Friday, 17 January 2014

Trout and About is back!....and this year we're in Weston-Super-Mare

Pupils at Bourneville, Windwhistle, Oldmixon and Milton Park Primary Schools in Weston-Super-Mare have been so excited to receive their brown trout eggs this week.  Pupils from the four schools are taking part in our award winning  'Trout and About' project, which is a joint project between Avon Wildlife Trust and Bristol Water.  Pupils will be rearing their trout in tanks for two months before releasing them into Blagdon Lake and learning all about water, sustainability and how they can help.

Tony Donnelly from Bristol Water smoothly transferred over 100 brown trout eggs into the ready prepared tanks in each school and remarkably we just had one egg that didn't make it, which is very common in the wild. 

I showed the children how to remove the dead egg with the ‘turkey baster’ (!) - which is not as easy as you might think.  However it is really important to remove the dead egg as soon as possible as the dead eggs release a fungus into the water that can kill all the other eggs.  The children learnt about their daily responsibilities to the eggs as ‘babysitters’ and how they can help their trout grow big and strong ready to be released.

Pupils at Bourneville Primary School learning how to rear their trout
As soon as the eggs were safely settled into their tank we learnt all about the life cycle of the brown trout by putting ourselves into the right position in the life cycle, as well as matching up definitions of key words to remember. Finally we pieced together and used a poem of the life cycle to help us remember all the different stages.

We then went on to look at the food chain in our rivers with the brown trout playing its part as a top predator and thought about where each link in the chain gets its energy from.  Pupils discovered that all food chains start with the sun and end with a top predator and thought about how humans are part of a life cycle. 

The children are now looking forward to investigating a local watercourse in their own area, to see how healthy and biodiverse it is, as well as thinking about how they might have an influence on the water in their area.  We can't wait to see the pictures of how their trout are doing, watch this space!

Anna Stevens, Education Officer

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