Looking downstream on the River Cree
Looking upstream on the River Bladnoch
Felling of commercial forestry in Galloway Forest Park
Looking upstream on the River Luce
North American Signal Crayfish
The sandy beach at Loch Grannoch
Belted Galloway Cattle, or 'Belties'
Fly fishing on the River Cree
A small upland burn
The High Cree, looking towards Cairnsmore of Fleet
A small waterfall on the Buchan Burn
A salmon from the Kirkcudbrightshire Dee
Primary 5's and Eco Committee members from Dalbeattie Primary School recently completed their salmon in the classroom project.
The project began back in February when the school received 100 salmon as eyed ova and were taught about the complex lifecycle of the Atlantic salmon, an iconic fish species widely distributed throughout Scotland. Using a cooler tank system, the children successfully hatched their salmon and were able to return them to their native river catchment – which on this occasion was the Kirkcudbright Dee. To help understand some of the local pressures facing salmon within the freshwater environment, during the same outing, the children visited a fish farm on the Bladnoch and were taught here about pollution control measures amongst an exciting opportunity to handle adult fish! In order to appreciate some man-made pressures on salmon closer to home, in May, the children also took a tour of Tongland Power Station and Dam, where they were able to see the majestic structures that have to be overcome to allow salmon to home back to their spawning grounds. Last week, the project culminated in a return visit to the River Dee to oversee electrofishing as a means of gathering fish from their nursery grounds and checking how their salmon alevins, now ‘fry’, had developed over the warm spring months. This was also an opportunity to see and learn more about another pressure - the non-native American Signal Crayfish that inhabit Loch Ken and its feeder burns - facing the juvenile stages of salmon that live in the Dee catchment. To demonstrate fish diversity between local river catchments, the children also had a quick stop at Spottes Burn on the Urr where they were able to handle salmon fry and parr, as well as native brown trout and the European Eel.
GFT have been delivering a salmon project within Dalbeattie Primary School since 2011 when John Moran - a keen angler on the Urr and key member of the Dalbeattie Angling Association - helped run a small hatchery operation on the river. Upon John's sad passing later in the year, John had requested that donations be made to GFT for the continuation of a salmon project in Dalbeattie Primary School and to aid this, a cooler system was purchased in his memory. This cooler system has allowed the project's continuation to this day - ensuring Dalbeattie Primary School children remain aware of and learn to appreciate the wonders of their local river. John would have been delighted to learn that many of the children involved in the project this year are also keen anglers who will be out fishing the Urr when river levels rise.
GFT would like to thank Heather Dyson and Alex Howie from Dalbeattie Primary School for their wonderful enthusiasm throughout the project and in making each outing possible with use of the community bus; to Tim Ewing and Mark Davies who provide exceptional support during the hatchery and fish farm tours; to Scottish Power for providing the Tongland Tour and finally, to the children of Dalbeattie Primary School who we hope have enjoyed the project and have learnt a little more about their local environment, it’s wildlife and their place in helping protect salmon and many other native fish species for generations to come. If you are interested in becoming involved in a Galloway Fisheries Trust Primary or Secondary School education project, please contact Rowan Armstrong on 01671 40 3011 to note your interest.