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Double donations to help people revel in Westcountry rivers

An environmental charity is hoping to raise £12,500 to support its citizen science volunteers and education projects.

This year, for the first time, Westcountry Rivers Trust (WRT), which has been restoring and protecting freshwater environments in Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset for the past 26 years, is taking part in The Big Give Christmas Challenge to help fund the purchase of river monitoring kits for volunteers, and educational resources.

The charity started its leading Westcountry Citizen Science Investigations (CSI) scheme in 2016, with dedicated citizen science volunteers surveying freshwater environments across the region ever since.

It now has 200 active citizen scientists but with more than 850 waterbodies across the Westcountry more help is needed to monitor the state of watercourses and support the growing number of people taking part.

The data Westcountry CSI volunteers collect, based on water tests, wildlife, habitat, and pollution assessments, informs work at the trust, making it a vital way of collating river health evidence that can influence policy and water environment decisions.

But it’s not just about gathering data as being immersed in nature also benefits volunteers.

Westcountry CSI citizen scientist Kate said: “Taking part has given me the opportunity to really observe a local patch through the different seasons, and to understand the critical role our watercourses play in connectivity for nature; being part of a group of people who are keen to make a small difference fights my eco-anxiety too.”

The Big Give Christmas Challenge is the UK’s biggest online match-funding campaign and WRT has secured pledges for its match-fund from individuals and organisations worth up £6,250, meaning there is potential to raise £12,500 to support its CSI and education projects.

The online donation opens on 30 November (Giving Tuesday) at noon and closes on 7 December at noon.

To donate, visit or save the link as a reminder so you don’t forget to double your donation to support people and rivers in the region.

If you would like to discover more about Westcountry CSI or the charity’s’ education remit, please visit


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