To our Fraser Riverkeeper community,
While we are socially isolating across Canada, we are more connected than ever. The Swim Drink Fish movement of water guardians continues to grow. Thanks to social media and our digital tools like Swim Guide and Watermark Project, we have shifted our strategy to connect with our community in new and exciting ways. While we’re all doing our part to stay inside during the COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve got some activities that will help you engage with our local waters from home.
Asking our volunteers to stay home
We’ve temporarily suspended volunteer participation in the Vancouver Water Monitoring Program, as we didn’t want our volunteers to have to choose between their health and safeguarding our waters. However, our staff are committed to collecting environmental observations as long as we are able. These observations help us understand how people are engaging with local waters, document pollution or potential threats, and record wildlife through these unprecedented times. On March 19th, Julia and Sadie cycled around False Creek. We wanted to answer a burning question: are people still recreating on False Creek during the COVID-19 outbreak? Find out about what we saw in the field here.
Reporting on our monitoring for 2019
Since January, Kate Moore, our Water Monitoring Coordinator, has been working tirelessly to compile all of our water monitoring data into a concise report. We are excited to announce that the 2019 Report is ready for you. The report dives into how E. coli fluctuated throughout the seasons and temperatures in False Creek, what times of year were popular for various water recreation groups, and makes recommendations for moving forward.
Swim Guide steps up as a valuable tool during the outbreak
As we write this, more than one billion people around the world are socially isolating, including Canadians, in order to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. No one knows how long these measures will be in place, but the conversation about mental health and access to the outdoors has never been so urgent. Our free app and website, Swim Guide, is the most widely used resource for recreational water quality in the world and has been crucial to connecting people to their local waters for many years.
With a tool already poised and at-the-ready, Swim Guide has been harnessed to share beach and park information from hundreds of jurisdictions with the public, quickly and easily. With updates changing daily, this platform is one that can help keep the public informed with the latest health authority recommendations and guidelines. Swim Drink Fish will amp-up Swim Guide’s ability to help people stay connected with nature and manage their mental health this summer. The highlight of our efforts will be a series of articles and resources promoting mental health awareness and protection. Even if the pandemic concerns evaporate, this work is critical for reversing the already-growing symptoms of nature deficit in Canada. Find Swim Guide’s first series of tips for visiting the beach responsibly here.
Seven activities to connect with water from home
- Read the first part of our Backyard Species series and start brushing up on local species identification
- Learn about Vancouver’s underground streams
- Read these 7 books to connect with water from your couch
- Take a deep dive into Mariana’s Trench
- Find out why restoration is so important for the Fraser River
- Join in a free daily online meditation hosted by Surf the Greats
- Check out #TriviaTuesday on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram where we’ll quiz you on some water trivia every Tuesday!
13th Annual cleanup has been cancelled
As you may already know, our 13th Annual Fraser River Cleanup, which was set to take place on March 28th has been cancelled. Though we won’t be gathering as a community to clean up the banks of the Fraser, we encourage you to bring supplies if you are going out for a short walk around your neighbourhood and clean up any garbage you might find. We suggest you bring some gloves and a bucket or bag. While you’re out there, if you see larger pollution concerns, be sure to report them! You can learn about how to report pollution concerns here.
Coming up: Live Q&A
We’ll be holding an Instagram Live Q&A in a few weeks! Please send us any questions you have about water quality, conservation, or pollution and be sure to follow us on Instagram to get more updates.
While we are all keeping apart through social distancing, we are also in this together. We are prepared to ride this wave however long it takes, continuing to provide more data, more advocacy, and more entertaining content. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us to send your backyard species discoveries, share your favourite water memory, or just to chat with your friendly neighbourhood water guardians!
Stay healthy and safe,