The Flow Partnership is hosting a Summer School for Water. The events will be held on the Dartington Hall Estate in Devon, UK. Join us for field trips to local projects (SPECIAL: DEVON BEAVER PROJECT! – limited spaces, book early), sessions with hydrologists, film screenings, citizen science experiments and an early morning river walk around the Dartington Hall Estate. The sessions will cover some of the practical work that is happening in the UK, done by local communities and farmers in response to increasing concerns about floods and droughts and how to manage the water on their land.
DAY 1, 20th JUNE
All events on this day will take place at The Upper Gate House, Dartington Hall
11.00 AM: OPENING AND WELCOME
11.30 – 13.00: Global Landscapes, Water and Migration – with Rajendra Singh ‘The Waterman of India’
In this talk, Rajendra will share his experience of over 35 years mobilising communities and listening to their needs. As a result of his work seven monsoon rivers in Northern India have been rejuvenated. The landscapes have been transformed from barren places to thriving communities. He has worked in many parts of the world including Africa where he is helping to reduce climate driven migration.
Rajendra Singh is a water conservationist and recipient of the 2015 Stockholm Water Prize. He helped build over 8,600 water conservation structures, bringing back water to over 1,000 villages. In 2008, The Guardian elected him as ‘one of the 50 people who could save the planet’.
13.00 – 14.30: LUNCH
14.30 – 15.45: 21st Century Approaches to River Management and Conservation – with David Gilvear
Venue: The Upper Gate House, Dartington Hall
David will give a presentation focussed on natural flood management, ecosystem services, environmental flows, beaver reintroductions, physical habitat and restoration. The presentation will be followed by a discussion.
David Gilvear is Professor of River Science at Plymouth University with over 30 years experience in the interactions between hydrology, geomorphology and ecology in river systems. He is Ex-President of the International Society of River Science.
15.45- 16.15: Tea Break
16.15 – 17.45: The Small Water Cycle and Water Wise Communities- Michal Kravcik and Vlado Zaujec.
Michal Kravcik will talk us through the small water cycle and its impact on the large water cycle. He will also show us how communities in Slovakia have become water wise by building water holding interventions that are impacting both water cycles and alleviating floods in their region.
Michal Kravčík is a Slovak hydrologist and environmentalist and the founder of the NGO Ludia a Voda ( People and Water). He was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize in 1999 . Ludia a Voda was awarded the EU-USA Prize for Democracy and Civil Society Development. Michal promotes ecological solutions for integrated river basin management and has published numerous works, including “New Water Paradigm – Water for the Recovery of Climate”.
Vlado Zaujec, along with Michal Kravcik, is the co-founder of the Rain For Climate initiative. Vlado studied Economics at the University of Bratislava, Slovakia, specializing in information technologies.
17.45 – 19.30: Supper Break
19.30 – 21.00: Film Screening of “High Water Common Ground”, followed by Q&A session with director Andy Clarke
Venue: The Upper Gate House, Dartington Hall
“High Water Common Ground” is a feature documentary exploring community-focused natural flood risk management. Through characterful first-hand expertise it helps to connect the people with stories to the people who most want (and need) to hear them. Produced with the official support of a number of respected UK organisations.
Andy Clarke, the film’s Director is an MSc graduate of Ecology and Environmental Management, and passionate communicator of science. He is also an experienced voice artist, presenter and filmmaker who, like many, only became fully aware of the prevalence and severity of flooding as an issue in the UK after the devastating floods of the winter of 2015/2016.
DAY 2, 21st JUNE
7.00 – 9.00 am: A Geological and Human History of the River Dart : A walk and talk along the River Dart with Thomas Gloyns, local archaeologist.
Meet outside the Upper Gate House for a sharp 7am departure.
Exploring the geological and ancient human history of the River Dart. Mining on Dartmoor contributed to significant silting up of the river valley. This restricted the navigability of the lower reaches and caused periodic flooding. The disappearance of a Medieval port at Queens Marsh and the decline of the wool trade in Totnes can be at least partially attributed to these changes in river character. The arrival of the weir in 1684 further restricted the tidal range on the river to its current position.
