In collaboration with Central Scotland Green Network Trust (CSGNT; formerly the Central Scotland Forest Trust), Trout ‘n’ Trees introduced pupils from 16 primary schools in the upper Kelvin Valley to the ecology and health of their local rivers. The project was inspired by the work of biologist Kenneth Radway Allen (1911-2008), who observed that the number of trout in streams was sometimes greater than what could seemingly be supported by the food present in the water (the so-called ‘Allen Paradox’), and later concluded that additional terrestrial food items, such as insects falling from overhanging trees, must supplement the food in the river.
Through a mixture of field and classroom-based studies, children investigated the link between river and land ecosystems. On a field trip to their local river they learned how to sample aquatic invertebrates, witnessed an electrofishing demonstration and learned about the important role of trees on the riverbank with Dr Emilie Wadsworth of CSGNT. They took their samples back to the class for ID in a pop-up laboratory and evaluated their findings to produce a river health score for their river. Following the river days the CRF produced a project summary poster for each school based on their findings.