Navigating the River of Responsibility: Chronicles of a New Trustee at SCRT

By Andrew Gardner

Embarking on the role of a new trustee at South Cumbria Rivers Trust (SCRT) is a journey akin to navigating the intricate twists and turns of a river. With a commitment to restoring rich, healthy rivers and lakes for nature and the people of South Cumbria, this unique role is both an honour and a responsibility. My first twelve months as a trustee has been an interesting journey filled with challenges and triumphs. This blog delves into the experiences, challenges and joys of being a fresh face in the world of river conservation, as a new trustee of SCRT.

Understanding the Mission:

At the heart of SCRT’s mission lies the dedication to conserving, protecting and enhancing the rivers and catchments of South Cumbria. As a new trustee, immersing myself in the organisation’s objectives, understanding the local ecosystems and appreciating the delicate balance of nature is foundational to effective decision-making and advocacy.

Learning the Riverine Ropes:

Every river system has its nuances and so does the governance of a rivers trust. As a new trustee, I decided to immerse myself in the workings of SCRT; understanding the projects, partnerships and strategies in place for sustainable river management. To do this this, I have taken part in workshops and collaborated with experienced trustees and staff. This has contributed to the acquisition of the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions. Yet, even as an ecology consultant with over 20 years in the private sector, I still have a lot to learn. The other trustees and staff are from a diverse range of backgrounds from large to small business, private and public sector. I have collaborated on business planning, marketing, recruitment, volunteering and scientific studies.

Championing Conservation:

As a trustee, being a champion for freshwater conservation is not only a duty but a passion. Whether it involves advocating for sustainable practices, participating in restoration projects, or raising awareness about the importance of healthy rivers and lakes – trustees play a vital role in shaping the narrative of conservation. A deep-seated commitment to the cause is the driving force behind effective advocacy. This binds the trustees and staff in a close working relationship, which is both enjoyable and purposeful.

Addressing Challenges:

However, the path of river conservation is not always smooth. Trustees must navigate challenges such as pollution, habitat degradation, the impacts of climate change and have the ability to communicate with all. Confronting these issues head-on, collaborating with experts and leveraging community support are integral to overcoming obstacles and ensuring the resilience of our river ecosystems.

Celebrating Successes:

Every milestone, no matter how small, is a cause for celebration in the world of river conservation. Whether it’s the successful completion of a restoration project, an increase in biodiversity, or positive changes in community attitudes towards river stewardship, new trustees have the privilege of contributing to and celebrating these successes.

Looking Ahead:

Being a new trustee at SCRT is not just about the present; it’s about looking ahead to the future of South Cumbria’s rivers. Trustees play a vital role in shaping sustainable practices, influencing policy, and ensuring that future generations can continue to enjoy the beauty and benefits of healthy river systems.


As a new trustee at the South Cumbria Rivers Trust, the journey is a dynamic and rewarding one. The responsibility of safeguarding and enhancing the region’s rivers is met with enthusiasm, dedication and a profound sense of purpose. By understanding the mission, connecting with communities, learning the intricacies of river conservation and championing the cause, trustees contribute to the ongoing success of SCRT and the flourishing rivers of South Cumbria.

Want to become a Trustee?

SCRT are seeking new Trustees. Becoming a trustee is an unparalleled opportunity to actively shape the future of an organisation, bringing your unique skills and perspectives to drive positive change. You will have the chance to contribute to meaningful causes, whether it’s steering a nonprofit towards its mission or guiding projects towards success. Embrace the fulfilling journey of being a trustee, where your passion meets purpose, and your commitment transforms into tangible impact. For an informal chat about becoming a trustee please contact Pete Evoy (Trust Director) in the first instance.