Explore your river

Forth Rivers Trust and the RiverLife: Almond & Avon project provide a range of learning opportunities for a variety of audiences which relate to rivers and wildlife.  We offer various programmes that run within schools, work with after school groups such as cubs, scouts and girl guides, and offer out of school extra-curricular activities that are freely available on our website.  See below for more information and downloads on the activities and services available.

The key aim for all our activities and participants is to have fun while also learning important information about rivers and how they help wildlife and communities thrive.

If you are interested in finding out more about our learning opportunities please email us on riverlife@forthriverstrust.org or call 0131 445 1527.

Ways to explore the river

There are many fun ways to learn more about your river, see below for activities and programs for all ages and interests.

Caddis fly craft (do it at home)
Ages: 4+

Description: See our instruction sheet with a list of materials and step-by-step instructions for creating your own caddis fly larvae craft at home.

Bug bingo (do it at home)
Ages: 4-10 (Only do this with a parent or carer!)

Description: Kick at the riverbed in the low water to collect a selection of the invertebrates (bugs) that live there. With your bucket, net, magnifying glass and a spoon, search through and mark off on a card the beasties that have been caught.

You will need: wellies, a bucket, a net, a spoon (or something to scoop small things from your bucket), a magnifying glass, our bug bingo card, a pen or marker

Mini-RiverFly Monitoring (do it at home)
Ages: 10+ (Only do this with a parent or carer!)

Description: Head down to your local river (when the water level is low only) or burn with a net and kick about in the stones with the net downstream of your feet, any wee beasties will be washed in to your net. Place the beasties from the river in a container with some water and have a look at them. Use a spoon to search through and mark off on a card the beasties that are present.

You will need: wellies, a bucket, a net, a spoon (or something to scoop small things from your bucket), a magnifying glass, our Mini-RiverFly monitoring card, a pen or marker and complete the sheet. Share with us what you find in your local river on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Predator Prey Game

Ages: 7+

Description:  Living things depend on each other for food and are all connected in what we call food chains.  Our Predator Prey game is an identification game in which you place the mammals, birds, fish and insects in the pictures provided into a food chain.  What do each of these eat?

You will need: The Predator Prey card pack available for download here.

Good River / Bad River artwork

Ages: All

Description: With crayons or coloured markers, draw what you think a healthy river should look like. What kind of habitat is there, are there animals, do you have playparks alongside?

Start out by drawing your river and then next to this you can draw the different things you would like to see when you are at the river! When you finish, use another sheet of paper to draw what you think an unhealthy river would look like. What kind of habitat is there, is there rubbish lying around, do you have big factories nearby?

Guidance notes are available here for a bad river and good river.

We would love to see your picture.  If you want, you can share it with us at riverlife@forthriverstrust.org or on Facebook or Instagram.  It may even make an appearance on our website, but don’t worry, we won’t put your drawing up if you do not want us to!

Our Fish in the Classroom programme is based on the Curriculum for Excellence outcomes and is designed for Primary 4-5 aged children.  The aim of the project is to teach children about environmental responsibility and advocacy in a fun and absorbing way.  We provide a fish tank and fish eggs for the pupils to practice animal husbandry for several months after which we release the fish.

Outcomes include

  • Pupils (and teachers) to understand the importance of a river habitat, no matter how big or small,
  • pupils to learn about food webs, animal life cycles (in particular salmonids), and the biology of fish,
  • identification of aquatic invertebrates
  • pupils to recognise river issues, how their actions effect that, and the work carried out by River Forth Fisheries Trust, i.e RiverLife: Almond & Avon, INNS, etc.

A more detailed guide on what the programme includes, and a timeline of events is available in our leaflet available for download here.

The Teachers Hub is here, please use the password provided by one of the staff team.

Aspen in the Classroom introduces pupils in late primary school to a rare and important tree species – Populus tremula – which provides diverse animal habitat and stabilises riverbanks.

The program involves potting on and looking after native aspen clones before planting them by a nearby watercourse.  In taking part, pupils will strengthen their connection with the local environment; learn about why trees are so important for rivers; and get their hands dirty through some practical conservation work. It’s a perfect accompaniment to Fish in the Classroom and recaps what was learnt during this program.

If your school would like to get involved, get in touch with the RiverLife team at riverlife@forthriverstrust.org.

The Teachers Hub is here, please use the password provided by one of the staff team.

Dynamic Rivers is aimed at secondary school aged pupils and is designed to engage pupils with geographical features and the dynamic landscapes of our rivers.  Designed with local secondary schools and based on Curriculum for Excellence outcomes, our staff use a specially designed river model table to

  • Discuss rivers within the landscape including upper, middle and lower sections, channel forms and features including meanders, braiding, gorges, levees, floodplains etc.
  • Demonstrate causes and effects of river processes, such as erosion, transportation, deposition
  • Identify human impacts on rivers including climate change, urbanisation and pollution
  • Provide an overview of how we can help rivers through conservation work whether that’s for the benefit of fish, otters, the bugs and beasties in the river and everyone who uses rivers for recreation, work etc.

For a list of CfE outcomes associated with our Dynamic Rivers activity please see the document available here.

Angling is a past time for many and a great way to engage with rivers and the environment. It is however harder to engage with the sport unless you already know keen anglers.

We offer a series of sessions for groups to learn how to fish. Each session is tailored to learning about different aspects of rivers, angling and how to be safe next to water.

  • Session one focuses on introducing the participants to rivers and river wildlife, highlighting the different fish species in rivers, how the different parts of the river support fish and wildlife but also the fly life found in the river.
  • Session two focuses on water safety, learning about fly life and how to set up and cast a rod. This is an indoor session that will start to introduce the participants to the skills they will need to fish during session three.
  • Session three sees participants take the skills they have learnt so far and put them into practice. Participants will be able to continue to learn how to fish at a fishery where they will be able to continue to develop and improve their skills.

Get in touch with the team on riverlife@forthriverstrust.org to see if where there’s opportunities local to you.