Reading Knights Canoe Club
RUSU's Volunteering Coordinator spoke to Jasmin, Reading Knights Canoe Club's Social Media Secretary, about their River Clean-Up.
What volunteering have you been up to?
In November we held a river clean-up along a section of the River Kennet and River Thames. The day was a huge success and we were able to remove an impressive amount of rubbish from the river; trolleys, mattresses, bikes and a shocking amount of plastic. Everybody was in high spirits despite the cold weather and, after ending the day with a nice cup of hot chocolate, we all felt very proud to have done our bit for the environment. Being able to fundraise for the Thames Rivers Trust and also promote the work of Action for the River Kennet (ARK) was very rewarding and highlighted just how much work goes into protecting our rivers.
What is your favourite thing about being part of the Canoe Club?
I absolutely love water. It is the foundation of all life and I just find it absolutely fascinating. I am from Devon and am used to having the ocean pretty much on my doorstep. So, when I moved to Reading, I felt very landlocked. Since joining RKCC, I get to spend time on the water and feel much more connected to the ocean through the river. I’ve always felt there is no bad feeling I can’t beat by taking a stroll through nature, and kayaking is exactly the same. The water washes all the stress away, and as an ecology student, being able to immerse myself in nature from time to time and get away from the pressures of uni is so important to me. Plus, most people who are into water sports tend to be pretty cool and interesting characters, in my opinion anyway! I have met some of my closest friends through this club who have supported me so much over the last couple of years.
Why do you volunteer to help clean up the Rivers in Reading?
Thankfully, the world is becoming more and more aware of our responsibility to look after the environment. The media is full of shocking images showing the effects of plastic and other types of pollution around the world. Having studied the effects of this, I am very aware of the damage we are doing to the planet. Those of us who spend time out on the water have a unique opportunity to tackle this problem and protect the wildlife who are at risk. I now try and spend at least 5-10 minutes doing a mini river clean up every time I go out for a paddle along the Thames. If there is something you enjoy doing outdoors, whether it’s kayaking, surfing, walking, cycling or even just looking out your window at the nice view, you should feel proud to do your part in looking after it. If everybody spent a few minutes picking up litter and disposing of it responsibly, the world would become a much cleaner place in no time.
What have you got coming up in the Summer Term?
Our next Refreshers Paddle is on the 18th May so if this is going out before then it would be great to mention it! It’s a free taster for anybody interested in joining the club, student or non-student, experienced or never even sat in a kayak (as was my case when I joined). There’s a BBQ afterwards (only costs a couple £) where we play games and get to know one another so it’s a really friendly and relaxed day.