Pupils at Ysgol Bro Tryweryn host a trout hatchery in their classroom

With the help of the Park Authority’s Wardening team, pupils from Ysgol Bro Tryweryn near Bala will enjoy learning about the life cycle of trout by overseeing a hatchery in their classroom.

As the Snowdonia National Park Authority’s contribution to the LIFE Dee River project, Wardens in the Bala area will work in collaboration with a local primary school to establish a temporary hatchery in the classroom.

Establishing and caring for the fish eggs as they develop into fry will provide the pupils with a fantastic opportunity to learn about the life cycle of fish and the riverine environment.

As well as the school hatchery, the Wardens will oversee another hatchery at their centre at Llyn Tegid, from where they will release video diaries at key stages in the fish’s development. These video diaries will be published on a dedicated page on the Park Authority’s website, along with a live video stream from the hatchery.

The fry will remain in the hatchery until they have grown large enough to survive in the nearby Afon Tryweryn. Although around 150-200 eggs will be placed in each hatchery, unfortunately not all are expected to survive and be released in the river. Some eggs will fail, and some fish will be subject to disease testing prior to releasing the remainder of the shoal into the river to protect the native wild stock of brown trout.

Arwel Morris, Llyn Tegid and Area Warden said:

"The past couple of years have been really difficult for school children who have had to spend a large part of their school year learning from home, so it’s nice to be able to get out and join them in the classroom to help with establishing the hatchery and provide guidance.
"Through hands-on learning about the life cycle of fish – from introducing the eggs into the hatchery and overseeing them until their release into Afon Tryweryn, we hope that the experience will spark an interest in the natural environment and an appreciation of the importance of its protection."

Joel Rees-Jones, LIFE Dee River Project Manager said:

"Giving school children the opportunity to see trout eggs developing and hatching in their classroom or online is a fantastic way for them to connect with their local river. The LIFE Dee River project is working across the Dee catchment to remove barriers and improve the habitat in the river for the benefit of a wide range of species including salmon, lamprey and trout.  Giving kids the opportunity to see what is normally hidden beneath the water’s surface will hopefully ensure they protect their local river in the future."

Mr Daniel Roberts of Ysgol Bro Tryweryn, y Bala said:

"It was a pleasure to see the pupils respond so eagerly to the eggs’ arrival at the classroom, and they are all so excited to see them hatch. After listening to an introduction and receive guidance by the Wardens on how to look after the eggs, they are now ready and eager to work in pairs to oversee the hatchery over the next few weeks."

Schools all over the country can benefit from this fantastic project. Live footage from the hatchery will be streamed on-line 24 hours a day along with the provision of an educational pack full of activities so that pupils from across Wales and beyond can enjoy watching and learning about these little fish and their habitat.

The National Park Authority’s Warden Service is leading on the hatchery project as part of its commitment to Natural Resources Wales’ LIFE Dee River project.