Charity offers youngsters chance to be Junior River Rangers

An environmental charity is giving primary school-aged children the chance to become Junior River Rangers in Carshalton and along the Wandle during London Rivers Week.

What’s bugging you: the sessions give children the chance to get close to nature in our local rivers

The South East Rivers Trust is staging nature scavenger hunts, craft activities and river dipping demonstrations, all packed with family fun, that are being put on by the waterways charity during the week, which is to run from May 29 to June 4.

The sessions will give children the chance to explore and understand the natural world around them and learn about what thrives along popular spots in south London.

Given the public focus that there has been on the state of our rivers lately, with an anti-pollution campaign instigated by Feargal Sharkey, the sessions will be a timely opportunity for youngsters and their parents or carers to find out more about the state of local waterways.

Killing a river: how Feargal Sharkey highlighted the latest pollution incident on the Wandle this week

The River Wandle, which has its source in South Croydon, is one of just two urban chalk streams in the country, and has attracted close attention from campaigner Sharkey this week.

The South East Rivers Trust is an environmental charity bringing rivers and their catchments back to life. Working in 12 river catchments across the South East, the Trust connects communities and mobilises citizen scientists to educate and engage people on the importance of rivers. It also supports stakeholders, businesses and individuals to protect them.

The Trust uses data and evidence to target positive action and works with nature to make rivers healthy again. This includes tackling water pollution, addressing water scarcity, reconnecting rivers and restoring habitats.

During London Rivers Week, children attending the sessions will learn why rivers are important and pick up water saving tips from SERT’s experienced educators, completing enough “green” and “blue” activities from the charity’s Junior Rivers Rangers scheme to earn a badge and certificate on the day.

The sessions are free but must be booked in advance:

Tue May 30, 9.30am to 12pm: Discover wildlife by exploring the Beverley Brook in Barnes through crafts and scavenger hunts. Session supported by Barnes Common.

Wed May 31, 9.30am to 12pm: Sign up for river dipping and other fun while exploring the River Wandle at the Sutton Ecology Centre, Carshalton. Supported by Sutton Council.

Thu June 1, 9.30am to 12pm: Explore the River Wandle with scavenger hunts and a chance to get close to nature at Kimber Skate Park. Supported by Enable at Wandsworth Borough Council.

SERT’s Robyn Shaw, who is leading the sessions, said: “Inspiring children to love and value water at the earliest opportunity in life is at the heart of our education programme.

Check list: youngsters attending the sessions get materials to help them become Junior River Rangers

“There’s no better way to understand the types of wildlife that thrives in our rivers than to experience it first hand and to explore it through creating nature art and seeing what is in the river.

“Our popular Junior River Rangers programme also ensures youngsters champion water saving in their homes and gardens. The activities are designed to show them how the water in our rivers is connected to what we use, stirring them to think about climate change, which is a key them of this year’s London Rivers Week.”

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