Pupils at a Moray primary school are helping increase the salmon stock in a local river while learning more about the natural environment in which they live.
Primary 7 pupils at Rothes have teamed up with the Spey Fishery Board and Spey Foundation in a programme that seeks to provide young people with an opportunity to raise salmon eggs in the classroom.
Pupils care for the eggs until they hatch and develop into alevins before releasing them into Rothes Burn where they can continue to develop in their natural habitat.
Teacher Hazel MacDonell explained that it was the second time the pupils have been involved in the Spey Fishery Boards’ ‘Salmon in the Classroom’ project.
She said: “I think the pupils have got more out of this year as they understand the implications more. The pupils love to see what lives in the wild – just before Easter they released 150 salmon.
“We took on mink rafts to monitor whether there are mink in the area. Through the project they are learning what is native to the Speyside area.”
Assistant biologist with the foundation and co-ordinator for the education project is Polly Burns, who said: “It is great to see schools and pupils taking such an active interest in their local environment and putting such enthusiasm into looking after these salmon.”
Salmon in the Classroom is a nationwide project for pupils at primary 5 to 7 level but one that can be adapted for older children. Further information on the project and local contacts can be found online at http://www.snh.org.uk/salmonintheclassroom/project_who.shtml.