Wednesday, 9 January 2013

We're going Trout and About!

After much anticipation, this week saw the arrival of some new wildlife to the offices at Avon Wildlife Trust. As part of the new 'Trout and About' learning project, starting in schools mid February, I will be rearing trout in the foyer at our Jacobs Wells Road office.

Fry and eggs ready for their temporary new home
Much planning, tank designing and learning about trout has been happening over the last few months and, finally, the tank arrived and Tony Donnelly from Bristol Water, brought in his little tub of fish eggs and fry to put in their new home. 
Navigating around staff who were having their lunch and looking on very bemused, we filled the tank and checked the chiller, flow and filter were all working correctly. We then introduced  the fish eggs and fry which by this point, in an office of Wildlife Trust staff, had became quite a talking point. 
Filling the tank

So, it all started off well but when I arrived the next morning I discovered a few fatalities. In the natural world this is inevitable, in fact 95% of trout don't make it passed the age of 1 in the wild but this was an artificial environment designed to facilitate the development of the eggs in the most productive way. A quick check of the cooler system told me why. With the cupboard doors below the tank closed there wasn't enough airflow and the chiller wasn't working effectively. This rise in temperature, in addition to the change of water and transportation of the fish was too much. Note to self, make some alterations to the chiller cabinet to allow better airflow. All is not lost, we live and learn and we are still having a better survival rate than in the wild. 

In they go!
The Trout and About project has been kindly funded by Bristol Water as part of their catchment management work to improve water courses in the area and supports Avon Wildlife Trust's learning strategy by providing hands on learning opportunities to link schools with their local natural environment. Schools in Bristol will have tanks in their classrooms and will rear trout from eggs over a four week period. 

This is a fantastic opportunity to provide real, memorable learning experiences to support teaching across the KS2 curriculum, whilst allowing schools to participate in a local, conservation project. During the project pupils will visit a local water course to learn about the ecology of rivers. This will provide a connection with their local natural environment, making the project more relevant to their own lives and neighbourhood, whilst providing hands-on learning experiences. At the end of the project pupils will be invited on a field trip where they will be able to release their young trout, visit the hatchery at Blagdon and explore the associated wildlife around the lake. 

Before it gets to the schools though I will be trialing the project myself, so follow my progress on this blog and see how I get on.


  1. Hi, I put together a proposal for Salmon in the Classroom (SITC)while at Duchy College on a River Basin Management course run by Westcountry Rivers Trust. SITC is run in schools in Scotland (as I'm sure you know). I currently work at a school in Devon and would love to set up such a project. How much would it cost to set up such a project?

    1. This project has been kindly funded by Bristol Water and we will be working with 12 schools over 3 years. The best thing for you to do would be to contact the Wild Trout Trust - and see if they are running any projects in your area.They will be able to give you advice about funding and how to deliver the project in your school.