Citizen Science Blog – Why Volunteer to Help Our Rivers?
- Rivers need our help.
- Rivers help us every day.
- Nature-based volunteering is good for our health and well-being.
- Volunteering will keep our rivers healthy for us, for wildlife, for our communities and for our children in the future.
So why volunteer to help our rivers? It’s simple, helping our rivers helps us too.
Civilisations throughout history were built around rivers, so many towns, villages and cities of today are centred around them. For example, the towns of Kilmallock and Croom are found on the Maigue River. Rivers provide us with a bounty of food, energy, transport, drinking water and leisure activities. They collect rainwater and transport essential nutrients, and they even carry away pollutants that wash in from land. Rivers are life-giving arteries filled with the fresh water that supports our landscapes and wildlife, keeps our crops and livestock hydrated, and ultimately keeps us healthy too.
But most Irish rivers, including the Maigue, are no longer healthy. We have changed the physical shape and pathways of our rivers so that the movement, levels and functions of rivers are no longer in balance. We have also developed habits and practices that have so increased the levels of toxins, chemicals, nutrients, waste and pollutants entering our rivers, that they are struggling to provide us with those same benefits.
Living near a thriving, well-balanced river environment benefits all in its vicinity. Studies show that simply looking at natural green spaces and water (blue space) can improve our health and wellbeing. Increasing the amount of time we spend in natural spaces boosts our immune systems and benefits the physical, mental and emotional health of children and adults. It calms us and lowers our blood pressure, and it reduces feelings of stress, depression and anxiety. Spending time in nature should be a medical prescription.
Clearly, we need our rivers; and now, our rivers need us too. Volunteering to help protect and improve the Maigue rivers will make a massive difference to the health of the river and the surrounding landscape. Joining a volunteer community group, particularly one that engages in nature-based activities, will also benefit our own health and well-being.
If we volunteer to help our rivers, we get the health benefits of spending time in nature, and we can help ensure the health of our rivers for now and for our children in the future.
Please help us help our rivers by undertaking the following survey on ‘Connections, concerns and caring for your local river’. The survey will take you about 10-12 minutes to complete.
Or paste this survey link into your browser: https://bit.ly/3nT6uQF
Author: Donna Weiner – Mary Immaculate College PhD candidate.
Email Liz, Project Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about volunteering with the Trust.