River Wardens wanted

River warden’s scheme launch success

The Isle of Wight Council’s Medina Riverside Park has undergone a transformation since the involvement of the Isle of Wight Estuaries Project. As well as funding practical improvements, such as litter clearance, hedgelaying and new picnic benches, the project has recruited a local expert to help set up a volunteer group of local river enthusiasts.

The recent open evening to discuss the setting up of a Medina River Warden scheme was very successful. Eighteen people came and heard Ray Harrington-Vail of the Footprint Trust explain the idea behind the volunteer project. Using these eager volunteers and others to be recruited over the summer, the warden scheme should be set up this autumn. The Trust has already set up the popular IW Pond Warden scheme, and will be using its experience and expertise to help the Estuaries Project establish the River Wardens scheme.

River Wardens will get involved with a variety of tasks, which would not only benefit the river but also give invaluable training and experience to those who undertook the role. For example, a river warden could monitor activities on the river. Litter picking and practical nature conservation work could be undertaken. River wardens could inform and educate and act as ambassadors for the Medina which may include helping with guided walks, interpretation, working with schools plus other types of education and awareness raising. Liaison with river user groups such as anglers, boaters, walkers and bird watchers would also take place. Education and awareness about climate change issues and sea level rise plus information about the special protected areas of the river could also be delivered.

There will be a training day on Saturday 29th September 2007 in the Newport area. Booking is essential. Initially 20 wardens will be trained. Anyone else who is interested in taking part can contact the Footprint Trust.

rivers@footprint-trust.co.uk tel 822282.

The River Warden scheme will initially be paid for through the Area Investment Framework with money provided by South East England Development Agency and administered by the Isle of Wight Economic Partnership. The project is managed by the Isle of Wight Estuaries Project.