Celebrating the first freshwater "citizen science school" and 10 years of a powerful partnership - Earthwatch
Earthwatch's Soraya Wooller explaining to pupils from Enstone Primary School how to test water turbidity with a test tube.

Celebrating the first freshwater “citizen science school” and 10 years of a powerful partnership

As a proud partner of the Evenlode Catchment Partnership (ECP), we join the celebrations of its 10th anniversary. Earlier this year, we were thrilled to see a local primary school become the first freshwater citizen science school in the catchment.

10 years in support of the River Evenlode

The River Evenlode winds its way through some of the Cotswold’s most picturesque scenery. It is a popular place for both residents and tourists to spend time beside. Historically, the Evenlode has been regarded as a clean river. But in recent years, there have been increasing concerns over water quality, with not a single place on the entire river designated as safe for bathing.

The Evenlode Catchment Partnership (ECP) was established in 2014 to facilitate improvements in water quality, enhance biodiversity, flood management, resilience to climate change and build greater community engagement with the local rivers. Earthwatch Europe has been a proud partner alongside Wild Oxfordshire and more than 30 other organisations and engaged individuals. Our FreshWater Watch Team has contributed their expertise in citizen science and water monitoring, giving local communities a tool to take action.

In 2024, we celebrate the ECP’s 10th anniversary. Alongside our partners, we look forward to continuing our work for a thriving Evenlode.

A group photo showing Earthwatch's Soraya Wooller with teachers and pupils of Enstone Primary School, wearing high vis vests and holding kit to collect water samples

Pupils of Enstone Primary School collecting water samples. Image credit: Jennifer Lanham

Guardians of the Glyme – the next generation of citizen scientists

Our Science Coordinator for FreshWater Watch, Soraya Wooller, has been thrilled to support Enstone Primary School on their journey to becoming the first citizen science school in the Evenlode catchment. Joined by Ros and Jennifer from Everyone’s Evenlode, Soraya showed pupils how to use our water monitoring kit to test for nitrates, phosphates and turbidity. Now all classes are set to take part in water quality monitoring on the Glyme within walking distance of their school. The gathered data will be submitted to the FreshWater Watch database. The school will also record the results on a wallchart for everyone to see and give an assembly about water quality, led by the children, later in the academic year. Their eco-governor, David Garden, said he was proud of the children’s participation.

Wild Oxfordshire invites more primary and secondary schools based in the Evenlode catchment to come on board and join the citizen science community.

I loved meeting the pupils of Enstone Primary School. I was blown away by their passion, insight and questions about freshwater health. It’s so encouraging to see the next generation of citizen scientists take action for their local river – one of the fantastic achievements that have come out of the Evenlode Catchment Partnership.

Soraya Wooller, Science Coordinator at Earthwatch Europe

Soraya demonstrating how to use our water quality testing kit. Image credit: Jennifer Lanham

Join our FreshWater Watch network

Pollution, climate change and over-exploitation have brought our fresh water systems to crisis point. We want to transform our rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, wetlands and reservoirs into clean, thriving habitats for people and wildlife. Through the FreshWater Watch programmes, we use the power of citizen science to give communities across the globe the tools to monitor water quality, identify problems and fight for improvements.

Would you like to make a difference? You can join an existing FreshWater Watch community group or set up your own.

Credit for top banner image: Jennifer Lanham

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