Sustainability Leaders Embarking on 25-day Fraser River Journey

Seven emerging sustainability leaders from across British Columbia are converging in Mount Robson Provincial Park before embarking on a trip of a lifetime. Meeting each other for the first time this Thursday, July 16th, they will spend a few days getting acquainted with each other and their mode of travel for much of the trip—a Voyageur Canoe—before starting down the mighty Fraser River.

These seven individuals have been selected to take part in the Sustainable Living Leadership Program (SLLP), a hands-on educational adventure run by the not-for-profit Rivershed Society of BC.

Traveling the route of the salmon, the program will take them from the Fraser’s headwaters near Mount Robson to the shores of Vancouver 1,400 km away by canoe, raft, shuttle van, and on foot.

During the trip, the participants learn about sustainable living and responsible community and resource development, while immersed in the impressive and ever-changing scenery of the Fraser River. Along the way, each SLLP participant is also designing a sustainability project to implement in their community when they return.

The 2015 participants and project ideas are as follows:

  • Lina Azeez, Maple Ridge
    “My Watershed Moment”: bring the practice of yoga to the outdoors in an effort to promote nature therapy and human well-being, as well as engage participants in watershed governance.
  • Lota ColobongSurrey
    Work with the City of Surrey on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.
  • Maya Graves-Bacchus, West Vancouver
    A 4-day event called “Place Based Activism and Spiritual Practice” to connect people to land, sea, farm and city, and aims to demonstrate what it means to be an activist in these spaces.
  • Christine Mettler, Kelowna
    A community-based exhibit to showcase the relationship between humans and their use of water in the Okanagan Valley. The project aims to stimulate social interaction, reflection, dialogue and debate about how water is being enjoyed, used, changed and exploited.
  • Andaleeb Morales, Vancouver
    Work with the City of Vancouver to reduce water consumption, plant trees and significantly reduce waste/garbage.
  • Amanda Ned, Lillooet
    Incorporate SLLP experiences into educational tools for elementary school students with aspects such as storytelling, presentations and blogs.
  • Suzanne Senger, Gibsons
    A Fraser-Canyon corridor conservation effort aimed at protecting the vital 100-mile stretch of the Fraser River between Lillooet and Williams Lake.

For updates on the group’s progress down the river, or to learn more about the Sustainable Living Leadership Program, the participants, or their community project ideas, visit .



Interview and photo opportunities are available before the participants depart onJuly 16th, or at the stops along the river outlined below. For more information and for photos and videos of previous trips, visit the Rivershed Society’s website at or contact Richelle Giberson.


·       Sat, July 25  – Morning hike through Ancient Cedar rainforest, Hwy 16 near Crescent Spur

·       Sun, July 26 –Xat'sull Heritage Village Cultural Day Celebration, Soda Creek (north of Williams Lake)

·       Mon, July 27 – Afternoon DFO juvenile fish net demonstration at Sheep Creek Bridge, Williams Lake

·       Sat, Aug. 1 – Bridge River tour / Cayoosh Creek Campground, Lillooet

·       Thurs, Aug. 6 – Morning tour of Glen Valley Organic Farm, Langley

·       Fri, Aug. 7 – Lunch at the Fraser River Discovery Centre, New Westminster

·       Sat, Aug. 8 – Paddle completion and afternoon arrival at Jericho Sailing Club, Vancouver


To arrange an interview, contact:

Richelle Giberson

604 992 4769

Adventurous Change-Makers Wanted for Unique Fraser River Journey
The Rivershed Society of BC is looking for environmental leaders who are up for the trip—and the challenge—of a lifetime. The not-for-profit organization is inviting people who dream of starting, or who may already be working on sustainability initiatives to apply for the Sustainable Living Leadership Program (SLLP).

The SLLP is an eye-opening 25-day educational program that takes participants from the Fraser River’s headwaters near Mount Robson, to where it meets the shores of Vancouver 1,400 kilometers downstream. Traveling by canoe, raft, shuttle van, and on foot, you explore ‘off-the-beaten-track’ parts of BC, learning about the geography, biology and history of the landscape from skilled facilitators and guides.
In the river’s upper reaches, participants hike through a 2,000-year-old ancient cedar grove and paddle through the Robson Valley. In the Fraser canyon, you ride whitewater rapids and observe traditional First Nations fisheries. In the lower stretches, you visit a working organic farm and paddle past log booms and big-box stores while learning about the impacts of urban and industrial development on salmon habitat.
Team building, conflict resolution, communication and critical thinking are an important part of the program. Throughout the journey, you discuss sustainability issues, identify and build upon your own talents, and develop a formal plan for your sustainability project.
Alex Ensworth, a 2014 SLLP participant, is almost finished his sustainability project, which he undertook with his partner Katie Furness-Moore. The pair are creating a photo-journal titled “Faces of the Fraser” to profile people who live, work, and depend upon the Fraser River. Their goal with the project is to raise awareness of the many and diverse uses of the Fraser River, and to show how residents, farmers and many other British Columbians benefit from living near it.
Natalya Melnychuk, another 2014 SLLP participant, is creating “Chase by Choice”, a promotional booklet highlighting the lives of individuals that have chosen to make Chase their home. The booklet will be used as part of the welcome package for newcomers to the area, to showcase the diversity of active and engaged community members from a range of backgrounds to promote rural living.
When asked about her experience on the SLLP, Natalya said, “I would definitely recommend the SLLP to other people. The SLLP has made me feel more intimately connected to my watershed. The trip has given me a greater appreciation of the diversity of people as well as flora and fauna that depend on the river system.“
The SLLP, now in its twelfth year, is seeking applicants for the 2015 trip. Anyone with an interest in sustainability or community development is encouraged to apply. To qualify, participants must be 19 years of age or older and physically fit. Community volunteer experience is an asset. The application deadline is April 30th.
This summer, spend three weeks exploring and learning about parts of British Columbia most people never get to see—it will change the way you look at this province and its most spectacular river system.
For more information or to apply visit:

Media contact:
Richelle Giberson
Communications Coordinator
Rivershed Society of BC
(604) 992-4769