Education, training and awareness raising are key aspects of the work of GFT. We work with all ages on a range of programmes.
In 1991 GFT designed the award winning project "Salmon In The Classroom" which has since rolled out across much of Scotland. Participating schools have a visit from a biologist who gives an informative talk about salmon, rivers and the work of the Trust. They are given a specialised classroom hatchery tank with 100 eyed salmon eggs. The children rear these eggs until returning them as unfed fry to their natal river. Later in the year GFT staff and the children return to the release site and watch GFT carry out electrofishing to recapture 'their' fish and to study the fish populations present. If local schools are interested to get involved in our work then we try to accommodate them and design new project ideas.
GFT runs various training programmes. On behalf of the Scottish Fisheries Co-ordination Centre (SFCC) GFT staff deliver training courses on both Introductory and Team Leader Electrofishing annually.
GFT staff give talks and presentations to a wide range of audiences including angling clubs, District Salmon Fishery Boards, wildlife groups, rotary clubs, etc. We also attend and provide informative displays at a number of local agricultural shows and community events.
Focussed seminars, toolbox talks and workshops can be organised by GFT. Past examples include awareness raising of the threats of Gyrodactylus salaris and understanding the importance of considering genetics when planning stocking programmes.
GFT deliver the ‘Tongland Tour’ based at Tongland Power Station and Dam near Kirkcudbright on behalf of DRAX. This tour is available to interested groups who wish to come and explore the amazing history of the Galloway Hydro Scheme, which has been in operation since the mid 1930’s. Part of the tour focuses on the operator's efforts to overcome any negative impacts that the hydro scheme has on native biodiversity. Here we discuss developments in easing salmon, sea trout and eel passage at various parts of the scheme as well as managing water levels to protect plant and animal life surrounding Loch Ken.
GFT also provides various opportunities for volunteers to undertake training, to improve their skills and learn about our work. Volunteer training events are regularly held and individuals can come along and help with many aspects of field work. More formal training opportunities are provided by the Trust through internships - these give wonderful opportunities for post graduates to develop their career.
On Saturday 26th August we held our annual Kirkcowan Fishing Competition. 35 adults and 12 juniors entered the competition this year, providing a fund of £211 that is put back into the event via prizes and a buffet.
Riparian zones bridge the gap between land and river, creating an important habitat for insects while also providing shade and protection against erosion. We do a lot of habitat work mainly to help aquatic species like fish, but we are keen to monitor and understand the wider biodiversity benefits.