Earth Day was a chance to make a mind, body, planet connection in Coquitlam, at this free, community yoga event. It was also a chance to celebrate the stewardship of groups like the Coquitlam watershed roundtable and efforts to protect local waters.
What do yoga and planning the management of a watershed have to do with each other, you might ask? Well as it turns out, quite a lot.
The Coquitlam Watershed Roundtable celebrated the end of its three year planning process, which for the first time in Canada, considered the health and well-being of people, as well as that of the environment.
“We’re joining forces with the Watershed Salmon Society and the My Watershed Moment initiative to do the yoga, explains Community Roundtable Coordinator Marni Turek. “Because the messaging parallels, between the two — healthy humans and healthy watersheds.”
“We would love for people to get more engaged in what happens in their community,” says Lina Azeez of the Watershed Watch Salmon Society. “So we are really opening the doors today to try and get people to come out, participate in the yoga, and perhaps be inspired through that to take an active role in leading the Coquitlam watershed towards a more healthier future.”
People attending the open house heard a presentation on the link between healthy watersheds and healthy people. A growing body of evidence concludes that getting out into nature is good for you, both mentally and physically.
“The yoga community and the people who care about the watershed health are coming together because the yoga community is trying to improve their immune system and their well being,” explains Dr Craig Orr, a conservation advisor to the Watershed Watch Salmon Society. “So they’re supporting the people who are trying to do it in terms of the health of the watershed as well, there’s a natural fit there.”
The roundtable’s focus now shifts from planning, to implementation.
“This is where the rubber hits the road,” says Margaret Birch, Environmental Services Coordinator for the City of Coquitlam. “Through this process we identified here is actions we can measure, indicators that we can use, to show that we can connect, if we can implement these and these show some behavioral changes that it will lead to a healthy watershed, and improve our ecological and human well-being.”
Three actions are going ahead in 2015 – a plan to manage invasive species across all three municipalities in the watershed, a stormwater education program aimed at homeowners, and a new initiative to find incentives to offer developers in return for using greener building methods. New partners are now being sought to help fund and implement several other strategies that emerged from the three year planning process.
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