A special project to help protect the River Kennet and educate youngsters about the importance of water has reached a landmark anniversary.
Led by the Action for the River Kennet (ARK) group and part-funded by Thames Water, the Trout in School scheme celebrated its 10th anniversary of engaging with thousands of children.
To celebrate, a special trout release into the Osier Bed Stream was attended by primary school children from Emmer Green and Meadow Park in Reading, plus representatives from ARK and Thames Water.
Dozens of tiny brown trout were released in March after the schoolchildren had been looking after them in their classrooms.
It helped them gain an understanding that the wildlife living in the Kennet catchment are sensitive and can only thrive in a healthy environment.
Charlotte Allen, who attended the release on behalf of Thames Water, said: “It was really pleasing to see how excited the children were when they were releasing the fish, and how much they learned.
“At Thames we work closely with ARK on educational projects such as this and it’s a key objective for us to engage the younger generation about the environment surrounding them.
“We’re looking forward to continuing this relationship for many years to come.”
The Trout in School scheme is part of the wider Water Matters initiative from ARK, which tours the region’s schools educating children about water and the environment, and what they can do to help it.
As part of the trout programme, the children look after the fish and are given a tank and kit from the charity which replicates the condition of the river.
They’re also taught about water efficiency and how, if they use less water, it means not as much needs to be abstracted which helps the fish thrive.
Anna Forbes, from ARK, said: “Working with the schools is a pleasure, the teachers and other staff love the project as much as the children!
“It is really rewarding to help inspire the classes about their river. Many of them have never thought about what lives in a river or where their water comes from.“Often children have never set foot in their local river. The project opens their eyes to a whole new world on their doorstep and makes them think about how being water efficient, at school and at home, is a really positive action.”