Tag Archives: Education

River Rehab: Introductory Workshop!

What is River Rehab?

River Rehab is your chance to make a real difference to the River Wandle. Have you ever attended our Restoration Events and wondered why we have chosen that site? Or why we need that lump of wood to be in this exact position?

Well River Rehab is your chance to learn why!

We need a team of local volunteers to design and deliver their own river restoration project.

What does it involve?
You will receive training from Wandle Trust staff and other expert organisations, giving you the skills and knowledge to transform a section of the Wandle. You will work with the rest of the River Rehab team to choose a site, design a project and coordinate its delivery on the ground.

There will be workshops, training events, meetings and field work.

How do I sign up?
To get involved and sign up to the River Rehab Team, confirm your attendance to our Introductory Workshop on Friday 20th February at Strawberry Lodge (Carshalton). The workshop will run throughout the day starting at 11am – once you confirm your place we will send you an agenda of the day’s activities.

Please note there are a limited number of spaces available for this workshop. 

If you can’t make this event but wish to be part of the team, let us know by email and we will make sure you get the information you need!

Email: volunteers@wandletrust.org
Phone: 0845 092 0110


This project is funded through the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership, a Heritage Lottery Fund Project.

LWLPS LOGOLandscape Logo pantone 2747

Have you made your New Year’s Resolutions yet?

Have you made your New Year’s Resolutions yet?

I am sure many of you have started to think about what New Year’s resolutions you might make for 2015. If you’re like me, I usually go for “exercising more”, which means joining the gym and then proceed to never use my membership…

But help is at hand. The Wandle Trust has some suggestions for your resolutions this year, and they’re a bit different because they’re all about your local river!

Resolution One: Report Pollution!

If you spot a pollution incident on the Wandle or any other river, report it to the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60. You are the eyes and ears for your local stream so don’t hesitate to report anything you think is unusual!

Connect your House right

Resolution Two: Connect Right

Some pollution is caused by bad plumbing. Houses may have been connected to the wrong drainage system, sending waste directly into the nearest river. You can check that your house is connected right at www.connectright.org.uk

Resolution Three: Clean with Care

Phosphates are a big problem in both urban and rural rivers. A high phosphate level reduces water quality and increases the growth of algae blooms. Eco-friendly detergents are specially manufactured to have a minimal phosphate content, so you can use these to protect your river and its wildlife.

Wash with Care!

Resolution Four: Wash with Care

If you wash your car or wheelie bin directly on the road, any chemicals you’re using will go straight into the drains on the road which lead to the river. However if you wash these items (and anything else) on your gravel drive or grass garden, you are adding a buffer which reduces chemicals heading to the river.

Resolution Five: Save Water

The more water you use, the more water needs to be abstracted from local water sources and treated by your local sewage treatment works. So by using less water, you keep more water in  the river for wildlife, but also reduce the volume which needs to be cleaned.

What are your New Year’s Resolutions for 2015? Let us know by Twitter or Facebook!

You are invited to the Launch of the Living Wandle project on World Rivers Day!

In June we reported the news that the River Wandle had won the lottery! This triumph was a £2 million award from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Landscape Partnership Scheme involving 25 projects to be delivered by a whole host of organisations on the Wandle.


The project is going to be ‘launched’ on World Rivers Day – Sunday 29th September 2013 – at Morden Hall Park. All the organisations involved will be there to tell you about the exciting projects that are coming up over the next 4 years.

The Wandle Trust will be leading on 4 projects – A river education programme for schools, a pollution awareness project called ‘River Guardians’, some physical river restoration work which will build on the enhancements already being delivered and a project called ‘Discover the Source of the Wandle’ through which we’ll investigate local features and landscape as well as archived records to look for signs of where the Wandle starts flowing.

Further details on the event, including the event booklet, can be found here.

So come and join us at Morden Hall Park on World Rivers Day and hear about these and other projects (including an invasive species programme, oral history and community theatre projects and the opening up of Merton Priory’s Chapter House). The Wandle Piscators will also be at Merton Abbey Mills that day with a range of activities so why not take a Sunday stroll along the Wandle between Morden Hall Park and Merton Abbey Mills and join thousands of others around the world appreciating their local river on World Rivers Day!

The Wandle wins the Lottery!

HLF logo

We’re delighted to be able to tell all our friends and supporters the great news that the Wandle Valley has just been awarded the Heritage Lottery Fund’s first ever urban landscape partnership grant.

The Living Wandle grant is worth £1.9 million over the next 4 years, and will help us start delivering many exciting projects recently identified via the Wandle’s new Catchment Plan, including river restoration in Ravensbury Park, a new River Guardians scheme, invasive species management and river-based education programmes.

The full bid has involved lots of hard work from many people across Wandsworth, Croydon, Sutton and Merton Councils, as well as the National Trust, Groundwork London, London Wildlife Trust, the Wandle Valley Regional Park Trust, the Wandle Valley Festival, the Wandle Piscators and ourselves at the Wandle Trust.

