Down by the Riverside

The car park at Crumlin Glen was choc-a-bloc as pupils from St Joseph’s Primary, Crumlin Integrated Primary, Gaelscoil Ghleann Darach and Crumlin Integrated College arrived with teachers, Governors and local fishermen for their fifth and final lesson. They were joined this time by representatives from the 6 Mile Water Trust and Ballinderry Fish Hatchery Ltd who supervised some of the activities.

The learning experiences for the pupils including a nature study exploration, pond dipping and finally, release of the salmon fry. These activities required teamwork, decision making and encouraged pupils to value the opinions of others. During the nature study exploration, pupils located plants and animals that matched the colours on a chart - tricky enough as the card mainly consisted of different shades of green! Pond dipping was very popular, with pupils catching and identifying a multitude of minibeasts - the river was truly full of life! The highlight for most, however, was releasing the salmon into the river. Each class had been caring for a tank of salmon fry for the last six weeks and observing their development. This was the moment when they were being released to start their long journey to the Atlantic Ocean and, hopefully, back again to spawn in the Camlin River in several years’ time – a true hands-on, active learning activity.

It was a tired but happy group of pupils that walked back through the Glen, content in the knowledge that they had given the next generation of Salmon the best start possible.

"It was amazing seeing the fish swim away to feed" - Aoife (St Joseph’s PS)

"I loved the Pond Dipping, finding lots of different animals I didn't even know existed!" - Noah (CIPS)

"I found a couple of shrimps close to the edge. I'm glad you didn't have to wade out too far!" – James (Gaelscoil)

“I really enjoyed the visit to the Glen. It brought home the life cycle of the Salmon – a completely new experience for me.” Callum (CIC)

A member of Ballinderry Hatchery commented, “I must say, that's the best behaved and interested group of children I have worked with to date, a testament to their schools and teachers involved. Well done!”

The culmination of the Shared Education Project will be a celebratory event on 14th June in the College assembly hall. This will provide an opportunity for pupils, staff, parents and governors to celebrate and showcase the work carried out during the first year of the Project.