Hello and welcome to my first ever blog! I’m Heather and I recently started as one of the TCV Scotland Natural Communities Trainees. During this 12-month programme I’ll be based with the Clyde River Foundation (CRF), a charity which researches and promotes the ecology of rivers within the River Clyde catchment – a huge geographical area covering over 3000km2.
My first few weeks with the CRF have provided insight into their ‘Clyde in the Classroom’ project, a well-established educational project that introduces primary school children to river ecology. Children have the fantastic opportunity of looking after a fish hatchery and caring for and rearing two hundred Brown trout from eggs.
The children are not alone when it comes to learning more about river ecology! I’m therefore looking forward to getting involved with CRF’s river surveys and finding out more about CRIMP (Clyde Riverfly Initiative Monitoring Partnership), CRF’s citizen science project that focuses on monitoring and recording river invertebrate populations – the vital little critters at the bottom of the river (yes, this is the extent of my technical knowledge of river invertebrates at the moment!). Another area of work I’m keen to learn about, and essentially the reason why I’m here (!), is community engagement and, all importantly, how to engage communities with river environments….
So, why is this community engagement role so important to me? Without going into too much depth, my passion for the environment and belief that we all have a responsibility to protect the environment led to me making a change in career direction and pursuing a BSc in Conservation Biology and Ecology. Environment conservation issues were always of interest during my degree course, but I became increasingly aware that the ability to share my knowledge of such issues, at a time when humans are becoming increasingly disconnected from the environment, would be fundamental to helping re-engage people with our fantastic natural environment.
Therefore, regardless of whether it’s the rill in the Lowther Hills or the waters of lower courses of the River Clyde passing through Glasgow; I’m eager to get stuck into this role and look forward to engaging communities with their local river, stream, burn, beck, watercourse, brook, creek, rill (or whatever they want to call it) over the next 11 months!
Thank you for reading and see you next time..…..