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`Our finest Dour’ - river dipping in Kent marks international biodiversity day

28 May 19

`Our finest Dour’ - river dipping in Kent marks international biodiversity day

Pupils from White Cliffs Primary College taking part in river dipping

River dipping in one of the world’s rarest chalk streams in Kent took local schoolchildren on an educational journey of discovery about water.

Year one pupils from White Cliffs Primary College for the Arts swapped the classroom for the river bank to see first-hand the diverse range of plants and wildlife that call the chalk stream home.

The first of these dipping sessions coincided with International Biodiversity Day on 22nd May 2019 which, this year, had the theme “Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health” to spread awareness of the dependency of our food systems, nutrition, and health on biodiversity and healthy ecosystems.

The River Dour is a rare chalk stream – one of only 200 in the world – that runs through the heart of Dover. The stream is fed from the underground water-storing aquifers that sit below the stunning and world-famous White Cliffs, which also provide Affinity Water customers with their drinking water.

It has become the focus of a special partnership project – aptly titled `Our Finest Dour’ – between Affinity Water and the White Cliffs Countryside Partnership. The three-year National Lottery Heritage Funded project aims to raise local awareness about the river, its rarity and importance for biodiversity.

Karen Stanley, Education Co-Ordinator at Affinity Water said: “We are passionate about educating future generations on where their water comes from and how people, plants and wildlife are all reliant on such a precious, natural resource.

“The river dipping gave children the opportunity to learn the river as a habitat and how it supports wildlife too. They also learnt about the ways in which we carefully take and treat the water from underground aquifers, so it becomes clean, safe drinking water for them.”

Iona Dubienic, from the White Cliffs Countryside Partnership, said: “This was a wonderful opportunity for the children to really study the river in detail and to learn how every part of nature is intrinsically linked and how we all depend on each other. This year’s theme for International Biodiversity Day couldn’t have been more perfect – the children went away with real enthusiasm to care for their local river and with an understanding of how important it is environmentally.”

Youngsters from White Cliffs Primary College for the Arts will be joined by pupils from Barton Junior School in Dover for more river dipping discoveries on the River Dour during the remainder of the summer term.

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