Friday, 22 July 2016

Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area Clean-Up


Just inside Saskatoon’s southwest boundary, near Cedar Villa Estates and Chappell Marsh Conservation Area, you come to the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area. The City of Saskatoon planted the area with long rows of trees in 1972/73 and it is named in honour of Richard St. Barbe Baker, an early graduate of the University of Saskatchewan who dedicated his life to promoting trees.

For too many years, the area has been neglected, providing a welcome refuge for birds, deer, and hare but also serving as an impromptu garbage dump. But that has changed. Julia Adamson and Jeff Hehn, along with a hard-working group of volunteers, are cleaning up the site and doing their best to stop it being used as an illegal landfill.

In 2016, EcoFriendly Sask provided the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area with a $500 EcoFriendly Action Grant to help support the July 9 clean-up of the site. The results were nothing short of astonishing.


Seventy volunteers turned out to help, some of them putting in a 13-hour day. Assistance was provided by many organizations, including Meewasin Valley Authority and the City of Saskatoon. The group removed 8300 kg of litter. They filled 350 bags and used donated trucks and tractors to collect the garbage that wasn’t baggable (shingles, appliances, chesterfields, fences, decks, water containers, pails of tar, etc.).

The group was horrified to realize that construction professionals and hotels were using the site as a dumping ground. Large quantities of condoms and douches demonstrated that the site was also being used for the sex trade. There were lots of needles as well. The group is eager to erect signage and barriers to prevent illegal use of the site and ensure that it is a safe and pleasant place for wildlife and nature lovers.


Representatives of community and recreational groups spoke at the Standing Policy Committee on Planning and Development on July 18 to urge the City to protect the area. The Committee’s recommendation to erect bollards to block the main vehicle access entry points will go before City Council on August 18. The Stewards of St. Barbe Forest hope that as many people as possible will attend the Council meeting to show their support.

Congratulations to all the individuals and groups who are working so hard to protect this lovely area. Well done!

Photo Credit: Julia Adamson (1 and 3), Robert White (2)

Revised July 23, 2016

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

EcoFriendly Action Grant #100

new leaves

EcoFriendly Sask has awarded a $500 EcoFriendly Action Grant to the Langenburg and District Daycare Co-operative to purchase trees for their newly expanded outdoor play space.

The Daycare Co-operative is the 100th group to receive an EcoFriendly Action Grant since January 2012.

EcoFriendly Action Grants are designed to support small local projects that protect the natural environment.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi

EcoFriendly Action Grant #100

new leaves

EcoFriendly Sask has awarded a $500 EcoFriendly Action Grant to the Langenburg and District Daycare Co-operative to purchase trees for their newly expanded outdoor play space.

The Daycare Co-operative is the 100th group to receive an EcoFriendly Action Grant since January 2012.

EcoFriendly Action Grants are designed to support small local projects that protect the natural environment.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

EcoSask News, July 19, 2016

momma and ducklings

Happening Soon
Paper Wildlife Conservancy, July 23 (Saskatoon)
The Paper Wildlife Conservancy (PWC) is a public art/urban ecology campaign highlighting the ways in which urban wildlife positively contributes to Saskatoon’s community identity. 100 hand-drawn and hand-printed animals will be installed in pre-negotiated urban “habitats” across Saskatoon. These animals will be monitored by the PWC as though they were a real captive-bred wildlife population and the public will be encouraged to share their sightings via social media.

Meet the artist and view the artwork at 7 pm, July 23. The paper animals will be released throughout Riversdale and downtown over the weekend.

Household Hazardous Waste Day, July 23 (Saskatoon)
You can dispose of household hazardous waste (e.g. light bulbs, aerosols, fuels) at the SaskTel Centre from 9 am – 3:30 pm on July 23.

Big Muddy Lake Field Tour, July 30 (SK)
Join the Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan at 9 am, July 30, for a tour of the Big Muddy securement area, a new project of the Nature Conservancy of Canada. Contact Chet Neufeld at info@npss.sk.ca to register.

