When I arrived, I was met by Jonny who showed me around the office and explained what the trust did and what I would be doing for the week. I then went electrofishing with Adam and Kate. The fish were caught using an electric current relative to the conductivity of the water, which caused the muscles of the fish to twitch and meant they were easier to catch. We caught a lot of bullhead and mallow, as well as trout, a few salmon and an eel.
On Tuesday I went to Stainforth with Helen and Amelia where we set up a ‘River Explorers’ walk along the river. This involved children using an app to find boards with a trout, kingfisher and otter on. The app would then play an animation and give some information about the animals. Once they had finished, they were able to colour and make a River Explorer badge.
On my third day I went to a volunteer day where I helped remove tree guards from trees that had been planted 6 years ago. The trees are important to rivers because they help stabilise the river banks and provide shade that cools water temperatures.
Today Helen and Ryan took me to Edisford Bridge for another ‘River Explorers’ day. It was a lot more successful than Tuesday because the weather was so hot, and lots of families came to make badges with different river animals on. They were also really interested in the using virtual reality headset that showed videos and information on two river sites the trust has worked on.
On Friday I went to a volunteer balsam bashing with Jonny, Amelia and Ryan. Himalayan balsam is an invasive species that outcompetes native flora in the summer and dies in the winter. Because its roots are very short it is unable to provide support for the river bank and means its susceptible to erosion.
I’ve had a very enjoyable week with the Ribble Rivers Trust and I’m pleased I chose to do work experience here. It has taught me a lot about what it is like to work with the environment and the importance of volunteers in helping to make improvements to rivers.