file photo All kinds of activities for children and families are offered at Langley’s Rivers Day Community Festival, Sept. 24 at Derek Doubleday Arboretum, 21200 Fraser Highway.

National symbol celebrated at Rivers Day

All kinds of activities for children and families offered at Langley’s Rivers Day Community Festival

They are busy, industrious, buck-toothed creatures who have been Canada’s national symbol for more than 30 years. On Sunday, Sept. 24, they will be celebrated during the Township of Langley’s annual B.C. Rivers Day Community Festival.

Beavers are the theme of this year’s B.C. Rivers Day, as declared by the Outdoor Recreation Council in honour of our nation’s 150th birthday.

“This is the first year that this species is in the spotlight,” said Township environmental coordinator Meaghan Norton Daniel. “Beavers are the engineering masters of our waterways and are important to Canada’s history and to our ecosystem.”

The B.C. Rivers Day Community Festival has been held for close to three decades. A celebration of water and nature, it gives people of all ages the opportunity to appreciate our rivers and learn how important it is to protect the environment.

The free event runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and returns this year to the Derek Doubleday Arboretum at 21200 Fraser Highway.

“The arboretum is home to the Langley Demonstration Garden, the Nicomekl River, lush natural habitat, and trees,” Norton Daniel said. “Its central location makes it easy for residents to participate in B.C. Rivers Day, and the sturdy trails of the park provide access to all – whether they are walking, wheeling, or riding.”

Limited parking will be available on site with unlimited free parking at the nearby Langley Secondary School. A free community shuttle will take visitors between the school and the arboretum every 15 minutes. Free valet bike parking will also be provided to encourage guests to cycle to the eco-friendly festival – an activity that is good for people’s health and for the environment.

The Township’s B.C. Rivers Day Community Festival will feature more than 25 interactive displays and activity booths. Many favourites will be returning, and some new additions are in store, including a concert by children’s performers Bobs and Lolo. Live entertainment will be provided on the main stage and throughout the festival.

Visitors to the annual celebration can climb a wall, build a birdhouse, pan for gold with Yukon Dan, have their faces painted, and enjoy a variety of animal displays. A free hot dog barbecue will take place from 11:30 a.m. until supplies last. Guests are encouraged to bring their own reusable drink containers for water, and the Gypsy Trunk will be on site for those who would like to purchase vegan fare or drinks.

Rivers Day is held every year on the last Sunday of September, and helps kick off WaterWeeks, a series of activities where participants can learn about and take action to protect the community’s watercourses, watersheds, groundwater, and wildlife habitats.

Presented by the Township of Langley and the Langley Environmental Partners Society, WaterWeeks 2017 activities are designed to encourage environmental stewardship in residents of all ages. They are free and open to the public, but space is limited. To register, call 604-532-3511 or email exec_director@leps.bc.ca.

This year’s WaterWeeks events include the Fishy Finale and Coquitlam Watershed Tour on Sept. 30, a Farm Fresh Bus Tour on Oct. 1, Our Water B.C. on Oct. 5, a Wetland Walk on Oct. 7, and an Invasive Plant Pull and Streamside Clean Up on Oct. 8. A Film Screening will take place Oct. 11, and Dig In Treeplanting at the Jackman Wetlands will conclude WaterWeeks on Oct. 14. Visit tol.ca/waterweeks.