Grantham warned to stop feeding ducks bread after concerns about dwindling numbers
Schoolchildren have been asked to design posters explaining the correct food to feed ducks in an effort to stop people throwing them bread.
Along with Rivercare and Beachcare, Lincolnshire Rivers Trust are calling on primary schools in and around Grantham to challenge their pupils to design a poster to help spread the message of feeding ducks healthy food amid concerns about ‘dwindling duck numbers’ in the River Witham.
The winning entry will be made into signs for the River Witham.
Ducks will often take bread in preference to healthy alternatives but it has very little nutritional value. It also reduces their natural foraging behaviours and can even cause deformities.
Project officer for Lincolnshire Rivers Trust Gail Talton formed a small working group to address the growing issue.
She said: “It had come to our attention that members of the public were concerned by dwindling duck numbers in the River Witham in Grantham.
“Working together with Julie Ashworth, South Kesteven District Council’s parks community engagement officer, Rivercare and Beachcare programme officer Cate Holborn and Grantham RiverCare team leaders David Martin and Ian Simmons, we conducted some research and decided that this would be a great opportunity to encourage feeding healthy duck food which would not only be beneficial for the ducks but also for the health of the river.”
Gail now hopes that the message will be passed down through generations.
She added: “Feeding the ducks is usually one of the first connections young children have with nature. Feeding them with bread is something we have all done historically but as we are now aware of the detrimental effects to both ducks and the river, we are endeavouring to encourage children to think about the health of both the ducks and the river and we hope they will pass the message through the generations.
“As a conservation charity we are passionate about inspiring and engaging the next generation with nature and their local water course – not only for the benefit of the wildlife that make it their home but for the local community to enjoy.
“Not unlike children, who would generally prefer biscuits over vegetables, the ducks will take the bread in preference to healthy alternatives but it is not just ducks that can suffer.
“Too much bread in the river also encourages rats, sinks to the bottom polluting the water and degrading water quality, negatively affecting all of the riverine wildlife.”
Gail is hoping that as many schools as possible across the area will get involved and help spread the message.
She added: “The poster competition will give children the opportunity to learn and understand more about the issue and hopefully encourage them to think of innovative ways to spread the word.”
A selection of the posters including the winning entry will also be published in the Grantham Journal.
Entries can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org or paper versions to the Visitor Centre, Wyndham Park by Friday, May 31. The competition is open to children under 12 years old only.