Tag Archives: Trout in the Classroom

Freelance Teachers Wanted

Project KingfisherAs part of our new education programme, Project Kingfisher, we are looking to recruit two freelance teachers on the River Wandle.

Project Kingfisher is designed to raise awareness about the River Wandle by engaging children and young people with the river and incorporating it into their lessons. It has been funded through the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership.

Last year Project Kingfisher engaged nearly 4000 students, visiting 23 schools in the Wandle catchment. We hope to exceed this in the next academic year and the freelance teachers will play a large role in this, enabling delivery of the project to more schools. More information on Project Kingfisher can be found on our website: www.wandletrust.org/education

To find out more about the available positions, download our Role Description below.

Freelance Teacher Role Description

Details on how to apply can be found on the role description. The application deadline is Monday 24th October at noon, with interviews likely to take place the week commencing 31st October.

If you have any questions about the role or application process, please call our Education Officer on 07468 529 312 or email david.gill@wandletrust.org

Shrimp Release

Award Winning Wandle Restoration

Our rehabilitation work on the Carshalton Arm of the River Wandle recently won the Urban Category of the 2016 UK River Prize – an incredible achievement for all of those involved.

To express our thanks to everyone who has helped us along the way over the last 10 years, we have created a short film. So make yourself a cup of tea and enjoy…

Welcome to our new Education Officer!

The Wandle Trust is proud to introduce David Gill as our new Education Officer.

David Gill - Education OfficerDavid is going to be responsible for following on from the very successful ‘Trout in the Classroom’ programme that we ended last year.

We’ll aim to draw on David’s extensive experiences of working in the classroom to create a very innovative teaching and learning package that will engage children and young people throughout the catchment of the Wandle. A project that is possible through the Living Wandle Landscape Partnership, funded by the National Lottery’s Heritage Lottery Fund.

David has been teaching for over twenty years and has taught everyone from pre-school to adults! He has travelled around the world for both business and for pleasure. David also works as an Education Officer for a local wildlife trust where he initiates and develops Programmes of Study in line with the revised National Curriculum. He is particularly interested in the incorporation of information technology in to environmental learning.

David completed his degree in Environmental Sciences at UEA in Norwich before embarking on his Post Graduate Certificate of Education in secondary school geography and sciences. His classroom experiences include teaching in a remote jungle school in Papua New Guinea, working with street children in Southern India and tutoring via the radio in the Australian outback.

David says ‘I am looking forward to the challenges of this exciting job – I hope that in working with schools we can increase the awareness of the Wandle in to the lives of local children and their families in a fun and practical way’.


Landscape Logo pantone 2747



Trout in the Classroom 2014: A fond farewell

At the end of April, on a bright spring day, the Trout in the Classroom graduates of 2014 finally got the sending off they deserved. Five south London schools along with the Deputy Mayor of Merton (Councillor John Sargeant) and Wandle Trust staff and volunteers were there to mark the event.

The Deputy Mayor began proceedings with a perspective on just how far the river has come since he was a boy growing up in the area. He then gamely obliged us by stepping into a pair of waders and lowering himself into the river to help the children with the release.

Deputy Mayor talking at release 2014

There was no shortage of excitement on display. For the children, the day was the culmination of a fascinating journey of discovery into the life a native fish species – from egg to alevin to fry – literally opening up a whole new world.

Kenley fish at release 2014

As an adult watching the event, it strikes you how tangible the exhilaration of the children is – something that is perhaps no longer that familiar to us. It extended to secondary level – if in a more controlled fashion! – as students from Francis Barber PRU and Sutton Grammar also were clearly pleased to be in the river and part of the event.

Mayor with Kenley students at 2014 release

I was particularly interested in the reaction of students from Culvers House primary school, some of whom spent their time enthusiastically picking up litter and pointing out rubbish on the river bed. Although wishing to oblige them, by the time those in the water got around to looking for the rubbish, too much silt had been kicked up for it to be seen, to the disappointment of the children.

Kenley Release 2014

Their enthusiasm nonetheless impressed me, and it struck me how much their optimism and belief in their ability to make a difference is such a precious commodity that young people are uniquely gifted with, and is something that we should be doing our very best to protect and cultivate. It is a crucial part of changing things for the better. And with its story of successfully reintroducing a breeding population of brown trout into a once heavily polluted and industrial environment, Trout in the Classroom once again demonstrated how it can play such an important role in keeping that optimism alive.

Note: River pollution and Trout in the Classroom

Anyone familiar with TitC will notice that the release was a little later than usual. Normally timed to occur before the Easter holidays, the release day this year had to be postponed by a month on account of a significant pollution spill in the river.

Following the heavy rains over the winter, large amounts of water entered the works as a consequence of the high water table and mixed with the untreated sewage. This overwhelmed the treatment plant storage capacity and Thames Water were obliged to discharge the raw sewage directly into the River Wandle. Although no fish kills were reported, oxygen levels were severely depleted.

Even since the release, further pollution incidents have occurred. The connection to Trout in the Classroom is appropriate as it serves as a reminder how the Wandle is still a river with an uncertain future facing significant man-made threats. This is why education projects like TitC have a vital role in helping local people feel invested in the health of the river and the species that depend upon it, and can teach them to be alert to any deterioration in its condition. In turn, this could help build the consensus for the authorities and water companies to make the investments required to eliminate these threats.

