Article - The River Blog

The Twelve (River) Days of Christmas

Author: Jeanette Dyson
Categories: Events, Special interest

On the first day of Christmas, River Holme Connections found for me…

… a wet wipe hanging on a tree

FACT: Most so-called ‘flushable’ wetwipes contain plastic and take hundreds of years to break down. Instead they stick to fats and oils, creating fatbergs that block pipes and cause sewage to overflow into rivers. Never flush wipes or pour fats and oils down the sink.

On the second day of Christmas, River Holme Connections found for me…

… 2 dipper birds

FACT: The dipper is a rounded short-tailed bird with a low, whirring flight, often found near rivers. They are easily identified by their large white bib against their dark plumage. They feed mainly when submerged, picking food from the bottom of streams and riverbeds.

On the third day of Christmas River Holme Connections found for me…

… 3 butterflies

FACT: Many butterfly species are in decline but there are things we can all do to help butterflies survive and hopefully thrive. In autumn, leaving fallen fruit on the ground can provide food for butterflies. Build a bug hotel in your garden. Have a wild area in your garden and allow nettles to grow, which butterflies and caterpillars love.

On the fourth day of Christmas, River Holme Connections found for me…

…4 river ducks

FACT: The birds in the photo and many of those at Holmfirth’s Duck Feeding Area, are mallards. The male has a dark green head and yellow bills, while females are mainly brown with an orange bill. Mallards eat seeds, acorns and berries, plants, insects and shellfish. NEVER feed ducks bread. Instead feed them sweetcorn, peas and seeds.

On the fifth day of Christmas, River Holme Connections found for me…

…5 rubbish sacks

FACT: An estimated 2.5 million pieces of litter are dropped every day. Much of this litter is blown into rivers and finds its way to the ocean, affective river and marine life and polluting our planet. Don’t drop litter!

On the sixth day of Christmas, River Holme Connections found for me…

… 6 vols a litter picking

FACT: Our volunteers help us to pick tonnes of litter every year. To prevent litter from entering our rivers and affecting wildlife, take it home or dispose of it responsibly. Look out for the Great British Spring Clean in March 2020.

On the seventh day of Christmas, River Holme Connections found for me…

… 7 guides a planting

FACT: Volunteers grow native plug plants during winter and spring, which we plant along the riverbanks where volunteers have helped us to remove invasive species, such as Himalayan balsam, Japanese knotweed, montbretia and American skunk cabbage.

On the eighth day of Christmas, River Holme Connections found for me…

…8 people hedge planting

FACT: In winter 2019 and spring 2020, we’re planting more than 4,770 native trees and hedges within the River Holme catchment to benefit local wildlife, capture carbon and help with flood management.

On the ninth day of Christmas, River Holme Connections found for me…

…9 volunteers on a tea break!

FACT: On the third Saturday of every month 10am-12noon we host our Third Saturday Work Party. There’s no commitment, everyone is welcome and refreshments are provided. Come along to our first event of 2020, we’re hedge planting in Meltham on Saturday 18th January, 10am, HD9 5PT

On the tenth day of Christmas, River Holme Connections found for me…

…10 learners, learning

FACT: During our October River Festival, we held a series of river-related talks. Chris Dean from Moors For the Future, talked about their moorland conservation project and how we can all help. By planting sphagnum moss the project is capturing carbon, aiding flood management and bringing the moors back to life.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, River Holme Connections found for me…

…11 balsam bashers, bashing

FACT: Removing invasive species, like Himalayan balsam, and replanting the area with native plants benefits natural ecosystems. Our balsam bashing programme will start again in the summer.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, River Holme Connections found for me…

…12 young explorers, exploring.

FACT: On the second day of our October River Festival in October, we invited local schoolchildren to the University of Huddersfield to learn about our rivers and why we need to care for them. They learned about sphagnum moss, how pollution affects river insects and even identified some river bugs.

Happy New Year and we hope to make the River Holme catchment even better for people and wildlife in 2020!

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