Riverfest

15-24 October 2021

Riverfest is our annual, premier community event for ‘Our Living River’, celebrating the Parramatta River and surrounding catchment.

The theme for this year’s Riverfest is ‘Caring for our Catchment’. With the significant impact that COVID-19 continues to have on our lives, protecting our natural environment has never been more important. The positive effects of connecting with nature on our health and wellbeing are well-known. Providing ways for people to care for their local green spaces, waterways and wildlife also encourages a greater sense of purpose and connection with their communities. If we care for our catchment it will care for us.

Riverfest will be held from 15-24 October, and offers a wide range of online events for people of all ages, including webinars on different aspects of wildlife and environmental health and management, and tips on swimming in the river and other natural waterways. There are also several ‘story time’ and activity sessions for families to learn about some of our animal mascots for the river.  See the Events Program below for more information and check back regularly for new events as they’re added!

This initiative has been made possible by the NSW Landcare Program a collaboration of Local Land Services and Landcare NSW Inc. supported by the NSW Government.

 

Community Events Expressions of Interest – NOW CLOSED

Thank you to those organisations that submitted an Expression of Interest to hold an event during Riverfest. The submissions are being reviewed and the Riverkeeper will contact you shortly to discuss your event in more detail. For further information, please contact the Riverkeeper at: riverkeeper@ourlivingriver.com.au.

 

EVENTS PROGRAM

SEPTEMBER NOVEMBER

Inner West Spring Photo Call Out

To celebrate nature and biodiversity in Spring 2021, we are calling all Inner West residents to tag and share native plant and animal photos in backyards, front yards or balconies on Instagram. Everyone can take part, but only Inner West Council residents are eligible for prizes. Remember to use the hashtag #innerwestwildlife when you post you pics.

There are four categories you can enter: 1. Native plants; 2. Lizards, spiders, insects or other pollinators; 3. Native birds using features in your property; 4. Native frogs or ponds. Find out more.

 

DURING RIVERFEST

City of Canada Bay’s ‘The Flock’

Location: Cabarita Park, Halliday Park or Rodd Park

Inspired by the Pūkorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre, ‘The Flock’ is a creative and fun project to raise awareness about our amazing migratory shorebirds and what we can to do to look after them.

During Riverfest 2021, the City of Canada Bay invites you to take part by painting a shorebird and adding it to a flock in Rodd Park, Halliday Park or Cabarita Park. Find out more.

 

 

On the Wings of a Godwit

Time: Anytime
Location: online

‘On the Wings of a Godwit’ is an immersive, online guided meditation of music, birdsong and spoken word that takes the listener on a journey from the continental shores of Australasia to tundra of Siberia. We invite you to become a migratory bird, overwintering between your summer homes, following a flyway path that has been travelled for thousands of years. Stop, listen, breathe, and take flight with this meditative journey created by renowned Australian artist Kate Gorringe-Smith (The Overwintering Project) and award-winning musicians and soundscape designers the Bowerbird Collective: Simone Slattery (violin) and Anthony Albrecht (cello).

An Indonesian version was created in partnership with Burung Indonesia and Suara Indonesia Dance, featuring Alfira O’Sullivan. This work runs for 20 minutes. You’re invited to not look at the screen after you have set up the connection, and be somewhere beautiful to listen and imagine. While you’re welcome to provide a donation, the Parramatta River Catchment Group has made a contribution in acknowledgement of the work that artists do to connect us with nature through our senses. Find out more.

 

 

FRIDAY, 15 OCTOBER

Using drone technology for weed management

Time: 12:30pm 1:30pm
Location: online webinar

Sydney Weeds Network is a small, not-for-profit association of Greater Sydney councils and other land managers. It aims to provide its members with the support they need to be able to do their jobs in the best possible way.

Most councils have bushland reserves, endangered ecosystems, waterways, agricultural land and critical habitat corridors that they wish to protect from weeds. The Network will soon be providing its members with drone training so they can start using drones as part of their weed management programs. Drone technology is being used increasingly as a safer, faster and more cost-effective method for mapping and monitoring large areas for environmental management.

Join drone expert Martin Bass for a ‘drone’s eye view’ of the Parramatta River catchment to learn more about weeds and their management. Martin will show footage of two areas and demonstrate some of the water sampling techniques used in accessing hard to reach locations.

