I have just got back from an enjoyable time in Melbourne at the International Riversymposium. This year there were 400 delegates from all parts of the world which provided a stimulating mix of presentations and conversations over lunch, morning and afternoon teas. The winner of the International Riverprize is the Willamette River in Oregon, United States of America, a river that has had years of
hard work from volunteers, industry and government alike, to bring it back to a much healthier, functioning system. In Australia the Condamine Alliance won the National Riverprize for their fantastic work in ‘bringing the fish back’ to their river and tributaries. For both prizewinners long-term, persistent effort, and a strong sense of purpose and enthusiasm really shone through as key factors to their success. Entries for the 2013 Riverprizes are now open, including a new European Riverprize that will be presented at the 5th European Centre for River Restoration Conference in Vienna next year.
Peter Rennie from Leadership Australia and I ran a great session a the Riversymposium on ‘inspiring people to create powerful partnerships’. We had over 50 people attend which was brilliant, and based on the positive feedback we received, we are now putting together a workshop program for next year focusing on this topic – stay tuned for details. We are likely to be heading to the Sunshine Coast, Melbourne and Tassie for our first three workshops, but are happy to be asked to other places if you would like to partner with us on organising and hosting the event.
Presentations from the Riversymposium will be available on the website in about one months time.
International RiverFoundation is pleased to announce the 2011 Riverprize applications are now open! All organisations, big and small, engaged in all aspects of river management are eligible to apply for either the Thiess International Riverprize or Australian National Riverprize (funded by the Australian Government). Entering Riverprize provides you with an opportunity to reflect on your achievements, reconnect with stakeholders and go into the running to be identified as a Riverprize finalist or winner. Finalists and winners benefit further from international recognition, showcasing their projects at a leading international symposium, and joining the network of Riverprize alumni.
Nominations close 30 March 2011.
Winners will be announced at the 2011 Riverprize Gala Dinner, held during the 14th International Riversymposium, 26 -29 September in Brisbane, Australia. Further information may be found at www.riverfoundation.org.au, or email questions to email@example.com. As a National Riverprize judge I encourage you to have a go! Siwan
The proceedingof the 13th Riversymposium are now available. If you were unable to attend, or missed a session whilst at the conference, we recommend you bookmark this conference. Most of the sessions were recorded and you can hear ‘yours truly’ talking about the importance of belief, belonging and behaviour, as well as the International Riverprize (Thames River) and National Riverprize (Derwent Estuary) Winner presentations. Siwan
For the very first time in its thirteen year history, the International Riversymposium was held out of Brisbane and on the other side of our great country in Perth. As is the case at every International Riversymposium there was a mix of international case studies and presentations about key developments in river management and science, as well as a number of Australians sharing the work they have been doing. For me the sessions on community engagement were enlightening, as well as some I attended on urban water and the work that is focusing on engagement with city dwellers to reconnect them to their rivers and waterways.
The highlight of the Riversymposium was the announcement of the winners of the International and National Riverprizes. This year the worthy winners are the River Thames in London and the Derwent Estuary in Tasmania. Both rivers have been declared biologically dead in the past, however, as a result of coordinated and visionary actions, otters are now breeding up and down the length of the Thames, and recently a Southern Right Whale gave birth to her calf in the Derwent – the first time in one hundred years!
In a bold move the International Riversymposium team has bravely left Brisbane to host the event in Perth! I applaud this initiative, as river protection, restoration and management is happening all around Australia and it is great to have the opportunity to attract people with a new location.
I am particularly excited about the Riversymposium this year, as it is my first as one of the domestic Riverprize judges – what an honour this is as we get down to our final round of judging. I have been so impressed with the quality of applications, and am heartened and thrilled to see so much great work going on in our river, creeks, wetlands and waterways. I encourage anyone who can, to get to Perth, I will be presenting a paper, as well as running a few workshops with Natalie Baker from the International River Foundation on ‘connecting through conversation’ and ‘knowledge sharing’. I look forward to seeing you there! For more information click here.