Children aged 5-11 can become official Junior River Rangers for the South East Rivers Trust during London Rivers Week (29th May to 4th June).
Nature scavenger hunts, craft activities and river dipping demonstrations are all part of three interactive sessions packed with family fun that are being put on by the waterways charity.
The sessions will give primary school-aged children the chance to explore and understand the natural world around them and learn about what thrives along popular spots in south London.
Learn from our experienced educators
Children 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, as follows, are free but must be booked in advance.
30th May 9.30am to 12pm: Discover wildlife by exploring the Beverley Brook in Barnes through crafts and scavenger hunts. Session supported by Barnes Common.
31st May 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.
1st June 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.
‘Experiencing nature first hand is key’
Robyn Shaw, SERT’s Assistant Education Officer 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.
“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.”
London Rivers Week, now in its seventh year, aims to inspire the public to help learn about and protect the capital’s waterways through walks, talks, interactive sessions and seminars.
Focus on climate change
This year’s theme is climate change and how river restoration can reduce its impact, for people and wildlife, through restoring habitats to reduce the effects of extreme weather.
London waterways charity Thames21 is co-ordinating the week, which features more than 30 events spread across the capital. Liz Gyekye, Communications Manager, said: “There’s a very wide range of events for people to get involved with this year, from meandering river walks to craft classes and topical debates.”
Sir Tony Robinson, actor, author and TV presenter, said: “As a devoted admirer of the Thames and its tributaries, I am proud to be supporting London Rivers Week 2023. We need healthy rivers to help us to tackle the negative impacts of the climate crisis.”
More than 40 river restoration projects – reinstating a natural process and biodiversity to waterways – have taken place in London since 2000. Since 2000, about 28 miles (45km) has been restored. The principal organisations running London Rivers Week are the Environment Agency, Thames21, the South East Rivers Trust, London Wildlife Trust, ZSL, CPRE London, the Thames Estuary Partnership, and Thames Water.
* The Junior River Rangers scheme is part of the Trust’s educational programme. Education is one of SERT’s mission’s cornerstones. We have a range of initiatives to encourage young people to engage with rivers. Project Kingfisher is our core educational programme covering our South London Rivers (Wandle, Hogsmill and Beverley Brook). For more information visit our education page.