Burnaby Environment Week is a week long program of environmentally-themed community activities held in early June hosted by the City of Burnaby and community partners. This year’s events were held June 2 to 10, 2018 and included a Still Creek Watershed Bicycle Tour and a Mandarin Language Nature Tour of Burnaby Lake Regional Park.
Burnaby kicked off its annual Environment Week with two eco-tours. One group geared up to cycle along Still Creek and learn about the city’s waterways.
The tour leader is Mark Sloat, a City of Burnaby Environmental Planner. “The neat part about taking people on a tour is there’s a real visceral connection to actually ride the watershed and see the stream,” he said. “I find that kind of a light bulb goes on with people. It’s a great way to make them care a little bit more about the environment.”
Just downstream, an enthusiastic crowd gathered at Burnaby Lake Regional Park for a Mandarin language tour led by Green Club President, Dr. Joseph Lin. He stresses the benefits of being out in nature for both physical and mental health. “Every month we have about forty nature programs for the community,” he said. “In your daily life no matter how you may feel the anxiety, once you walk in the park then you will feel more peaceful. So this is very important.”
In Dr. Lin’s words, ecology is about relationships. When leading tours he focuses on the behaviour of plants and animals of our region and how they survive to propagate the next generation. “We need interpreters to talk about the relationship between human beings with wildlife,” he said. “Then they know if they don’t protect it then we don’t have our healthy environment. If the environment is not healthy then we don’t have a healthy body.”
Back on the banks of Still Creek, Mark’s group took a break to discuss historical human impacts on the waterway. “Still Creek has been straightened and realigned throughout its history, so the location here might not be the actual location from the 1900’s or earlier,” he observed.
Carmen Rosen’s Still Moon Arts Society co-hosted the event. She feels the nature of Still Creek’s streamflow made it less vulnerable to polluting discharge more than 100 years ago. “Still Creek survived partially because it was such a slow flowing creek that you didn’t actually want to flush effluent right into it because you would have caused cholera outbreaks,” she said.
Whether on foot or on two wheels, exploring Burnaby’s green spaces is a great way to reconnect with the natural world.
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