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Lockdown restrictions are easing so our weekly newsletter will be easing up too and moving to a monthly schedule soon (released on the first Friday of the month!) We hope you've enjoyed the teams' ideas and videos over the past few months and that it's kept you occupied and entertained!

This newsletter is a special edition as it's all about our wonderful volunteers! Volunteers' week is when we celebrate and thank you for all your help, usually this involves lots of tea & cake, but this year is a little different so we've done a video celebration instead. A huge thank you to all our volunteer's for their work and support this year.


In other news, the final piece in the jigsaw of a 20 year vision to enable salmon to return to the River Don has now been completed! Weirs built across the river Don have disconnected sections of the river for hundreds of years.  At last the final piece of the puzzle, Masbrough weir fishpass, has been completed and salmon can now make their way up the entire length of the Don to Sheffield with nothing blocking their way!
Getting back to volunteering - Have Your Say Survey
With restrictions easing, the DCRT team are currently considering the best measures we can put in place to allow volunteering to start once again.  It's been a long break and we understand some of you are keen to return, for those that do want to get back to volunteering we will be working to make this as safe and accessible as possible.

We’d like your opinions to help shape how our volunteering programme could look in the future. Please click here for our survey which will take 2 minutes of your time.
Thank you to all our volunteers for their help, support and hard work over the past year! We could not do it without you!

Watch the video to find out why Jase and Rowena volunteer for their rivers and what they've been missing during lockdown -  big thanks to both of you for taking part in the digital celebration!

Citizen science survey of the week is:
30 Days Wild - by the Wildlife Trust

June marks the start of 30 Days Wild - the wildlife trust campaign that encourages you to do something wild every day. You can download a 30 days wild pack for yourself, your school and even your workplace, so why not suggest it to your team or family?
A Classy Rain Garden!
This volunteers’ week we hear from our volunteer Barry Caldwell about some fantastic work he’s been doing during lockdown to help us on our mission to reduce flood risk in and around Chesterfield.  Click Here to read Barry's blog on making a rain garden, a great example of how to volunteer from home!
Paxton the Hedgehog - an update!
DCRT volunteers Ava & Christine have been caring for a wild hedgehog during lockdown called Paxton. We were informed on Wednesday that Paxton has now flown the nest and is succesfully back in the wild! If you didn't catch the original interview you can read it here.
Reduce & Reuse: Bottle Greenhouses
Plastic drinks bottles make excellent building material for recycled greenhouses - they let throught light for the plants to grow and insulate in colder weather, keeping plants warm. Click the photo for advice from the RHS on how to build a greenhouse out of plastic bottles, or why not create a mini greenhouse for your windowsill using our apprentice Anthony's guide (click here)? Lots of bottles left over? Eco-bricks can be made from leftover household plastics and sent off to help build structures across the world.
Nature Journal
DCRT Catchment Officer Matt Duffy has been keeping to his challenge of keeping a Nature Journal - you can read all about his experience in his latest blog (click here) Including the benefits of drawing the nature around you to relax, learn and remember!
Plants that steal
What a suprise to see this leaf growing from the holly in my garden... it was pure white! Why? Becasue this leaf has no chloropyll. Without chlorophyll, the pigment in plant leaves that captures sunlight and converts it into food for the plant, I though this leaf was likely to wither away pretty quickly. This leaf however is a thief! It's hung on for a few weeks now, perhaps stealing energy from the rest of the holly!

Some plant species have evolved to have no cholorophyll at all, surviving by parasitising other plants and stealing energy for themseleves! One group of plants that do this are strange looking things called Broomrapes (the first time I encountered one of these was in a pea-fodder field in Kent and I half-thought it was from outer space!) The Ghost Orchid Epipogium aphyllum is another UK species of plant that has no chlorophyll and steals energy from it's fungal partners in the soil - it's incredibly beautiful, very rare and unpredictably seen. In fact until 2010 it was thought extinct in the UK.
Masbrough Fish Pass Opens!
 
In January work started on building the fish pass at Forge Island in Rotherham. The 18th fish pass built on the Don in 20 years, this was the final one needed for migrating species such as salmon to have an obstacle-free journey from sea to their first spawning grounds in Sheffield.


The build was disrupted by the poor weather and very high water early in the year, but the 5 weeks lost to this was caught back up. Then Covid-19 appeared. But, the contractors have done a sterling job, and brought everything in on time and on budget. 
Go back in time...
These free videos from the British Film Institute give a little glimpse of life on the river Don in the 1950s!
Sheffield University Rag Raft Race
Building of St Mary's Bridge, Doncaster


We love hearing about people's memories of the river! If you have any photos or memories of the rivers in the Don Catchment please get in touch with us so we can arrange recording them for future generations!
You can watch the film here!
Slowing the Flow Together is the inspirational short film from the Calder Valley community who came together and took action following the dreadful floods of 2015 to reduce the risk from future storms. A great insight into natural flood management and just how much can be achieved through volunteer effort.
Foraging for Elderflower
It's the perfect time of year to pick elderflower to flavour cordial, jelly and fizz!

Top tips!
1) When you're picking elderflower remember the taste comes from the lovely yellow pollen that you can see on the flower, so pick on a warm and sunny morning when the pollen will be highest If it's recently rained maybe leave it a day or two.

2) Make sure to pick away from roads and choose the flowers higher up.

3) Pick the right flowers. Give each umbrella of flowers a sniff test, the pollen should smell sweet and summery, not musty or sour. If the flowers aren't quite out yet be patient and come back later!

4) Lots of plants have white umbrella-like flowers so remember to check you have the right plant by looking at the leaves and the tree's features (click here for more help on this)
Foraging Recipe: Elderflower Cordial

We used this recipe from BBC Goodfood but added a little clear honey in for extra sweetness
You will need: 2 unwaxed Lemons, Citric Acid, 2 bags of sugar, 20 freshly-cut elderflower heads, Glass bottles, Sieve or cheesecloth, a big pan with a lid.

If you can't get your hands on any citric acid (your best bet is the internet) you can still make this cordial, just make sure to drink it within a week or freeze. If you plan to keep your cordial for longer make sure to sterilise your glass bottles - wash them in hot soapy water, pop in the oven and set to 140*C to dry for 20 minutes.
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Don Catchment Rivers Trust · Churchill Business Centre · Churchill Road · Doncaster, DN2 4LP · United Kingdom

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