Catchment News

River Explorers – using their waterway responsibly

In late 2017, the River Explorers programme helped 330 fifth & sixth class primary school children across Ireland protect their local environment and take pride in their local river, lake or canal, teaching them to ’Use their waterway responsibly’.

The River Explorers project worked on raising awareness and educating primary school students on their environmental impacts on local waterbodies, and how they can minimise these impacts and keep their local waterway clean. It was all about empowering students to connect with their natural environment and enjoy their natural heritage responsibly and ethically.

Through outdoor and hands-on learning, skills training, resource development and raising public awareness, the programme offered exciting and innovative learning approaches for primary schools.

River Explorers took part in two sessions. In the morning, they were taught how to identify the wealth of biodiversity living on or near their local rivers and canals, how their use of these waterways impacts on biodiversity, and the measures they can take to minimise this impact.

In the afternoon, students had the opportunity to go out and discover the vast array of wildlife that calls the inland waterways their home. Students identified some of the plants and trees along canal and river banks, and even came face to face with some mini beasts living in these ecosystems.

Leave No Trace Ireland and Waterways Ireland were partners in the delivery of the River Explorers programme, which was funded under Local Agenda 21.

Eithne Larkin, Leave No Trace Ireland

Who is involved?

Quite simply, everyone in Ireland has a role to play. This can be from something as simple as making sure you don’t pollute your local stream, or a local community working together to establish a Rivers Trust to enhance the rivers and lakes in their area, to a Government Department or Agency helping a Minister implement a new policy to help protect and enhance all our water bodies.

This website has been developed and is maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency, and is a collaboration between the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Local Authority Waters Programme.


Local Authority Waters Programme

The Local Authority Waters Programme coordinates the efforts of local authorities and other public bodies in the implementation of the River Basin Management Plan, and supports local community and stakeholder involvement in managing our natural waters, for everyone’s benefit.


Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA is responsible for coordinating the monitoring, assessment and reporting on the status of our 4,842 water bodies, looking at trends and changes, determining which waterbodies are at risk and what could be causing this, and drafting environmental objectives for each.


Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage

The Department is responsible for making sure that the right policies, regulations and resources are in place to implement the Water Framework Directive, and developing a River Basin Management Plan and Programme of Measures to protect and restore our waters.