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Children Net Mini Beasts on Suffolk River Safari


The Belfast Hills Partnership challenged over 20 children from west Belfast to get involved in a river safari on a waterway flowing through their community.

The Colin River flows down from Divis Mountain into the Suffolk area and is awash with aquatic wildlife.

The children aged between five and eight went river dipping with nets to discover and learn about aquatic mini beasts.

Other activities included a wildlife tracks and trails game and a duck derby, where they raced brightly coloured, rubber ducks down river.

The children got the chance to put on their Wellies and explore the river that runs right through the heart of their community.

They were taught a technique known as kick sampling - gently disturb the riverbed with a foot – and using a net to collect and identify the organisms that emerge.

Belfast Hills Partnership outreach officer Jo Boylan said:

“The children of Suffolk observed the invertebrates and learned about their importance in the ecosystem of the river. They also had the chance to find out about other species such as foxes, herons and native trees that live along their river corridor.

“It is part of our rivers awareness project delivered with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. It helps communities find out more about their local rivers and how they connect the Belfast Hills to the city. They also learn about their importance in terms of biodiversity.”

Suffolk Community Centre’s assistant community development officer Helen Jamison said the event delivered “an aquatic adventure” for the children. 

“It is great for them to get out of the centre and have fun exploring the river on their doorstep whilst learning about local wildlife. We hope the kids will spread the message to look after our rivers.”

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