"A Clear Future for our River"

Monthly Archives: April 2016

New Project: SHRIMP Phase 2 (& Eels in the Classroom!)

BART are excited to announce that we have received funding to run a Phase 2 of our successful SHRIMP Project in Sherston, Wiltshire, thanks to the kind offer of a grant from the Halpin Charitable Trust. This grant will enable us to continue our river restoration works that began last Summer to improve the habitat for invertebrate, fish, small mammal and bird populations. They will involve a detailed survey of the overwidened, straightened, and poached downstream section of river to assess the best possible course of action which will be taken for restoration works. To find out more about these works come along to this year’s Wild Sherston event on 23rd June where we will be presenting on river wildlife and plans for the future.

Habitat enhancement works completed last year on the Luckington Brook
Habitat enhancement works completed last year on the Luckington Brook
The downstream section of river in need of improvements

The downstream section of river in need of improvements

Furthermore, as part of this project, BART will be running a LoCATE (Local Community Action Through Education) Project in the area. Working with schools, groups, Parish Councils, and local communities throughout and surrounding Sherston, the project aims to:

  • Help people to LoCATE their nearest river or stream and show how important it is to society.
  • Provide education about the stream and its challenges and opportunities to local communities.
  • Provide help and advice to those communities as to how these challenges can be met.

We will be running a series of litter picks, Yellowfish anti-pollution events and guided walks, plus more to follow. The project has already kicked off to an exciting start with the introduction of 100+ eels into Luckington School for an Eel in the Classroom Project! European eels travel all the way from the Sargasso Sea where they are born to Europe to feed and grow and this year these eels have taken a few weeks pit stop into the classroom, which will allow these children to help grow the elvers up and to learn about their life cycles and the issues they face before releasing them back into their local river on the 25th May. Keep following our social media for updates on the eel’s progress!

A massive thank you to Glen and the team at Bridgwater College for working tirelessly to care for these eels until this stage, allowing this to happen. If anyone is interested in undertaking fisheries qualifications we recommend you check out their website.

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Teaching children about the natural world is not just a nice thing to do – it is vital for the future of our children and the future of all life. Children are naturally curious and open to learning about nature, but in an increasingly urban society we often need to consciously create opportunities to help children bond with nature and learn about the environment.

Keep visiting our website and social media pages for updates on this project (and how the eels are getting on!) and do let us know if your group or organisation would like to get involved!

Southmead Open Space (SOS) Project

We have just come to the end of the first phase of our Southmead Open Space (SOS) Project, which involved a litter pick and river dipping sessions to encourage the community ownership and engagement of residents of Southmead, Bristol, with their local River Trym.

It was a sorry sight on the afternoon of our litter pick as we found a river full of fly tipping and other waste, but thanks to our amazing volunteers we collected a huge 21 bags of litter and several large objects from a short stretch of the river!

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Whilst we were in the area we also created a roadside fish trail as part of our Yellowfish Project. A fun way of teaching people that storm drains link directly to rivers – only rain down the drain!

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BART also ran two river dipping sessions, one with Southmead Adventure Playground and the other in Badocks Wood. In total we had over 80 people in the two sessions and we were so pleased to see so many people out enjoying the river and it’s fascinating bug life! Especially when children’s initial ”yucks” turned into holding leeches and using keys to identify species by themselves :)

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There is clearly still a lot of work that needs doing in the area to increase community ownership of the river but this is something we will continue to work on and have big plans for for the future (subject to funding!).

We have conducted river dipping sessions and litter picks several times with various projects in the Southmead area over the past year with great responses, so it was fantastic to get support to run these sessions again. Thanks to the Henbury and Southmead Neighbourhood Partnership for funding this project.

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New Project: LoCATE Somerset Frome

BART are excited to announce that we have received funding to run our LoCATE (Local Community Action Through Education) Project in Frome, Somerset, thanks to a grant from the Michael Samuel Charitable Trust, managed by the Somerset Community Foundation.

Working with schools, Parish Councils, and local communities throughout and surrounding Frome, the project aims to:

  • Help people to LoCATE their nearest river or stream and show how important it is to society.
  • Provide education about the stream and its challenges and opportunities to local communities.
  • Provide help and advice to those communities as to how these challenges can be met.

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As part of this project we will be running a series of litter picks, Yellowfish anti-pollution events and guided walks, plus more to follow. Keep visiting our website and social media pages for updates on this project and do let us know if your group or organisation would like to get involved!

Teaching children about the natural world is not just a nice thing to do – it is vital for the future of our children and the future of all life. Children are naturally curious and open to learning about nature, but in an increasingly urban society we often need to consciously create opportunities to help children bond with nature and learn about the environment.

 

 

 

BART Beacon report – foam on rivers

We are always grateful to get messages from our BART Beacons letting us know of issues and opportunities, and one thing we often get informed of is foam within rivers.

At certain times of year foam in rivers and still waters is more evident. This can be a natural event with no adverse environmental implications; alternatively this can be a sign of pollution. The Environment Agency have just released an information sheet which helps explains how to tell the difference and when and how the Environment Agency should be informed.

You can view this information sheet here: Foam info – EA

Thanks to Lizzie & Kevin, two of our Beacons on the River Marden for sharing this photos with us! In this case although the foam looked natural, it had a smell of detergent so we recommended that it was reported. Whilst this is not a large enough scale pollution event to warrant an Environment Agency visit, it will help them and us to build up a case if pollution continues to occur.

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We are always on the lookout for more BART Beacons! If you are interested you can find out more information here.