Action for the River Kennet’s (ARK) River School, part of their educational outreach work has been recognised in a top award at the Newbury Show. ARK was awarded the Trentham Conservation & Environment Award by the Newbury and District Agricultural Society. The award was established 24 years ago to recognise outstanding conservation organisations. ARK’s stand showcased their River School educational outreach programme, alongside partners Ramsbury Estate’s Farming and Countryside Education.
Receiving the award Anna Forbes, ARK Senior Project Officer, said: “It has been our busiest year yet with ARK River School, ending with a brilliant two days at the Newbury Show. I am delighted to receive this award, which recognises the hard work of the ARK team – both our staff and our fantastically dedicated volunteers.”
Over the last year, ARK’s River School programme has worked with over 2,000 children, from 27 schools, and nine cubs, scouts, beavers, squirrels and brownies groups in Berkshire and Wiltshire. The charity has also run five free community River Schools for families.
River School enables children to spend time outdoors and in their local chalk stream. It helps children to enjoy, value and understand their rivers and the wildlife that depends on them. They learn first-hand about the pressures rivers are facing, and the many ways individuals can help. Anna says: “We often find students are more familiar with what lives in the ocean and the Amazon than in the river on their doorstep. If we want people to care about chalk streams, we need to provide opportunities to responsibly interact and see how special they are.”
Feedback from schools has been very positive. A teacher from Tadley Court School says: “The students loved all the activities and there were lots of learning opportunities delivered in a fun and practical way. We will definitely be returning for another session.”
River School is one of many projects run by ARK to protect the Kennet and Pang rivers. To find out more and support their work click here.