Hi, my name is Aaron and I’m the Waterways Environment Apprentice on the Unlocking the Severn project. I have been on the project and working for the Canal & River Trust since August 2021. My apprenticeship pathway is focused on working with and managing volunteers in a conservation setting.

My main focus for the first 6 months of being on the project was the Green Team, an amazing volunteer group that help to maintain Diglis Island. Their knowledge and enthusiasm have transformed Diglis Island from a bit of a dumping ground to a haven for wildlife. Since my start on the project we have developed a wildflower meadow, planted trees, laid hedges and made the island more accessible. My ambition for the island, working alongside the Green Team, is to create and enhance habitats around the island to further support biodiversity and to make the island more attractive and accessible for volunteers and visitors.

As well as the Green team, I assist our volunteering officer Alice with the Severn Conservation Task Force. A volunteer group that works throughout Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Shropshire to bring benefit to sites along the River Severn. I thoroughly enjoy working with this group as they’re so passionate and positive about bringing beneficial change to the River Severn and its catchment.

Working with volunteers to build a traditional hedge on Diglis Island

With the migration of the twaite shad fast approaching (between May-June), the next few months are tremendously exciting. In addition to working with the Green team and Task Force, I have also set up a one off volunteering opportunity to enter the drained Diglis Fish Pass and help by cleaning the gallery viewing window. This has been extremely popular and I am planning to start these sessions in the next coming weeks.

Inside Diglis Fish Pass during one of our window cleaning sessions. You can get involved with this volunteering opportunity HERE.

Finally, during the shad run I will be helping with the citizen science monitoring of the shad. We aim to get an idea of the number of shad that are migrating with counting at Upper-Lode and acoustic monitoring of spawning events. We are also interested in finding out how far up the river the shad will migrate this year with all the fish passes being completed.

I am extremely grateful for my apprenticeship opportunity with Unlocking the Severn, which has enabled me to get a start in a career in conservation and working with volunteers.

With the Green Team volunteers during the royal visit, when HRH The Princess Royal visited Diglis in October 2021.


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