A River Runs Through It (in Glengormley)
On most of the site visits that I have done since we started a few weeks ago, I have been out to look at what the groups have done, chatted to them in rooms or just outside the building, but this site visit was going to be very different.
From the moment Ronan said, “the boys want to show you the river” I figured that I had better bring my boots along just in case. It wasn’t quite like the Borneo jungle trek I did back when I was the age of the lads from Glengormley but it was close enough.
Led by the two young guys and with the help of their great geography teacher, we headed down to the River Laid to see what the story was. The project intrigued me when I first read it, but it was hard to get a sense of just how much work the two boys put into what I think must be a good mile stretch of river here just North of Belfast.
Out fishing one morning, the boys didn’t hook a Marlin like Hemingway. Instead, their lines kept getting caught in all the trash in the river. Fed up as I guess any self respecting fisherman would be, they went one step further by going home, getting some kit and coming back to clean up that small patch of river.
But that wasn’t enough for these young environmentalists. Like Neil Armstrong, they took a giant leap for the people of the area by taking on the river as their own. They began what I can only describe to you as a massive clean—all on their own—in this little hidden piece of beauty in the Glengormley area.
Walking along the river’s edge, it was my turn to be astounded at the work and learning that came from this project. The boys taught themselves about erosion, river flow, fish habitats and breeding patterns, pollution control and tree planting.
They reused items thrown away in the surrounding fields, from old tractor tyres to laminate wooden flooring. They named every part of the river and left no stone unturned. Their massive clean-up included dragging out an old motor scooter and some used car batteries, all by themselves.
The river is their passion. For these two lads, it is clear by the expression on their faces that they are proud of their work. They overcame great obstacles, creating new methods of river flow through trial and error and discovered that even in winter they enjoyed what they were doing.
Once we had seen the project (but not enough space write about it, so check out the video) I returned to my car , slightly muddy and damp but with the knowledge that there is truly great environmental work being done around Ireland and Northern Ireland by dedicated young people like the boys I met today.
Entry filed under: Co. Antrim. Tags: belfast, biodiversity, community, community gardening, composting, eco-unesco, flood prevention, garden, glengormley, green, guerilla gardening, illegal dumping, innovation, litter, northern ireland, Recycle, Reuse, river cleanup, river laid, Shortlisted Projects, sustainability, water conservation, Young Environmentalist Awards, young people.