Trout in Schools
ARK Trout in School is celebrating running for 10 years, over the years the project has engaged thousands of children throughout the Kennet catchment with their local river, helping them understand where their water comes from and that water is a precious resource. By looking after tiny brown trout the classes gain an understanding that often the wildlife that live in the Kennet are highly sensitive and have very specific requirements. They will only thrive in a healthy river environment. They need a plentiful supply of clean, cool, well oxygenated water with well vegetated riverbanks. Over the duration of the project ARK revisit the schools and run fun, hands on sessions teaching the brown trout life cycle and trout anatomy. A very popular session is the freshwater invertebrates session, when the class learns about the creatures that make up a trout's natural diet, we take live examples into the classroom allowing the students to develop identification skills. They are then able to identify good water quality indicator species and their abundance.
Throughout the project there is a strong link to developing everyone's knowledge about chalk streams and how if we are all more water efficient there is more water left for the native wildlife (including trout) to thrive.
The release is the chance to get everyone into the river, to experience fun in a chalk stream and say goodbye to their trout.
This year we've got Water Matters passports for all the children taking part, whiuch are full of interesting information and come with stickers to show what has been spotted over the project, particularly at the release days.