Cleaning out our rivers and trying to make sure the fish are a happy bunch is quite a selfish act for anglers. We have a vested interest in making sure the river is clean and healthy because we want there to be more fish for us to catch. We also do not like wading through horrible stuff!
But what about the folk that are just interested in the place looking good – they see a natural resource and simply want it to be healthy – that is correct dear readers there are people out there that do stuff for the river that do not fish – for the River Kelvin we have folk like “Friends of the River Kelvin” , “Friends of Kelvingrove Park” and of course the Kelvin Valley Leader
We also have Willie Yeomans.
Yeomans is the main scientific chap who oversees all the science stuff on pretty much the whole of the Clyde catchment. He is the main guy who heads up The Clyde River Foundation. The foundation is a registered charity that researches the ecology of the Clyde and its tributaries – it also promotes environmental education.
Yeomans does not fish – yet he still loves brown trout – the difference between him and us is that we use a rod and him and his pals use something that came straight out of Ghostbusters.
Kelvinators will know of Willie Yeomans because we haul him out at AGM’s to give a talk on river science stuff (not “just to kill time” as some unscrupulous folk state) and he is also doing a river habitat survey of the Kelvin – part of which appeared to be all about getting the committee and bailiffs together to walk the length of the river to count leaves or something - allegedly we were trying to mark down where all the invasive plants are.
Here he is – gazing into the distance, pondering life and the universe…
A lot of people will know of Yeomans because of his “Clyde in the Classroom” project – Clyde in the Classroom aims to encourage children to take an active role in conserving their local river. It introduces pupils to river ecology and biodiversity by utilising the lifecycle of the most common fish species in the Clyde Catchment – that is trout and salmon to us!
Essentially he gets kids to raise fish and then release them into the river – while doing this they learn about what makes rivers tick.
Anyway, Yeomans managed to secure some funding from the very fine folk over at Kelvin Valley Leader (more strange people that do not fish) and this year he is doing something rather special – it is called Kids and the Kelvin. It is along the same lines as Clyde in the Classroom but on the Kelvin. Talking of funding – funding for the whole project (as well as Clyde in the Classroom) comes from many different streams – angling clubs usually give a donation as well. This year Orvis provided some cash towards the running of the project courtesy of James “if you type his name three times he pops up” Hathway. I don’t want to sound like an Orvis kiss ass or anything however it is stuff like that we anglers should take note of!
What I like to think is Yeomans is doing something a little bit more subtle – he is encouraging these kids to have a vested interest in the Kelvin.
You see, you have got to ask yourself why you see litter on the banks of our rivers, why you find the river full of shopping trolleys, sofas and washing machines, why some companies feel it is probably easier just to take a hit of a few thousand pounds fine instead of disposing of their waste appropriately – I think it is because somehow people are so unconnected with the natural world around them they think nothing of destroying something in an unthinking moment.
Education and changing people’s attitudes takes a long time – do you remember when people did not wear seat belts in the back of cars? Now you would not think of getting into a car without belting up. People that are spoiling our rivers just now have never been educated on what makes rivers tick and what makes them such amazing places. If these kids are being educated about rivers then in the future when they have got a decision to make about whether they throw a crisp packet,empty bottle, shopping trolley or even release some sewage or chemical into the river they may think back to their school days and realise their actions have real consequences.
I think that is what “Kids and the Kelvin” is really all about.
Of course some people (me for a start) might think the last thing we want is a bunch of agile and keen eyed young people catching our trout from under our noses however we try and put those dark and black thoughts out of our heads.
I am looking forward to seeing how it pans out this year – I never did anything fun like that at my school, I hope I will be enjoying projects like this through my son when he starts school.
It is 16 days until the Trout Season starts and there is a distinct smell of Spring in the air – Diver Dave has informed me my waders are now repaired (so no early season wet crotch), the mighty Paul Young was in contact to tell me he has used Diver Dave and was impressed with the results .