The Rivers Institute at BCIT

Mark Angelo (centre) interacts with children at BCIT's Guichon Creek on World Rivers Day in 2008.

A leading gift of $1 million from Rudy North, president and founder of North Growth Management Ltd. and environmental philanthropist, has established the Rivers Institute at BCIT - the first entity of its kind in British Columbia.

The Rivers Institute will build on the BCIT vision of being integral to the economic, social and environmental prosperity of British Columbia. It will unite the public in an effort to protect the world's rivers; increase public awareness about the importance of our waterways; conduct state-of-the-art river-related research; provide financial support to students; and will be led by world-renowned conservationist Mark Angelo.

"BC's natural heritage is arguably one of the greatest of any economically developed regions in the world," said Rudy. "I am confident that this initiative at BCIT will become a driving force for keeping BC a natural wonder of the developed world."

The Rivers Institute will also celebrate Order of Canada recipient Mark Angelo as the Rudy North Chair in River Ecology, the first such position in Canada. As program head of the BCIT Fish, Wildlife and Recreation (FWR) program, Mark brought attention to the critical importance of healthy waterways, founded both BC and World Rivers Day, and inspired thousands of students and stakeholders throughout his 35 years at BCIT.

At the 2009 State of the Fraser Basin Conference where the gift was first announced.

L - R: Don Wright, BCIT President; Rudy North, President, North Growth Management Ltd.; Charles Jago, Chair, Fraser Basin Council; Mark Angelo, Rudy North Chair in River Ecology.

"BCIT is most fortunate to receive this timely and important contribution from Rudy, who has been a strong supporter of the FWR program for many years," said Laurie Clarke, BCIT Foundation's Vice President, Development. "The creation of the Rivers Institute will ensure that both now, and in the future, BCIT plays a guiding role in river-related research, raising public awareness, and developing sustainable, best-practice management of the waterways of the province, and in fact, the world."

Among others, local examples of initial projects will range from efforts to protect key riverside habitats along the Heart of the Fraser between Hope and Mission, and major restoration initiatives on Guichon Creek and Still Creek in Burnaby.

:: Learn more about BCIT's funding priorities