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Ecologist and citizen scientist, John Clayton (left) receives the 2022 Tweed Forum River Champion Award from Tweed Forum Director, Luke Comins

Tweed Forum River Champion 2022

The Tweed Forum River Champion is awarded to an individual with an outstanding commitment to the protection and enhancement of the River Tweed and the built, cultural and natural heritage of its surroundings. The public are encouraged to submit nominations, with the winner chosen by a panel of judges.

The 2022 Tweed Forum River Champion award goes to ecologist and citizen scientist, John Clayton. John was awarded the title in recognition of his important work conserving aquatic insects (also known as aquatic invertebrates). They’re a fundamental element of the river’s freshwater ecosystem, providing food for young salmon, trout and other fish species and helping to sort sediment on the river bed and break down waste products like old leaves and twigs. They’re also an important indicator of the overall health of the river and can help us understand how a river reacts to human activity, both good and bad!

Although retired, John monitors six sites along the Tweed on a monthly basis, collecting invertebrate population data and feeding this into a central Riverfly Partnership database so that the overall health of the UK’s rivers can be understood, water quality protected and habitats conserved. He also shares his knowledge with other enthusiasts and aspiring freshwater ecologists and regularly gives up his time to train groups of citizen scientists across Scotland.

He was presented with his River Champion trophy by Tweed Forum Director, Luke Comins who thanked him for his commitment to the river and for fostering an interest in science and sustainability.

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