Reserve your place for this event.

 

 

SATURDAY, 16 OCTOBER

Engaging citizen science to improve habitat health

Time: 10:00am 11:00am
Location: online webinar

The Parramatta River catchment is home to almost 400 species of wildlife. In such a highly urbanised environment, many species are at risk due to habitat loss and fragmentation from overdevelopment, litter, stormwater runoff and other human activity.

There are five iconic species for the Parramatta River catchment that are indicators of water quality and catchment health: Bar-tailed Godwit, Eastern Long-necked Turtle, Powerful Owl, Southern Myotis, and Striped Marsh Frog. A key part of the Parramatta River Catchment Group (PRCG)’s Masterplan is to improve and create new habitats for these species through foreshore improvement programs, tree planting projects and citizen science activities to help track our progress.

Join us for an informative webinar session to learn more about the work being done to improve the water quality and ecological health of the catchment. You’ll also hear about a citizen science app being developed by the PRCG in partnership with the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s Science Unit to help improve biodiversity outcomes for the region.

Reserve your place for this event.

 

Virtual cycling tour of the Parramatta River to learn about local wildlife

Time: 12:30m – 1:15pm
Location: Online webinar

Join our Riverkeeper Ambassador Charlene Bordley for a virtual cycling tour of the Parramatta River to learn about some of the local wildlife. Charlene will talk about the ‘fish ladders’ in the river that help native fish return to their traditional breeding grounds upstream.

Charlene is also a regular contributor to the Aussie Backyard Bird Count and will provide some handy tips and hints on how to identify and count local bird species. Charlene runs Parramatta Bike Tours which offers cycle training and guided ecological tours along the Parramatta River.

Reserve your place for this event.

 

Get ready for swimming in the river

Time: 2:00pm 3:00pm
Location: online webinar

There are currently four sites on the Parramatta River where you can swim. Swimming in natural waterways, such as a beach, river or lake, can be a wonderful experience but it’s different from swimming in a pool. With summer just around the corner, it’s a good idea to brush up on what you need to know to keep you and your family safe.

‘Can Too Foundation’ is a charitable organisation that delivers programs and education which promote physical activity, healthy lifestyles and improved physical and mental wellbeing, all of which can prevent or reduce early and avoidable deaths through chronic diseases. Funds raised support research and innovation in the prevention, care and control of cancer.

Join us for a one-hour webinar to get some handy hints and tips on what look out for when you’re swimming in natural water, and learn more about the great work being done by Can Too. We’ll also provide an update on our plan to open three new swim sites on the river in the next couple of years.

Reserve your place for this event.

 

 

18-24 OCTOBER

Aussie Backyard Bird Count

The #AussieBirdCount is a great way to connect with the birds in your backyard no matter where your backyard happens to be — a suburban backyard, a local park, a patch of forest, down by the beach, or the main street of town. You can count as many times as you like over the week — we just ask that each count is completed over a 20-minute period. The data collected assists BirdLife Australia in understanding more about the birds that live where people live. Find out more.

 

 

 

MONDAY, 18 OCTOBER

Godwit Story Time

Time: 10:00am 10:30am
Location: online webinar

Join us for story time about the amazing Bar-tailed Godwit that travels across the world twice a year – from Australia to Alaska and back again.

Birdlife Australia’s Judy Harrington has been watching the godwits arrive in the Parramatta River catchment for many years. She will read the storybook, The Circle written by Jeanie Baker and then share interesting facts about this resilient species.

Closer to the event we’ll send you a link to an activity that’s suitable for all ages to learn more about godwits, so you can help make their habitat welcoming each year to ensure their survival. You can also find out how the author created her storybook here. This session is suitable for families and children aged 3 to 5 years old. Older siblings can join in the fun, too.

Reserve your place for this event.

 

Dark skies for wildlife

Time: 7:00pm 8:00pm
Location: online webinar

Plants and animals depend on Earth’s daily cycle of light and dark for life-sustaining behaviours such as reproduction, nourishment, sleep and protection from predators.

Scientific evidence suggests that artificial light at night has negative and deadly effects on many creatures, including amphibians, birds, mammals, insects and plants, as well as humans.

