Had a lovely day on 14 July when we joined with Warmsworth's Environment Group and the Don Catchment River Trust to advertise our work.
Visitors were welcomed to our stand to see what's happening in the Gorge, including Caroline Flint MP and her husband, Phil Cole.
The theme for the day was the 1940s and a few people dressed for the part, including Rachel Walker of Don Catchment River Trust, who won first prize. Well done to her.
Tuesday 17 July saw a joint volunteer day with friends from the Canal & Rivers Trust and Don Catchment River Trust when some Balsam bashing was done and work on the walling project continued. The weather has been very good to us over the past few weeks so progress is going well, but it also means weeds are growing apace and need to be controlled. Perhaps another day should be arranged when Friends can join in the 'fun' and all frustrations can be taken out on the Balsam. A War on Weeds has been declared on all invasive species, particularly Japanese Knotweed, by the Environment Agency and the River Stewardship Company of Sheffield who will be carrying out eradication work along the Don this year. There is only a little Japanese Knotweed near the fish pass, but there is a patch on private land at Lower Sprotborough that needs attention from the farmer. This work is very expensive to carry out, but needs to be dealt with, as it spreads very easily and can then become a nightmare.
A surprise visitor to the volunteer day was Paul Adam, author and film-maker, who is trying his hand at documentary making. I and others were asked to take part and I was interviewed about our group, our aims and the work we do. His film of the River Don, showing how the water quality and wildlife has improved and increased over the last 30 years or so, will be shown next year at Sheffield DocFest and we hope to be given advanced notice so that we can arrange to go and see it.
We are now looking forward to The Don Discovery Day on Saturday next, 21 July, and hope to see lots of you there.
I had a report of an otter being seen this morning about 9.30 am by David Cotes, out walking his dog towards Doncaster on the river bank below the lock. He was convinced it wasn't a mink, which we know are also around, due to its size, head and tail. Otters have been seen occasionally over the past few years, which is a good sign of their return to the river. If anyone else has seen them, they might like to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. Any photos would be especially good, but I know they are quite elusive and quick to disappear.