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News article created on 18 March 2016

Staffordshire students take their lessons to the canal

Students in Staffordshire have spent this week working on our canals as part of a project aimed at bringing Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) to life.

Students from Stoke-on-Trent College Students from Stoke-on-Trent College

The group from Stoke-on-Trent College spent the week us helping to create an otter holt on the Caldon Canal as well as learning how to repair and rebuild dry stone walls at Hazelhurst. They finished the week with a visit to Etruria Industrial Museum before taking to the water on a narrowboat trip.

It’s all part of a programme aiming to show real world examples of how bring STEM subjects can be put into practice.

It’s the first time the programme has been run and the aim is to hold similar activities up to four times a year. As well as the practical activities the students will also learned about a range of canal-related topics such as how to monitor water quality, the process of bank erosion and how locks are designed.

As part of their preparations they had already visited a local lock, been to Rudyard Lake - which feeds the local canal system - and met some of our engineers.

Practical skills

Liz Wood, development & engagement manager for the Canal & River Trust said; “The canals in Staffordshire are not only great monuments of engineering but they’re also brilliant places for nature so where better to demonstrate STEM subjects.

“This has been a great opportunity for the students to get out onto their local waterways, learn some practical skills from professional people and apply some of what they’ve learned at college in a real world situation.

“They did a great job and helped us to repair some of the dry stone walls which are so characteristic of the Churnet Valley and improved the habitat for one of the nation’s best-loved species so hopefully they got a lot out of the week.”