Saturday, April 14, 2012

Community Engagement Drives "Bowker Creek Initiative" in the urban heartland of British Columbia's Capital Region


Outreach is a Powerful Tool
The experience of the Bowker Creek Initiative (BCI) in the Capital Region serves as a guide for implementing a ‘top-down and bottom-up’ approach that connects with the community and gets the vision right. This unique multi-jurisdictional effort has produced the Bowker Creek Blueprint: A 100-Year Action Plan to systematically and incrementally restore the watershed landscape in the heart of BC’s Capital Region on Vancouver Island.

Community groups and individuals have taken ownership and responsibility for “telling the story” of the Bowker Creek Initiative. Community buy-in has engendered political and staff support for watershed restoration. Soren Henrich helped build buy-in. He is a professional graphic artist. Among his many contributions is the BCI logo.

Soren Henrich: In His Own Words
"I had been a director of a neighbourhood association. We were always reacting to development requests. We were in the front lines and this was taking a toll on me. It was not fun. And then I experienced an Ah-Ha moment,” recalls Soren Henrich. He represents the Friends of Bowker Creek on the BCI Steering Committee.

“It was such a wonderful moment. I saw my neighbourhood differently. As I first began to think in terms of ‘what is a watershed’ and then ‘what is an urban watershed’, I felt connected to the earth. And I felt a responsibility," recalls Soren Henrich.

“I realized then that my thing is Bowker Creek. I wanted to be able to answer the question: where is Bowker Creek. And I wanted to ask others: do you know that you live in a watershed. After reading the book Neighbor Power by Seattle’s Jim Diers, I was inspired to make a difference by engaging community through art events and education.”
 
Pennant Workshop Connects People: “My personal passion is the Bowker Creek Pennant Printing Workshops. At these family-friendly events, we teach the basic steps of relief printmaking to make colourful cloth pennants. We are stringing the pennants together to create banners. We are connecting people with the watershed. My dream is that there will be so many pennants that the total length of the banners will reach 8 kilometres. This would equal the creek channel length.” 

TO LEARN MORE: To download a PDF copy of an article posted on the Waterbucket website, and that elaborates on this provincially significant initiative, click on Capital Region’s Bowker Creek Blueprint Demonstrates that Outreach is a Powerful Tool. Also, to access the Bowker Creek homepage on Waterbucket, click here.


 

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