University Centre Sparsholt Ecology and Fisheries students have had a fantastic afternoon at the Chalk Stream Headwaters Forum. The annual event at Sparsholt was hosted by Vitacress Conservation Trust Patron, Lady Wakeham and chaired by Merrick Denton-Thompson.

The agenda consisted of several interesting speakers and updates including, The Upper Itchen Initiative, The Bourne Rivulet Initiative and the Upper Itchen: a Smart Rivers Case Study. Students were delighted to see that Sparsholt was featured within the presentations due to the campus being home to Hampshire’s first ark site for White Clawed Crayfish – after nearly 200 captive-born juveniles were release into the campus lake between 2016/17.

Representatives from the Dorset Wildlife Trust then presented their scheme for monitoring 33 different river invertebrate groups and Jen Ball from the University of Southampton spoke about PhD research into Ecosystem Services in Chalk Streams.

The afternoon session saw a presentation on the Stewardship of a Chalk Stream before closing on a very interesting Talk from Professor Eric Verspoor about the Hidden Diversity in Trout, Salmon and Charr and the implications for Conservation.

This forum was a great opportunity for our students to not only learn about the local ecosystems that surround our 450-acre Hampshire campus but also to network with industry experts who are leading the way in conservation research.

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