Trout in the Classroom

Artwork by Waterside School studentsThis educational project was established on the Chess in 2009 by the Chilterns Chalk Streams Project. The Chess is lucky to be the first Chilterns river to benefit from Trout in the Classroom. We now have specially designed aquaria installed at a number of schools along the valley to recreate river conditions. During the trout breeding season (in the winter), fertile brown trout eggs are added to the tanks and left to the care of the pupils.

Under the supervision of teacher, the Chilterns Chalk Streams Project Officer Allen Beechey and RCA volunteers, the pupils feed and clean out the young fish as they develop. This gives the students the chance to learn about the life cycle of brown trout and to develop an interest in their local river. The schools are also invited to undertake site visits to the Chess to find out more about the river first-hand as part of the project.

The trout rearing aquarium - copyright Allen BeecheySince 2009, a large number of trout have been reared successfully by local schools and released into the Chess; resulting in the first trout in the upper reaches of the Chess since the drought of 2006. The project has attracted national media interest, with the trout release by Waterside School in the recently regenerated Meades Water Gardens being filmed for the BBC1 programme Countryfile in 2009.

It is hoped that the project can be extended to even more schools in the catchment so that more children can be inspired to learn about and care for the Chess.