Click here to download the HLF’s full press release – and watch this space for more news as this historic grant starts bringing the Wandle’s rich heritage to life for everyone to enjoy!

Trout in the Classroom 2013: 300 fry swim free in Wandsworth

Bella and Roger releasing fish

Phew! The first of our two scheduled Trout in the Classroom release days has come and gone successfully, and around 300 young brown trout have been set free into the waters of the Wandle.

On Thursday 28 March, students and staff from 5 schools in the Wandsworth area brought their very lovingly nurtured brown trout in buckets from their schools to the banks of the Wandle on Garratt Lane and cheered them on as they were released into their new home. The buzz began as around 70 students, staff and volunteers arrived early, and waited in suspense for the Mayor of Wandsworth, Cllr Adrian Knowles. Thankfully, he did arrive – and delivered a thoughtful speech about the significance of the event, putting into perspective the journey the river has made in the past 50 years.

I have to admit that at times it has been a rocky road to get the fish to this point. The schools had to contend with fungus infecting the initial batch of eggs, killing many of them before they hatched. Of the new recruits, added to the tanks as alevin, there have been fish kills from high levels of nitrite and occasional equipment malfunction. Therefore, it was with a certain degree of pride that, collectively, we had these 300 or so fish that had overcome these barriers to make it to the river!

It was very gratifying to see the number of volunteers turn up for the event. The volunteers have made the project possible, by providing countless hours of free assistance to set up the equipment and troubleshoot to keep the tanks going. I would like to thank them very sincerely for their effort – it was a real pleasure to have them on board.

Children on bank

The most gratifying part, however, was the sheer excitement and pride shown by the young people. The value of the project became apparent as we helped a group of them get into waders and assisted them into the river, for many of them for the first time. It felt like – and I’m convinced it was – an important event for these young people, bringing them closer than ever to their local natural environment. Which, of course, is what it is all about!

Later this month we will be writing about the support from local businesses that made this project possible, but we would like to single out the Western Riverside Environmental Fund – a partnership between the Western Riverside Waste Authority based at the mouth of the Wandle and Groundwork UK – who have majority funded the scheme for 10 schools in the Wandsworth area over the past 2 years. We are very grateful for this support and would like to thank them once again.

Update 1: The story of our release day was picked up by the local media: click here to watch a video on the Wandsworth Guardian’s website.

Update 2 : Environmental writer George Monbiot attended our second trout fry release, in Morden Hall Park, on Thursday 18 April, and has now reported it here in his blog on the Guardian website

What an extraordinary turnout to see the trout!

For the 11th year in a row the great and the good of the Wandle Valley and beyond came to support our schools’ trout release on the river.  How lucky we were to have a lovely sunny day for the event; and thanks to the hospitality of the National Trust, beautiful surroundings too!

Please click on this link to see a magnificent video of the day made by our volunteer Philip Williams.

(Photo: John O’Brien)

Our guest of honour, the Mayor of Wandsworth Councillor Jane Cooper, was a terrific sport, wading into the river still wearing her mayoral chains to assist the school children as they released their fry:

(Photo: Roger Stevens)

Her chauffeur Barry was slightly concerned for the mayor’s safety – as well as the honorary bling – but it all turned out well in the end!

(Photo: John O’Brien)

Meanwhile Furzedown Primary School and their teacher were being shadowed by a CBBC film crew and Newsround presenter Joe Tidy.  The crew followed the kids as they carefully carried their buckets of little fish on the journey all the way from the school, via the London Underground and Tooting Broadway, to Morden Hall Park.

(Photo: John O’Brien)

We wonder if this experience will help these trout to become urban-adapted survivors? 

The footage was broadcast nationwide on Easter Monday, sending out an important message across the UK. Click here to watch the programme, and here to see the report in the Wandsworth Guardian.

(Photo: John O’Brien)

The trout teams were fantastically decked out in trout hats and carried banners, and were rewarded for their efforts with chocolaty treats.  

(Photo: Philip Williams)

Our Trout in the Classroom Project Director had once again gone way overboard and fashioned a complete trout head mask.  Known to the children as Trout Man, maybe he had taken this moniker way too literally?

(Photo: John O’Brien)

Once again we must thank our supporters, donators, volunteers and teachers for their valuable contribution…

(Photo: John O’Brien)

… and of course the school pupils, because without all of them this endeavour wouldn’t be possible!

(Photo: John O’Brien)

For a full list of this year’s schools and their supporters, please click here.

Stripped, dispatched, hatched: Trout in the Classroom 2011 – 12

On Thursday 15 December last year, a car load of likely lads from the Wandle Trust descended on Sparsholt College in Hampshire for a fisheries masterclass: stripping eggs from 5 female trout and milt from 3 male trout, and then mixing the eggs and milt in a big bowl to fertilise the eggs.

They were ably tutored by Alan Black, the man in charge at the hatchery: 

By Thursday 12 January, the eggs were ‘eyed’ and ready to be collected from Sparsholt:

With help from 2 more Wandle Trust volunteers, 200 of the same eggs were delivered to each of the 7 schools taking part in Trout in the Classroom this year.

