By Emmalee Biebl
Our summer at Swim Drink Fish was rich with some amazing experiences shared with some even more amazing people! We love having volunteers groups come explore their appreciation of water, develop their water literacy, and get involved as citizen scientists.
It is inspiring to see people light up when they speak about their connection to their water here in Canada and abroad. Our day with the folks from LUSH was no exception, they brought some exceptional energy, and were eager to dive right into our day together with the Vancouver Water Monitoring Program.
Fraser Riverkeeper is thrilled to have LUSH as part of our Swim Drink Fish Movement since 2016. The handmade cosmetics company has provided both funding for our microbiological lab and volunteer support that has proved instrumental in setting up our water monitoring program. Last summer, at the invitation of the Bubbles team, our staff visited their headquarters in South Vancouver to run a Water Literacy workshop and facilitate a shoreline cleanup along the Fraser River. Of course, once we launched our Vancouver Water Monitoring Program this summer, we had to invite them to our lab for a day of sampling our waters. They participated in a full day of citizen science as part of the very program they helped establish and we were excited for the opportunity to show their dedicated team what their support has empowered us to achieve.
In late August, participants from many different LUSH teams joined Katie Moore, our Vancouver Water Monitoring Coordinator, to try their hands at water sampling. The samples they collect are the very ones that we analyze for water quality results to publish on Swim Guide. For many, sampling is a highlight of the day as it is an opportunity to apply concepts learned in the water literacy workshop to the scientific process. One participant whose favourite part of the day was the water sampling told us, “It felt like we were research assistants!”
The Watermark Project is our campaign to develop an archive of the ways that Canadians connect with water. It is the storytelling component of our work that really brings people’s personal experiences together so that we can demonstrate the importance that Canadians place on their waterways. It’s one of our favourite ways to get to know the people that are a part of our movement.
For Rosemarie Teleron, one of LUSH’s manufacturing experts, exploring the Granville Island was a chance to connect with a new place within the city and have a whole new Watermark experience,
“It was my first time visiting Granville Island and just hanging out beside False Creek, looking at the blue sky, feeling the warm sun, cool breeze, looking at the boats on the water, the birds flying and all the human activity nearby. I found a new Eden, False Creek by Granville Island, I will never tire.”
Another manufacturing expert from LUSH, Caroline Herman, shared a Watermark that brings us all the way to the Kootenays from where she described the powerful connection her community had around their local river.
“Elk River flowed through the small town of Fernie, BC. In the winter we ski and in the summer we float, swim, fish, etc… there are not many 'things to do' in Fernie but the outdoors. The river brings us all together outside in the short summer months.”
Our last community engagement event of the summer was an exceptional success. We had such a wonderful time learning and sharing new experiences and stories with the wonderful team from LUSH. The team was keen to get involved in water sampling and had many great questions about protecting our waterways. We can't wait to see how we'll grow with LUSH even more in years to come.