Marlborough St Mary's discover learning is fun at the Stonebridge Wild River ReserveSpringwatch came to the Kennet this week as Year 5 and 6 pupils from Marlborough St Mary’s spent a morning at Stonebridge Wild River Reserve. The morning was organised by ARK (Action for the River Kennet). Councillor Bryan Castle, Jane Carter and Tracey Churchill from Drove Vets, with dogs Retro and Georgie, were also there to promote the ‘Bag it and Bin it’ dog mess campaign.
Anna Forbes from ARK told the children that although it is better than it used to be, there is still dog mess on the Stonebridge Wild River Reserve. “If a dog poos on the path or off it, owners and dog walkers should ‘Bag it and Bin it.’ There are five bins (sponsored by Drove Vets) on the reserve so there is no excuse not to use them.”
The main task for the morning was to discover more about the River Kennet. Anna told the children, “ There are only about 200 chalk rivers in the whole world so the River Kennet is a rare and special habitat. We want you to learn some more about your river and we want to make sure the river is unpolluted, cool, clean and clear.”
After donning waders (the water levels are currently high) the children collected samples from the river and wetland area. With help from ARK volunteer, Glyn Horn and Anna, they were shown how to identify six specific invertebrates that don’t tolerate poor water quality. They also measured the flow of the river and compared nitrate and phosphate levels in the river and the wetlands.
Anna explained that the data collected by the children would contribute to ARK’s data and freshwater watch. “It is interesting and useful for you but it also contributes to data that is being used all over the world.”
Beckie Ambrosini, Year 5 teacher at Marlborough St. Mary’s, said, “The whole morning has been absolutely excellent. The more outdoor, hands-on learning the pupils can do the better.”