There's now more life in the River Kennet than you expect - as ARK's River Day showed

Written by Tony Millett.

Look! Ones that didn't get awayLook! Ones that didn't get awayAction for the River Kennet's (ARK) Life of the River Day event in partnership with Thames Water last weekend brought 120 visitors to the Marlborough College Science Department where ARK had mounted a display in the Biology Laboratory.

On show was a selection of the many creatures that depend on a healthy chalk stream - like the River Kennet - to survive.

The trays and tanks contained everything from tiny flatworms to brown trout, providing an opportunity to learn basic facts about each species.

There were species that are not generally visible to humans as they stand so far above the water on a river bank.  The American signal crayfish attracted lots of attention and were a great way to explain to visitors about invasive species.

A Kennet troutA Kennet troutOther stars of the show were the two types of brown trout that showed people the differences between wild and farmed trout.

Outside, in the College grounds ARK volunteers led very popular river dipping sessions.  This gave children the chance children to use nets and see what kind of river life they could discover for themselves in the Kennet and find out about invertebrates that are indicators of good water quality.

Other activities throughout the afternoon included a children's quiz and a riverside nature trail.

ARK Project Officer Anna Forbes was delighted with the response to the event: "Everyone was very interested in the specimens we had collected for the day and exhibited in the laboratory and the river dipping for wildlife was pretty much non stop."

"It was great to see so many children keen to get in the river and nice for them to find a wide array of chalk stream creatures too. Bullheads were definitely the favourite!"

The next public ARK event is a Summer River Walk to be held August 27 - details are here

The Biology LabThe Biology Lab