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Sedbergh pupils say: ‘Swim little eels!’

Bainbridge, 1 October 2019

Children from Sedbergh Primary School went to New Bridge to release young eels, known as ‘elvers’, into the River Rawthey.

As reported in May, an ‘eel-lite team’ of pupils cared for a tank of elvers for several weeks, while learning about local river ecology and the lifecycle of the critically endangered European Eel.

On 27 June, year 3 and 4 pupils released the elvers into the river.  A short film has now been produced so people can remember the moment.  

The students also organised a non-school-uniform day, cake stall, badge making and a poster and poetry competition to raise money for eel conservation.

Here is one of the winning poems:

Swim little eels in the

Big, deep, dark river

I hope the cold water

Doesn’t make you shiver.

I’m sure you will

Grow very strong

And very long.

I hope you have a

Great time in the

Sedbergh sunshine.

In total £118.25 was raised and pupils chose to donate the money to the Lune Rivers Trust.

Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority project officer Rachael Addison said:  “Although we can’t monitor the eels we released, it is hoped that the pupils and their families will enjoy looking out for them when they are by the river.  The pupils have become extra mindful of how important it is to care for rivers and every creature living in them – and that is just great.”

YDNPA Member Champion for the Natural Environment, Ian McPherson, who is a Sedbergh Parish Councillor, added: “It was encouraging to hear eel-lite team members saying they felt more confident about making a positive difference to the natural world.”

The eel project was funded through the Green Futures programme, which aims to develop environmental opportunities for young people across the region and is led by local charity Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust.

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