Celebrating Surrey’s Rivers

From 18th to 26th September, Surrey Wildlife Trust will be championing blue nature super-highways in the run up to World Rivers Day on the 26 September 2021. From recent beaver introductions to restoring stretches of river in Surrey with volunteers, the Trust welcomes you to dive into the world of rivers and its wildlife with free online talks and assemblies.

Rivers Week also coincides with the Climate Coalition’s Great Big Green Week, which seeks to encourage and empower communities and individuals to take action for nature and climate change in a national week of events. So what better way to get involved than to learn about the vital role of rivers in flood management and climate change adaptation?

On Monday 20th September, Marc Anderton, a Trust ecologist, will talk about bats and why our rivers and waterways are a vital habitat and feeding ground for so many species of bat, from common or Nathusius’s pipstrelle to Daubenton’s bats.

On Tuesday 21st September, explore the creatures of the deep in an online talk with Ben Siggery who will be exploring our aquatic environments and the incredible diversity of species that live within. Using a digital microscope, he will be getting up close and personal with pond life and increasing our understanding of the role they play in wetland habitats.

Between 21st and 23rd September, schools have a chance to sign up for Surrey Wildlife Trust’s live streamed assemblies for key stages 1, 2 & 3 on rivers. The Trust will be premiering its new animated film about healthy rivers and the impacts of climate change.

On Wednesday 22nd September, Glen Skelton, wetland projects manager, will explore the chequered history of rivers and how they have been adapted over the years and why they need to be transformed back to their meandering natural course to benefit wildlife and help prevent flooding.

On Thursday 23rd September, influenced by ‘Ratty’ in Wind in the Willows’, Surrey Wildlife Trust’s principal ecologist, Rob Hutchinson, will share his fascination with the wonderful charismatic water vole in an online talk. This adorable chestnut brown, furry, river rodent eats more than 150 species of plant and also climbs trees.

On Friday 24th September, find out why people should get excited about beaver reintroduction projects on a live online talk with the naturalist and science communicator, Sophie Pavelle. After an absence of more than 400 years, beavers are making a comeback across the British Isles as a natural solution to increasing biodiversity, the health of rivers and reducing flooding.

Glen Skelton, wetland landscapes officer at Surrey Wildlife Trust, said: ‘Rivers are an incredible natural resource.  By working with nature in the way we manage our rivers, we can create river catchments that can not only protect us against the effects of climate change and provide us with clean drinking water, but also support thriving wildlife populations. A healthy river catchment is good for both people and wildlife.’

Surrey Wildlife Trust takes a strategic role across Surrey’s waterways hosting the River Wey and River Mole catchment partnerships. Over the last five years, these partnerships have delivered multiple river restoration projects to connect local people back to the river, training over 200 volunteers who have been involved in monitoring over 110km of river and restoring a further 5km.

For more information on Rivers Week events, online talks and free school assemblies or to book visitwww.surreywildlifetrust.org.uk

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