As part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science, back in November, the DRY project held a river walk at Oldbury Court in Bristol, which is just on the outskirts of our River Frome catchment. It was a cold, crisp but sunny day, and the promise of a children’s storyteller to share river stories past, present and future had attracted a large group of local people. We did a loop of the park taking in as much of the river as we could (unfortunately a significant part of the river path was temporarily blocked off due to fallen trees).
Our storyteller sang us songs and got everyone dancing to warm us up! He told us a story about an elk who slurped water from the river, drinking it DRY so that it affected the creatures living in the river. We had a number of guest speakers who came along to tell us about their work on the river. Carol Thorne lives nearby and works at the Frenchay Museum; she told us lots of fascinating history about the river and Oldbury Court including its links to the famous Titanic. Neil Green is the Invasive Species officer for the river and people were interested to hear about his work keeping Himalayan Balsam and American Crayfish under control. Jodie Armitage from the Environment Agency spoke about the eel passes that have been installed along the river, whilst Gill Brown told us about the role of otters on the river.
We shared some of our drought-science about the River Frome that we have been developing oin the project and asked people to share their experiences and memories of drought. We heard about how working in a freezer factory during the 1976 heatwave meant that you had to be careful about warming up too quickly. We heard about experiences of African drought, of Bulgarian drought (and top tips for saving water), and we heard about playing by the river Frome as a child.
Thanks to everyone who came along and participated. We have made a short video that gives a bit of a flavour of the day.