27 September, 2012

A world of rivers

This Sunday, 30th September, 2012 is:
The Barwon River, Geelong at sunset
Despite having maintained this blog for over a year and a half, I had not until recently heard of this celebration of all things river-related. A little research on the topic tells me that World Rivers Day is held on the last Sunday in September every year and was first held in 2005.
The idea grew from an earlier initiative in British Columbia: BC Rivers Day, which was first held in 1980 and was the idea of renowned river conservationist Mark Angelo. The aim of the day was to highlight the importance of rivers not only to humans but to recognise the role they play in the wider environment. The day provided an opportunity for community groups to focus on river health issues, get involved with clean up activities and revegetation programs or just to get to know their local river a little better.
The Barwon River flowing high, Bunyip Pool, Buckley Falls
So, when the United Nations launched their Water For Life Decade in 2005 Angelo felt that an international day recognising the importance of rivers around the world would compliment some of the aims of the UN. It was from this concept that World Rivers Day was born.
With all of this in mind, I thought it would be timely to put together a post on this blog to highlight what Geelong and the other communities along the Barwon are doing to bring the community together to celebrate the event...

The Moorabool River, Batesford
Well, I searched high, I searched low, I searched here and I searched there.
I discovered that the Border Rivers-Gwydir Catchment Management Authority who are responsible for the management of that "other" Barwon River in the north are holding a community breakfast barbeque at Inverell on the banks of the Macintyre River (an extension of the northern Barwon River) which will also include interactive water testing and other educational activities designed to inform the local community of the various river rehabilitation projects underway and to increase awareness of environmental issues as they relate to local waterways.

The Leigh River, Inverleigh
The Corangamite Catchment Management Authority wanted to tell me about World Environment Day, International World Wetlands Day and even National Threatened Species Day, but neither they nor any of the other government or community groups with an interest in our Barwon River wanted to tell me anything at all about World Rivers Day. Parks Victoria didn't seem to know, nor did any of the "Friends of" groups, The City of Greater Geelong or Geelong Otway Tourism.
The one exception to this complete lack of information was a little group very familiar to me: Geelong Runners. In recognition of the day, they are hosting a barbeque and run around the river trail(10am-2pm this Sunday, 30th September at Barwon Valley Fun Park on the river). Run or walk as much or as little as you like. You are never too old - or too young - to start running, so come and join us!


  1. Hi Jo,
    Friends of Buckley falls meets as a group on the 1st and 3rd Sunday mornings of each month ... planting now, weeding over the summer half of the year. (And Friends of Waurn Ponds Creek I believe meet on similar days each month.) So we don't have any extra working bee tomorrow on World Rivers Day. We are busy enough already! Some of us are around the Barwon R for a few hours every few days too, doing extra planting and weeding. I hadn't heard of this "special" day before.

  2. It's good to hear what Helen and co are doing at Buckley Falls. Geelong Council, though, should use any opportunity (such as the established World Rivers Day documented by Joanne here) to increase awareness amongst the community and possibly get a lot more people involved in the "Friends of..." -type initiatives.
    Days such this Rivers Day cost little or nothing to "market", and have high impact wrt raising awareness - with possibly a big payback in terms of getting more involved in community issues.
    Plus it's fun for whoever gets out there! For runners, any reason to combine running and BBQing at the river is a good reason.

  3. The river is probably just as vital to Geelong as the waterfront is. It should get more marketing attention from the Council.