World Rivers Day Virtual Celebrations!


World Rivers Day is a celebration of the world's waterways. It has been over 40 years since world-renowned river advocate, Mark Angelo, founded BC Rivers Day, which eventually evolved into World Rivers Day, now one of the world’s largest environmental events. This year it falls on September 26, 2021.

The rivers and waterways in our community connect us all - providing drinking water, recreational opportunities, a home to a range of species, and ecosystems and an important piece of our history and culture - they are the lifeblood of our land. 

Join us as we celebrate together over this next week of personal challenges, information sharing and community engagement.  

  • Connect with us on facebook for other updates and event links. 
  • Send us pictures, stories, photos and completed quizzes and challenges to 
  • join us for one of our watershed and creek tours
  • organize a community clean-up

. . . get involved for a chance to win great prizes from our partners - including a grand prize of a rain barrel from the RDN's Team WaterSmart.  The more entries and engagement the more chances to win. 

Monday, September 20 - RESPECT

We respectfully acknowledge that we are privileged to gather, work and play on the Traditional Territories of the Coast Salish Peoples including the Snuneymuxw and Snaw-Naw-As First Nations.

"The First Nations peoples of North America have a special relationship with water, built on their subsistence ways of life that extends back thousands of years.  Their traditional activities depend on water for transportation, for drinking, cleaning, purification, and provides habitat for the plants and animals they gather as medicines and foods.  Their ability to access good water shapes these traditional activities and their relationships with their surroundings.  As Indigenous peoples, First Nations recognize the sacredness of their water, the interconnectedness of all life and the importance of protecting their water from pollution, drought and waste."  Assembly of First Nations

The Nanaimo Art Gallery has the pleasure of presenting huli u’tu staluẃ / Riverbed , a series of walks, workshops, performances, and projects taking place along the Millstone River until October 2021. Flowing through the middle of the city, the Millstone River is a significant waterway for all who live and have lived alongside it, ecological systems and communities of people alike.  huli u’tu staluẃ / Riverbed  foregrounds the environmental and cultural resonance of this site.


Thank you to Adam Manson and Elder Xulsi'malt Gary Manson for providing the hul’q’umi’num' title, huli u’tu staluẃ, which directly translates to “life by the river.” Support for this project was provided by the BC Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, and the Vancouver Island Regional Library. 

Riverbed Series
Join the Vancouver Island Regional Library and Nanaimo Art Gallery on September 25 from 2:00-4:00pm at the Bowen Park lower picnic shelter, for a performance and reading featuring Billy-Ray Belcourt, S F Ho, and Manuel Axel Strain.  Bring your own lawn chair or picnic blanket and enjoy the performance outdoors!


The closing event will take place at the Millstone River’s headwaters, Brannen Lake Boat Launch at 2pm on October 3, 2021, where poet and musician Sonnet L’Abbé will present their reflections on huli u’tu staluẃ / Riverbed.

Tuesday, September 21 - EXPLORE AND OBSERVE

Continue to explore where your water comes from and what watershed you live in, visit a creek or river in your neighbourhood and observe how it shapes the landscape and what their cultural and environmental significance is.

“The health of our creeks and streams depends on a network of stewardship with volunteers at the centre.” Paul Chapman, NALT

NALT World Rivers Day BioBlitz

Join us September 22 to 26 to help document the amazing diversity of life within our local streams, rivers, wetlands and their surrounding areas by joining the "NALT World RIvers Day BioBlitz 2021" on iNaturalist. (click link for more details)

If you have questions or would like to sign up for our virtual iNaturalist "how-to" info session on September 21st @ 7:00 pm, please email -

NALT World Rivers Day BioBlitz

Wednesday, September 22 - CONNECT

We are all connected…

…from what we use to wash our car in the driveway, landscape our yards, choose to fertilize or not fertilize our gardens, how we might urbanize our community, or how we develop our parks and greenspaces … we are all connected to our watershed and waterways. 

