7 Things We Can Do to Help Our Rivers

New River Gorge

New River Gorge in the Spring

1. Learn more about rivers and river habitats.

The more you learn about the issues facing the world’s rivers and the animals who call them home, the more you’ll want to help ensure their health. Read books, visit state and national parks and head out to see rivers for yourself. Falling in love with a river is easy, all you have to do is spend some quality time alongside one. The next step is getting involved, but first things first.

2. Keep local water clean.

Think about what happens to the litter that finds its way into the gutters along your street. Even young kids can understand a simple explanation of where water goes when it leaves your yard. Don’t use pesticides and chemicals on your lawn. All of those chemicals end up in our rivers and eventually our oceans. Bottom line: Don’t litter and think about what eventually ends up in our rivers.

3. Take a litter clean-up walk along the river.

Don’t just clean up after yourself when you visit rivers. Bring along a trash bag and go on a litter clean-up walk. Not only will you enjoy the walk but you’ll walk away feeling refreshed inside and out.

4. Don’t interfere with the wildlife.

If you see an animal in distress or injured, do not approach, touch, pick up or feed the animal. Instead, keep your distance and call a local wildlife center for help. Also, when approaching wildlife along rivers, keep quiet. This way you can enjoy the view and not startle or alarm the animal in its natural habitat. This is not the time to start a water fight, you’ll have plenty of chances to do that while enjoying a day white water rafting.

5. Turn water off when you don’t need it.

Using too much water is wasteful. We can all use less by turning off the faucet when we brush our teeth and by taking brief showers. Wash only full loads of dishes and laundry. Also, only water your lawn when its absolutely needed and do so early in the morning or in the evening when less water is lost to evaporation. Raise your lawn mower blade height; longer grass needs less water because they establish deeper roots. Learn more tricks here.

6. Get your own reusable water bottle.

Did you know that out of every six plastic water bottles, only one makes it to the recycling center? Learn more about water bottle pollution at National Geographic Kids. Another startling fact about water bottles is the amount of energy and water needed to produce them. Show your friends this by taking a water bottle and filling it up a quarter of the way with dirty water. Explain to them that this is the amount of oil that is needed just to produce the water bottle. Read more about water bottles and their impacts on the environment at One Green Planet.

7. Share the love.

There is no better way to teach others about rivers than to share an experience on one. Watching a loved one’s face light up with joy their first time white water rafting is priceless. Not only do they walk away with a new respect for the river, but most find a piece of themselves genuinely connecting with someone much bigger. White water rafting down a world-famous river, may not be for everyone. But rivers vary so greatly, that there are perfect stretches of river for any adventure level. So share the love, and it’s sure to grow.

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