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Gŵyl Taf Education

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The Opportunity

Gŵyl Taf is a multi-year project that is celebrating the recovery of the River Taff over the past decades from a grossly polluted waterway, used by industry and the public alike to dispose of unwanted effluents, to a thriving river that supports migratory sea trout and salmon.

An important element of the project is to teach primary school children about river wildlife, with the intention that they will grow up with an appreciation of the need to cherish our rivers, and also pass on what they have learnt to other members of their family.

Two primary school lesson plans have already been developed, ‘You and Your River’ - a session in which the children investigate a river sample in the classroom and ‘The River or Life’ which utilises children’s innate interest and love of storytelling to give them a complete history of the geographical, cultural and ecological development of the river and its surrounding area.

Both of these sessions could be significantly enhanced with additional learning materials and resources. A USB camera, pond dipping equipment, field study species identification guides, work sheets, posters etc. would be invaluable in the delivery of You and Your river. However, provision of props, costumes and a video camera would significantly enhance the learning experience provided by The River of Life and greatly increase the impact of the lesson.

A second phase, of the program in spring of 2014 would build on the You and Your River session by implementing a scheme to incubate Mayfly larvae in each classroom, using simple equipment. The children would be able to follow the fly larvae as they hatch, feed and then pupate into adult flies.

In addition the Rivers Trust runs a salmon in the classroom project that emphasises the importance of the river.  We use a cooler a fish Tank and filter together with Eyed salmon eggs that the class brings on to young fish (alevins).  This enables them to see what happens in a river.  It also gives the children the benefit of seeing the life cycle of the salmon that not many are privileged to.

The Location

The target schools are located within 5Km of the River Taff, from Merthyr down to Cardiff.

In-Kind Support Required


Financial Support Required


Value of Support Required

The classroom materials for phase one of the project, which includes the USB camera, video camera, story telling props and costumes, pond-dipping equipment and study materials would require a minimum investment of £500 in each project, but if more money is invested, then more children can benefit from these studies.

The Mayfly in the Classroom activity would cost around £150 per classroom to purchase and install the equipment.

The salmon in the Classroom project requires £370 to purchase the equipment.

Local Name and Contact Details

Jonathan Mead, Operations Director, South East Wales Rivers Trust – jonathan_mead@btinternet.com

Jennifer Pilkington, Gŵyl Taf Project Officer – jenniferpilkington@gwyltaf.org.uk  

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