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 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, the following nine participants have been chosen:
- Oliver Berger of Williams Lake, who aims to create fun short 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 carrying-out a campaign to protect the Fraser Canyon Corridor; and assist in the delivery of future RSBC leadership programs, including identifying ways the SLLP could 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 BC;
- John Lewis of Coquitlam who 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 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 create a short film documentary of his SLLP experience;
- Megan Rempel of Coquitlam who aims to work on expanding municipal recycling programs to address cigarette butt litter;
- David Tracey of Vancouver who plans to focus 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.”
The trip begins July 14th and will have the participants traveling through ten of BC’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.
The tentative schedule—dates and times are subject to change due to weather, logistics or other unforeseen circumstances—is as follows:
- Saturday, July 23 – Morning hike through Ancient Cedar rainforest, Hwy 16 near Crescent Spur;
- Sunday, July 24 – Cultural Day Celebration at Xatśūll Heritage Village, Soda Creek (north of Williams Lake);
- Monday, July 25 – Afternoon Fisheries and Oceans Canada juvenile fish net demonstration at the mouth of Williams Lake Creek, Williams Lake;
- Saturday, July 30 – Bridge River tour / Cayoosh Creek Campground, Lillooet;
- Thursday, August 4 – Morning tour of Glen Valley Organic Farm, Langley;
- Friday, August 5 – Lunch at the Fraser River Discovery Centre, New Westminster;
- Saturday, August 6 – Paddle completion and afternoon arrival at Jericho Sailing Centre, Vancouver.
After the SLLP, 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 comprises a voluntary board of directors, a small staff 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: www.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