Work experience by Abigail Naylor, Clitheroe Royal Grammar School Sixth Form

Work experience with the Trust

Monday When I arrived, I was introduced to the team members and I was shown around the building. After a health and safety brief by Emily, I was given some leaflets and information about the trust and what they do within the catchment.

I then visited Bashall Brook with Adam and we checked the quality of a newly built fenced area to ensure it would be suitable and hold up in the winter months when the river levels rise.

At lunch time we went to a wooded location near the trust and did a cleanup of the litter in the area. I then went onto the trusts website and read the short summaries of each team member’s role and I spoke to Nick- whose job sounded interesting. He sent me a link so I could access a current project and read up on it.

I spoke to Ellie about her role in GIS and how it is used within the trust. This was particularly interesting as it showed the trusts impact on the environment in a visual format and how much they have done for the catchment.

Tuesday On Tuesday morning I went with Michelle to take part in some volunteer work picking invasive species called Himalayan Balsam which was introduced to England in 1839. The plant colonizes along river banks and it is a concern to the environment as when it dies back in the winter months, the earth underneath it is left bare and exposed, meaning it is vulnerable to erosion. To avoid this, we pull up the plants (this is fairly easy, as the roots are shallow and not too strong).

In the afternoon, I helped Emily gather kit and sort out activities for the family fun-day on Thursday.

Wednesday On Wednesday I went electrofishing with Adam and Jake. Before that day, I didn’t know what electrofishing was, or why it was done, however it was soon explained to me in detail by the staff. After observing at the first site, it was my turn to have a go with the net, and I caught: some trout and salmon fry, as well as many… many minnow and three eels.

In total we visited eight different sites, however after a month and a half of very warm weather, some sites we visited were all dried up!

Families at the Family Invert Fun Day

Thursday Thursday was the family fun-day at Peel Park in Accrington. We set up the tent and after talking to a few families for a while, we walked up to the lodges with some nets and trays to see what we could catch.

In the end, we ended up with a wide variety of species, the most interesting being newts and a tadpole.

Friday On Friday, I spoke to Jonny about his role with volunteers and he explained to me how he got involved with the trust and what he does when he takes volunteers out into the field.

I then went with Nick to a local farm which he was working with. The idea was to work with the farmers to put them onto a scheme whereby they would ‘get back’ for making adjustments to their farm to make it more environmentally friendly. I sat through the discussion between Nick and the owners and listened to both views. This was especially interesting as I hadn’t realized how many small adjustments to a space could have such a great impact on the environment.

Being the education officer, Emily explained that she often works with children and asked me to develop an idea for an activity about the time taken for different waste products to decay. This again was an intriguing task, as I am usually the one learning and completing tasks as opposed to designing them.

Overall, this week has been a very fascinating week, filled with new experiences and learning opportunities. Before this placement, I had no idea that there were so many diverse roles within organisations such as the Ribble Rivers Trust. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with the trust, and I would highly recommend it to anybody looking to gain experience with environmental work, or to volunteer and do good for our environment.