Doncaster Pupils Become Budding ‘River Champions’

A grant from the Brelms Trust enabled us to engage 107 young people living in disadvantaged areas in Doncaster with our exciting schools project – ‘River Champions’. This allowed us to go into schools and teach pupils about their local rivers and freshwater life through a program of environmentally orientated lessons. Pupils learned about the ecology of the river told through the story of the mayfly enabling them to build a model of the river in the classroom and seeing mayfly nymphs metamorphosise before their eyes. We accessed training in how to deliver this aspect of the project through Paul Gaskell at the Wild Trout Trust as we would be engaging multiple schools. Once DCRT staff were trained-up, this information was passed on to classroom teachers, allowing future classes to participate in this project.

Schools that took part were also invited out to a field visit to the river; this is something disadvantaged schools have limited funds for, particularly for coaches. During their visit to the river classes had the opportunity to do some river dipping, seeing what invertebrates live in the river. During the field trip we delivered ‘Yellowfish’ – an EA project that aims to teach pupils about how pollution affects the river ecology and how they can help stop pollutants entering the river system. This proved to be an engaging method of making the link between human activity and environmental impacts.

This project hopes to inspire the next generation of environmentally-conscious young people by broadening their horizons and stimulating new interests, in turn having an impact in the physical environment of their local areas. The grant contributed towards staff costs, pupil’s transport and tank equipment. We would have not been able to deliver this project without the grant funds from the Brelms Trust.

Quotes from class teachers included:

“Children really enjoyed the Mayfly session and the creation of the habitat. Children were involved in every aspect of this and built up substantial knowledge of this area through videos, discussion and visuals. Fantastic session.”

Y5 Teacher at Windhill Primary School


“Matt and his assistant were fantastic, very enthusiastic and knowledgeable. They had a nice manner with the children who responded well to them and learnt a great deal.”

Y6 teacher at New Pastures Primary School

If you know of a primary school that would be interested in taking part in this project in Spring/Summer 2019 please get in touch with us at or call us on 01302 796173.

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