St George Rainway: From Grey to Green

St George Rainway: From Grey to Green

Using social media and a school workshop to educate the public on the history of Vancouver’s streams and engage them in our iNaturalist citizen science project. Our proposal engages diverse demographics within the community with the St George Rainway green rainwater infrastructure (GRI) project. We hope this can serve as a template for future GRI engagement.

School:

SFU

Department:

Environmental Science

Course:

EVSC 400

Instructors:

  • Tara Holland

City of Vancouver:

  • Julie McManus

Student Team:

  • Elise Carelse
  • Hannah Deppiesse
  • Jesse Kemp
  • Zoey Schutz
  • Laurie Solkoski

Strategy:

  • Rain City Strategy

Summary

HUBBUB ★ WINNER – PEOPLE’S CHOICE

Public engagement is vital to the success of any green rainwater infrastructure (GRI) project, but GRI can be difficult for the public to understand because of its inherent link to science. Without education on a project, community members are often opposed to or skeptical of GRI development. We have created a proposal to educate and engage diverse demographics on the forthcoming St George Rainway GRI project in Mount Pleasant in alignment with Vancouver’s Rain City Strategy.

Our first engagement component is a workshop for students at Mount Pleasant Elementary School, which is adjacent to the Rainway. The workshop will be led by an ecologist and a Coast Salish representative to integrate both western science and traditional ecological knowledge. The workshop will involve a lesson on the Rainway, biodiversity, and the historic stream te Statlew, which inspired this project. We also suggest that children plant species of native plants used in the Rainway in individual pots that can be taken home and planted in their own gardens to expand the reach of the Rainway.

Our second engagement component proposes various methods to educate the general public. Social media will be used to expand the reach of educational content and create excitement around the St George Rainway. Our team also suggests the use of signage, temporary and permanent, along St George Street to educate the public on Vancouver’s historic streams, the cultural significance of te Statlew, and the co-benefits of the proposed GRI. Finally, we recommend that the City distributes native seeds to the local residents around the St George Rainway as an educational opportunity as well as to increase the local biodiversity and create a sense of ownership of the project.