Join us for a fascinating webinar with Assoc Prof Theresa Jones from the Urban Light Lab to understand the impact of light pollution on our environment and the wildlife that depend on it.

Reserve your place for this event.

 

 

TUESDAY, 19 OCTOBER

Turtle Story Time with Laura

Time: 10:00am 10:30am
Location: online webinar

The creeks around Parramatta River are home to Long-necked Turtles. While not so common these days, community, councils and schools are working together to protect their habitat.

Join us for Turtle Story Time with Laura, the Animals Programs Officer at PLC Sydney. Laura will read a short story then introduce you to one of the Long-necked Turtles living at the school. This session is suitable for families and children aged 3 to 5 years old. Older siblings can join in the fun, too.

Reserve your place for this event.

 

Turtle-y-wild: kids connecting to nature

Time: 3:30pm 4:30pm
Location: online webinar

The Parramatta River catchment offers a wide and diverse range of wildlife and habitats for children to learn about and explore. Spending time outdoors and connecting to nature has been especially important for kids’ wellbeing during the COVID lockdown.

Join educators Laura Howell and Ryan Keith for a lively discussion on why they’re ‘turtle-y-wild’ about nature and how we can help our kids connect with the natural world, both at school and outdoors with their families.

Reserve your place for this event.

 

 

WEDNESDAY, 20 OCTOBER

Story Time with Turtles and Friends

Time: 10:30am 11:00am
Location: online webinar

The creeks around Parramatta River are home to Long-necked Turtles. While not so common these days, community, councils and schools are working together to protect their habitat.

Join us for Story Time with Laura, the Animals Programs Officer at PLC Sydney. Laura will read a short story then introduce you to one of the Long-necked Turtles, as well as other animals living at the school. This session is suitable for families and children aged 3 to 5 years old. Older siblings can join in the fun, too.

Reserve your place for this event.

 

Introduction to the River Basin Management Society

Time: 12:00pm 1:15pm
Location: online webinar

Established in 1986, the River Basin Management Society (RBMS) is a diverse community of practice in Australia dedicated to connecting people and sharing knowledge in integrated catchment management.

In this lunchtime session, you’ll hear from three speakers who presented at the 10th Australian Stream Management Conference which was held online in August 2021.

Dr Ian Wright (Senior Lecturer, Western Sydney University), Lori Gould (Program Manager, Australian River Restoration Centre), and Timothy Pietsch (Griffith University), will share their expertise and experiences to learn about some of the issues and solutions for managing catchment and waterway health in Australia.

Reserve your place for this event.

 

Wonderful world of Bar-Tailed Godwits

Time: 5:30pm 6:30pm
Location: online webinar

A mascot of the Parramatta River, the Bar-Tailed Godwit is a migratory shorebird that live and rely on estuarine areas along the river for food and refuge.

This Riverfest, City of Canada Bay Council invites you to join them for an online session where you will get to know the Bar-tailed Godwit and other shorebirds that rely on the Parramatta River. Judy Harrington from Birdlife Australia will talk about bird migration, how they survive through their journey and how you can become a champion for local shorebirds!

Reserve your place for this event.

 

 

THURSDAY, 21 OCTOBER

Make the waterwise switch

Time: 12:00pm 1:00pm
Location: online webinar

Stormwater pollution is one of the biggest threats to waterway health. Stormwater pollutants include litter, detergents, leaves and dog faeces which can destroy aquatic habitats and degrade water quality. We can all help to protect our waterways by making some simple switches in our everyday lives.

Join Blacktown City Council for a free webinar with Stormwater Shepherds to learn more about how you can make the waterwise switch and protect our waterways. Attendees will go into a draw to win a $75 voucher to spend at the Stormwater Shepherds shop to help you reduce single-use plastic consumption! Please note that this webinar is for Blacktown City residents ONLY. Places are limited and bookings are essential.

Reserve your place for this event.

 

Turtle Talk with Dr Ricky Spencer

Time: 7:00pm 8:00pm
Location: online webinar

Over the last 40 years, populations of the most common and widespread species of Australian freshwater turtles have declined by up to 91% due to introduced foxes and increased urbanisation.

