The Great Sheffield River Clean Up!

Last Saturday we worked with the River Stewardship Company on a large clean up event in Sheffield. It was a huge success with 81 volunteers in total removing a huge amount of rubbish from the river.

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A small sample of all the litter collected on the day.

The event started on Ball Street Bridge near Kelham Island that had been closed for the day so we could set up gazebos for our event. On the bridge we signed up volunteers and provided them with equipment to complete certain tasks in and around the River Don. We were completely shocked by the amount of volunteers who signed up on the day, but were happy that so many people came to make a difference to their local river. It proves that no matter what your age or background you can make a difference by volunteering to improve your local area.

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Photo thanks to the Rivers trust of volunteers and the lord mayor of Sheffield at the end of the day 

On the day we had planed to construct a bug hotel on the bank at the bottom of Kelham weir. This is always a fun and worthwhile task as it creates a habitat for a whole range of invertebrates, and feels like you’re constructing a home. It is good for getting kids involved and interested in nature and allows them to get creative as they painted a sign for the Hotel, or Bug B+B.

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The completed Bug B+B

There was a lot of media coverage on the day with the event appearing in a segment on Mondays episode of the One Show. It also appeared in articles in both the Sheffield Star and the Daily Mail. However we were too busy to let this phase us as teams of people entered the river in waders to pick litter from less accessible locations. Both our teams were on hand to ensure every ones safety in the water. We pulled several large items out of the river, such as multiple car bumpers and a few yellow ofo bikes.

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A volunteer from the Environment Agency who came to help on his day off

Further up stream the people from British Canoeing were out in kayaks collecting litter from the Don. The River Stewardship Company  also had their metal boat in the water and were taking volunteers out to pick litter from the areas inaccessible by foot.

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Photo thanks to the Rivers Trust

Overall we really enjoyed our day in Sheffield and at the end of a long hard days work we felt good because we knew we’d made a positive difference to the Don.

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Catchment Officer Matt Duffy and Apprentice Anthony Cox smiling at the end of a hard days work
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Apprentice Week: My Apprenticeship with DCRT

Tackling invasive species, working with volunteers and performing habitat enhancement, have all been a part of my apprenticeship with the Don Catchment Rivers Trust. I have been with the Trust since October 2017, and have worked on lots of exiting projects such as the Living Heritage of the River Don and the Moss Valley project (read more here). Over my time in the trust my knowledge and passion for the environment has been enhanced and has given me more drive to do my best to improve our local environment.

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Me, removing Himalayan Balsam at Wardsend Cemetery

Over the time I have worked for the trust I have been on lots of training courses to learn new skills such as getting a brush cutter and chainsaw tickets, my pesticide spraying qualification and my first aid. I have also been on lots of useful nature courses such as the bat ID training and a hydrology training course.

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Me and some volunteers at the start of a Bat survey I led last year

I have been employed on the new project Hidden Heritage and Secret Streams as a level 3 apprentice. It means I will have a larger role in the project and will be working more independently. This year I’m doing units such as managing volunteer groups which I have started to do by taking a larger role in working with the Friends of the Don Valley Way. I will also be completing some plant surveys in the new project area.

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Me, cutting back vegetation in Sheffield at the beginning of my Apprenticeship

By Anthony Cox