Vibrant life in icy wetlands

The Dokka Delta Wetland Centre offers an educational course outside in the winter wetland for primary school pupils. The course gives the students the chance to experience, sense and appreciate the nature around them under the guidance of the Wetland Centre and our partners with expertise in fish, birds, animals, winter ecology etc. The course is taught mainly around the watercourses in Land, as well as the Dokka Delta nature reserve and lakes in the surrounding area.

The goal is to encourage a sense of excitement and curiosity about being out in our wetlands in wintertime. It can be difficult for any of us to leave the comfort of home in winter. One way to encourage students to spend more time outdoors is to provide them with memorable experiences through the activities we deliver with them. The day is divided into two sessions, with a lunchbreak between. The students are divided into groups, with each group given the chance to try every activity. The aim of the course is to make the students more aware of the wetland wildlife in wintertime.


1. Tracks and signs. Even though snow covers the landscape and nature can appear silent, the tracks and signs of animals living in and around the wetlands reveal their presence. The students are taught about the signs found in the area, such as footprints, feeding evidence, territory marking etc.


2. Birdlife. The bird fauna in winter is much less species rich than in summer, but through careful listening and practice in recognizing individual bird songs and calls the students discover that birds are still present. The course focuses on listening and looking, using recorded bird song and binoculars.


3. Ice fishing. The ice is like a lid over the water, but underneath there is still life. Ice fishing is a test of perseverance for the students, but hopefully they will experience the joy of catching their own fish. Experienced ice fishers provide advice about the different fishing techniques and explain about the different species.


These three activities provide the students with a taste of the life that exists around them in wetlands during winter. By studying animal tracks and signs, listening to birdsong, and fishing the students learn about the animal life of a frozen and snow-covered landscape. They will learn how to appreciate the biodiversity and how to measure the health of the habitat around them. We wish to contribute to the understanding of the connections that exist in nature; the habitat's ability to sustain life, weather and the climate, interactions between species and how we affect the environment.


A break to warm up with some hot drinks is always welcome after a few hours ice fishing. 


The most common species to catch whilst ice fishing is perch, but sometimes a whitefish or Artic char appears from the hole.