Dozens of Merseyside primary school children are enjoying getting up close to the Leeds & Liverpool Canal as part of a major project to celebrate the canal’s 200th birthday.
Year 5 and 6 classes from St Elizabeth’s Primary School, Bedford Primary School, All Saints Catholic Primary School and Thomas Gray Primary School in Bootle enjoyed a free half-day session canoeing and learning about waterway wildlife.
Organised by the Canal & River Trust, the charity which cares for 2,000 miles of canals, the event was hosted in conjunction with the Desmond Family Canoe Trail and the Canal & River Explorers’ programme, run from the Safe Regeneration Centre in Bootle.
This year thousands of children who attend a primary school within two miles of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal are being invited to join in the 2016 canal bicentenary celebrations. The Trust’s North West education coordinator Katie Hutchinson is hoping 200 schools, close to the route of the UK’s longest man-made waterway, will mark the special anniversary by taking part in the Trust’s exciting Explorers programme.
These four Bootle schools are among the first to accept the canal Explorers’ challenge and nearly half the school slots along the canal’s 127 mile route are now booked up.
Katie explained: “This is the first time many of the children have tried canoeing and some didn’t even know they had a canal on their doorstep. It’s a great opportunity for them to learn about the history and ecology of their local waterway and also take on board some useful water safety messages. The children have had a brilliant time and we hope they will come back and bring the rest of their family. ”
“The Leeds & Liverpool canal is a wonderful place to enjoy walking, cycling, fishing, boating and canoeing. We hope our Canal & River Explorers programme will inspire a new generation to discover and appreciate this fantastic waterway.”
The Canal & River Trust’s education programme offers a wealth of online teacher resources as well as fun activities for children to get involved in. For more information check out www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/explorers.
Schools wanting to get involved with their local canal and the Explorers programme can contact Katie Hutchinson via email: [email protected]