Rooftop Garden Workshop, Aug. 3 (Saskatoon)
Join Michael Molaro, Higher Groundwork, from 6-7:30 pm, Aug. 3, at the Saskatoon Food Bank’s Garden Patch for an interactive green roofs demonstration.

Green Drinks Regina, Aug. 4
Green Drinks Regina from 5:30-7:30 pm, Aug. 4, is hosting Josh Campbell who is working on a documentary which connects Canadian company phosphate purchases with the occupation of the Western Sahara.

Wildlife Rehab. Volunteer Orientation, Aug 6 (Regina)
Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Saskatchewan is holding a volunteer orientation session in Regina from 1-3 pm, Aug. 6.

Species at Risk Farm Program Workshops, Aug. 9 & 11 (SK)
Agricultural producers are invited to attend pilot workshops to find out how they can become species at risk stewards and access funding to protect and enhance habitat for species at risk.
Aug. 9, 9 am- 4:30 pm – Swift Current
Aug. 11, 9 am-4:30 pm – Saskatoon

momma and ducklings

Looking Ahead
Old Man on His Back Prairie Extravaganza, Aug. 13-14 (SK)
Join Nature Conservancy of Canada at Old Man on His Back Aug. 13-14 to help clean up the bison handling facilities, cap fence posts, and place markers along fence lines to increase their visibility for greater sage grouse.

Nature Saskatchewan Fall Meet, Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 (Saskatoon)
Highlights of the Nature Saskatchewan Fall Meet hosted by the Saskatoon Nature Society from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 include Wanuskewin, Peregrine Falcon, Whooping Crane, and Saw-whet Owl field trips; and a talk by Brian Johns on “The Secret Life of Whooping Cranes past, present and future.”

A full list of upcoming events can be found on the EcoFriendly Sask Calendar 

Interesting News
The Government of Saskatchewan has told Algonquin Power to find a different location for the proposed Chaplin Wind Farm. It will not be allowed to interfere with native prairie and a migratory bird reserve.

Pimacihowin Project, a First Nations youth trades initiative, has teamed up with Vereco Homes to build an energy-efficient home for Beardys and Okemasis First Nation.

The U of S is developing an early warning system for invasive zebra mussels.

EcoSask News is a weekly round-up of local news and events. Email us if you have items you would like us to include. 

You can follow EcoFriendly Sask by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Saskatoon's Urban Forest

bright green new leaves

We may live in a city, but Saskatoon residents are also forest dwellers. There are 120,000 trees in our parks and boulevards. Add in trees on private property, and you can easily double that figure.

Trees fill our streets with bird song and shelter us from the hot summer sun. Spring blossoms and autumn colours are a visual delight. Trees also serve a number of practical purposes: storm water management, traffic calming, air purification, noise buffering, and energy conservation.

EcoFriendly Sask spoke with Jeff Boone, Acting Superintendent of Urban Forestry and Pest Management, and a great source of information about Saskatoon’s urban trees.

Meet the Trees
There are approximately 30,000 elms in Saskatoon’s urban forest, most of which can be found in the city’s older neighbourhoods. In response to the threat of Dutch Elm Disease and to diversify the forest, the City started planting ash, for approximately 30-35% of the overall number. Linden make up a substantial portion of the remaining 30%.

prolific seeds

American Elm
The American elm is native to eastern North America. ”The elm is a natural fit for the urban landscape,” Jeff says. “It’s long-lasting, has the perfect shape, high strength, and it tolerates compaction, drought, salt, and root pruning.” The elm seeds can be problematic for gardeners, but you’ll want to run your fingers over the deeply furrowed bark and many birds make their home in the elm trees' branches.

Several of Saskatoon’s elm trees are over 100 years old. Elm trees form a canopy over Spadina Crescent between the weir and the former Mendel Art Gallery and line the Next-of-Kin Memorial Avenue in Woodlawn Cemetery.

new leaves and seeds

Ash
Several varieties of ash are found around the city. Some have helicopter seeds while others are seedless. Green ash, one of the last to leaf out in the spring and one of the first to lose its leaves in the fall, is hardy and drought tolerant. White ash is particularly colourful in the fall.

