Tourism and conservation working in partnership.

Experience the River Project Update 2016-2017

Thank you for your amazing support for Experience the River, South Cumbria Rivers Trust’s Education Programme. 

The past year has seen a slight change in direction for this project.  A combination of staffing challenges and increasing difficulties in obtaining the necessary permissions for children to visit a river as part of their learning experience led to the field visit element being replaced with a two-day science and art project.  During Autumn 2016, the revised Experience the River Programme was delivered to four junior schools across the South Lakes District area:

  • Heron Hill Primary School, Kendal
  • Langdale CE Primary School, Chapel Stile
  • St Oswalds School, Burneside
  • Staveley Primary School

The first day, a science day, taught the children about river ecology and ecosystems, endangered species, invertebrates, pollution problems and water quality.  Tying in with SCRT’s new project to restore freshwater mussel rivers in South Cumbria, the science session also had a special focus on the life cycle of the fresh water pearl mussel and the factors leading to its decline.  As part of their learning, the children produced a FWPM life cycle which detailed the various stages, the importance of good habitat and water quality, and the impact this has on the river as a whole.  Using measuring calipers and a FWPM growth chart, the children measured the shells of mussels originating from their local river – the oldest was assessed to be a venerable 85 years old!

The second day consisted of art sessions, with the communal art work produced by the children of each school being used as props and scenery in the presentation of a play at St Oswalds School, Burneside.  The play, attended by around 30 friends, relatives and school children, was narrated by SCRT’s Education Officer and included a number of information extracts read out by the children.

Looking ahead, the new programme is still in development.  Focussing on a specific freshwater species was a great success and it is intended to retain this element of the education programme for the 3-year duration of the Freshwater Pearl Mussel Project.  However, it is also important to ensure that the children understand the wider environmental issues, and the content of the programme will be continuously reviewed in order to ensure that learning is delivered effectively.

The work delivered by SCRT’s Experience the River education programme in 2016 was fully funded by donations through Nurture Lakeland.  Your future donations will be vital to the continued implementation of this project, which has reached over 1,000 local children since 2006.

Find out more about the project here.

Thank you again for your fantastic support!