Project Summary

Trout at Transition is a Clyde River Foundation project which will involve every P7 pupil in the Biggar High School learning community in 2012/13 and will continue to provide access to specialist freshwater biologists for staff and pupils following their transition to S1.  This hands-on project uses the life history of the brown trout to promote children’s awareness of river ecology; introduces them first-hand to the biodiversity and health of their local river, and facilitates the reporting of their findings on riverbank displays.  The S1 component will allow each pupil to contribute to a year-wide group of scientific studies which will characterise and interpret some of the features of the Clydesdale rivers in collaboration with Biggar High School staff, and culminate in a public art installation in Biggar.

Clyde River Foundation 

electric fishing Leadhills PrimaryThe Clyde River Foundation is a Scottish charity (SC 029602) dedicated to research and education throughout the River Clyde catchment. The Foundation consists of five scientists and our mission is to pursue scientific understanding of the ecological health of the River Clyde and its tributaries, drive environmental improvements and build capacity for its stewardship.

Find out more about the Clyde River Foundation here.

Holly Keasey


Holly Keasey is an artist whose work explores how engaged artistic practice can act as a durational enquiry towards ecological sensibilities and living. Holly’s ecological focus is on water: personally, socially and environmentally.

Find out more about Holly’s work here.


“Trout and Transition was a brilliant opportunity for myself. As an emerging artist with a particular interest in water ecology, it was great to work with the scientists of the Clyde River Foundation. It gave me the opportunity to learn first-hand about aspects of the Clyde and water quality testing that I would not usually have access to as an artist. This has and will continue to influence my practice in the future, with the hope of continuing to seek further art and science collaborations. Additionally, the project allowed me to fully realise a large scale engagement project which has been beneficial to developing new skills in project management and how to develop workshops that are suitable for ranging age-groups, class sizes and the individual student to be creative whilst also producing small artworks that can be presented collectively.” – Holly Keasey

Project Outline

Trout in Transition is split into three sequential parts, each of which builds upon the learning outcomes of the preceding session.

  1. Brown trout hatchery (“Clyde in the Classroom”)

    • Pupils visit the Glasgow Science Centre for the project launch day, where they participate in two interactive presentations and have a chance to explore the Science Mall
    • Pupils raise brown trout in their classroom hatchery between January and March 2013 and release the fish into their local river or burn before Easter 2013.
    • Pupils document the ongoing project in collaboration with Clyde River Foundation scientists and visiting artist Holly Keasey.


  2. Meet Your River

    • Morning Field Trip – pupils visit their river and are shown some of the methods used by scientists to assess its health.  Fish surveying by electrofishing will be demonstrated before the pupils get into the river to sample the invertebrates by kick sampling.  Pupils also participate in a riverside art workshop as ‘Water Tourists’ with Holly Keasey.
    • Afternoon classroom session – pupils examine their kick sample and derive a simple “health score” which they will use to see how healthy their river is.  The children will be encouraged to demonstrate their knowledge of the ecology of the fish and invertebrates and how they interact by creating a poster of their findings. Using materials collected on the riverbank, pupils produce artwork reflecting their perceptions of their local river.

  3. Biggar High School

    • This session will be broken across several of the S1 science classes in April/May 2014. 
    • There will be two 50-minute classroom-based lessons and one half-day field trip per class; these activities will compare and contrast three local landscapes and their rivers by studying overlapping themes (eg. biodiversity and how it is affected by geomorphology, pollution effects, and land use/physical alteration) and will provide access to scientific specialists for both the teachers and the pupils.
    • It is anticipated that there will be a piece of public art associated with the completion of this stage of the project.  The content of the “Transition Project” will be developed in collaboration with Mrs Galloway and the staff at Biggar High School.