A young visitor checks out a Western painted turtle during a past Rivers Day Festival. The Derek Doubleday Arboretum will provide the setting for this year’s celebration, a free event where visitors can learn about the environment through a variety of activities, enjoy a barbecue lunch, and kids can make boats out of recyclable materials.

A young visitor checks out a Western painted turtle during a past Rivers Day Festival. The Derek Doubleday Arboretum will provide the setting for this year’s celebration, a free event where visitors can learn about the environment through a variety of activities, enjoy a barbecue lunch, and kids can make boats out of recyclable materials.

Rivers Day celebration rolls into new location

Annual celebration moves from Williams Park to the Derek Doubleday Arboretum. This year's event begins at 11 a.m. on Sept. 27

From a bike valet and bug displays, to climbing walls and birdhouse building, there will be more to see, do, and explore when Rivers Day is held in a brand new location.

The BC Rivers Day Community Festival, an annual celebration of water and nature, will take on a whole new look in a whole new place this year. The free, family-oriented event, which enhances understanding of the environment and spotlights our water resources, will be held Sunday, Sept. 27, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Derek Doubleday Arboretum.

“For more than 25 years, the Township of Langley has been hosting the Rivers Day Festival so that people of all ages can learn how to keep our community green and healthy,” said Meaghan Norton Daniel, environmental co-ordinator with the Township.

“This year, the festival will leave its traditional location at Williams Park for a new site at the Arboretum.

“This is an amazing spot that is home to the Nicomekl River, lush natural habitat, trees and trails, and the Langley Demonstration Garden. It is the ideal location for this unique celebration.”

The Derek Doubleday Arboretum is located in the 21200 block of Fraser Highway, and Norton Daniel is hoping the central location will make it easy for residents to stop in and explore. The area is flat and full of sturdy trails that offer access to those in wheelchairs or with strollers.

Guests can park on site or at the nearby overflow lot at Langley Secondary School. A free community shuttle will transport visitors to the Rivers Day site every 15 minutes.

As well, a bicycle valet will be offered to encourage residents to get to the festival using a mode of transportation that is good for their health and the environment.

During Rivers Day, visitors can enjoy more than 25 interactive displays and activity booths, featuring gold panning, Dreamfish painting, an animal costume parade, live owls, and a climbing wall. Live entertainment will be presented by Angela Brown (The Ta Da Lady), Tony Prophet, and the Genuine Jug Band.

A free barbecue lunch will be provided from 11:30 a.m. until supplies last. Guests are encouraged to bring their own reusable water containers for drinks, and a concession will be available for those who would like to purchase refreshments.

The popular Upcycle Boat Build returns again this year, with participants invited to make creative and floatable boats and bring them to Rivers Day for a chance to win a $100 term deposit from Vancity. Contestants should use materials destined for their Blue Box — such as milk jugs, yogurt containers, meat trays, and pop bottles — to make their boats. Categories are available for kids aged three to six, seven to 13, and 14 plus. Entries will be judged on creativity and use of materials. Contestants can register their creations between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., and judging starts at 1 p.m.

The BC Rivers Day Community Festival is held each year on the last Sunday of September to kick off WaterWeeks, a series of educational activities that allow the public to experience, appreciate, and take action to protect our community’s watercourses, watersheds, groundwater, and wildlife habitats.

“Rivers Day and WaterWeeks are especially significant this year, after the long, hot, dry summer we experienced,” said Norton Daniel. “With water restrictions in effect for months throughout Metro Vancouver, everyone has been made aware just how important it is to preserve and care for our precious water resources.”

Presented by the Township of Langley and the Langley Environmental Partners Society, WaterWeeks 2015 activities are designed to encourage environmental stewardship in residents of all ages. They are free and open to the public, but space is limited.

To register, contact 604-532-3511 or exec_director@leps.bc.ca.

• WaterWeeks events include: a Farm Fresh Bus Tour on Oct. 3, Dig In Tree Plantings on Oct. 4 and 17, and a West Creek Wetland Walk on Oct. 4.

• Activities continue with Coquitlam Watershed Tour on Oct. 10, Voyageur Paddle in Fort Langley on Oct. 11, a Film Screening on Oct. 14, and an Invasive Species Pull on Oct. 17.

For more information, contact Environmental Coordinator Meaghan Norton Daniel at 604-533-6009 or mnortondaniel@tol.ca.