In Viking mythology, Yggdrasil, a mighty ash tree, connected heaven and earth. In British folklore, the tree is believed to have healing properties, particularly for children.

flowering tree

Linden
Linden has fragrant yellow blossoms in June and turns a bright yellow in autumn. The nectar from the flowers is an important source of food for bees and butterflies. Its pyramid shape is recognizable from a distance.

Aboriginal people used linden bark to make rope, clothing, snowshoes, and fishing nets.

Saskatoon Tree Tour
SOS Elms Coalition has published a Saskatoon Tree Tour guide listing some of Saskatoon’s most impressive trees. You’ll find unusual species, such as the amur corktree or the gingko biloba, as well as urban giants and some of Saskatoon’s oldest trees.

The Patterson Garden Arboretum is home to over 700 trees, shrubs and woody vines, including some rare specimens, such as dragon spruce.

Copies of the Saskatoon Tree Tour guide are available throughout Saskatoon for a small donation.

Nature Viewing Sites In and Around Saskatoon
The Saskatoon Nature Society has recently published A Guide to Nature Viewing Sites In and Around Saskatoon. They’re quick to point out the 1,100 spruce trees in President Murray Park, the aspen forest in Heritage Park, and the cottonwoods lining the riverbank in Meewasin Park.

Copies of the Guide to Nature Viewing Sites In and Around Saskatoon are available from the Saskatoon Nature Society and McNally Robinson Booksellers.


Pests
Trees have to cope with a number of insects and diseases, but tree maintenance can do much to prevent problems. “SOS Elms was instrumental in encouraging the City to adopt a one-in-seven-year pruning cycle,” Jeff says. “In other cities, it can be as low as one in 25. Pruning keeps trees clean. They’re healthier, more resistant to disease, less likely to attract insects.” The City is maintaining the one-in-seven schedule on streetscapes but is falling behind, due to cost, in parks.

Some pests are relatively harmless causing only superficial damage. Others, such as Dutch Elm Disease, pose a more serious threat.

Dutch Elm Disease
Dutch Elm Disease (DED) was introduced to North America in 1928 and has spread rapidly. Saskatoon had its first incident of DED in 2015. The diseased tree was removed immediately, and the City is keeping a particularly close eye on the surrounding area.

The transportation of infected firewood poses the greatest risk to Saskatoon’s elm trees as Saskatoon is outside the elm’s native range.

The elm bark beetle, which is responsible for spreading the disease, is particularly attracted to fresh cuts, so the Province of Saskatchewan prohibits elm tree pruning from April 1 to August 31.

Other Pests and Diseases
Additional information to assist in identifying and controlling pests is available on the City of Saskatoon’s website.

If you have an ash tree with curling and twisting leaves, contact the City (306-975-2890) as they’re concerned about a relatively new pest which recently reappeared.

Untitled

Additional Resources
Urban Forestry Booklet, City of Saskatoon
Saskatoon Tree Tour, SOS Elms Coalition
A Guide to Nature Viewing Sites In and Around Saskatoon, Saskatoon Nature Society

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

EcoSask News, July 12, 2016

Mourning cloak butterfly

Upcoming Events
Cowspiracy, July 20 (Regina) 
Cinema Politica Regina will be showing the film Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret at 7 pm, July 20, at the Artful Dodger.

Native Plants Workshop, July 23, 24, 25 (Saskatoon) 
Join Permaculture Saskatchewan in planting a variety of native flowers and grasses at the College of Education’s Prairie Habitat Garden from 9 am-12 pm, July 23; 1-4 pm, July 24; and 6-9 pm, July 25.

Bridge City Bicycle Co-Op AGM, July 28 (Saskatoon) 
Bridge City Bicycle Co-op is holding its annual general meeting and barbecue at 6 pm, July 28.

Saskatoon Nature Society 
Saskatoon Young Naturalists 
Sept. 24 – Sandhill Crane Field Trip
Space is limited; register early to avoid disappointment.

Golden Eagles
July 14, 7:30 am – Bradwell Reservoir
July 21, 7:30 am – Shorebirds
July 28, 7:30 am – Shakinah Retreat
Aug. 4, 7:30 am – Spinney Hill
Retirees and partners who are interested in birds and the natural world are invited to participate in Golden Eagle field trips.

