Our Latest Star Volunteers COLCHESTER CANOE CLUB - paddling their way to cleaner rivers Colchester Canoe Club have been regularly cleaning a two mile stretch of the River Colne for several years. Under the watchful eye of Steve Waters, they have been part of the RiverCare family for many years. Through the summer they hold Wednesday evening training sessions and paddles along the river, picking up any rubbish as they go along. Their most recent event saw members and friends from two canoe clubs join forces to clean the River Colne in Colchester from the old swimming pool to East Gates weir. They hosted the event along with Wivenhoe Canoe Club (another RiverCare group), and had another brilliant day with 25 RiverCarers on the water of all ages. It was a really fun family-friendly event, with a great result of 10 bags of mixed rubbish, three road cones, a road barrier, a pushbike, a dead eel, and a cuddly toy, pulled out of the river. It was a lovely day for a paddle with lots of wildlife seen and heard including water vole, families of swan, duck and moorhen, butterflies and numerous dragon and damselflies of various species. Steve noted that the amount of rubbish has definitely gone down over the past couple of years so their efforts are really paying off making the river a better place for wildlife and a safer place to paddle. Their next big river clean will be in late September or October to celebrate World Rivers Day, WIVENHOE RIVERCARE are celebrating their second year as part of the RiverCare & BeachCare family. They have had an amazing journey, starting with a few small-scale river cleans to some major events bringing in the wider community from the nearby University of Essex and Tesco. This all started with Bruce Langley and the enthusiasm of the Wivenhoe Kayak and Canoe Club, who wanted to clean up the river that they enjoy paddling along. Bruce would often post photos of his trips along Roman River with his kayak laden with litter, mostly plastic items that he collected along the way. Through local funding and the continued support of Tesco, Bruce has been able to purchase two new Canadian Canoes that will be invaluable in helping the river clean ups. So far the group has collected over 250 bags of rubbish from the environs of the river plus eight shopping trolleys, gas cylinders and a motorbike, and their efforts have really made a huge difference. They have been separating out the reusable plastics for recycling where possible. Their next river clean is scheduled over the weekend of 3-4 March in support of the Great British Spring Clean and they would welcome along anyone who wants to help them out. Southend BeachCare is beginning their third year of cleaning beaches along the coast from Shoeburyness to Leigh on Sea, and what a difference they are making. Huge thanks to Win O’ Sullivan our Southend group leader who is pulling this all together in South Essex. You can find out more about the group and their activities via their facebook page. We will be bringing a #2MinuteBeachClean board to Southend this spring so look out for news. They have been collecting and separating all the plastic items they find along the beach, initially for interests sake but this hard work is beginning to show some really interesting results. The biggest offenders, not surprisingly have been cotton bud sticks, straws and bottle caps. These smaller items have either been flushed down the loo, or discarded on the street and washed into drains where they find their way into the sea and ultimately washed back on to the beach. The good news is that since retailers and manufacturers have made the switch back to biodegradable cotton bud sticks last year the group is finding less of the offending plastic sticks. The group has branched out and joined forces with other local environmental groups to tackle large projects such as Two Trees Island, Leigh-on-Sea, which has an ongoing problem with visitors littering the car park and in more extreme cases, fly-tipping larger items along the shoreline. Win is developing a close relationship with local authorities to tackle and hopefully solve this problem. Celebrating our newest RiverCare group in Grimsby and their massive launch event for the national Great River Rescue campaign. Kicking off with a real splash - 96 volunteers helped throughout the day-long event and 17 different organisations came together. We removed a staggering three transit vans full of mixed litter - from trampolines and bikes to office chairs and giant teddies – as well as 11 wheelie bins full of recyclables and a tractor trailer full of organic matter after the banks were strimmed post litter removal. The river went from grot spot to spotless! Everyone who passed by commented on how good it looked and how impressed they were. And many people asked if they could join us next time. It was a real success for Elaine and Glyn on their first event. We are all grateful to VANEL, IGNITE, Grimsby Police, EFAMS first aid team, the rotary club, civic society, local residents, Duke of Edinburgh award student, ASDA community champion, and many more for their hard work and support. And to the local council for the litter collection. Our RiverCare officer Fiona said, “ I’m so proud of our new group and the people of Grimsby. They came together and made a real difference for their town. After such a fantastic start, I’m looking forward to supporting this group in going from strength to strength.” Find out how to get involved. Proudly welcoming our newest group - Hunstanton BeachCare Hunstanton BeachCare launched with their first beach clean on June 10th to celebrate World Oceans Day. The main conservation theme for World Oceans Day was preventing marine litter and finding solutions to plastic pollution. The volunteers focused on removing all of the small litter and plastic pieces that had gathered in the strandline to prevent it making its way back into the ocean and harming wildlife. After a successful day the volunteers had cleared the main beach of problematic micro plastics and small debris that had amassed and entwined itself in seaweed. Hunstanton BeachCare will be taking on different areas along the West Norfolk coast and will be monitoring litter and carrying out wildlife surveys along with litter picks. Group leader, Vicky Payne, hopes to motivate others to volunteer and encourage them to help save our coastal habitats, “The environment is my passion and I believe everyone can help in some way to protect it. Hunstanton BeachCare is a way for me to help, as well as (hopefully) inspiring others to do so too.” If you want more information about Hunstanton BeachCare, head over to their Facebook page to stay up to date with their latest news and events.