On Sunday, March 10th, 2019, a group of students, an organization, and the municipality of Guanacaste made picnics and activities in the margin of several rivers of the province. Their goal was to give the care they deserve in the framework of the International Day of Action for the Rivers, which was held on March 14th.

Those were only 3 out of about 45 “Picnic on the River” that was held in the country that day. The national call was made by Río Urbano and the Costa, Ríos and Cuenca National Alliance of Costa Rica since 2015. This was its 6th edition.

People making their picnics alongside rivers

We are looking for the citizens to return their sight to the rivers and value them to enjoy them and protect them “, explained the founder of Río Urbano, Alonso Briceño. “The idea is that, through a picnic, they organize, and propose actions to rescue the rivers and streams”, he added.

The students of the Hydrological Engineering career, from the National University (UNA), did their part on the banks of the Liberia River. All are open to the public and, in general, the only requirement is to bring food to share.

The Hydrological Engineering professor, Hector Paniagua, said they cleaned the river. “The rapid growth of the city of Liberia has modified the landscape of the basin, decreasing the vegetation cover”, said the professor.

The carelessness of the rivers and the human impact cause that little by little the channels diminish. A report from the State of the Nation of 2017 on the state of the water resource indicated that Guanacaste uses more water than existing sources can supply.

Due to this type of problems, the organizers encourage the communities to clean, plant, and carry out artistic, cultural, recreational and educational activities around the rivers, especially the urban ones.

They also look for people to take periodic actions to save them and not only within the framework of this date. For example, according to Briceño, as a result of these picnic different groups came together and created a bigger one to take care of a specific river. “In Heredia, on the Pirro River, the UNA joined the day and developed the Network of Friends and Friends of the Pirro River”, said Briceño.

The Municipality of La Cruz will also organize a picnic for the 2nd consecutive year. Last year they made one in the Sapoá River, which divides the communities of Son Zapote and Guapinol, where they installed signs and reforested the neighborhoods. This year, the local government performed it in Río Salinas.

“We want the population to appropriate these spaces to keep them clean and in good condition”, explained the institutional planner, Karla Valverde. Valverde added that to choose the rivers, take into account those that have good accessibility and spaces to sit and perform recreational activities.

One of the Amigos del Diriá members, who organized the picnic in the Diriá River, indicated that this is the occasion that they organize the activity. “To see a real change in the river (Diriá) we need institutions to get involved”, said Marco Hernández. According to him, the river becomes dirtier as it approaches the city.

How to organize yours

Anyone can organize one on the river or ravine of their community. You and your group decide details such as the place, time, duration and activities to be carried out to benefit your river or stream.

All you have to do is register it in a form, which asks for information about the organizing group and the location. With this, the organizers of “Picnic in the River” are responsible for designing graphic arts to make the call through social networks.

The information of all the activities is also in the Facebook of Picnic in the River, in the social networks of the organizations and in the “Map of Picnics”.

On the day of the event, the organizers requested to take photographs and videos, and share them on social networks, with the hashtags # PicnicEnElRíoCR, # UnidosPorNuestrosRíos and another hashtag with the name of the river or organization.

To disseminate the information, send the materials to [email protected] email. Thus the organization creates a common memory of the event. If you have doubts about the call, you can send a message to that same mail. The team also has a closed group on Facebook to share experiences.