Other Saskatoon Nature Society Field Trips 
July 13, 7-8:30 pm –Meewasin Trail Botany Walk
July 16, 8-11 am – Hudson Bay Slough Birding
July 23, 8 am-4:30 pm – Luck Lake Shorebird Expedition
July 24, 1:30-4:30 pm – Butterfly Field Trip
July 30, 8 am-12 noon – Langham Songbirds
Aug. 5, 7-9 pm – Turkey Vulture Tagging
Check the Saskatoon Nature Society’s website for full details and updated information.

Nature Regina Field Trips
July 23, 9 am – Chaplin Lake Saturday
Check Nature Regina’s website for full details and updated information.

A full list of upcoming events can be found on the EcoFriendly Sask Calendar

dragonfly

Interesting News
There have been increased sightings of coyotes in Saskatoon. Here are some good tips for sharing urban space with coyotes.

Peggy Sarjeant, a long-term resident of Saskatoon, stresses the importance of continued provincial funding for Meewasin Valley Authority: “Most people . . . will be unaware of Meewasin’s work behind the scenes: negotiating tirelessly for public access to the riverbank as Saskatoon grows; monitoring the plant and animal health of the valley; and helping to mitigate the impact of road development in the Northeast Swale. . . . Meewasin has been recognized provincially, nationally and internationally as a model river- valley management authority and conservation agency.” 

PCAP-SK has prepared a Native Prairie Fact Sheet - useful information for teachers, students, everyone interested in learning more about the land.

This year’s federal budget places considerable emphasis on green buildings and energy efficiency.

EcoSask News is a weekly round-up of local news and events. Email us if you have items you would like us to include. 

You can follow EcoFriendly Sask by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

EcoSask News, July 5, 2016

coyote

Coming Soon
Urban Forest Art Exhibit, June 18-July 14 (Saskatoon) 
Urban Forest, a series of paintings by Heather Cline, highlights the interplay of natural and built forms in the city. The exhibit is on display at Art Placement until July 14.

Green Drinks Saskatoon, July 8 
Green Drinks Saskatoon is meeting at 5:30 pm, July 8, at Hudson’s Canadian Tap House.

Building a Swale, July 10 (Saskatoon) 
Join Permaculture Saskatchewan as they finish installing a swale at the College of Education’s Prairie Habitat Garden from 9 am to 4 pm, July 10.

Build an Insect Hotel, July 16 (Saskatoon) 
Help build an insect hotel and find out about garden insects at the Saskatoon Food Bank’s Garden Patch, 10 am, July 16.

Looking Ahead
Nature Saskatchewan Appreciation Dinner, July 21 (SK) 
Nature Saskatchewan is hosting a conservation awareness and appreciation dinner in Willow Bunch at 6 pm, July 21.

Wildlife Rehab. Fundraiser, July 23 (Saskatoon) 
Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation is hosting a beach volleyball tournament and fundraising dinner on July 23.

Summer Star Party, Aug. 3-7 (SK) 
The Saskatchewan Summer Star Party in Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park is hosted by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and includes public star nights and a presentation by Candace Savage.

A full list of upcoming events can be found on the EcoFriendly Sask Calendar 

coyote

Interesting News
Show your support for continued provincial funding for Meewasin Valley Authority - sign the petition.

The Saskatoon Seed Library has a new website – and you can check out their seeds or sign up as a member at Cliff Wright Public Library.

Recent studies from the Centre for Automotive Safety Research at the University of Adelaide have shown that a reduction in speed of just 10% has the potential to reduce wildlife collisions by 20%.

Help scientists map the monarch butterfly’s range and feeding locations - be part of Mission Monarch.

Coyote America: A Natural and Supernatural History by Dan Flores asks the question, “What do you want to pass down to your children and your children’s children? Fear, narrow views of who has a right to be on the land? Or respect and awe and wonder?”

EcoSask News is a weekly round-up of local news and events. Email us if you have items you would like us to include. 

You can follow EcoFriendly Sask by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, or by email (top right corner).