Lancashire schools receive trout as class pets thanks to lottery funded project
A lottery funded initiative which provided some unusual class pets for Lancashire schools has gone swimmingly.
Ten schools in the county were gifted with trout eggs and tanks in January as part of ‘Trout In The Classroom’.
Since the New Year, pupils have been looking after their trout at: Worsthorne, Springfield Community Primary, St Stephen’s CE, Brunshaw and Ightenhill Schools in Burnley, St Mary’s RC in Chipping, Brennand’s Endowed CE in Slaidburn, St Mary’s Hall at Stonyhurst, and St George’s CE in Chorley.
Part of Ribble Rivers Trust’s Ribble Life Together project, the trout are intended to educate children about their environment.
School children receive trout eggs to care for and monitor before releasing them in nearby rivers.
Children who have been at school throughout the pandemic have been caring for the fish with the help of River Ribble Trust officers who visit weekly.
Trout have featured in classrooms for several years as part of the education programme but lockdown saw the project take to the net.
The Trust has shared videos, presentations and other resources on a range of environmental topics for home learners during the pandemic.
Neil Ashworth, education officer at the Trust, said: “For the first time ever, we explained the trout’s life cycle via Zoom to children at home who asked lots of questions so, even though they weren’t in the classroom, they still felt fully involved.”
Neil has taken over the care of a trout tank in his spare bedroom as it is usually kept at the Trust’s Clitheroe office, which closed in the pandemic.
The trout have featured in some of the educational videos for school children, which Neil has helped to film.
In addition to the fun and responsibility of caring for the class trout, the children learned about the river and its habitats and teachers have been able to link the project with curriculum subjects including science, literacy, geography and art.
It is hoped that all pupils involved can take part in releasing the trout because some missed out during last year’s project due to COVID school closures.
Trout In The Classroom has now been adopted in Burnley with school children taking part in litter picking and tree planting in a spin-off project.
The pupils were sponsored by the Friends of Towneley Park for these activities.
Hodder Consultative, which includes fishing clubs on the Hodder, are sponsoring the Chipping and Slaidburn schools for the first time in the hope that the children’s involvement might encourage them to take up fishing as a hobby.
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