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River and Outdoor Activities

Invasive alien species can have big impacts upon our natural environment and native species.  A good Alien Detective needs to be able to understand the nature around them and so, in this section, we’re got lots of activities to help you explore and investigate your local countryside.

Several of the most invasive aliens (Giant hogweed, Himalayan balsam, Japanese knotweed and American mink) are often associated with the river environment and riverbanks, so there are several activities to try around the river. 

Don't forget over on the Alien Detectives Additional Information page there are contacts for SISI Project Officers, Fishery Trusts, Countryside Rangers etc. who might be able to help with some of these activities, like river dipping and electrofishing. There is also guidance about taking your group outdoors.

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Section 6. Explore your local river and countryside 

Go outside and explore - use all your senses to see what you can discover about the wonders of the natural environment around you.  

Below are a whole range of games and activities to do while you are on your walk through the countryside or at the river.  

pond dipping

6.1 River dipping

Explore your local river or pond and discover the creatures of the deep - what beasties lurk in the water? You'll be amazed to discover all sorts of freshwater invertebrates. (Outdoor - pond/river)

electrofishing

6.2 Electrofishing

Arrange an electrofishing demonstration and you'll be able to see and learn about all the types of fish living in a river. (Outdoor - river)

surveying

6.3 Wildlife recording 

Find out how and where to record the wildlife you see while you are out and about. Did you know there is a GB database that holds all the records? Have a go at submitting a wildlife record. (Indoor)

trail cam

6.4 Caught on camera

Set up a wildlife trail camera and see what photographs of elusive wildlife you can capture. We've included lots of handy hints of how and where to set your camera. (Outdoor)

Illustration from ‘The Poohsticks Handbook: A Poohstickopedia’ by Mark Evans (Egmont Publishing).  Illustrations by Mark Burgess after E H Shephard. Copyright 2015 Disney Enterprises Inc. Based on the “Winnie-the-Pooh” works by A.A. Milne and E.H. Shephard

6.5 Pooh sticks and flow rate

Have a bit of fun with this old favourite and then add in some science to calculate the flow rate of your river or stream. (Outdoor - river)

otter prints

6.6 Tracks and signs

What tracks, trails and signs of animals can you find while out and about? Tracking is an essential skill for finding out if native or non-native animals are present in an area, so learn to read the signs! (Outdoor)

bird

6.7 Sound map

A great activity to help you use a different sense to explore the countryside around you by spending some time listening and quietly producing a sound map. (Outdoor)

Don't forget Sections 1-5 are specifically about Invasive Alien (non-native) Species and there are loads of indoor and outdoor activities, puzzles and games, over on our main Alien Detectives page.

More activities

There are lots more easy outdoor activities to help your group discover more about wildlife and biodiversity in the Nature On Your Doorstep activity pack from Scottish Natural Heritage. 

If you are near the coast then also have a look at the Explore the Shore activity pack, full of great resources for learning about the seaside.

There is also a range of other Scottish Natural Heritage primary school resources, including further activity packs, posters and fact sheets.  

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You might also be interested in

Our Alien Detectives resource pack is packed full of fun activities and games to help you learn about invasive species
Background sources and Handy hints to go with our Alien Detectives educational resource
Activities, games and puzzles all themed around invasive species. Fun for all the family - young and old!