Tyne Rivers Trust has been working with several schools in the Tyne catchment to teach children about the lifecycle of Atlantic Salmon. The programme, called ‘Salmon in the Classroom’ allows children to see first hand the initial stages of the life cycle of Salmon and then release the juvenile fish into their local river.
‘Salmon in the Classroom’ is a programme designed to teach pupils about the life cycle of this iconic fish species, and how important our rivers are in providing the right habitat for their reproduction. This year Tyne Rivers Trust has worked with four schools in the Tyne Catchment, Ovingham Middle School, Wark First School, Bellingham Middle School and Haydon Bridge Shaftoe Primary school on the Salmon in the Classroom programme. The schools were carefully selected to ensure there is a suitable site nearby to release the newly hatched Salmon.
The children have been enjoying watching the tanks and ensuring the eggs have the best chance of hatching successfully by regularly checking the temperature of the water in the tank. They have also learned about the Salmon’s lifecycle, what they eat and what will happen to them once released. Salmon undertake a number of physical changes as they grow, eventually adapting to life in salt water when they travel out to sea. They return to the river of their birth after several years at sea, where they spawn and produce the next generation of tiny Salmon fry. This migration is an incredibly long and risky journey and returning fish have to leap or swim past many obstacles to reach suitable spawning habitat in upland rivers. The peak of the annual migration occurs in late autumn and Hexham Bridge is one of the best places in England to see these amazing fish as they migrate upstream.
Victoria Binovec Haydon Bridge Shaftoe Trust Primary School teacher said “The children are thrilled to be able to participate in this project and are enjoying looking after the eggs in the classroom. Its great for them to experience lifecycles in such a practical way and really helps the children learn about what happens in our local river.”
This project has been made possible through funding from the Local Environment Action Fund and the Postcode Lottery and the eggs have been supplied by the Environment Agency’s hatchery at Kielder.
Tyne Rivers Trust Volunteer Coordinator Simone Price said “It’s great seeing the children so excited about this project and being able to work with several schools. We hope that the project helps the children understand how important it is for our rivers to be healthy for the young Salmon to survive and create the next generation.”