Dalmellington P6-7 pupils, 2007
Nether Robertland Primary, 2010
Crosshill Primary, 2006
For information on how to participate in the project please contact Trust biologist Gillian Murray on 01292 525142 or firstname.lastname@example.org