We recently organised pond and river dipping activities at Fort William and Fyrish substations as part of Siemens Bam outreach to schools and community programme. 140 pupils from Lochaber High and Invergordon Academy took part. Pupils caught many mini monsters such as the great diving beetle, caddis, mayfly and dragon fly larvae – an indication of clean and healthy water environment. The great Diving Beetle and dragon fly larvae are some of the top carnivores actively hunting and eating frog tadpoles, which came as a surprise to many pupils.
Having finished the safari they identified the mini beasts then calculated the biotic index using biological indicators. Conlon Loch and the River Nevis tributary were both found to be clean and healthy water bodies with indices of between 6 and 7 (on a scale from 0-10). An interactive food chain game then enabled the pupils to understand the interdependence of producers and consumers within the food chain, including humans. A wildlife quiz followed with prize for the winning teams. SSE and Siemens Bam provided a range of materials including pens, pen drives and note books with snacks – there were no tadpoles on the menu.