Join Capri from Team WaterSmart as she shows us how our different activities and actions can affect the quality of the water in our watershed.   

…we are all connected.  

  • Avoid putting chemicals, soaps or other pollutants down the storm drains, safely dispose of batteries, paints, medications etc so they don’t end up on our local waterways.
  • Get involved in the storm drain marking program supported by NALT and DFO.  Contact NALT for more information at .  
  • Can you find a yellow fish painted by a Storm Drain in your neighbourhood?  Send us a picture for another chance to win one of our daily prizes. 


September 22  is also National Tree Day – how do trees connect  with Rivers Day?

A healthy urban forest canopy, or abundance of trees and plant life…

  • provides critical habitat for wildlife,
  • helps keep rivers and streams cool and protected, enhancing the value of the river to all surrounding life (air, land and aquatic)
  • reduces the impacts of global warming,
  • adds moisture to the air and helps create clouds…which leads to rain
  • helps slow the rain fall reaching the ground– reducing flooding, soil erosion and nutrient depletion 
  • helps stabilize river & creek banks (thanks to the root system) – reducing erosion and holding the integrity of the eco-system intact.  
  • helps to filter this rain water (thanks to tree roots and soil organisms)

…we are all connected.  

Follow this amazing and epic journey  of a salmon – from egg to spawner, and the challenges and obstacles the salmon has to overcome making their way from the river to lake to river to ocean and all the way back to their home river again. 

…we are all connected.     

Thursday, September 23 - RESTORE

How can we be good stewards of our rivers and waterways?

  • Get involved in a local clean up or connect with a Streamkeepers Stewardship group in your area.
  • Organize a clean up in your neighbourhood, a community park, beach or river in your area - volunteer work party application form
  • Pledge to pick up trash and dispose of it properly.
  • Practice water stewardship at home by converting to water efficient irrigation and landscaping, installing a rainwater harvesting system, or by upgrading your private well! Water Stewardship Rebates  
  • Get involved in community watershed monitoring in your neighbourhood supported by the RDN’s Drinking Water & Watershed Protection program and other amazing local stewardship groups.


Friday, September 24 - LEARN

Learn more about where your water comes from – the water you drink, use to water your garden or bath in?   Click this link to learn more about your local Watershed.

Find out what is happening in your community region and beyond, regarding stream stewardship and water resource management and protection?  Find out more from groups such as a Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC (PWSBC), a driving force connecting the dots of shared knowledge, inspiration, innovation and challenges of water stewardship in a changing climate.

Or watch this video below, the third of three videos, "International Year of the Salmon - Will Lightning Strike Twice", part of the “2020 Virtual Symposium on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate” features Dr. Kim Hyatt and Nick Leone of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Dr. Peter Tschaplinski and Neil Goeller of the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.


Did you also know BC is also home to hundreds of rivers, including some of Canada’s longest rivers.  Visit to test you river knowledge.  Send us a screen shot of your River IQ at for a chance to win one of our community prizes.

Find out more about the RDN’s Drinking Water and Watershed Protection ( DWWP) Program and information on how to make better choices on land use and ways to protect the environment.

Join Team WaterSmart as they provide education and ideas for water conservation and environmental protection with these workshops, links, guides and more.

Sarah holding a salmon puppet

Saturday, September 25 - RECREATE

Rivers provide a natural environment for recreation and an opportunity to “recharge” and connect with nature.


Sunday, September 26 – CELEBRATE

  • How will you celebrate Rivers Day 2021?  Send us your pictures, drawings, poems or songs on how you celebrated this year.  Email  
  • Still have questions?  What are your ‘water wonders’?  Send your questions to us on water and your watershed.
  • and let's wrap up our week by celebrating the amazing process of chum salmon spawning near Squamish, BC last fall,  thanks to the amazing filming by Bob Turner, a long time resident of Bowen Island in Atl'ka7tsem/ Howe Sound, its former mayor, and a retired federal geoscientist who discovered film making in 2014.


Last updated: September 14, 2021

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