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River restoration by Ribble Valley pupils

Four schools from Burnley are to take part in Himalayan balsam pulling sessions in and around Towneley Park this summer.

This is just one of many activities that the local schools have undertaken in the Park as part of Ribble Rivers Trust’s long-term initiative to engage with local children and encourage them, and their families, to respect and look after the wonderful outdoor spaces on their doorstep.

Friends of Towneley Park, in partnership with Ribble Rivers Trust and with support from Burnley Council’s Parks Department, have been working closely with the schools who have also been taking part in this years Trout in the Classroom programme. As part of this each school has just released trout, which they reared from eggs to fry in their classroom, into the River Calder in the park.

Primary school pupils on one of Ribble Rivers Trust's Trout in the Classroom outdoor sessions.
Pupils on one of Ribble Rivers Trust’s Trout in the Classroom outdoor sessions.

The children have also been in the park litter picking and learning about the harmful effects of litter to the environment, in particular plastics and microplastics.

During the balsam pulling session the children will learn all about harmful non-native invasive plants, how they have a detrimental effect on the native plants, and how they contribute to river erosion.

Schools have welcomed the opportunity to get their children out of the classroom to learn about the local environment and the issues effecting it, with the last 18 months of restrictions making these sessions even more special. The teachers and staff involved particularly value the practical side, as the children gain hands on experience of actually making a difference to the environment.

The schools taking part are Worsthorne Primary, Springfield Primary, Brunshaw Primary, and St Stephen’s Primary.

Ribble Rivers Trust’s education program is part of the Ribble Life Together project, which has been funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. For further information about Ribble Rivers Trust and our work please visit ribbletrust.org.uk.