As one of the cornerstones of the River Dee Trust’s activities we operate an education programme called IntroDee that provides an outlet for information to interested groups wanting to learn more about the River Dee environment and wildlife. This has been supported by corporate sponsorship from Apache Helicopters and Glasgow Angling Centre which has enabled us to produce an excellent programme of activities for groups with kind assistance from Tweedstart and the River Tweed Foundation. This programme normally is run during the late spring/summer months when the weather is suited for outdoor activities.
We operate a two stage programme where our biologist Adrian Hudson visits the groups who have requested to participate in the programme and then follows up with a visit to a fishery or a fishing beat on the River Dee. The first part of the programme consists of a brief introduction about Adrian’s role for the River Dee Trust followed by a power point presentation about the River Dee environment and wildlife inhabiting the River Dee Corridor. Adrian explains about the inhabitants of the River and valley, including insects, fish, otters, birds and plants. This presentation takes place in schools, colleges and universities, and a variety of village halls and clubs. It usually takes about 30-50 minutes to do the presentation and this finishes with a question and answer session with the groups. This is a very popular session as it can often lead to a lengthy and enthusiastic discussion with the group of participants asking a raft of questions on a wide range of topics.
The second part of the programme consists of a visit to a local fishing beat or more often a local trout fishery. The group arrives at the designated venue and are met by a team of staff from the River Dee Trust and River Dee Board. They are given life vests, baseball hats and sunglasses to ensure their personal safety. There is a brief outline provide about the day’s activities to the group and health and safety requirements. The group then are split into smaller groups and go to various parts of the fishery to explore ponds, scrapings, vegetation, and water inlets. They are provided with laboratory trays, large pipettes, clipboards, pens and insect identification charts for recording what they find. They then rotate every 15 minutes from one spot to another spot, gathering information about what they have discovered. The food chain is discussed at length and what mans impact on the environment has been.
The participants are then given some fly fishing instruction with a trout rod, reel and line. This is one to one coaching from our fully disclosed staff. Each participant is given some coaching and after they have achieved a reasonable ability to cast they get the opportunity to fly fish for trout. All the trout that are caught are returned safely to the fishery. We have been very fortunate to be given excellent access at the Raemoir fishery in Banchory where they have excellent facilities for visiting groups. It is always exciting when someone catches their first fish and usually this is accompanied by cheers from the visiting group.
We usually are able to put around 300 local school children, adults and people with learning difficulties through the programme each year. It is a very popular initiative and one that costs a considerable sum of money to run. We are grateful for any donations to the River Dee Trust that enables us to carry out these programmes, and other activities that are vital in looking after the health of the River Dee and its inhabitants. So please donate to support these programmes if you are able to as we do not charge groups to participate in this programme.
Donations to support this vital programme by donating on-line here or can be forwarded to The River Dee Trust, River Office, Mill of Dinnet, Aboyne, Aberdeenshire, AB34 5LA