Muirfield Primary School learning about the life cycle of salmon.
Muirfield Primary School learning about the life cycle of salmon.

The River Dee Trust provides education throughout Deeside through the IntroDee programme to encourage an interest and understanding of the Dee and develop a sense of stewardship for the River.

Each year we work with over 300 local school children who learn more about the River, its uses and importance and enjoy hands on activities outdoors.

June is a busy month with schools keen to have a day out of the classroom before the school holidays and where better to visit than the banks of the River Dee.

Over the past two weeks River Dee Trust staff have worked with nine schools all over the catchment, starting with Hill of Banchory Primary School pond dipping, identifying insects and learning how to fly fish at Raemoir Trout Fishery.

Hill of Banchory have been learning about freshwater pearl mussels as part of the Pearls in Peril LIFE Project in the classroom and enjoyed the hands on activities during the outdoor visit.

We were at the lower end of the catchment on Friday morning at the Aberdeen and District Angling Association bothy with glorious sunshine and 28 pupils from Muirfield Primary School.

Trust staff demonstrated electrofishing and caught stickleback, minnows and two large eels which caused much excitement. We rounded off the visit with a look around the bothy and the class was fascinated by the old photos, the salmon flies and the cast of the 45lb salmon mounted on the wall.

Stuart Fleming, of Aberdeen and District Angling Association, very kindly told the class about the history of the bothy as an old salmon netting station.

Cairngorms Outdoor Adventure Week took place last week with 30 secondary school students from Banff, Mearns and Mackie Academies participating in five days of adventure based at Mar Lodge.

Now in its third year, the week is a partnership project with the River Dee Trust, National Trust for Scotland, Cairngorms National Park Authority, John Muir Trust and Aberdeenshire Council. The aim of the week is to expose students to the landscape of the Cairngorms National Park, to develop their understanding of the people who live and work in this landscape, organisations who manage it and the people who pursue recreational activities within it.

Students got involved in a wide range of activities including gorge walking, conservation work with National Trust for Scotland staff, river corridor surveying and learning to fly fish. The activities were designed so all participants achieved their John Muir Trust Awards by the end of the week.

The River Dee Trust is currently developing the IntroDee education programme with some new activities and is creating an online educational resource for teachers to use in conjunction with the educational programme. This resource will be developed for 2015.

Part of the education programme is to introduce young people to fly fishing to encourage the next generation of anglers on the River Dee.

Earlier this month we ran a very successful introduction to fishing event for under-16s at Raemoir Trout Fishery and we are looking to run further fishing events later in the summer. If you are interested in trying fly fishing email or telephone 01339 880 411.