Cumbria Crack

Restoring Rivers in West Cumbria

Children from Dean C of E Primary School took action for rivers last week by planting woodrush plants on the banks of the River Irt in West Cumbria.

The session was part of a project coordinated by West Cumbria Rivers Trust with Haverigg Prison, who grew the plants from seed, the National Trust who provided the site, and Biffa Award, Copeland Community Fund and United Utilities who provided the funding.

Woodrush is being planted in the area as part of a national ‘Restoring Freshwater Mussel Rivers in England’ Biffa Award-funded catchment-wide project, co-ordinated by the Freshwater Biological Association, in order to help reduce bank erosion on the River Irt. Soil washing into rivers clogs the gravel in which the endangered freshwater mussel live, and also covers salmon and trout spawning areas.

The year 1 and 2 children enjoyed a visit from West Cumbria Rivers Trust’s Education and Outreach Officer in the morning, and in the afternoon the class ate their lunch together by the river, and then worked as a team to plant 150 woodrush plants. At the end of the session the group celebrated with a few rounds of Winnie the Pooh’s favourite game of pooh sticks.

Rebecca Neal, West Cumbria Rivers Trust’s Education and Outreach Officer said “I was amazed at how much they learned about their local wildlife and why plants on river banks are important. The group worked so hard and really pulled together to get the job done.”

West Cumbria Rivers Trust offers practical outdoor activities as well as indoor sessions with a rivery theme for schools and youth groups across Copeland and Allerdale. If you are interested, please contact Rebecca Neal on [email protected]

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