Tom Gloyns is a local archaeologist with a particular specialism in the prehistory of the area. His work at Dartington has included an extensive field walking survey, excavation of a later Mesolithic site (in association with Hull University) and undertaking a watching brief on work carried out at Queens Marsh. These activities have led to a nuanced understanding of local river development, with a particular focus on its relevance for the early human use of the landscape.
9.00 – 10.00 am: Breakfast in Totnes at The Waterside Bistro or other cafes.
10.00 – 13.00: Community Action in Water using Citizen Science – with Elina Bennetsen from Belgium and Rafaela Scheiffer from Brazil
Meet outside the Waterside Bistro (Totnes).
Citizen Science, a way to involve the general public in scientific data collection, offers great opportunities to engage people with the topic of water quality. Using easy experiments and monitoring techniques, people can test the water quality themselves. It raises awareness about the problem, is a great education tool and can possibly lead to finding solutions for water quality problems through community action.
We will introduce the participants to this new method using examples from Belgium and Brazil. Then the participants will learn some hands-on techniques during a practical session at the River Dart. We will assess oxygen levels, acidity, biodiversity and river habitat and discuss microplastics.
Elina Bennetsen BSc, MSc is a Belgian environmental engineer, facilitator and citizen mobiliser based in Ghent. She works as a water policy officer in Flanders and is finishing her PhD in water management. She is involved in a diversity of activism, citizen action and educational projects. She is one of the founding members of YAKU, a Ghent-based organisation promoting swimming in rivers and she is the Chair of Ghent’s Milieufront, a grass roots movement in Ghent.
Rafaela Scheiffer BSc, MSc studied Biological and Holistic Sciences and is Project Coordinator/Youth and Community Engagement at The Flow Partnership. She is interested in Participatory and Community-driven Science, as well as education for a new water paradigm.
13.00 – 14.00: Lunch Break
14.00 – 15.30: Getting to Know Water: A Whole Farm Approach – with Marina O’Connell of the Apricot Centre and Simon Charter.
Venue: Foxhole, Dartington Hall
When we think of the farm as a closed loop ecological system, water plays a vital role, not only for the health of the farm crops and the social side of the farm, but also for the biodiversity and the impact of the farm on the local community. Permaculture and Biodynamics also work with this system. During the presentation we will discuss the design of water systems on the Huxham’s Cross Farm and then lead you through an interactive exercise. We will then walk to the farm and see the work in progress including rainwater harvesting, irrigation, wet flowering meadows, seasonal springs, streams and areas of flooding.
Marina O’Connell BSc Hort, MEnv, is director of the Apricot Centre Huxhams Cross Farm, Dartington. She is a horticulturist with 30 years experience in sustainable food production and permaculture design. She has designed and runs the new Biodynamic farm on the edge of the Dartington Hall Estate. This farm also offers therapeutic services to children and families.
Simon Charter BSc, MEd, has followed a path through Materials Science, Farming, Reedbed sewage systems, artistic work, water sculpture and landscapes to become interested in the morphology and geometry of natural form and water flow. He is inspired by Henri Bortoft, Theodor Schwenk, and Lawrence Edwards among others and works with the research methodology of Goethe and Steiner. Simon has worked with the Apricot Centre to design the water system on the farm.
15.30 – 16.00: Tea Break
16.00 – 18.30: Walk to the Huxhams Cross Farm for the site visit (20 mins walk)
DAY 3, 22nd JUNE
7.15 – 12.30: Field Trip to The River Otter Beaver Trial site
Bus will leave Dartington at 7.15 sharp, returning for 12.30. Meet outside Foxhole.
The Beaver Project was established in 2011 to study the impacts of beavers on a headwater stream in the Tamar catchment. A pair of beavers were introduced into a 3ha fenced site and a detailed programme of research and monitoring is being carried out. Scientists from the University of Exeter are monitoring the volumes and quality of water entering and leaving the site, in order to understand the impacts that beaver dams can have on flood risks downstream, and on diffuse pollutants in the watercourse. The impacts on this site have been dramatic, and also hugely beneficial for a wide range of wetland plants and animals.
The project is led by the Devon Wildlife Trust in partnership with Exeter University, The Derek Gow Consultancy and Clinton Devon Estates, with advice from a number of experts.
Prof.Richard Brazier from Exeter University and Mark Elliot, Beaver Trials Project leader, will lead the visit./
12.30 – 13.00: River Music with Thomas Gloyns and closing words.
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