Salmon and Mayflies – Exe River Life Comes to School

Photo (left to right): Looking at life under a microscope
– David Rolls, Katie Blann (10) and Hannah Stephens (9)

Pupils at Bickleigh on the Exe Primary School will look after Salmon eggs  in their classroom this term, and will watch them hatch and develop before releasing them into a local tributary of the River Exe.

This week they had their first lesson about the project with local experts John Hickey (Westcountry Rivers Trust) and David Rolls (Heart of Exmoor). Students learned how to be good ‘Salmon carers’ to successfully enable the eggs to hatch and grow. John and David also introduced the class to other amazing river life – aquatic invertebrates like mayflies and stoneflies, which grow up underwater, and are food for the Salmon living in the River Exe.

Hannah Stephens (aged 9) loved the session – “It was great looking at all the aquatic creatures under the microscope. They were huge! I’m really looking forward to looking after the Salmon eggs in our classroom and releasing them back into the River Exe.”

“This is really exciting piece of work, which we are delighted to be involved in. The children were bowled over by the session!” remarked headteacher David Goode.

David Rolls (Heart of Exmoor) said, “I was really impressed by how much the pupils already knew – such as Exmoor is the source of the Exe, the excellent water quality and the great wildlife found throughout the Exe Valley.”

“With support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Environment Agency we’re raising awareness of the vital connection rivers make from moor to sea – providing drinking water, amazing aquatic habitat and a crucial corridor for wildlife.”

John Hickey (Westcountry Rivers Trust) said, “With EU Interreg IVA funding support through the Water Project, we are thrilled to be working with Bickleigh on the Exe and other local schools in the area. The enthusiasm of the pupils and staff really augurs well for the future sustainable management of the river Exe.”

“By protecting its wetlands and water quality, all aquatic wildlife will benefit, particularly its iconic Atlantic salmon populations which require clean, cool well oxygenated water to flourish.”

Background information

Moorland - the Heart of ExmoorThis is a joint partnership between the River Exe Project and Heart of Exmoor working with local schools.

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About Programme Manager

Helping people to enjoy and appreciate Exmoor National Park's moorland, and supporting those who take care of it.
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