This was one of the activities that the children were most looking forward to (as well as the teachers!!) … I think its because it had the extra excitement of water mixed with sunshine!
We were lucky enough to have Ranger Paul to take us down to a beautiful riverside spot in Ilam where we had a briefing about safety to creatures that we may find in the river as well safety to ourselves. We also discussed what we might find in the river and how to identify them using reference guides and the equipment we were given.
Then came the fun where the children were able to dip their nets in the river and either check with Paul or their reference guide as to what they had found. The children found so many tiny creatures most of which were water nymphs, lava and shrimps. We even saw a lava hatching out and transforming into a mayfly … what an amazing experience!
We learnt that whilst the organisms underwater still breathed oxygen, they each had their own individual way to “breathe” underwater. Some are able to “sieve” out the oxygen from the water, some take it from the surface of the water and others have adapted features such as gills to help them to perform this function.
The two classes had been mixed into two groups and from both groups there was one child who made a “splash” right at the beginning of the session, getting a little too close to nature! However, Paul had sensibly chosen a very shallow and safe spot for us to explore the river so there was no injury or upset and the sunshine dried the clothes out very quickly.