A passion for a local river and its surrounding environment has seen pupils from Barton Junior School emerge triumphant when they showcased what they had learnt from a river protection project.
The year 5 and 6 students were among two Dover schools – the other was Whitecliffs Primary College – who have spent their summer term learning about the river Dour as part of the ‘Our Finest Dour’ project. This is a three-year National Lottery Heritage Funded project which aims to raise local awareness about the River Dour, it’s rarity, and its importance for biodiversity.
Throughout the project, the children have explored their local area, investigated species found in the River Dour and been given a tour of the Affinity Water Treatment Works at Drellingore. All of these interactive activities have enabled them to plan and run their own individual campaigns, encouraging others to look after their local river.
On Thursday 11th July around 90 pupils from the two schools gathered at Dover Town Hall for a celebration event. They also presented what they have learned, and showcased their campaigns to encourage others to take responsibility for looking after the river, to a judging panel of environmental, council and communication specialists.
A close-fought competition, the team from Barton Junior School were crowned the eventual ‘Our Finest Dour’ project winners and were presented with their award from Mayor of Dover, Gordon Cowan after impressing the judges with their enthusiasm, creativity and commitment to the project.
Affinity Water’s award-winning education team has been working closely with the White Cliffs Countryside Partnership to help deliver this part of the project to the two schools.
Karen Stanley, Education Co-Ordinator at Affinity Water said: “Students from the two local schools have developed a real passion for the river, the environment and conservation in general with a particular focus on the precious and finite resource that is water.
“The whole project has been an absolute pleasure to be involved in. Watching the children learn and grow and being able to nurture their passion for their local environment has been truly inspiring. I am sure, without doubt, that these children will grow up to be fantastic ambassadors for our River Dour and for their environment in general.”
Iona Dubieniec, Landscape Partnership Officer, from White Cliffs Countryside Partnership, who runs ‘Our Finest Dour’ said: “This project has given me hope for the future of the River Dour. Given current news about the state of the natural world, this project has been a breath of fresh air knowing how much the children enjoy and care for their river