By Lydia Ferris, Clitheroe Royal Grammar School.
I don’t really know what caused me to contact Ribble Rivers Trust for work experience but I am so glad that I did! This week has been very informative and has helped me build my knowledge of what exactly the RRT do and has shown me just how much work they have to do to help and sustain our rivers. I underwent varied tasks as the week progressed which have developed my overall knowledge, communication skills, confidence and what you have to do whilst working.
My first day started with meeting Paul. He showed me where the main office was and took me inside, where I then met Emily. After having a general discussion with Emily about my work experience, she introduced me to most of the staff members at the office. Then I was set the task of covering egg cartons to make them look like treasure chests for a school activity, I got the hang of it pretty quickly and just stuck to it for the morning since I was pretty nervous.
At lunch, I was invited out on a walk with Ellie and Emily which was really nice. The weather was quite sunny so the walk was very pleasant.
I then went to a site with John, to take photographs for a record to show that the trees were planted and everything was in order. It was really good to look at the work of trees that had been planted two years ago, but then we had to cross a muddy field to get to the first area in which one of the earlier photographs was taken. That was the muddiest I have been in a long time, but I couldn’t help laughing at myself, I think I fell around 4 times and almost lost a wellie at one point but it was still a great day.
The second day was very different to the first, we started out with a monthly meeting that lasted for two hours but it gave me a good insight into what everyone is doing and what projects may be happening during 2017. It was in this meeting where I met Jack, the trust’s director. After this, I continued with the work I started Monday morning until lunch.
After lunch I went out with Emily to Sir Tom Finney High School to check their trout tank and to join a few of the staff and students on a clean-up. It was nice to see kids helping their local environment and to witness how determined they were to clean up the park we were in.
The next day I went tree planting for the day’s entirety. We took down some equipment that we sorted out the previous day and waited for some college students before we could start. We managed to plant all the trees by half 2. I really enjoyed it but I was aching in the evening.
The fourth day, I went out with Neil to check the trout tanks in 5 primary schools in Preston for the trout in the classroom project. They were all doing well and were healthy and Neil told me that they are going to be released in about 2 weeks.
When we got back to the office I was finishing off the task I started on my first day but then Ellie introduced me to GIS so I could map a route out for the 4 primary schools in Longridge to take to the trout release site. This was interesting to do because I have never mapped anything before.
On my final day, I went out with Emily to the 4 Longridge schools to check their trout (all are healthy!) and hand them all their copies of the maps I produced the day before. We then walked around the route that Emily planned to take them when releasing the trout and I helped her spot things that she could point out during the river walk. The bird life there was incredible. We heard a woodpecker and saw many other birds and we even helped a fisherman catch a barbel (we didn’t really, we just watched.) When we got back to the office, Emily got out a microscope for me and showed me all the invertebrates that the trout will feed on when they get released. I looked at them all through the microscope (I would not like to have them in my diet.)
I have really enjoyed my time here and it has been a wonderful experience. All the staff have made me feel so welcome, I would love to stay and not go back to school. This experience has really developed me as a person and it was very helpful in advice for my career options. I will definitely volunteer when and where I can because this week has been one of the best moments of my life!