Grantham schoolchildren help to release baby eels into River Witham
Schoolchildren have helped to release more than a dozen baby eels into the River Witham in Grantham.
As part of its National Lottery Heritage Fund and Reconnecting the Witham project, Lincolnshire Rivers Trust has been teaching schoolchildren all about what it takes to look after baby eels.
Eel tanks were set up in Huntingtower Community Primary Academy, National Junior School and Little Gonerby Infant School, as well as a tank in the Wyndham Park Visitor Centre for everyone to enjoy.
The children were responsible for monitoring and looking after the elvers – feeding them and even cleaning out their poo.
After looking after their elvers for several weeks, both children and teachers were invited, along with the general public, to release them in Wyndham Park on Thursday.
Gail Talton, senior project officer at Lincolnshire Rivers Trust, has been spearheading the project.
Over the past few weeks she has been going into schools to talk to the children about the European eels’ incredible life-cycle, and how to look after them properly.
She said: “The event was an opportunity to learn a little more about eels whilst bidding farewell to the elvers as they were released into the river with the necessary Environment Agency permit.”
The elvers will now spend the next 15 to 20 years feeding and growing in Lincolnshire’s waterways until they are mature and ready to embark on their epic migratory journey of about 4,000 miles, across the Atlantic to the Sargasso Sea to spawn.
Gail added: “Thanks to generous funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and, of course, the people who play the lottery, the eels in the classroom project has been a fantastic opportunity for us to engage schoolchildren with nature whilst learning all about these amazing fish and their incredible lifecycles.
“There is also the added bonus of enabling us to add to the low population of this now endangered species in the River Witham.
“The children also get the opportunity to learn all about the importance of rivers and how our actions as people can impact on wildlife.”
For more information, visit: www.lincsrivers.org.uk