Primary school children sign up to rainfall data-gathering volunteer programme

L-R: Bridge of Allan Primary School P6 pupils Freya Huntly, Broden Daly, Lewis Wilson and Isla McKay with SEPA Hydrologist Grant Kennedy.

Primary school children have signed up to a rainfall data-gathering volunteer programme – to help national environmental monitoring efforts.

Children from Bridge of Allan primary school near Stirling will capture vital rainfall data from their area at around 9am every day – and submit the information online.

The information will help Scotland’s environmental agency, SEPA, and the Met Office capture Scotland’s complex rainfall patterns in addition to the figures collated from SEPA’s 300 automated gauges.

This data helps SEPA make informed decisions on water management, flood risk management, long term climate research as well as informing industry, agriculture and infrastructure development.

Lyndsay Macnair, Headteacher at Bridge of Allan Primary School, said: “We are delighted to be supporting SEPA with this project. It is an excellent opportunity for our pupils to develop skills in STEM whilst supporting SEPA. Primary 6 are looking forward to the challenge ahead.”

Grant Kennedy, Senior Specialist Scientist in Hydrology, at SEPA said: “Every day SEPA works to protect and enhance Scotland’s environment and this is a great opportunity for any budding citizen scientists to get involved and make a valued contribution to our data research.

“We help Scotland prepare more powerfully for future increased flooding and the impacts of climate change. The data collected from rainfall observing contributes to our work around flood risk management so volunteers are playing an important role in that process.

“We would welcome new observers from anywhere across Scotland. We are particularly keen to get gauges located in areas such as Dumfries and Galloway, The Western Isles, and all across the Highlands particularly in Lochaber and Caithness. Having two gauges close to each other is useful to verify unusual events and as our rainfall is so fickle, there can never be enough gauges to capture the patterns.

“Being a rainfall observer is a rewarding and interesting hobby for people of all ages with an interest in environmental science and there is a great potential for teachers to engage their students in maths, geography and science in a practical way.”

Convener of Stirling Council’s Children and Young People, Cllr Susan McGill said: “It’s fantastic that our children and young people at Bridge of Allan Primary School are participating in this important project with SEPA.

“Not only will it help pupils develop key skills for the future, they will have the opportunity to learn about protecting and improving their local environment.”