Introducing our new Director

Some thoughts from Dr Ed Shaw, the new Director of the Trust

Ed resizedIt’s been a very fruitful year for the Trust. The Living Heritage of the Don project is now in full swing, with five weirs having been modified to increase the ability of migrating salmon to reach spawning grounds in Sheffield and further upstream. Things are falling into place and all being well it won’t be long now before salmon begin to naturally recolonise the catchment. Furthermore two new members of staff have been employed to run interesting and rewarding events that are good for both people and rivers, such as riverbank clear-ups and school sessions.

Yet there is much much more that can be done to improve the rivers and streams of our catchment. This is why the Trust has decided to appoint a Director, a position I am privileged to have been able to take on. The priority of the role will be to develop new worthwhile projects and apply for funding to ensure the Trust goes from strength to strength and continues to make our catchment a better place. I’m not a new face at the Trust; I’ve been involved since I was a student and I have witnessed the DCRT evolve from little more than an idea into the team of dedicated and passionate staff and Trustees it is today.

While in some ways we live in alarming times, with the threat of climate change, an increasingly resource hungry world, and shrinking budgets, for a number of reasons these are also exciting times. Governments are waking up to the fact that the restoration and better management of ecosystems, often at a low cost, can provide many benefits such as a reduction in flooding, improved water quality, increased carbon storage and good habitat for wildlife. At the same time technology is advancing at a breathtaking speed, equipping us to improve, manage and monitor our rivers and land more effectively. The digital age has enabling the unprecedented collation, synthesis and sharing of information and data, and this is propelling advances in ecological knowledge, and we are now in a golden age of discovery. Our society is better informed than it’s ever been, with institutions like the University of Sheffield, the internet, and the media providing more opportunities for people to learn, which is probably the reason that there is a great appetite for projects that enhance the environment. And to cap it all there is the good news story of the dramatic ecological recovery of the Don, Dearne and Rother in the last few decades. All this means that I am cautiously optimistic for the future. As the new Director I’m looking forward to playing my part at the Trust and helping make a positive difference to the rivers and streams in our catchment.





Six months on …

Today marks exactly six months since I joined Don Catchment Rivers Trust. It feels like only yesterday that I met everyone for the first time. It has been an absolutely fantastic time and I cannot wait to see what other marvels await me in the rest of my apprenticeship. I have already done so much that it is hard for me to comprehend that there is anything else for me to learn, but every day I get proven wrong and I learn something brand new whether it be a fact, a skill or a simple life lesson.

I have learned so much information and developed so many new skills that I never thought I would get. I now have the ability to build and repair a stile, interact with the public (which I used to be scared of doing due to stage fright) and I’m even a qualified first aider now! I can now identify a whole bunch of different wildlife, some of which I had never even heard of before coming here.


I have met amazing people and seen some absolutely incredible views that I wish everyone could see. I have seen volunteers turn a dumping ground into a beautiful trail that feels safe to walk down. I have seen the progress of the fish passes being built and it truly is remarkable.


It makes me happy knowing that I am contributing to help change the environment for the better, not only for all the wildlife but for us as people as well. I strongly believe that I have truly found what I want to do for the rest of my life. I feel so enlightened walking down the trails besides the River Don and seeing all of the natural beauty that all of my colleagues and I are helping preserve.

I would like to thank all of you for giving me this opportunity.

Josh Laidlow
Apprentice – Living Heritage of the River Don