Education Work

Wessex Chalk Stream and River Trust, Trout in Schools Project
The Trout in Schools Project has been in operation for several years, and has supplied a number of schools and establishments throughout the Wessex region with the equipment to enable children and the general public to observe and be involved with the hatching and subsequent care of brown trout fry, until their release into various rivers across the region.

The equipment comprises a water cooler, pump, filters, tanks and aerators, and can successfully raise up to four hundred small trout from eggs to fry.

Primary schools in particular have become deeply involved with the use of the system as a teaching resource, and the links with the KS2 and KS3 curriculum are numerous, and not only within the science area of study.

Secondary schools have used the system as part of Environmental Science, Rural Science and Biology coursework.

Eggs are delivered to the school/establishment in late January/early February, and generally take a couple of weeks to hatch.
 The tiny fish, called alevins at that stage, will then take a few further weeks to use up their egg sacs and turn into fry, when they will need to be coaxed into feeding on the specialist food provided.

The development of the eggs and fry is fascinating, and the tanks will need very regular monitoring and maintenance, but may be left safely over a weekend, although cleaning staff and caretakers will inevitably take an interest and keep a caring eye on things!

The trout can be released at any time, but are usually released before the Easter break, either by the children or by collection by a WCSRT officer. All releases are approved by the Environment Agency.

The system can then be converted into a mini river environment, and stocked with weed, invertebrates and small fish and continues to be a classroom resource well into the summer term.
System requirements The TIS project has been used at:
  • The cooler and tanks will take up an area of two metres by one metre, and require a safe power point or flying socket to supply power to three components, cooler, pump, and aerator.
  • A strong table or bench is essential.
  • An outlet for overflow to a sink is ideal, but systems have been used to overflow if needed into a large bin.
  • There will need to be a daily flush-through with dechlorinated tap water, although some systems have worked well when directly connected to the mains with a constant slight trickle.
  • Risks of spillage are very slight, but precautions will need to be taken to ensure that electrical connections and water are kept well apart.
  • Posters and some teaching suggestions will be supplied with the equipment, and it will be delivered and collected by WCSRT officers, although many establishments retain the equipment and have used it for several years.
  • Salisbury Library
  • River Bourne Community Farm
  • Langford Lakes Study Centre, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust
  • Ringwood School
  • Burgate School
  • Priestlands School
  • Applemore College
  • The Grange School, Christchurch
  • Great Wishford Primary School
  • Sarum St Pauls Primary, Salisbury
  • Wimborne First School, Wimborne
For further details contact: Pete Reading, WCSRT Education Officer,
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