Each year on the last Sunday of September, local community groups come together to celebrate our province’s spectacular river heritage by hosting a public Rivers Day event. In the past the Department of Fisheries and Oceans allowed the NWSRI to display our materials within their booth at the event in Prince George. However, in 2010, the Nechako White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative’s working group members along with the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council were instrumental in celebrating the first ever Rivers Day event to be held in Vanderhoof at Riverside Park. Riverside Park is adjacent to the only known spawning grounds of the Nechako white sturgeon. This year we were fortunate to be able to celebrate the Rivers Day events in Prince George and in Vanderhoof because they were scheduled for different days.
Prince George -- Rivers Day in Prince George was held at Fort George Park on 23 September 2012. Our event booth was hosted by the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council (CSTC) in partnership with the NWSRI. We were treated to a beautiful day and our booth saw a steady flow of people. We provided information on the decline of the Nechako white sturgeon population, habitat loss, and recovery activities including our Emergency Sturgeon Release Boat Kit Program. Kids were treated to an activity table that featured sturgeon colouring sheets, connect the dots, and NWSRI tattoos. This large, city-wide event was our first opportunity to feature our new NWSRI display tent that was funded through a grant supplied by the Habitat Stewardship Program (HSP) and Integris Credit Union.
Vanderhoof -- Approximately 300 people came to celebrate the 3rd annual BC Rivers Day at Riverside Park in Vanderhoof, which is double the attendance of our first event in 2010! This successful event was held on the 30th of September 2012. During this event, the Nechako White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative’s display booth continued to raise public awareness and knowledge regarding the decline of the Nechako white sturgeon population, habitat loss, and recovery activities in order to promote the stewardship of sturgeon throughout the watershed. We featured our usual display table but also included a sturgeon biology table where we presented sturgeon foods and river bugs that were collected that morning from Murray Creek. Our volunteer members provided information on the unique body parts of the sturgeon and the role those parts played in the evolution of sturgeon. We also featured a sturgeon life cycle display and hands-on vials that showed the developmental stages of sturgeon eggs. Two interpretive walks (13:00 and 14:30) were provided by CWG members and included information on the importance of river cleanliness and sturgeon spawning, with participants able to view the location of the spawning grounds from the bridge that crosses the Nechako River. With aid from CNC we played our Every Sturgeon Counts video and displayed an example boat kit. All discussions were focused on the sturgeon’s status, the need for conservation, special biological features of the sturgeon, and past and present research projects.
The 3rd annual Rivers Day at Riverside Park in Vanderhoof, BC. Photo courtesy of Michelle Roberge.
The Sturgeon Biology Table - Engaging children in the river finds. Photos courtesy of Kevin Gedling.
Pickled juvenile sturgeon. Photos courtesy of K. Gedling.
The NWSRI sends our sincere appreciation to all of the volunteers that helped make both of the Rivers Day events a fun and educational experience for all that attended.
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