Updated: Mar 28, 2019
by Katherine Fillmore
Working on healing a river is a fascinating journey that takes one on many paths from scooping up soiled nappies, condoms and beer bottles out of river streams, to conducting meetings seated on a rock under a tree in Tembisa, to sitting in a conference with scientists. Today myself, Lynn Hinde and Amanda Jacobs representing NGO Hennops Blue Horizon attended an inspiring and uplifting conference organised by the Department of Water and Sanitation in collaboration with the Water Research Commission to celebrate the launch of the Citizen Science National and SADC water research quality monitoring tool-box.
It was magical being in a room filled with people who are all driven towards the same goal - water for all and healing our rivers. A highlight of the meeting was a talk by Dr Jackie King - the winner of the prestigious 2019 Stockholm Water Prize - on taking care of the rivers and wetlands that take care of us.
Over a delicious lunch we networked with great minds and learnt and connected to ideas to help us grow in our quest to heal the Hennops River. After lunch we went on a field trip to Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary to put the miniSASS tool-box into practice. I was delighted to receive a hat from Department of Water and Sanitation, to shield me from the sun but also uniting us as a team with a common identity. Nature is so beautiful and each member of civil society needs to do something individually to democratize the system of information around rivers to help heal them. The tool-box is a great kit to do so. Visit the website and get active. The rivers need your help.
As the day came to a a quick end - where I felt sad to say goodbye to people I had just met but felt I had known for lifetimes - Lynn and I escaped a stampede by bontebok at the sanctuary by the skin of our teeth! So I am destined to remain here for a while with yet another river story to tell... For the love of nature, rivers and the ocean...