(All photos: (c) Mike van der Vord)

Trout in the Classroom 2013: Farewell for another year!

Trout in the Classroom 2013 - with George Monbiot

With three rousing cheers and a final farewell, the last of this year’s trout swam off into the waters of the Wandle.

Three Wandle Valley schools – plus about 10 staff and volunteers – congregated in the lovely Morden Hall Park on Thursday 18 April. This being only my third visit to the park, I’m more convinced than ever that it is one of the top parks in London. Much of this is owed to the river itself which casts a magical spell on the surrounding areas.

The gods played their part with their timing of the weather. It was a perfect April day – with bright, warm sunshine but followed by the most torrential rain we’ve seen all year. Fortunately, by the time the rain arrived we were safely inside the National Trust café with our tea and scones, celebrating a successful release and another successful year of Trout from the Classroom to the Wandle!

Greenmeads School

It was particularly inspiring to see the young children from Greenmeads Primary School in Putney, some of whom had arrived in wheelchairs. They greatly enjoyed getting into the water, and they had also integrated the trout brilliantly into their classroom with displays on the school corridors. A trout demonstration is planned for school assembly next month. Well done to them!

Greenmeads - Drew in the water

Two Sutton schools took part this year: Orchard Hill College and Culvers House Primary School. Chris from Orchard Hill has done a fantastic job of looking after the fish this year, ending up with around 60 fry, one of the best tallies in what has been a tough year for some of the schools. Chris’s pride in the achievement was, understandably, very tangible!

Orchard Hill - Chris in the water

Culvers House Primary have had a hard year in raising their fish this year with a number of fish kills drastically reducing their numbers. And yet the enthusiasm from the children and the teachers has just been incredible and has never faltered.

When I visited Culvers House to give a presentation on the subject to the assembly, the attention of the young people over 40 minutes was extraordinary – as were the number of intelligent questions they put to me and Chris from Penta Consulting, which generously supported the programme in the school. The core team of children who looked after the tank brimmed with ideas, curiosity and energy – which was brilliant to witness.

Culvers House - releasing fish

We also had a very special guest at our Morden Hall Park event – George Monbiot from the Guardian newspaper. Although I didn’t let on at the time, he is something of a personal hero with his incredibly insightful environmental writing and I was a bit stunned in seeing him turn up. It was also not without some apprehension – knowing that he doesn’t pull his punches.

However, the piece that he wrote was extremely touching and personal and is a wonderful piece of writing.  A fly fisherman himself when time allows, it was clear the project had a genuine impact on him.  A big thanks goes to Mark and Nick of Project Dirt for setting up the connection.

So well done to the students this year. It has been a fascinating year of learning and experiencing the outdoors on our doorstep – for myself included – and I can’t wait to do it again!

Trout fry release

(First photo: Theo Pike / Urbantrout.  All others: Mike van der Vord)

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

Celebrating 11 years of Trout in the Classroom success on the Wandle!

Saturday 27 October saw a large gathering of  people at Strawberry Lodge in Carshalton on the banks of the Wandle. The event was a chance for us at the Trust to thank all our loyal volunteers for their support and commitment since the beginning of our Trout in the Classroom project back in 2001.

Also present were many interested new recruits keen and eager to find out what this inspiring educational project is all about.  It was particularly heartening that environmental students from Kings College London and recent graduates from Sparsholt fisheries management degree courses came to sign up as volunteers for this year’s project: a new generation keen to see the continuing regeneration of the River Wandle!

The event kicked off with a presentation which looked back at the evolution of the trout project, followed by a question and answer session.

After this our talented new Project Coordinator AJ McConville was introduced to the audience. As befits the newest recruit to the Wandle Trust team, AJ advises government on environmental policy but is also very hands-on and practical – as evidenced by a hatchery he had assembled for the occasion!

At 12.30pm we broke for a buffet lunch which was welcomed by all.

After lunch those that were able to stay braved the squally weather for a guided walk upstream along the Butter Hill stretch of the river, where we talked about the work we’ve been doing to improve the natural habitat. In fact many of our trout project volunteers have also been involved with this regeneration work and so they were able to impart their considerable knowledge too.

Finally, we rounded off the event with a well earned drink at the Greyhound pub beside Carshalton Ponds at the headwaters of the Wandle.

Thanks and congratulations to anyone who’s ever been involved in helping us deliver our educational projects!

FF&FT features Trout in the Classroom

We’re thrilled to let all our friends and supporters know that a 5-page feature on our annual Trout in the Classroom project, and the Wild Trout Trust’s Mayfly in the Classroom initiative, has just appeared in October’s issue of Fly Fishing & Fly Tying magazine.

The article has been written by the Wandle Piscators’ President Peter Lapsley, and features an in-depth interview with Gideon Reeve, Wandle Trust Trustee and Director of our Trout in the Classroom programme.

Copies of the magazine are available from all good newsagents including WH Smith or directly from the Fly Fishing & Fly Tying office… get yours today!

We’re still taking applications for a Project Co-ordinator to run this year’s programme. If this sounds like you, please contact us as soon as possible…

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