FishTay met up with Dr. David Summers of the Tay Foundation earlier this month at the Tay hatchery to find out more on how they are educating the next generation on rivers, their inhabitants and the environment through Salmon in the Classroom project
What is Salmon in the Classroom?
This is a cross agency initiatives providing some of the best hands-on learning that our children can experience. It allows them to take part in a real life conservation initiative.
Participating Agencies include Scottish Natural Heritage, The Scottish Executive, Perth & Kinross Council (teachers, Countryside Rangers and supporting school staff), Atholl Countryside Rangers and the Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board.
What does it do?
A key part of both programmes is bringing fish directly into the primary class room. From our hatchery we provide eyed salmon eggs to each school. These are placed in fish tanks held in chiller cabinets. This enables the kids to watch daily the hatching of the eggs and development of the baby fish, which are then returned to a local river. The children not only learn about the natural history of the fish, but actually get to look after them.
Subsequently class field trips are organised to the release locations and using electrofishing equipment catch fish (hopefully including some of the ones they released). This enables pupils to identify different fish and their life stages and even to learn how to handle fish safely and properly.
Is it just salmon?
Fish are not the only topics covered during such field trips. Kick samples of aquatic life are taken and the youngsters are invited to count and identify them using simple keys.
To find out more about the great work of the Tay Foundation please follow this link.