November 2020 part 2
At DCRT we believe that time spent in nature can be incredibly restorative. In fact there is plenty of scientific evidence that being better connected with nature makes us both healthier and happier people. Being physically active in nature relaxes our nervous system, releases mood-lifting hormones and increases our energy-levels. But, it’s not just positive for our physical health, exposure to nature can help us to manage existing mental health issues and prevent them from occurring in the future – a green prescription for our minds and bodies.

At DCRT we follow the 5 ways to wellbeing, five simple strategies that when incorporated into our lives can improve our health and wellbeing. You may have noticed our 'From Home to the River' newsletter content is split into these categories, to help give you new ideas to follow the 5 ways!  We hope you enjoy this second November issue.


How do I take a great photo?
Want to apply to our Winter photography competition but unsure of the skills? Sign up to a free online training session with artist Lucie Maycock and learn some top tips for the perfect nature photo! The workshop is on Saturday 12th Dec, 2-3pm.
Make sure to book your ticket (click here) 

For full terms & condition and PRIZE information for our winter competition click here - All entries must be in before midnight on Monday 16th December.

Want some inspiration? You can see the entries and winners to our Summer Photography Competition
Online Art Workshop: Abstract Lucie Maycock, Sat 21st Nov @2pm
Make sure to book your free ticket
(click here)

Part of a series of creative arts workshops themed on the nature, heritage, industry and history surrounding the River Rother. Capture the beauty and unique qualities of plants and the natural world. Join artist Lucie Maycock as she shows you how to create stunning abstract art - creating expressive, nature-inspired paintings, in a relaxing, encouraging environment.

The artwork from this series of workshops will be used in the designs of the interpretation boards and waymarkers on the Hidden Heritage Secret Streams walking trails.

Hosted in partnership with Kakou as part of the Hidden Heritage Secret Streams walking trails project.
The Magic of the River Don
To celebrate the constuction of the fish pass on Masbrough Weir this year (the final piece of a 20 year puzzle!) We've teamed up with Rotherham charity Grimm & Co. on a creative writing project. Eight young people have been joining weekly online after-school sessions to learn about the river Don and write their own magical story. They'll next be working with an animator to turn their story into a short film! Watch this space!

A section of the children's poem, created in the first session:
This week our team thanked National Lottery Players for their support in river conservation. Lottery funding has helped us to return salmon to the river Don and supported much of our community work over the past five years
#Thanks to You
Finding Footprints

The soft exposed mud of riverbanks is the perfect place to look for footprints.

Found some tracks? Try the RSPB's guide to bird and mammal tracks  and see if you can identify who they belong too.

Last week our team spotted this perfect footprint! Can you identify it?

The changing riverbed
Our staff team were able to get out and collect our Autumn river samples last week. This survey is conducted twice a year and is a big part of our citizen science project. This Autumn's surveys were especially important as they are the first since the recent weir removal at the site. Check out our 'Snaps from a River Survey' blog to find out how we survey the river.

Since the weir removal the level of the river had dropped very significantly along a 700m stretch. We also noticed lots of natural prcoesses have returned to the once sluggish, artificially straightened channel of river, 
now showing more variety as seen by the appearance of this mid channel bar of cobbles (before and after photos below).
BEFORE                                                                                                                      AFTER
Dinner on the Don: aquatic insects and the foodweb
The beds of most streams and rivers are jam packed with the nymphs of various kinds of insects. This includes (relatively) well-loved insect groups such as mayflies, caddisflies and stoneflies, as well as less appreciated groups such as midges and blackfly. Most of these insects share a similar approach to life. They spend the majority of their life as aquatic larvae, slowly growing in the cold water, before they emerge out of the water as adults to find a mate and reproduce, often en masse. Different species tend to emerge at different times in the year, so regardless of when you visit your local river, you will often notice insects ‘dancing’ above water or resting on foliage. READ MORE
Secrets of the Stream...
Galls Galore!
Why do insects make Galls? Galls are created by some species of insect so that their larvae can grow up in a safe habitat, rich in food and hidden from predators. Adults lay eggs in the plants, and once hatched, the growing larvae release chemicals or cause mechanical damage, which trigger gall-causing reactions in the host plants. Their larvae then grow in these incredible micro-habitats, until they emerge as adult insects. Here we have two examples of galls found on volunteer days, created by two very different  gall-causing insects.

Robin’s Pincushion
(Diplolepis rosae)

Also known as the 'Bedeguar Gall', this distinctive spherical, fibrous gall has been produced by the tiny gall wasp larvae found on the stems of Dog-rose during late summer which turn red in autumn. Wasp grubs within the gall will feed on its tissue throughout winter and emerge in spring.

Poplar Spiral Gall
(Pemphigus spyrothecae)

Pemphigus spyrothecae is caused by the Petiole Gall Aphid that causes spiral galls to form in the leaf petioles (stalks) of the host poplar tree. The galls are seen more often than the aphid. These aphids are known for their unusual social behaviour in that half of the aphids are soldiers (denoted by their thick legs) produced to defend the colony from predators, maintain colony hygiene and make repairs the nest.

We follow the 5 Ways to Wellbeing

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Don Catchment Rivers Trust · Churchill Business Centre · Churchill Road · Doncaster, DN2 4LP · United Kingdom

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