Our field study programmes are located on the banks of the Water of Leith and in the protected and ancient woodlands of the Craiglockhart and Colinton Dells.
The programmes all meet the curricular requirements of the Curriculum for Excellence whilst also giving learners the opportunity to survey and explore the ecology and morphology of their local riparian and woodland habitats. Whenever possible, we link our field studies with climate change and other environmental issues, as well as with recent and on-going scientific research taking place on the river in the fields of water analysis, invasive species, freshwater macro-invertebrates, and invasive species.
All Programmes can also be tailor-made to suit your class activities.
This interdisciplinary programme explores the river in the ancient woodlands of The Dells. Pupils identify river features and conduct experiments to measure river velocity and map the river bed. They investigate the health of the river through freshwater invertebrate sampling and learn about the rich history of the river as well as conservation issues the river is facing today.
Pupils work in small groups to measure and to record the channel width, depth, wetted perimeter, velocity, bedload and gradient at three different locations on the river. All equipment and worksheets for data collection are provided. The study also explores the influence of the river upon the formation of the landscape, the human history of this urban waterway, as well as current land use and conservation issues facing the river.
This study can be completed at three locations in the Craiglockhart Dell using our Centre as a base. For schools with transport, we run a Source to Sea programme: the upper stages in the Pentlands; the middle stages in the Dells; and in the lower middle stage in Stockbridge.
The Centre-based study can be conducted as a full-day study from 9.30 am to 2.15 pm or condensed as a half-day programme at the convenience of the school. The full day programme includes a land use workshop in the afternoon. The Source to Sea programme meets at 9.30 am in the Pentlands and concludes in Stockbridge at 3.30/4.00 pm.
Pupils work in small groups to develop terrestrial and freshwater sampling skills in the Craiglockhart Dells and Water of Leith river. We have a National 5 programme and a senior Higher/Advanced Higher programme.
9.30 am to 1.45 pm
Pupils learn about environmental issues on the Water of Leith and the work done by the Trust to address these issues on the river. Pupils then go on a guided walk along the river and work in small groups to conduct terrestrial and freshwater sampling in the Craiglockhart Dells and Water of Leith river.
9.30 am to 12.45 pm
Come to the ancient woodlands of the Craiglockhart Dells to earn the Adventure section of the JASS award. This outdoor programme explores the woods and develops survival skills through orienteering, shelter building and even fire-making. Learn about the plants and animals in the woods and contribute to the health of the river by participating in a conservation challenge.
9.30 am to 2.15 pm
In addition to our Centre-based programme, you can now book our Education Officer to come to your school to deliver one of our unique Winter Outreach Programmes for P3 – S2 classes.
Please note, your School must be within walking distance of the canal or river.
From algae, to mayfly nymph, to trout, to heron: this workshop teaches students about the many food chains on the river and the ways in which ecological communities are interdependent. Students investigate a freshwater sample for invertebrate life, observe a mummified Pipistrelle bat, and examine the contents of an owl pellet. Younger classes take on the role of different plants and animals in ‘The Great Water of Leith Food Chain Game.’ Older classes act as environmental consultants with real-life scenarios of disruptions to the food chain on the river. They discuss the potential impact of both natural and human disruptions and suggest ways in which we as humans can mitigate the impact.
Duration – One hour
The water cycle is central to life on earth and yet it can be quite challenging for students to understand how it actually affects their lives. In this workshop, we look at the vital role of the Water of Leith in the water cycle and explore key concepts such as run-off and evaporation as they apply on the river. Students explore life under the surface of the water with a freshwater invertebrate sample as well learning about the otters that travel the river from its source in the Pentland Hills to the sea. Younger classes participate in our fun quiz game called ‘From Source to Sea and Back Again.’ Older classes examine potential natural and human disruptions to the water cycle in the form of real-life scenarios.
Duration – One hour