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Riverine Environmental Project delivering change across the region

16 June 2020
People from all over the Strabane/ Lifford area engaged with their local environment over the weekend through Derry City and Strabane District Council's Riverine Environmental Project. 
 
This PEACE IV funded Riverine project is designed to enable people from different backgrounds to come together to discover, explore and protect this diverse region.
 
The Riverine Environmental Project is made up of several different strands that concentrate on different aspects of engaging with our environment; from learning how to grow plants, to exploring, to protection and conservation.
 
Like with all aspects of life at the moment, the different programmes have had to adapt to ensure that they are following current Covid-19 restriction guidelines. These include smaller group sizes, staggered start times and increased hand washing.
 
Environmental Champions
 
Hummingbird NI and Dennett Anglers are responsible for delivering The Environmental Champions programme which concentrates on waterway protection and conservation. At the weekend a river litter pick was conducted in conjunction with Deele Community Anglers along a section of the River Deele close to Convoy. Throughout the day different family groups worked along specific stretches of the river removing rubbish which included a bicycle frame, car tires and lots of single use plastics. The volunteers worked in co-operation with Donegal County Council to ensure that all the rubbish was disposed of under current guidelines.  The Riverine Environmental Champions and Deele Anglers would like to thank Councilor Liam Doherty for his help and guidance alongside staff at Council.
 
Environmental Explorers
 
There can be no better way to explore our local areas than on foot or bike. Under the expert guidance of Far and Wild two different groups had the opportunity this weekend to discover new places and learn new skills. On Saturday a group of hikers explored the unique landscape of the old Strabane Canal and heard about how to read the landscape for clues of past activities. Sunday was an action-packed day that saw a group of thrill seekers learn mountain bike skills in the grounds of Bready Jubilee Primary School before tackling of the lane down to the old ice house and quay at the Gribben on the banks of the Foyle.
 
Learning in the Landscape
 
With people spending an increased amount of time at home there has been a massive increase in interest of growing vegetables and plants. However unfortunately we are not all blessed with green fingers. The Riverine 'Growing Together' course delivered by Butterlope Farm thankfully addresses this and teaches people the skills they need to be successful growers. During the lockdown period, Annie from Butterlope farm has seen great engagement in her online videos and tutorials but is now pleased to be able to bring small groups together to give them hands-on guidance. The participants of Growing Together are all looking forward to sampling their own home-grown vegetables over the coming months.
 
A Saturday Club for young people from the age of 9 -12 year olds has not been able to meet yet but are they have been exploring nature and the countryside with the help of a 'Wildlife Explorers' pack containing identification charts, nets and bug boxes, as well as some ideas on how to catch and learn about wildlife.  They share their finds with other members of the group online.
 
Project manager Allan Bogle, from Derry City and Strabane District Council said "the past few months have been a difficult time for everyone. People have missed meeting with others and spending time outside. We have found with careful planning the right guidelines in place it has been possible to tentatively begin these programmes and to start address issues such as wellbeing and environmental damage."
 
Riverine Environmental Project is funded by the European Union's PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).