FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Rivershed Society of BC celebrates 20 years dedicated to the Fraser River

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Rivershed Society of BC celebrates 20 years dedicated to the Fraser River

The Rivershed Society of BC (RSBC) is marking twenty years as a non-profit organization committed to improving the health of BC’s longest river, the Fraser. It was Fin Donnelly`s “Swim for Life” down the length of the Fraser that sparked the inception of RSBC in 1996. The Society has been actively delivering public education programs, community initiatives and building stewardship capacity in the Fraser River Basin ever since.

Anniversary celebrations got underway last month with the RSBC AGM and annual dinner cruise on the Fraser aboard the MV Native of Paddlewheeler Riverboat Tours. The event was supported by the City of New Westminster and raised $8,500, the proceeds of which will benefit the 13th annual Sustainable Living Leadership Program (SLLP). The SLLP takes participants on an ultimate 25-day 1,400 km wilderness travel experience down one of the world’s greatest salmon rivers – the mighty Fraser River.

In line with the RSBC’s vision of “Salmon flourishing in rivers; people flourishing in communities.”, the participants will travel by canoe, raft, shuttle van and on foot from the Fraser’s headwaters near Mount Robson to the shores of Vancouver. Days will be spent learning about stewardship and designing their own sustainability projects to implement in their communities upon their return home.

The trip begins July 14th and will have the participants traveling through ten of B.C.’s fourteen biogeoclimatic zones, from the source of the Fraser River near Mount Robson to the Strait of Georgia. The group of community leaders will study watersheds, salmon, resource management and learn how to lower their ecological footprint.

This year, the following nine participants have been chosen:

Oliver Berger of Williams Lake, who aims to create short, fun educational videos that cover recycling, composting, gardening, rainwater collection and waste management education;

Candice Ford of Tatlayoko Lake, who plans to assist in developing and implementing a campaign to protect the Fraser Canyon Corridor; and assist in the delivery of future RSBC leadership programs, including identifying ways the SLLP can be expanded and/or improved;

Simran Lehal of Williams Lake, whose project centers on strengthening sustainability education in healthcare by examining how to support practices that enhance the social, economic and environmental health of Northern B.C.;

John Lewis of Coquitlam who will be working on ARTicipation, an outreach program that encourages kids and youth to think about watershed health, and give them an outlet for those thoughts and feelings through collaborative art, creating a community canvas that expresses a particular theme;

Petra Markova of Port Coquitlam, whose project will include giving public talks about her SLLP experience, the importance of watershed protection, and what people can do to get involved in the process;

Orion Radies of Vancouver who plans to capture his SLLP experience by video;

Megan Rempel of Coquitlam, who aims to work on expanding municipal recycling programs to clean up cigarette butt litter;

David Tracey of Vancouver, who plans to work on the eco-tourism marketing of the SLLP; and,

Simon Zukowski of Victoria, who intends to organize a citizen assembly on the health of the Fraser River, comprising randomly selected residents of communities within the Fraser River Basin.

“We are excited to see these nine individuals learn and grow over the course of the program,” said Fin Donnelly.  “We look forward to the positive impacts they will make in their communities after the Sustainable Living Leadership Program wraps up its 13th summer.”

The SLLP will stop in New Westminster on August 5th. “The New West stop at the Quay usually involves tying up at the Paddlewheeler dock,” said Donnelly. “Then we make our way to the Fraser River Discovery Centre for a tour of the facility, followed by lunch, a group photo by the bust of Simon Fraser, then back in the canoe to paddle to Richmond.”

The trip wraps up on Sunday, August 7th at the Jericho Sailing Centre in Vancouver.

The society will culminate its 20th Anniversary celebrations with FraserFEST on August 27th and 28th.

The Sustainable Living Leadership Program is proudly supported by the Real Estate Foundation of BC and the Gainey Foundation.

The RSBC is a non-profit charitable organization with a mission to protect, conserve and restore the health of BC riversheds in this generation. RSBC is made up of a voluntary board of directors, a small staff, annual programs and events, and many volunteers, members and donors. RSBC works with numerous watershed stewardship groups, First Nations, government and community leaders throughout the Fraser River Basin and British Columbia. More information at: http://rivershed.com

MEDIA INTERVIEWS: Interviews with Fin Donnelly, and SLLP participants / facilitators / advisors are available upon request.

Richelle Giberson
Director of Communications
Rivershed Society of BC
Phone: (604) 992-4769
richelle@rivershed.com

Photo Captions:

The SLLP passing Westminster Pier Park as they arrive at the New Westminster Quay (2013). Photo by Dan Jokic.
The SLLP as they pass Westminster Pier Park on their way to the New Westminster Quay (2013).
Photo: Dan Jokic.
2015 SLLP traveling past the hoodoos as they head toward the Fraser Canyon. (Photo: JeremyWilliams.ca)
The SLLP floating past some hoodoos while they raft to the Fraser Canyon (2013). Photo: JeremyWilliams.ca
SLLP canoeing past log booms on the Lower Fraser (2014). - (Photo: Doug Radies)
SLLP canoeing past log booms on the Lower Fraser (2014). Photo: Doug Radies
SLLP advisor, Fin Donnelly, talks with participants as they work on their community sustainability projects at their campsite (2014). (Photo: Doug Radies)
SLLP advisor, Fin Donnelly, talks with participants as they work on their community sustainability projects at their campsite (2014). Photo: Doug Radies