A family-friendly outdoor extravaganza celebrating local rivers, waterways, and the importance of the environment returns to the Township of Langley, Sunday, Sept. 22.
The B.C. Rivers Day Community Festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Derek Doubleday Arboretum, 21200 Fraser Hwy.
The arboretum is full of accessible trails that allows visitors to walk, wheel, or ride through the site, which is home to the Nicomekl River, the Langley Demonstration Garden, and the new Rotary Interpretive Center.
Meaghan Norton Daniel, Township of Langley environmental coordinator, said the day is important when it comes to spreading awareness about Langley’s diverse water systems.
“The Township is home to over 700 kilometers of rivers, creeks and streams – and we need to be good environmental stewards,” Norton Daniel said.
Presented in partnership by the Township of Langley and the Langley Environmental Partners Society (LEPS), the B.C. Rivers Day Community Festival will include a costume parade, animal displays, gold panning, story time, and face painting outside the arboretum.
“B.C. Rivers Day has been going on for three decades now,” Norton Daniel explained. “It was started in Burnaby by Mark Angelo, and here in the township, it has really gone from a smaller grassroots event to having over 2,000 people attend last year.”
Guests will get a chance to interact with various raptors, take part in interactive learning opportunities, and listen to live music from the Genuine Jug Band and Well Worn Trail while visiting more than thirty different displays.
A free hot dog barbecue will also be offered at noon; in the spirit of environmentalism, guests are encouraged to bring their own refillable drink containers.
“Visitors can learn about animals and their habitat, and the many programs and projects that are in place in Langley to protect our waterways and ecosystems,” Norton Daniel added. “Rivers Day has become a much-loved tradition because there are so many fun things to do and explore.”
The event is free; organizers do warn parking is limited at the arboretum – suggesting Langley Secondary School as an alternate option where a free community shuttle will connect visitors to the festival every 15 minutes.
Free valet bike parking will also be available to encourage the public to cycle to the arboretum, for the sake of their health and the environment.
Rivers Day kicks off WaterWeeks 2019, a three-week series held each year by the Township of Langley and LEPS to encourage environmental community engagement.
During WaterWeeks, the public can learn about protecting watercourses, groundwater, and wildlife habitats through free activities that include presentations, storytelling, tours, cleanups, and plantings.
Events such as a talk called “Optimism in the Era of Climate Change” by Dr. Paul Richard, a children-oriented science club, a farm fresh bus tour, Passive Solar House tour, and Streamside Invasive Plant Clean-up are set to happen in the days to come.
“There will also be classroom workshops in the weeks that follow Rivers Day,” Norton Daniel added. “LEPS goes around to elementary schools and leads about 25 different intensive workshops where kids will ask a lot of questions and get a chance to learn what a waterway is and about clean water.”
For a full listing of WaterWeeks activities, and to learn more about BC Rivers Day, visit tol.ca/waterweeks.
Space is limited and registration is required for WaterWeeks events. To take part, people can call 604-532-3511, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or find out more by visiting www.leps.bc.ca.
“We’re at the point now where you simply can’t assume anymore that someone else is doing something to fight against climate change,” Norton Daniel said. “A lot of communities are now declaring climate change emergencies and so everyone has to do their part because life is really nothing without our waterways.”
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