I volunteered with Forth Rivers Trust to help them with the Fish in the Classroom project. This project is aimed at primary school children in P4/5 classes.  The first step was to give the classes the initial presentation about the project.  This presentation told the children about the life cycle of the trout, the best type of environment for the trout and any issue that affects the trout such as pollution and poaching.  Also, in the presentation was about how the children needed to look after the trout eggs which was put bottles of ice into the tank to keep the temperature of the water blow 10oC. Also, once the children got their eggs they needed to look out for any dead ones.

Once the tank was set up it was left for a week so the water could be filtered and have time to get the water cool. Once the tanks were ready the fish eggs could go into them; first we went to the River Centre to collect the fish eggs – about 200 eggs for each class. When in the schools, we showed the children the eggs before putting them in the tank and explained to them why the eggs needed time to adjust to the temperature of the tank water. Then we slowly released the eggs into the tank.  The children got to keep the eggs for about 6 weeks and once the eggs had developed into fry, we released them into the river.

First, we bagged up the fish so the children could each carry a bag down to the river.  Once there, children put the fish into the bucket. Amy – who was in charge of the project – would take the bucket into the river to release the fish as the children watched from the side. At the schools I went to, I set up tables with trays that had kick samples in. I did this alongside another member of the Trust who collected the sample so the children could look at the insects that were in the river that the trout would eat when released. 

The children really enjoyed the project with getting to look after the fish eggs up to seeing them being released. I also enjoyed volunteering on this project and I learnt a lot as well. For example, I learnt more detail about the life cycle of the trout along with learning how the fish farm gets the eggs from a female fish and how the eggs are treated.  I also learnt about how to best look after the trout eggs. One of the parts of looking after them was by removing dead eggs, otherwise the dead ones would have spread diseases to the healthy ones. The way to tell if the eggs were dead was that they would go white, whereas a healthy egg would be orange. I got very good at finding and removing the dead eggs and I was also given a chance to learn how to do kick sampling in the river.   

I have benefited as a volunteer by getting to work with a great group of people and meeting people from other groups, such as anglers, who were also involved in the project.  I have also benefited as I got to experience things that I would not normally have encountered – for example getting to go to the River Centre with the make-shift hatchery setup!