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Sustainble river workshops during Covid19

As part of the Schools Sustainability Programme, Graduate Planet worked with schools 4 schools in September 2019 to provide an exciting education in water conservation and river protection.

The aim of the workshop was help the next generation to understand that water is one of the most valuable natural resources on the planet.

The chidlren learnt...

  • Understand how important rivers are for water purification, rainwater storage and wildlife conservation

  • Explain what a natural water source is and the causes and effects of water pollution.

  • Identify natural wildlife habitats and features along the river Avon.

  • Take action to protect and conserve water.

In the morning the children learnt about how much water there is in the world, what a natural water source is and how to support healthy river ecosystems and wildlife. In the afternoon they travelled down the river in bell-boats investigating a variety of flora, fauna, river features.

Funded by Orbit Group, BAM Construction and The Royal Society of Chemistry, 5 schools including 216 children and 24 teachers were able to take part in these ground breaking workshops.The day begins with fun lessons in a tent by the river. An ecologist teaches them about the world’s water, where it is, why it’s important, and how the water cycle affects animals, plants and humans. The children think about how much water humans use, and learn about common water wasters and savers before making their own ‘water promise’

Inspired by the ‘Stop and think, not down the sink’ campaign, The children learn about the causes and effects of water pollution, and simple things they can do at home to support water cycles.

They learn about the features of a river before making their own river and experiment with changing the flow rate and meander to improve the lives of animals, including humans.

They learn to identify freshwater invertebrates - an essential element of a balanced river ecosystem that creates the basis of the food chains for larger animals along with pollinated plants, decomposing waste and recycling nutrients. Inspired by Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS), the children learn how to mitigate water issues such as droughts, pollution and flooding.

Before taking to the water, the children discuss the rising sea levels, why it's happening, why it matters and how we can reduce it. A fully qualified canoeing coach, ex-Olympic athlete and Chairman of Fladbury Paddle Club introduces them to bell-boating and safety measures before heading out down the river Avon.

Finally, the children experience the local river features and wildlife first-hand, and hopefully go home feeling inspired to protect and conserve the precious water and wildlife they’ve connected with.

Looking at how much water an average UK household uses asking the children to investigate how much water their home uses and how much they waste.

  • This leads the children to become aware of the water they are using. We will be measuring how many baths are taken, how long they shower for, how long they leave the tap on when washing their teeth and if they use the soft flow on the toilet flush. We will also count how many families have water butts in the garden to collect rainwater.

  • This will result in the children taking showers instead of taking baths, reducing the time spent in the shower, turning taps off when washing their teeth or cleaning and reducing the use of hoses in the garden, the collection of rainwater and remembering to use the soft flow on the toilet. Hopefully it will lead to the introduction of rainwater butts.

  • This leads to the conservation of water which then saves energy because energy is needed to filter, heat and pump water in the home. By reducing water use, people will be able to reduce energy bills and their carbon footprint.

This conservation of water which means there is more water in our ecosystems, helping to keep wetland habitats topped up for animals like otters, water voles, herons and fish which is especially important during drought periods.


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