We are keen to engage the youth of today by providing environmental education to primary school children. Click on the tabs to reveal more about our work:
Salmon in the Classroom
The Salmon in the Classroom educational project ran from 2005-2012. 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 keep the water at the same temperature as the river. Pupils keep a daily record of their salmons’ progress and create posters on the salmon life cycle. Eggs are 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.
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. An example of the ruler can be found below. For further background information please click here. Unfortunately due to difficulties in securing funding, Salmon in the Classroom was unable to run in 2013. ART hope to continue with another educational project in the future subject to funding.
Carrick Invasive Species Project
This project aims to control invasive non-native species (INNS) throughout the Girvan and Stinchar catchments. Full control is impossible without support from the community. As such, Meryl has been visiting local schools to teach children a bit about the rivers, the wildlife, and most importantly the invasive species. A takehome message about biosecurity and how not to spread these species is essential to controlling and reducing incidences of INNS, as well as minimising the introduction of new INNS to the area. Children learned to identify native and non-native plant species as well as to identify freshwater invertebrates, allowing them to assess the health of a watercourse.
Wonderful World of Water
- Session 1 consists of an introductory power-point presentation covering; the water cycle, the local river and its catchment, geology, food chain, invertebrates, salmon life-cycle, other local fish species and local wildlife. Games are included to capture the children’s attention and interest.
- Session 2 (Bugs and Beasties) is a nature studies and pond dipping field trip looking at either a local river, stream or pond before doing some pond or stream dipping/kick sampling, invert finding, plant ID, covering water quality, pollution, water flow etc. This is then followed by an electrofishing demonstration to let the children see the fish close up and ignite further interest.
- Session 3 (Watery Wildlife) is a hands-on field based visit/trip to learn about one aspect of water wildlife close to the school location. This will encompass an subject relevant to the water environment (e.g. rock pooling/shore walks or tracks and signs of water animals), and will vary depending on location of school.
- The fourth session (Fishing for Skills) starts with a short Power Point presentation and introduces participants to the history of angling, angling’s contribution to the local community, jobs, etc. Participants would also be introduced to different types of fishing tackle, tactics and casting skills with rods in the classroom, school hall or on the playing field.
- Finally the fifth session (Catch a fish) is an angling trip whereby the pupils get the opportunity to test out their new found fishing skills. The sport of angling has been found to boost confidence, stamina and dexterity, and so is a fun way of benefiting the children for years to come.
The end of project will coincide with the beginning of the summer holidays, where it is hoped that warmer, longer days will help encourage the children to get out and enjoy their local environment as a whole. We aim to provide them with contact information and access to information about local angling, Young Naturalists etc, as well as other outdoor activities and events that are happening in their area over the following months, integrating them further into their local community. Similar to SITC, due to difficulties in securing funding, WWoW was unable to run in 2013. ART hope to continue with an educational project in the future subject to funding.
Mayfly in the Classroom
Mayfly in the Classroom is the Wild Trout Trust’s flagship education programme. Similar to Salmon in the Classroom, it aims to connect school children to their local river habitats and uses the lifecycle of Mayflies to teach them about the broader themes of biodiversity, ecology and the links between aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity. For more information on mayflies and the Mayfly in the Classroom concept, see the the Wild Trout Trust’s webpage.