Tyne Rivers Trust
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Work Experience with Tyne Rivers Trust 2023

We’re delighted to be able to support a small number of work experience applicants within our own small team, and this year we’ve been delighted to meet new students looking to find out whether a career in conservation and environmental causes is for them. We invited Adam, Luke and Jack to share their story.

First up, meet Adam

Adam heard about the Tyne Rivers Trust through one of his teachers. Studying Biology and Geography at A-Level, he felt the work we do fitted in perfectly with his studies and applied to do four days with work experience with us. Adam hopes to pursue a career in Marine Biology when he leaves Kings Priory in Tynemouth and heads on to university. Living in North Shields, Adam’s local stretch of the River Tyne is the mouth of the Tyne, where walks past the famous ‘black middens’ and watching the hustle and bustle of the various fishing boats, ships and trawlers that come up the Tyne to the port is a side of the river he knows well.

With a career in Marine Biology on the cards, its clear Adam was passionate about wildlife and how our work protecting the Tyne rivers feeds into supporting such a diverse population of invertebrates and vertebrates. With that in mind, Adam accompanied Catchment Habitat Advisor Jamie on a site visit to a damming site. The purpose of these dams are to force the river channel to flow faster, deepening the narrowed channel. If, or when, flooding occurs, sediment is then deposited behind the dam, creating a good habitat for young fish to start their lives.

Adam also got to learn more about creating new flood plains and the issue of artificially straightened rivers and signal crayfish in the Tyne. Rounding off his week inputting important data from a recent e-fishing trip to monitor the health and habitat of the river and a Balsam Bash with our volunteers, Adam left describing the team and the work we do as ‘hardworking, proactive and dedicated’.

Next, meet Luke

Joining us for the week from Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form, Luke’s favourite lesson is Sociology. Sociology is the study of society – how people interact in groups, the ways people are organised into groups according to distinctions such as class, gender and race. A-level Sociology also looks at the institutions and forces which shape and are shaped by groups within a society, such as the media, religion and education.

Luke’s interest in the behaviour of people and personal passion for helping the environment made the Tyne Rivers Trust a great place to kickstart his work experience. Living locally, kayaking, swimming and walking the dog along the river in Hexham meant that Luke already had a good understanding of how the Tyne rivers form part of our daily lives. An appreciation for protecting it was embedded from the get-go. He was going to fit in with the team just fine!

It was important for us to show Luke both sides of our work at the Trust – what happens behind the scenes in terms of research and getting out into the catchment on-site. Both directly help protect and preserve the Tyne rivers for those who live and work along it.

Last but not least, meet Jack

Jack joined us from Prudhoe Community High School with a keen interest in the environment. Wanting to learn more about the work we do both on-site and behind the scenes, Jack joined us for four days and took part in a variety of tasks with volunteers, inputting important data for the team and desk research to help build a picture of the broad range of work that Tyne Rivers Trust does. Jack’s favourite lesson at school is History, so we made sure to share as many facts about the Tyne rivers and catchment as we could to give him a deeper understanding contextually about the web of ecosystems that are all connected that he might not even know about whilst out and about on a walk.

Getting first hand experience of pesky invasive species was one task that brought our work to life when Jack went out with our fantastic team of volunteers to identify and remove Himalayan Balsam. Himalayan balsam is a relative of the well-known garden plant the ‘busy Lizzie’, but if left to its own devices can reach head height, and is a major weed problem on riverbanks. Due to such rapid growth and rate of spread, it smothers other vegetation and plant life creating a monoculture.

The Trust is made up of a team of experts who are passionate about the health of the River Tyne and its tributaries and have built up a specialist knowledge of its unique hydrology and biology.

We hope we gave our work experience students of summer 2023 a taste of what working life is like for our Project Managers who work with the farmers, landowners and community groups in the Tyne catchment to reduce the amount of diffuse pollution that goes into the river, remove invasive species, create innovative nature-based solutions to flooring, erosion and so much more.

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