As Swim Drink Fish has grown and evolved over the years, artists have become guides for exploring our vision of a world where communities can swim in their local waters without risking their health, drink the water flowing from their taps without fear of illness, and where fish and wildlife thrive and prosper in their natural environment.
As summer draws towards an end, many of us at Swim Drink Fish have been reflecting on the mild weather Vancouver has experienced over the last few months. Previous summers of extreme heat and little precipitation caused many forest fires, visible in the city by a constant haze of smoke. Even with the milder weather this year, beach closures in Vancouver are still too frequent.
Scientific topics can be daunting and at times exclusive to experts of the field. However, when citizens are given the opportunity to engage in scientific literacy, they can access resources and tools to think critically about the information they are receiving and make informed decisions about the world they live in. A report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine emphasizes that when nonscientists are able to contribute to a field of science, it encourages deeper learning, engages participants with real data, and can be a tool to facilitate large scale research. Essentially, citizen science is a great way to increase scientific literacy among the general public.1
Since starting at Fraser Riverkeeper, I’ve had the opportunity to spend time around the edges of False Creek assisting our Water Monitoring Coordinator, Katie Moore. We frequently have passersby ask us about the water quality—many saying they would never get in the water here— alluding to some dirty, industrial past. As someone who just moved to Vancouver a few years ago, I only knew False Creek as the beautiful park-lined inlet where paddlers and boaters enjoy the water year-round. The more time I spent working around the inlet, the more questions I had unanswered. I mean, why is it even called False Creek?
On a cloudy Wednesday, July 24, the Fraser Riverkeeper team was joined by a group of almost 20 BroadbandTV (BBTV) employees for a morning on Granville Island. This day gave us a chance to get to know each other, connect with the waters that flow through False Creek and beyond, and introduce the BBTV volunteers to citizen science.
We know that water quality can affect human health but what about the health of our beloved furry friends? Vancouver has some amazing off-leash dog parks with water access but, just like humans, dogs’ health can be impacted by bacteria in the water. Before you head out to any of these doggie beaches check out Swim Guide to find up-to-date info about their water quality.
The Swim Drink Fish movement is one that grows every day with more people getting inspired to connect with their local water bodies and protect what they love. As our movement grows, we meet people with their own unique connections and stories to tell. Our new series, Faces of Swim Drink Fish, will celebrate those who have become a part of our movement locally in Vancouver and have joined us in ensuring swimmable, drinkable, fishable water for all.
As summer heats up, one of the best ways to cool off is by the water. There are countless ways to ensure your trip to the beach is one for the books. Take the time before you head down to the water to check Swim Guide in order to easily find the closest beaches, know at a glance which ones are safe for swimming, and share your love of the water with friends and family.