The Eastern Long-necked Turtle is one of the iconic species for the Parramatta River catchment. It lives and nests in freshwater creeks, which can be impacted by stormwater runoff and other human activity. Citizen science programs such as ‘Turtle Sat’ assist scientists in identifying where turtles are located to help conserve their habitats.

Dr Ricky Spencer is an Associate Professor of Ecology in the School of Science at Western Sydney University and the founder of ‘1 Million Turtles’. The community conservation program aims to release more than one million extra turtles throughout South-Eastern Australia each year, through the creation of protected habitats and a coordinated breeding and harvesting program.

Join Ricky to learn more about his fascinating project and what you can do to help these animals thrive in our urban environment.

Reserve your place for this event.

 

 

FRIDAY, 22 OCTOBER

Storytime: The Bushwalk, read by Julz Strykowski

Time: 10:00am 10:30am
Location: online webinar

Join us for story time and nature play as Riverkeeper Ambassador and environmental educator Julz Strykowski reads The Bushwalk by Sandra Kendall. Julz will share how this book relates to her favourite bushwalks and suggest some fun, simple activities you can do on your next bushwalk. A digital copy of these activities will be available for registered participants.

Julz is passionate about protecting the waterway health of the Parramatta River and its tributaries. She runs regular litter clean-ups at locations along Toongabbie Creek with the support of her ‘Plastic Pluckers’ volunteer group. Find out more about how you can get involved, when COVID restrictions ease, through The Plastic Pluckers Facebook page.

Reserve your place for this event.

 

Our rivers, our climate, our future

Time: 1:00pm 2:00pm
Location: online webinar

Our rivers and the wildlife that call it home face a difficult future but we can help change this! Without strong and effective action on climate change, extreme heat, intensified storms, and rising sea levels will all impact river life and habitats, not to mention the enjoyment of our rivers.

Join advocacy group Climate Action Burwood/Canada Bay who will discuss ways we can help reduce the effects of climate change on the Parramatta River, and the most effective actions we need our local, state, and federal governments to take.

Reserve your place for this event.

 

 

SATURDAY, 23 OCTOBER

Toongabbie Treasures

Time: 10:30am 11:30am
Location: online webinar

There are all kinds of treasures to be found along the winding, wonderful Toongabbie Creek. Have you ever wondered what role the creek plays in the lives of plants, animals and people who live near it? Has your lockdown been influenced by a creek in your local area?

Join educators and passionate locals Beck and Julz from ‘Friends of Toongabbie Creek’, on Saturday, 23 October for an online chat to learn about their experiences in this part of the Upper Parramatta catchment, its people and projects! Grab a cup of tea and be inspired into action to help care for this awesome patch of Western Sydney. You’re also invited to share a photo or story about your favourite creek or local waterway.

Reserve your place for this event.

 

 

SUNDAY, 24 OCTOBER

City of Canada Bay’s ‘The Flock’

Time: During Riverfest
Location:
Cabarita Park, Halliday Park or Rodd Park

To celebrate the return of the Bar-tailed Godwits to the Parramatta River as part of Riverfest 2021, the City of Canada Bay has invited local residents to take part in ‘The Flock’. Inspired by the Pūkorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre, this creative community project aims to raise awareness about our amazing migratory shorebirds and what we can to do to look after them.

We encourage you to visit Cabarita Park, Halliday Park or Rodd Park to see the varied and colourful flocks as they grow in number. You might even spot a real godwit while you’re there! Find out more.

 

 

MONDAY, 25 OCTOBER

Preventing litter in our waterways

Time: 7:00pm 8:30pm
Location: online webinar

This community forum focuses on the prevention of litter in the Parramatta River catchment and Greater Sydney Harbour. We’ve set a target of 60% less litter by 2030 and we’d like your help to achieve this goal.

There are lots of regular litter clean-ups but how can we prevent litter from occurring in the first place? 

Join us on Monday, 25 October for an online discussion to help develop an action plan that can make a real difference. Sue Burton, Project Coordinator for the Greater Sydney Harbour Litter Prevention Strategy, will give a brief overview of the project and talk about litter prevention tools and grant funding for communities and councils currently available through the NSW Government.

We’ll provide the results of the Litter Prevention Strategy community survey and you’ll also have an opportunity to share your knowledge of litter hotspots.

Reserve your place for this event.