BURNABY, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- (Marketwired) -- 09/27/15 -- Editors Note: There is a photo associated with this Press Release.
Tens of thousands of British Columbians participated in BC Rivers Day celebrations across the Province this weekend, marking its 35 year anniversary as one of the world's biggest environmental events. "The success of this event in our Province highlights the fact that rivers are close to the heart of many, many British Columbians" said Mark Angelo, Rivers Day Founder and Chair. The BC event also led to the creation of World Rivers Day, which also took place on Sunday, September 27. Millions of people in more than 70 countries participated.
BC Rivers Day events took place in dozens of cities and towns, ranging from Burnaby, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Langley and Port Moody to Victoria, Chilliwack, Kamloops, Port Coquitlam, Nanaimo and Fernie to name just a few. Events ranged from stream clean-ups and habitat enhancement activities to educational outings and community riverside celebrations.
BC Rivers Day started with a clean-up on the Thompson River back in 1980 organized by founder, Mark Angelo, in conjunction with the Outdoor Recreation Council and the British Columbia Institute of Technology. The event has since grown dramatically, leading Angelo to approach various agencies of the United Nations about the creation of a global event in 2005.
With many of the world's rivers facing severe and increasing threats associated with climate change, pollution, and industrial development, more than 70 countries were participating in this year's global festivities. In light of the hot dry conditions that prevailed this summer in much of British Columbia, and the resulting impact this had on many local waterways, the anticipated affect of climate change was a major topic of discussion at many events.
Rivers Day strives to increase public awareness of the importance of our waterways as well as the many threats confronting them. "Rivers are integral to all life. Yet, despite their many values, many waterways continue to face an array of threats and are often impacted by inappropriate practices and inadequate protection", says Angelo, who is also the Outdoor Recreation Council Rivers Chair as well as Chair Emeritus of the Rivers Institute at BCIT.
With the Pacific Salmon Foundation as its lead sponsor, BC Rivers Day events included activities in every corner of the province, ranging from a series of Fraser River festivals to massive events in several lower mainland cities and from major cleanups on rivers such as the Chilliwack-Vedder, to a host of events in both the interior and the north. Angelo attended several events, ranging from the massive 12,000 strong Riverfest gathering in New Westminster, organized by the Fraser River Discovery Center, to the very large community event held along Deer Lake Brook at the Burnaby Village Museum. Burnaby was the very first local government in BC to formally proclaim Rivers Day.
"Tens of thousands of people in BC, and millions globally, contributed to Rivers Day," says Angelo, a recipient of both the Order of BC and the Order of Canada for his river conservation efforts. "The event provided a great opportunity for people to get out and enjoy our waterways. At the same time, the event strived to create a greater awareness of the urgent need to better care for our rivers and streams."
"To know that World Rivers Day, now a massive global celebration, has its roots right here in British Columbia is something all of us in this province can take pride in" added Angelo.
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