The Wear Rivers Trust could not achieve what is has and what it aims to achieve in the future without the assistance of its dedicated network of volunteers. Volunteers bring a diverse range of skills and experience to our organisation, helping us to deliver conservation objectives that would be unachievable without them. We offer a variety of volunteer roles for both individuals and groups. You don’t have to know anything about rivers, fish or wildlife to volunteer with us; all we ask is that you share our goal of wanting to improve and conserve the River Wear catchment.
Engaging with communities is essential for achieving and sustaining improvements to watercourses within the Wear catchment. We always aim to involve the community in every watercourse improvement we undertake, instilling a sense of pride and ownership in a watercourse within the local community is the only truly sustainable way to achieve long term improvements for a watercourse. Bringing the community together to focus on making local watercourses better places for all to enjoy is vital to ensure a continuing legacy of care and improvement for them.
We work with schools across the Wear catchment providing river trips to offer children first-hand experience of rivers, as well as classroom sessions and project work. We primarily work with Key Stage 2 pupils but are happy to work with any age group, including secondary schools and university students. See below for our current school activities. Please contact Claire Dodds, Education Officer, for prices and further information. Depending on current funding, we may be able to offer some activities free or at a reduced cost.
We believe every child should have the opportunity to explore rivers first-hand and so offer river visits to a variety of sites across the catchment. Visits are curriculum based and can include themes such as ‘Journey of a River’ and ‘River Life’. Where possible we offer hands-on, in-river activities as part of the day. The site you choose will depend on your learning outcomes as well as the activities you wish to do. We will work with you to determine the best sites and activities for your needs and where appropriate are happy to help you use your local river as an outdoor classroom. We can also show you sites where we have done habitat improvement works and installed fish passes
If a river visit isn’t possible then we can come to you! We are happy to work with you to deliver river-themed classroom sessions to suit your needs.
Aimed at Key Stage 2 this is a fantastic way for pupils to learn about life-cycles and river habitats and food chains. Pupils visit the river to search for and collect mayfly nymphs before returning to the classroom to construct aqauria in which to look after the nymphs for two weeks, until they hatch into adult mayflies. Pupils can then return to the river to release the adult mayflies.
This river monitoring project links into the national Riverfly Monitoring Initiative. Pupils visit their local river each month to help us keep an eye on water quality by monitoring river invertebrates. Participation enables children to develop a sense of stewardship of their environment whilst learning about the pressures rivers face. This project is free to schools though spaces are limited.
The Wear Rivers Trust is a recognised John Muir Award provider and we are currently working with primary schools in the Bishop Auckland and Gaunless Valley areas to help pupils gain their John Muir Award. The John Muir Award is all about exploring wild places and pupils spend a week undertaking outdoor activities along the length of the River Gaunless to Discover, Explore and Conserve the river and Share what they have learnt. More information about the John Muir Award can be found at https://www.johnmuirtrust.org/john-muir-award
A big thank you to the Sir James Knott Trust for providing us with funding to take four primary schools on river trips to explore the River Wear and work with two primary schools to undertake river invertebrate monitoring to keep an eye on water quality within the catchment. We also created a Storymaps page following the Journey of the River Wear from its source in the North Pennines to where it reaches the sea in Sunderland. The funding allowed pupils to get involved in hands-on activities to learn more about river features and wildlife. Find out more about the completed project from the link below: