My time with ART: Moving onto the next chapter.

Hannah Gordon
July 19, 2021
fish pass river aire


My year with the Trust is coming to an end very soon, and what a year it has been. I am so grateful for being offered this awesome Industrial Placement during a very turbulent year, but also for the fantastic opportunities I can take away with me now back to the University of Leeds, and for my future. I would like to say a massive thank you to the ART staff and Trustees for taking a chance on me and accepting me into your team and also to all the people I have met along the way. Thank you.

I would love to tell you about every single thing I have done, been a part of or experienced this year, but we might be while. Therefore, I have a few wonderful highlights to tell you about instead.

My best bits...

  1. Mini placement on the fish pass site. The construction of the fish passes was all part of the DNAire project. For me this was really exciting. Not only was I able to wear a hard hat and steel toe boots for the first time in my life, but I learnt how to interpret blue prints, observe how to actually construct a fish passage and learn that nature will take it's course, regardless of deadlines... Having only heard of a fish pass once before, I can now confidently explain to anyone that asks why we are doing it, the purpose and how important they are for migratory fish species like Atlantic Salmon.
  2. Volunteering on Thursdays and Fridays. I couldn't not mention this. One of the best parts of my position was being able to assistant on work days across different sites meeting new people who all care for the environment as much as I do. I learnt new skills, how to use different tools effectively and made new friends who I hope to stay in touch whilst moving onto the next chapter.
  3. I helped form a collaboration with a local Youth Centre to teach young adults and children the importance of looking after watercourses, such as Haigh Beck, that feed into larger rivers and eventually the ocean. It was so inspiring to see how enthusiastic the groups were when doing activities such as litter picking. It reiterated the importance of why our work as a Trust is so important for so many different reasons.

volunteering river aire

Challenges I faced...

This year alone has been a very hectic year. It has taught me that some things are simply out of your control. I had to adapt, like many others to working from home. Which although it made delivering some of the things we would normally do, such as going into schools difficult, it never stopped us from coming up with alternative ways to connect with people. I was able to learn how to edit Youtube videos for the first time, create beer mats for our walks, help design our origami Christmas cards and assist on creating our DNAire interpretation boards along the river.

Things I have learnt...

Throughout my placement, I have learnt so much across a broad spectrum of things. Whether that's how to build a fish pass to using new tools that I have never seen before and learning new skills, I can return to my final year at University saying that I can do so much more than when I started. I have learnt that rivers are so important in connecting people, places and things. They're an integral part of local communities and provide us with so much biodiversity and life.

What would I change if I could?

I think the obvious answer to this question would be to rewind the clock and prevent the Covid-19 pandemic from happening in the first place. However, despite the turbulence, we were able to adapt as a trust and work with our volunteers to safely deliver events, run online educational sessions and still create great things. I would have loved to be able to go into schools and teach younger students about rivers using our river table and do some cool monitoring with them. That is still something I will look to doing in my future.

Oh I almost forgot, I am yet to see an Otter along the Aire, but I have spotted many Kingfishers now 🙂

walking river aire

Once again, I am so grateful for this amazing opportunity I was lucky enough to be a part of. Thank you to all of our volunteers, the ART staff for looking out for me and providing me with some awesome experiences and the Trustees for welcoming me with open arms. I will cherish my memories I have made this year for a very long time. Yorkshire has a special place in my heart now!

Hannah x

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2 comments on “My time with ART: Moving onto the next chapter.”

  1. That last picture reminds me of Pooh and Piglet 🙂 Good luck Hannah, hope the final year goes well.

  2. What a fabulous blog Hannah. It has been a pleasure having you with us for the year, I don't think I have ever seen you doing anything but smile, despite the MANY challenges thrown your way. You have been an inspriation to many with whom you have worked.
    I'm glad you managed to learn some stuff - and not just about the 'stuff' but about yourself and how reslient you can be and how you can achieve more than you might have thought possible.
    Good luck with the rest of your studies, and indeed life!


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The Aire Rivers Trust is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales No: 07464227 and a Registered Charity No: 1145609
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