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 with the RSBC AGM and annual dinner cruise on the Fraser aboard the MV Native Paddlewheeler riverboat in New Westminster last month.
Next on the docket is the 13th annual Sustainable Living Leadership Program (SLLP), which 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.
This year, of the nine participants, three are from the Tri-Cities area:
John Lewis of Coquitlam will be working on ARTicipation, an outreach program that encourages kids and youth to think about watershed health, and to 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 experience during the SLLP, the importance of watershed protection, and what people can do to get involved in the process; and,
Megan Rempel of Coquitlam, who just completed her Project Management Associate Certificate at BCIT, aims to work on expanding municipal recycling programs to address cigarette butt litter.
“We are excited to see these 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 for the season.”
When asked what she is looking forward to most about the program, Megan Rempel said, “I am looking forward to meeting young people who are just as passionate as I am about the environment and creating connections that will last beyond the three weeks’ trip.”
Petra Markova was sponsored by Port Coquitlam city councillor Laura Dupont, who is a member of the Burke Mountain Naturalists, the Riverview Horticultural Centre Society and the Tri-City Green Council. “I am so pleased to support Petra. She is dedicated to our community and has shown impressive leadership skills, which is why I sponsored her to take this important program. I challenge other city councillors from communities along the Fraser River to do the same.”
Embarking on July 14th, the SLLP will be traveling through ten of BC’s fourteen biogeoclimatic zones, studying watersheds, salmon, resource management and learning how to lower their ecological footprint.
The SLLP arrives in Coquitlam on August 4th, where they will have dinner and overnight at Kwikwetlem First Nation before continuing their journey the following morning.
The SLLP season will draw to a close on Sunday, August 7th at the Jericho Sailing Centre in Vancouver.
After the 2016 SLLP, the Society will culminate its 20th anniversary celebrations with FraserFEST on August 27th and 28th. Group paddle and cycling expeditions will be going from Fort Langley to Coquitlam on the 27th.
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 comprises a voluntary board of directors, a small staff, annual events and programs, 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.
Director of Communications
Rivershed Society of BC
Phone: (604) 992-4769