Our charity, the River Thames Boat Project, has completed the first 6 months of testing with Freshwater Watch.
So far we have worked with over 350 children, young people, disabled adults and elderly clients to gather data on the River Thames between Windsor to Wapping, and on the Mole and Hogsmill and the confluence of these tributaries with the Thames. Earthwatch have also trained 20 of our staff and volunteer crew to collect the data, inspiring some of our crew to do testing of their own and find out more about river pollution.
Our main focus is on the confluence of the Hogsmill and the Thames at Kingston-Upon-Thames. Our intrepid citizen scientists, as part of our Eco Venturers programme, test the river water when our boat is at her home mooring of the Barge Dock, Thamesside, Kingston (at the bottom of Downhall Road and adjacent to Canbury Gardens).
We are also in a fantastic position to test the river water mid-stream from our historic Dutch barge, Thames Venturer (now 108 years old!). Our citizen scientists have collected data as part of our new Eco Access cruises, comparing data from the freshwater stretch as far as Windsor, and on the tidal stretch as far down as Wapping.
We have worked with a wide variety of client groups such as primary schools, youth groups, young carers, children with cancer, disabled young people, elderly and isolated adults.
The charity is excited to see what the next 6 months of testing will discover. So far we have mostly found medium-high Nitrate levels and low-medium Phosphate levels, however these have varied between sites and seasons. After a whole year of testing, we will look at our results to compare our findings. If you live near Kingston, please do get in touch to joinf forces!
We are very fortunate to have been awarded funding in order to undertake this project. Thanks to the people at Global's Make Some Noise we have been able to run our Eco Access cruises for young people this year. Thanks to Heathrow Community Fund we have been able to offer our disabled and adult cruise clients our environmental activities including water testing. We hope to increase our volunteer crew and our clients' knowledge and understanding of the river, and inspire them to learn more and take action to look after their local environment. Please like our Facebook page to keep up to date with our news!