The children were amazed at how the eggs looked: these Year 5 girls from Furzedown excitedly wondered what was going to happen next…

Within a week to 10 days the alevin (the first stage of a young trout after it has hatched) usually begin to emerge from the eggs.  From then on,  it’s up to the kids to keep the little fry healthy until they release them into the Wandle at the end of March!

Many thanks to our volunteers: Dave, Henry, Jez, John O, John P, and Richard

Trout in the Classroom: Ten years old and still going strong!

At 10.30am on Wednesday 30 March, pupils from six of our participating Trout in the Classroom schools gathered at Hackbridge to release their carefully and diligently nurtured trout fry into the River Wandle. 

All those present were also there to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the inception of this project in 2001 – a decade of learning about the importance of a healthy river and the life-cycle of the wild brown trout:

At the beginning of the morning the children gathered on the green and peered into each others’ buckets to compare their baby trout and swap fish rearing tips:

In fact this has turned out to be the best year ever for survival rates with all the schools having over fifty fish fry at the release stage and some considerably more!  Notwithstanding the usual challenges of equipment malfunctions and blocked filters.

Many local councillors attended the event and the introductory speech was given by our guest of honour Mr Sean Brennan, the Leader of Sutton Council:

Sutton Council have big plans for the regeneration of the whole of the Hackbridge area as part of the Hackbridge Masterplan, and the Wandle Trust has been working closely with Peter O’Connell and other Council officers to make sure river restoration is also part of this project.

After the speeches it was time for each school to release their trout. The students donned their waders and life jackets and were helped into the water by Wandle Trust volunteers:

The whole crowd counted down and then cheered as the pupils tilted their buckets and the young fish finally swam free:

I was particularly aware of how excitedly the children spoke about how it felt to wade in the water.  For most of them it was the first time they had ever done experienced anything like this. Like my own memories of a school trip to a waterway I’m sure many of them will remember this for a lifetime!

In a rather untimely manner OFSTED chose to visit Benedict School on this very morning which meant the school couldn’t take part in the first release event. Benedict were very happy though to have their own tailor made release, including a nature walk along the Wandle, the following week on Thursday 7 April. 

Articles about our Trout in the Classroom trout releases appeared in several local papers. Please click here to read one of these.

This year the volunteers who helped were: Andrew, Jez, Jim, John, Peter, Sally, Sally-Anne, Susan and Theo. I would also like to extend my thanks to all the volunteers who have supported our schools over the last ten years. Without them this project wouldn’t be possible.

Linden Lodge wins the Wandle Trust’s Carbon Footprint Competition

Deputy Mayor of Wandsworth Councillor Jane Cooper presents Linden Lodge School with first prize!

Our flagship ecological education project, Trout in the Classroom, has many environmental benefits but we are always looking for new ways of reducing its carbon footprint. Last year we ran a carbon balancing competition for the schools taking part.

Karen Gardiner, from the winning school Linden Lodge reports:

“The brown trout eggs arrived in January and were looked after, as they developed into swim-up fry, for two half terms by Key Stage 3 students. The pupils mostly enjoyed this but their least favourite job was removing the trout faeces or poo as they called it.

The project group estimated that they must have used 81 litres of water during the project. They decided they wanted to get some of this back – and held a special water saving week to try to achieve this. Some of the ideas the pupils came up with for saving water were: 

Don’t sing in the shower! You take longer. But a shower is much better than having a bath for saving water. Our slogan was ‘Sing in the rain – not the shower!’

Use the left over drinking water to water the garden and indoor plants. 

Recycle the old fish water – also very good for plants.

All our water saving endeavours won us the Wandle Trust Carbon Footprint Prize. We decided to put the money towards a specially commissioned tactile wall display of the life cycle of the brown trout to help our visually impaired students understand the process”.

Trout in the Classroom project teacher Launa Randels and a victorious student admire the tactile display.

The display was created by Linda Marshal, an artist who has worked at Linden Lodge for many years supporting young people with a visual impairment. She has used this experience to produce a range of tactile pictures which bring life and meaning to children who have complex needs. Karen continues:

“Linda is really inspirational in the way she gives children tactile awareness and helps them navigate their world. When people visit the school they see children exploring their environment with her tactile references. Much of Linda’s work is unique to Linden Lodge. She uses everyday materials in an imaginative and creative way and her use of colour, shape and texture makes objects come alive which stimulates children to feel, touch and smell.

We really want to thank everyone who took part in our water-saving week and helped us to win the Wandle Trust’s Carbon Footprint Prize!”

About Linden Lodge School
Linden Lodge School provides a high quality educational experience and support for pupils with a visual impairment or multi-disabled visual impairment which affects their access to learning. The school also supports pupils with profound and multiple learning difficulties.  Linden Lodge has been recognised as a specialist regional resource and caters for children aged 3 to 19. The school is situated in Wimbledon.