Monday, 24 February 2014

Wakey wakey little alevins at Milton Park Primary

The brown trout alevins have hatched at Milton Park now but our trout caretakers in year 5 have noticed that their behaviour has now changed as they start to grow stronger.

Pupils have made these fantastic news reports to share their findings with us. We just couldn't decide which ones to include in our blog so here are three!

Well done Milton Park we love to hear all your reports, as well as see your fantastic drawings.  Our eggs are only just starting to hatch out so we will keep our eye on them.  We know that they like to hide down in the dark in a river in amongst the boulders and gravel on the river bed so perhaps they are a little shy?

Friday, 21 February 2014

Trouttastic titles

We're delighted to hear that the alevins are all doing well over half term in the Weston-Super-Mare schools and the classes have now got to know them well and have even given them names.  Here are some of our favourites so far from two of the schools who have all of their alevins hatched:

from Milton Park Primary School:

Prince William
Alfie the Alevin
Tim (the trout)
James Daredevil

from Bournville Primary School:


and from the Avon Wildlife Trust office we have:

Sharon Davis
Fishy (we struggled with that one!!)
Duncan Goodhew

We only have four alevins at the moment so we hope to get more creative as the alevins join us.

There are a lot more alevins in the tank for every school and in the office - can you help us out with any great names?

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Lurking in the deep

The children from Year 5 at Bournville Primary school investigated their school pond for the first time today! With great excitement they entered their wetland area and peered into what looked like a slightly murky and mini beast free zone.  The  pond was only created a year or so ago and the children were not that sure how much life it would hold.

But after a demonstration of how to dip safely we took back to the class for further investigation a wonderful array of biodiversity.  Our finds included the following:   darter dragonfly nymph, mayfly nymph, whirligig beetles, backswimmers, lesser water boatman, pond snails, blood worms, water louse 
Swimming mayfly nymph

Lesser water boatman

.... and we even caught a frog!

Whirligig beetle thanks to

We looked carefully at what we had caught through magnifying glasses and thought about how each species was adapted to survive in the water and whether each was a predator or a prey.

Now the children know that they have a thriving healthy freshwater pond full of a variety of life, and which they can dip in whenever they like and helps them learn all about freshwater life whilst they are rearing their trout for Trout and About.

Well done Bournville.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Water Water everywhere! Milton Park year 5 students take on the challenge ...

With so much rain and flooding around the UK at the moment the thoughts of students at Milton Park Primary school last week was more about the concern from too much water rather than how they could survive if they had less!  Students spent the day learning about water sustainability and just how important it is to our lives and how we can all do our part to help save it as part of Avon Wildlife Trusts Trout and About project with Bristol Water.

In some parts of the world children do not have their water on tap like we do here in the UK, but instead have to walk miles and miles every day to find the water they need.  The Year 5's at Milton Park Primary School thought it would be easy to carry a full bucket from one end of the playground to the other and then back again (about 100 yards).  

Only 3 children out of 54 managed to do it - and that wasn't carrying it on their head!  Lots of children were really shocked at how heavy the full bucket was to pick up - and then carrying it without spilling a drop was definitely even more of a challenge!

 Students also learnt about every day waste and how long it takes to break down.  How long does it take for a nappy to decompose?  Does a cotton glove decompose quicker than a plastic bag?  These are questions that the Milton Park Yr 5's had to think about when putting together a waste timeline.  They were all surprised to find out that polystyrene was only invented 60 years ago, so we have no idea for sure quite how long it takes to degrade, but it is likely to be hundreds of years!  

Well done Milton Park, we hope the trout are all growing well.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Introducing our fantastic guest blogger for this week, Rocco, year 5 from Windwhistle Primary School - take it away Rocco!

Yippee!  Only one or two more eggs have to hatch!  I'm not quite sure how long it took but that day was amazing.  
They are all swimming really swiftly but they are certainly much quicker than I expected.  They look like they have no idea where they are.  I named 3, one Larry, one Nev  and one Kendrick.

I think they have become more interesting as they grow and many more people want to have a look now since they all have hatched into alevins.

I'm not sure what we will feed them but at the fish farm it was brown and cylinder shaped food, they jump up and catch it either to show off their goal keeping skills or to show they are hungry.

Anna from Avon Wildlife Trust hasn't seen them all hatched yet but the last time she came in two were alevins but they were not moving - probably sleeping on their yolk sacs.  I almost forgot to tell you Kendrick and Larry have got to the bottom of the tank - Larry did it first and that's why I called him Larry Loner.  They are deep sleepers - the only thing they do is a wriggle or their way of doing Gangnam style.  I think they have already done about 75 laps around the tank!

 Rocco year 5, Windwhistle Primary

Here are the rest of Rocco's class learning all about sustainability and how long it takes for waste to decompose in the oceans.

Thank you Rocco, a fantastic blog and we can't wait to hear about how all the other alevins and their names!

Monday, 10 February 2014

The alevins are coming!

Guest bloggers Bournville Primary School pupils have sent in their latest reports on how their brown trout eggs are coming along as part of our 'Trout and About' project.

Week 1
This week our eggs have developed eyes. This means that the eggs are now turning slowly into alevin.
Twice a day we have checked and recorded the temperature of the tank. We have also been checking the tank daily for dead eggs so that we can remove them. So far we have only lost six eggs.
If the level water drops too much inside the tank, we have been refilling it using a jug of tap water.
The eggs are developing well. We can’t wait until they hatch into alevin!

Week 2
Our egg death count has risen to 31 eggs which is quite common in the wild. It’s okay though because the rest of the eggs have all hatched into little alevin! Two have already swum out of the net. They have nibbled a bit of their egg yolk. They swim on their side and back sometimes. They have been attacking each other!

We really hope that they will continue to grow really well into fry.

Thank you Bournville pupils, we can't wait to hear all about the next stage of their development.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a jellyfish?

No!  It's a plastic bag! 

Year 5 at Oldmixon Primary School in Weston-Super-Mare had no idea of the damage that plastic waste in the sea can cause until their sustainability lesson as part of Trout and About project last Friday.  They discovered how important it is to recycle when they saw the photos of wildlife harmed by plastic carelessly thrown away.

Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales, and other marine mammals, and more than 1 million seabirds die each year from ocean pollution and eating or being tangled in plastic waste.  This waste tends to accumulate in areas of slow spiraling water and along the coastlines.  One current has collected a "plastic island" which is the size of Texas covered in rubbish and up to 6 metres deep into the sea.

Year 5 pupils also looked at how they could save water.  To be fair, it did feel as though SW England has had its fair share of water over the last couple of weeks - learning about the importance of saving it might have been easier in a drought.  None-the-less, they were set the challenge of carrying a large bucket of water round and round the playground ten times without spilling a drop, just as the children in parts of Africa need to walk up to 6 miles every day to get the water they need.  How did they get on?  Watch this space!

Cathy Mayne and Year 5 from Oldmixon Primary