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Spawn to be Wild

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Posted: Wednesday 15th April 2015 by WildSchools

Avon Wildlife Trust visits Victoria Park Primary and Whitehall Primary schools.

Year 5 children at Victoria Park Primary School and Whitehall Primary School were in for a treat this week when they received delivery of a tank and a multitude of European glass eels to look after for 6 weeks! They are taking part in the Avon Wildlife Trust yearly Spawn to be Wild project which happens every spring when the young European eels swim up the freshwater rivers of the West Country. This migration begins the eels' quest to find a suitable habitat to live in and to mature into a fully grown adult. This can be problematic for eels in today's rivers with their flood defences and so they have become a critically endangered species. The Spawn to be Wild project is our way of helping them.

In class the children learnt about the eels' fascinating life cycle and what happens at each stage - from egg and larval form to fully grown adult; from the Sargasso Sea all the way across the Atlantic to Europe's river mouths. The workshop included creating an imaginative eel comic strip and, as they are also learning about life cycles in general, the children thought about other freshwater life cycles to see how they compared - newt, dragonfly and frog. Afterwards they made a freshwater food chain together to discover where freshwater bugs, eels, birds and river weed get their energy from. Finally, it was time to create some other food chains for both freshwater and saltwater inhabitants.

All the children were super enthusiastic about looking after their see-through glass eels and watching them grow over the next month and a half into pigmented elvers. After this time the elvers will be ready to head off to Blagdon Lake to be released by the children - hopefully into the perfect environment for them to survive, grow and mature into fully grown adults. And then, after 5, 10, 15 or 20 years(!), it'll be the turn of the mature adult eels to swim all the way back down to the sea and across the Atlantic Ocean once again, where they will spawn and die in the Sargasso Sea.

Spawn to be Wild is a joint project from Avon Wildlife Trust and Bristol Water. 

(Below) Victoria Park Primary and Whitehall Primary School's year 5s learning about the lifecycle of an eel. 











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