(FULL) Become a SmartRivers volunteer

Please note that the two training courses in September are now fully booked.

We are launching two more hubs (River Ceiriog and Aldford Brook) in our SmartRivers citizen science programme, where you can help us to identify aquatic invertebrates. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, at either of these hubs or our existing hub – the River Alyn – please have a read of the role description below.

What’s involved?

As a SmartRivers Volunteer you will analyse, to species level, samples of aquatic invertebrates collected in the River Dee catchment. The data from your analysis is then interpreted by experts who are able to determine the pressures impacting rivers.

Collecting data on biodiversity can help us to detect failing river health, including pressures from pollution, water abstraction and invasive species. This will have a positive impact on the management of our rivers, by pinpointing water quality pressures and monitoring these over time.

Welsh Dee Trust hosts three SmartRivers hubs in our catchment: the River Alyn (in partnership with the North Wales Wildlife Trust), the River Ceiriog and the Aldford Brook. You will need to travel to our ID sessions, usually held at village halls or community centres, in at least one of these areas.

This is an ongoing role with regular ID sessions held year-round, but particularly over summer (following sampling in spring) and winter (following sampling in autumn). Each session runs from approximately 10am to 3pm, and we would like you to try to commit to attending at least 6 sessions a year.

What’s in it for you?

This is a chance to have a positive impact on your local river; helping us to identify what improvement efforts are needed and where to focus them.

You will complete a two-day training course run by experts at WildFish (formerly Salmon & Trout Conservation), certified by the Institute of Fisheries Management. In addition to learning about invertebrate identification, you will also have an opportunity to learn how we collect samples using the kick-sampling method.

Upcoming training courses:

  • 14–15 September 2022 – Oliver Jones Memorial Hall, Dolywern, Llangollen LL20 7BA
  • 28–29 September 2022 – Location TBC within Aldford catchment

Our ID sessions also have a friendly and fun atmosphere, where you can socialise with like-minded people and learn from your peers. Of course, tea, coffee and biscuits are provided!

What skills are we looking for?

The most important attributes are patience and attention to detail. It may be that you have an interest in conservation and/or knowledge of invertebrates, but these are not essential as long as you are willing to learn more about both.

To express your interest in this role, please contact us and include which training session you are able to attend and which hub/s you would like to volunteer at.

This role can be made fully accessible, so if you have any accessibility needs then please let us know so we can tailor the training and ID sessions for you.