In October of 1977, RiverOcean* commissioned performance artists Red Earth (an ensemble led by life-partners Simon Pascoe and Caitlin Easterby) to create one of their signature ritual events for Watermark1, an annual festival celebrating southern England’s River Ouse. Red Earth’s brief was to focus attention on the Winterbourne, a small tributary leading off the Ouse, which, choked by the effects of pollution, aggressive water abstraction and the effects of climate change, had not run in 2 1/2 years.

And so "Winterbourne" was conceived as a sort of petition to the Water Spirits, asking for their help in the revitalization of this stream. Joined by Balinese dancer Parmin Ras, Mexican vocalist Geo Leroretta, and percussionists Kate Pollack and Johnny Easterby, Red Earth created an awesomely beautiful event, invoking healing for this dying stream and an awakened awareness in all who participated.

Soon afterwards the waterway was successfully dredged, and today it is a happily thriving little stream.

(For the series of images, click on this one)

You can learn more about Red Earth and their projects at, or contact them at

* RiverOcean is a non-profit organization, focusing on all areas of ‘integrated catchment management’ and raising awareness of rivers, seas, and wetlands Combining art and science in their environmental education and public awareness programs, they strive to make the environmental field inclusive and available to all people. They offer a variety of programsfor public and private elementary schools, organizations of people with physical or learning difficulties, adult education centers (including a class on Art & the Environment taught by Red Earth’s Caitlin Easterby and Simon Pascoe), and the general public. Operating locally from their base in E. Sussex, UK, RiverOcean makes global alliances with other groups and individuals on European projects and the annual inter-tidal festival LowTide. At least two ICE members have participated in this wonderful international event, and more are planning to. For more information on RiverOcean’s programs, including how you can be involved in LowTide, see their web site at