Fraser River Discovery Centre is highlighting the beauty of the Mighty Fraser - and the devastation of the Pacific Garbage Patch as part of World Rivers Day.
RiverFest: Inspired by the Fraser River features two presentations at Discovery Centre on Saturday, Sept. 29 - one that will look at the environmental tragedy in the Pacific Ocean related to plastic debris and the other looking at photography of the Fraser River.
"Our focus is on the environment and the substantiality of the river," said Cindy Sale, communication and events coordinator at Discovery Centre. "RiverFest is a celebration of B.C. and World Rivers Day."
Kelowna-based cinematographer and photographer Jan Vozenilek is part of a film crew that has travelled to the remote island of Midway Atoll in the North Pacific, where they've been documenting an environmental tragedy that sees an island covered in toothbrushes, cigarette lighters, combs and other garbage. Sadly, many of the millions of albatrosses that call the small island home cannot distinguish between plastic trash and their traditional seafood fare.
"It looks like food to them. They can't tell the difference," Sale said. "It is a pretty powerful and heart-wrenching message."
Vozenilek is currently in Midway Atoll and will arrive on Canadian soil at 6 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29, just hours before his 1:30 p.m. presentation at Discovery Centre. In addition to film footage of the documentary that's underway, he's bringing some examples of plastic found on beaches and in dead birds with him.
"We can't lose sight of the fact that the oceans are filling up with this crap, killing wildlife and slowly poisoning our entire ecosystem and poisoning ourselves - and it's the single-use disposable plastic that's the biggest culprit and what we all need to focus on," he said in a press release.
Earlier in the day, Rick Blacklaw will lead a photography workshop and presentation that will highlight the beauty of the Fraser River from its upper reaches to the lower estuary. Blacklaw, an archaeologist and photographer, will provide a preview of his recent work on the Fraser River and will offer some tricks of the trade on how people can use a digital camera to enhance their photographic skills.
Blacklaw's presentation takes place at 11:30 a.m. in Fraser River Discovery Centre, which is at 788 Quayside Dr.
"Rivers Day is a chance to celebrate the province's rivers, and here in New Westminster we honour the Fraser River," said Sale, chair of the RiverFest committee. "From the beauty of the Fraser River to the devastation that lies below the surface, these two presentations will foster a stronger understanding and desire to become part of the solution.
Visitors to Fraser River Discovery Centre during RiverFest will also be able to view some of the items collected during last weekend's Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup in Queensborough and learn how much debris was collected. A stove, tires and big blocks of Styrofoam were among the items collected.
The centre will also include some displays by artists and students' entries in a City of New Westminster environmental contest for elementary school students. The centre's regular exhibits, including the pollution model and the archeology dig, will also be open.