Tyne Rivers Trust engages local people and communities in everything we do. People are an essential source of knowledge and enthusiasm to protect and enhance their local river – we call this citizen science. We also work to build knowledge and understanding of rivers and catchments so that local communities can bring informed views and capture essential data to help safeguard and look after their rivers.
We also try to engage and educate those who do not understand the importance and value of our rivers. Through learning more about rivers and how they function, people can protect their homes, gain a depth of knowledge which makes it all even more interesting, improve their livelihoods and enjoy their countryside.
We spread the message about our rivers at public events, like the Northumberland County Show, and at specially planned events like Try It Days, where we encourage people to come along and learn more about their local stretch of river, the creatures that live in it and the recreational opportunities there.
Educating young people
We work with young people, through schools and with groups like Scouts and Guides, to help them understand what we do and why it is important to look after our rivers.
Providing formal education about rivers in schools plays an important part in achieving our aims. We use fun activities to raise awareness about the issues facing our rivers, whilst adding layers of Tyne-specific knowledge and understanding all within the scope of the national curriculum for each age group.
The students also take part in practical activities, in their school or on the riverbank to help them understand what we do and why it matters.
Mayfly in the Classroom
Our volunteer coordinator has been working with schools across the catchment to introduce children to the lifecycle of the Mayfly as part of the Trust’s work on the ‘Mayfly in the classroom project’.
The project introduces children to the lifecycle of the Mayfly and its place in the food chain, an important part of the eco-system of a river with the aim of getting children interested in the river and looking after it from a young age.
Last year, Simone spent the day with pupils at Haltwhistle Community Campus. Year four pupils spent the morning setting up an aquaria, before heading down to Haltwhistle Burn with their nets and wellies to collect Mayfly nymphs to bring back to hatch in the aquaria.
Back in the classroom the children spend a few minutes each day checking the temperature and food supply in their aquaria to make sure that it’s right for the nymphs to hatch into Mayfly before they release them back into the burn. This is a great way for them to learn why it’s important to keep our rivers at the right temperature and how everything in the river has a function.
Salmon in the Classroom
We have been working with several schools in our 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.
The programme is 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 which were carefully selected to ensure proximity to a suitable site for releasing the newly hatched Salmon.
The children enjoy checking on the development of the eggs and the temperature of the water in the tank to ensure the fish have the best chance of hatching successfully. They have also learned about the Salmon’s lifecycle, what they eat and what will happen to them once released. Our Volunteer Coordinator Simone says 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.
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.