May 2014 – Mayfly in the Classroom

In 2013, as one of its very first undertakings when the group was still young, CATCH ran the “Mayfly in the Classroom” project at both Wincanton primary schools. This year, we have operated the same project at Horsington Primary School, with the aid of their teachers and the Wild Trout Trust.

Mayfly – photo © Wild Trout Trust

Mayfly in the Classroom is a scheme founded and organised by the Wild Trout Trust, with the intention of getting more children directly involved in the river with both education and activity, as the class hatches its own mayfly picked from the local river – in our case, of course, the river Cale. The scheme’s plan is available to anyone who wishes to use it, free of charge save only that they let the WTT know of their results – the best pictures and videos from these projects are featured on the WTT’s own website, to further publicise the project.

So it was that in May 2014, a group of CATCH committee members, accompanied by Sue Scott representing the Wild Trout Trust, headed to Horsington school to introduce themselves to the children and begin the project. A group of about 25 children walked down to the Wincanton recreation ground for some hands-on activity, as mayfly eggs, along with a selection of the river’s natural flora, were placed into aquariums to be taken back to the school, where the eggs could be hatched and the mayflies then returned to the river. Our IT guru and Wincanton Window publisher Dave Smith was along to capture the entire project on video, as can be viewed below.

The entire day was hailed as a great success, with the children learning how to identify not just mayfly eggs but several others of the local species, being given an insight into the river’s history, and having the chance to observe river kick-sampling techniques in action; all of which helps to encourage today’s youngsters to view the river as an asset rather than a dumping-ground, and to grow into the next generation of river wardens to continue our work.

CATCH wishes to thank the Wild Trout Trust for supplying the equipment and information leaflets related to Mayfly in the Classroom, all free of charge, and particularly to their representative Sue Scott for donating her time and expertise. Thanks also to the teachers and staff of Horsington Primary School for agreeing to take part, and to the children for being such eager and enthusiastic participants.

Any group out there who would be interested in running the Mayfly in the Classroom project locally, can contact the Wild Trout Trust for further information – contact details here – or contact us in info@rivercale.org to discuss our own experiences of the project. Good luck!

Timestamps:
00:06 – WTT school pack
00:51 – Walking to the river
01:08 – Sue’s introduction
03:52 – Gary falling down the river bank
04:01 – Kick-sampling
04:13 – Impromptu reminiscing of Matt’s faceplant
04:54 – Caseless Caddis discovery
05:38 – Looking and identifying
08:19 – Gary’s C.A.T.C.H. speech

11:27 – Gary’s horse jaw bone and eel story
13:47 – Sue’s Mayfly talk
15:25 – Sue’s Mayfly story
20:06 – Back to Wincanton Primary School
20:11 – Constructing the “sciencey” aquaria
25:08 – ‘I’m a Mayfly, get me out of here!’
27:12 – Photos

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