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02 July 18

Haydon School students break out of class for science

Students from Haydon School, Eastcote broke out of the classroom last Thursday to undertake important fieldwork to assess the health of the River Pinn as part of the ‘Riverfly for Schools’ programme.

The ‘Riverfly for Schools’ is a pilot programme run by Affinity Water and delivered by leading waterways charity, Thames21. The programme aims to support young people gain valuable and practical scientific experience working in the environment.

In preparation for their fieldwork day, the Year 9 Geography students had an introductory session at school to learn about the national river monitoring citizen science scheme and the importance of rivers for water supplies, transportation and leisure.

The fieldwork day started with the students donning wellies and sampling the river for invertebrates to monitor what lives there. The species found within a river, often creatures such as fly larvae (Riverfly species), can indicate the health of a river - as different species have different tolerances to pollution.

The students found a wide variety of life within the river whilst honing their identification skills to work out which species they had caught. In the afternoon, the students took physical measurements of the river such as width, depth and velocity.

Haydon School teacher, Ryan Harding said: “The Riverfly for School’s programme has been a great experience. Our pupils have had an opportunity to undertake fieldwork, which is a great introduction to the GCSE Geography curriculum. I do believe our pupils have further gained an understanding and greater appreciation of local biodiversity.”

Hannah Battram, Affinity Water’s Education Services Manager says: “We’re really excited to start this new initiative working with Thames 21 and local school groups. Finding out what lives in our rivers and the ways in which human beings can impact these species (both positively and negatively) is a great way of bringing geography and science learning to life, in a practical and engaging way. It’s so important for young people to value our water sources so that we can continue to protect them in the future.”

Edel Fingleton, from Thames21 said: “Rivers are one of our most precious natural resources; connecting the land to our oceans. As is widely known, our oceans face a growing threat from pollution, but Thames21 believes giving young people opportunities to connect with rivers will prevent future harm to our marine and riverine environments. The saying goes ‘you can’t save what you don’t love’ so that’s what we are doing here; giving students the chance to enjoy their rivers and fall in love with them so that ultimately we create a society that more strongly cherishes our natural world.”

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