RiverLAB Trout in the Classroom 2014/2015: with the Heart of Teesdale Landscape Partnership

After a successful TITC last year, Teesdale School were keen to keep their trout in the classroom for longer – releasing them in the summer term. Barnard Castle School were up for this too, so after a tank installation in December and January delivery of eggs, by post this time, the schools were all set up. Teesdale’s Year 10’s were fascinated by the trout so we took in some fresh whole Rainbow Trout from the local supermarket for them to have a closer look at fish structure and function. Keeping the fish for longer, meant that the school children were able to see the changes in size, colour and markings as the fry developed, along with the development of territorial behaviour.

RiverLAB Summer Series 2014: Sculpting with Natural Materials and Cobweb-Felt River Surfaces

This year we looked more closely at the river surface itself…observing and drawing the rippling flow of the water. This initial sketch became a water colour painting which was then used as a design source for each child’s piece of cobweb felt. All the pieces were added together, rubbed and rolled, to become one large collaborative felted river surface!

Opting for sculpture again, we all had great fun with our new lo-melt cordless glue guns… The children produced amazingly intricate models of their chosen freshwater animal, using their river-side sketches.

RiverLAB Winter Series 2013/14: Trout in the Classroom

Apart from the fascination of watching trout eggs hatch and grow into tiny fry in your own classroom, the Trout in the Classroom project is a great way to learn how important water quality is to the animals in our rivers.

This programme began in the States 30 years ago, dreamt up by a Canadian teacher and a DFO (Fisheries and Oceans Canada) community advisor. As part of RiverLAB, the Trust is now into its second year collaborating with local schools in the HOT area, providing all the equipment needed, delivering the eggs donated by Northern Trout, and co-ordinating the release of the fry at the end of the project. We’re available to provide any guidance and support the trout carers need along the way, and find this a great way to engage the trout volunteers with this fascinating species, its life cycle and the river habitat.

With this year being the final year of the HOT RiverLAB series, we are now planning the rollout of RiverLAB down-river from Piercebridge to Teesmouth – giving more children the chance to explore and engage with their local Tees tributary. This is part of a much bigger project – the ‘River Tees Rediscovered’, which is funded by the HLF through the RTR Landscape Partnership.

RiverLAB Summer Series 2013: Wire Sculptures and Printmaking

After mapping the river with graphite sticks first, children printed their own unique habitat maps..

Sculpted invertebrates emerged as the children worked the black iron wire, inspired by their observational drawings and creating fantastic models. We even ended up with a few fish sculptures.