Lochaline school children première their short film to conserve rare species

The freshwater pearl mussel is one of the rarest species found in Scotland and has been pushed to extinction on some rivers as a result of illegal pearl fishing, pollution and dredging. However, whilst great effort is directed at conserving cute and fluffy animals here and abroad, the slightly awkward, ugly ones get less attention. Well no longer. Thanks to the children at Lochaline Primary School, the pearl mussel now stars in its own short musical film.

Sam Firth, a professional film maker from Drimnin, and Martin Henry, a musician from Glasgow, helped the children turn plasticine into a chorus of singing mussels who describe their life in the river and appeal to humans to protect them. The children have already been doing their bit by assisting the Lochaber Fisheries Trust in their efforts to improve the breeding success of the mussels on their local river as part of this ambitious project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Scottish Natural Heritage.

Lucy Ballantyne from the Lochaber Fisheries Trust commented ‘We are thrilled by how Sam has captured the children’s imagination and really brought the mussels to life. It is clear the they care deeply about the plight of the pearl mussels and the future of this species looks much brighter with the children protecting them.’

Iain Sime, SNH‘s freshwater pearl mussel expert, said “I absolutely loved this film and it really shows how working with children can creatively highlight important conversation messages.  The Lochaber Fisheries Trust deserve lots of credit for their work with the local communities, helping to improve awareness and conservation of the endangered freshwater pearl mussel”.

The film is now available to watch on the internet https://vimeo.com/207999371 and it is hoped that many more people will discover this unassuming species as a result.