Connected Conservation Part 2!
Connected Conservation Part 2!
Blog Category: General update
Our “Connected Conservation Project” has now been delivered to two local secondary schools, Vale of Leven Academy and now Dumbarton Academy. In the first classroom lesson the students at Dumbarton Academy learnt about their local burn called the “Gruggies Burn” and were taught about the history, wildlife it supports and the potential it had for improvement.
Unfortunately our organised field trip was rained off and the burn was unsafe for the students to access so we brought the burn to them in the classroom! We went over how to carry out a kick sample and how to assess the health of their local burn by identifying key indicator species such as mayfly, stonefly and caddisfly in the sample we collected for them. Although we identified the burn was indicative of good water quality we discussed how human modifications to the burn had negative impacts on aquatic life.
We also revisited this session with the students at Vale of Leven Academy so they could work on it independently and compare results from earlier in the year. It was also a test to see what the students could remember from before the summer holidays and a few of the students shared their developed skills and knowledge with the rest of the class who missed out. Results indicated invertebrate numbers were similar to what they were before suggesting that there had been no pollution incidents in the burn since our last survey.
In our next classroom visit we delivered a brainstorming session to both schools about information boards. The classes discussed why they care about nature, why the habitat in and around the burn is so important and what message they could promote using a well-designed information board. Both schools discussed how tree planting and removing litter could improve the health and attractiveness of the burn. They were concerned about the lack of tree cover for wildlife and shade for juvenile fish. They were equally alarmed about the amount of litter and smashed glass and how it would cause harm to wildlife and dogs.
We enacted on what the students at Vale of Leven Academy suggested and organised a cleaned up of their local burn, the Millburn. They removed 7 bags of litter made up of plastic bottles and aluminium cans which can be widely recycled. This plastic waste also contributes to the wider global problem as they float down our waterways and into our oceans. We also removed other items such as old electrical items, a pair of chest waders and even parts of a car.
The same students also planted 4 oak trees and 60 mixed riparian woodland trees along the burn, with thanks to West Dunbartonshire Council. These trees will improve the local biodiversity, increase the burns aesthetic value and provide important habitat for wildlife. Importantly these trees will create shade which maintains optimal water temperatures for our native fish species during the summer. Roots and overhangs also offer our native fish species important cover from predators. Leaves and woody debris are also important to provide important nutrients and food for the invertebrates in the burn.
Previous electrofishing surveys identified that both Atlantic salmon and European eel use the Millburn as a nursery site. This emphases the importance of trees in these habitats to increase resilience of these iconic species to the impact of climate change.
Dumbarton Academy’s litter picks have been postponed on several occasions due to health and safety reasons but we hope to give them the opportunity in the near future!
#connectedconservation #levenlegacyproject #greggs4good