Eels in the classroom Project

The River Annan Trust is delighted to announce the launch of its Eels in the Classroom Project as part of the two year Restoring Annan’s Water Community Engagement Programme.

This exciting educational project sees tanks of eels installed in four primary schools across Annandale and will engage children in the freshwater environment and raise awareness of the River Annan’s natural heritage, the ecosystems it supports and the challenges faced by the critically endangered European eel within their local river.

Eels undertake a mammoth transatlantic migration from the Sargasso Sea to the River Annan. The most significant challenge the elvers (6-10 cm eels in their juvenile stage) face on this journey is ascending Milnbe weir located just a few hundred meters above the tidal limit.

The weir inhibits the passage of the fish to the extent that in 2015, SEPA (Scottish Environment

Protection Agency) downgraded the entire catchment upstream of the weir to poor ecological status on the basis of fish ecology.

The River Annan Trust secured funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and LEADER Dumfries and Galloway (part of the Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP) 2014-20) to run Restoring Annan’s Water Community Engagement Programme from November 2017 to November 2019. The ambitious programme aims to engage with the local community and is made up of 5 broad projects: Eels in the Classroom, Youth Rangers, Landowner Engagement, Public Workshops and Seminars, and Small-Scale Habitat Restoration.

Roy Richardson, Unit Manager for River Basin Planning Manager from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), said:

“Every day, SEPA works to protect and enhance Scotland’s environment, in particular our natural rivers and waterways. The Eels in the Classroom project provides a fascinating insight into these illusive creatures and the important role they play in the biodiversity of Scotland’s water environment.

“By unlocking historic habitats in the Annan catchment to fish migration, eels have the potential to improve the ecology of these rivers.”

Peter Dreghorn, Chairman of the Restoring Annan’s Water Catchment Management Partnership said:

“Thanks to the endeavour of the River Annan Trust I am thrilled to see the launch of Eels in the Classroom project this week. It will be a powerful engagement and educational project that supports the wider objectives of the RAW programme in addressing the fish passage issues preventing the European eel readily accessing the river habitat.”

For more information on the project and to find out how to get involved visit , follow the River Annan Trust on Facebook, or email