Magazine article Environmental Education

Riverfly for Schools: Wear Rivers Trust Has Developed a Hands-On Environmental Project Where Children Monitor Their Local Rivers by Sampling Riverflies: Sensitive Indicators of Water Quality and Habitat Health

Magazine article Environmental Education

Riverfly for Schools: Wear Rivers Trust Has Developed a Hands-On Environmental Project Where Children Monitor Their Local Rivers by Sampling Riverflies: Sensitive Indicators of Water Quality and Habitat Health

Article excerpt

Monitoring riverfly life is a simple way for volunteers across the UK to keep an eye on water quality and the Riverfly Partnership spearheads the Riverfly Monitoring Initiative by providing workshops for those who are keen to carry out river health checks. As a member of the Partnership, Wear Rivers Trust has built up a team of enthusiastic riverfly volunteers and, having also developed a successful education programme with schools, the idea of combining these two aspects of our work emerged. Thus the Riverfly for Schools project was born. This has been a completely new venture as it has seen riverfly monitoring being carried out as a regular school activity for the first time in the UK. It seemed like a natural progression given that the monitoring process has great benefits for children's educational and personal development as well as for the conservation of our rivers.

With funding from the Environment Agency and Northumbrian Water, we are able to run training for teachers and provide them with kit to use with their classes. We support them by finding local sampling sites and getting landowner permission for monitoring to go ahead. The monitoring itself comprises a monthly kick-sample to identify and report back on the riverflies found. Children love getting in and finding out what lives on the riverbed: they can divide up the three-minute kick-sample between them and then work together to identify what they have caught. …

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