Tuesday, 14 February 2017

EcoSask News, February 14, 2017


Upcoming Events
Bird Walks, Feb. 17-20 (Regina)
Join Nature Saskatchewan for a bird walk during the Great Backyard Bird Count, Feb. 17-20. Walks will take place daily in different locations.

The Importance of Important Bird Areas, Feb. 20 (Regina)
Marla Anderson, Nature Saskatchewan, will discuss the importance of Important Bird Areas while focusing on the criteria for the designation of an IBA at the Feb. 20 meeting of Nature Regina.

Policy Approaches to Climate Change, Feb. 21 (Saskatoon)
Ann Coxworth and Hayley Carlson will review policy approaches to climate change, exploring the costs of carbon pricing versus flexible regulations at 7 pm, Feb. 21, at the Frances Morrison Library, as part of the Sustainable Speaker Series.

Cycling Bylaw Review, Feb. 22 (Saskatoon)
Saskatoon Cycles has undertaken a significant review of the Bicycle Bylaw and would like your feedback at an Open House from 5-7 pm, Feb. 22, before submitting to City Council.

Predator-Prey Tracktacular, Feb. 22 (Regina)
Join Wascana Centre ecologist Sarah Turkeli for a free animal tracking program from 1-3 pm, Feb. 22. Registration, for 8-13 year olds, is limited so email ecologist@wascana.ca or call (306) 522-3661 if you’re interested.

IceCycle Fundraiser, Feb. 25 (Saskatoon)
Go for a bike ride and over dinner listen to Filipi Gomez describe riding his bike from Chile to the Arctic with his bass guitar at the IceCycle Fundraiser from 5-9 pm, Feb. 25.

Intermediate Bird Watching Course, Feb/Mar (Regina)
A 5-week intermediate bird watching course is being offered on Monday evenings (Feb. 27; Mar. 6, 13, 20 & 27). You’ll learn to recognize all the groups of birds found in southern Saskatchewan and cover specific species from each group in detail. Pre-registration is required with a class limit of 25. Call 306-581-6819 or email SKatlasReg8@gmail.com.

Baja Pronghorn
The Baja Pronghorn is critically endangered with less than 200 left in the wild (El Paso Zoo)

Looking Ahead
Winter Camping with Sled Dogs, Mar. 3-5 (Great Blue Heron Provincial Park)
Join SaskOutdoors for winter camping in Great Blue Heron Provincial Park, Mar. 3-5, and spend two days skiing and learning to run a dog sled team.

Compost Coach Training Camp, Mar. 4-5 (Saskatoon)
Learn advanced composting techniques and help more people get involved in composting by taking the two-day compost coach training camp offered by the Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council.

Winter Camping Skills Workshop, Mar. 11-12 (Prince Albert National Park)
Join SaskOutdoors for a winter camping skills workshop, Mar. 11-12, Prince Albert National Park.

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

On Campus
The University of Saskatchewan has established a Speakers’ Bureau. Faculty, graduate students, and researchers have offered to speak free of charge. Topics include: bats, beavers, farmland moose, SK species at risk, solar cells, and sustainability at the U of S.

The University of Saskatchewan has received recognition for its sustainability initiatives.

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).

Monday, 13 February 2017

Seedy Saturday in Saskatchewan 2017


Seedy Saturday 2017
Churchbridge – Feb. 18
Regina – March 4
Swift Current - March 4 (Little Sprouts and Introduction to Seed Saving)
Moose Jaw – Mar. 5
Yorkton – March 11
Indian Head – Mar. 12
North Battleford – March 25
Saskatoon – April 1
Prince Albert – April 22
Additional information is available on the Seeds of Diversity website.

You may also be interested in the following events:

Compost Coach Training Camp, Mar. 4-5 (Saskatoon)
Learn advanced composting techniques and help more people get involved in composting by taking the two-day compost coach training camp offered by the Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council.

Cultivating Food Security, Mar. 3 (Regina)
Cultivating Food Security: How to Save Seeds & Grow Microgreens will take place from 6:30-9 pm, Mar. 3, at the Regina Floral Conservatory.

Healthy Yards for Prairie Gardeners, Mar. 21 (Saskatoon)
Adrian Werner, Lisa Howse, and Shannon Dyck will discuss how to create a beautiful, sustainable and productive garden, from home composting and water conservation to native plants and pesticide reduction at 7 pm, Mar. 21, at the Frances Morrison Library as part of the Sustainable Speaker Series.

Introduction to Permaculture, Mar. 26 (Saskatoon)
Permaculture Saskatchewan is offering a one-day Introduction to Permaculture course on Mar. 26. Email info@permasask.ca if you would like to attend.

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

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


Sunday, 12 February 2017

Ecology Camp for Kids, Saskatoon

Ecology Camp for Kids received an EcoFriendly Action Grant in 2016. They reported back on their activities:

"Establishing a lifelong passion and reconnecting children to the great outdoors through inquiry and experiential learning is the main goal of Ecology Camp for Kids. We strive to provide children with quality information, highlighting important regional habitats, species and issues, as well as encouraging an interest in science, nature, and conservation.

"Thanks to EcoFriendly Sask’s generous donation of $500 this summer, we have been able to provide campers with these authentic learning moments, using the natural environments we have visited to create a sense of authenticity, belonging, ecology, and conservation within the minds of the children we have had the pleasure of educating.

"We have created these learning moments through activities such as, but not limited to: pond dipping, hiking, bird watching/feeding, bug catching/releasing, solo-time, team-building games, and by making observations through microscopes.

"At Ecology Camp for Kids we also have a philosophy that we live and learn by: everyday field trips. With the use of your donation we have visited, explored, and learned new knowledge about locations such as the Saskatoon Forestry Farm, Park & Zoo; Chappell Marsh; Saskatoon Natural Grasslands; the Northeast Swale; Wanuskewin Heritage Park; Pike Lake; Saskatoon Watershed Splash Park; Beaver Creek Conservation Area; and numerous other locations within and outside of the Saskatoon city limits.

"Without your donation, Ecology Camp for Kids may not have been able to run as well as we did this summer, so for that we thank you again. Your donation was greatly appreciated and put to good use educating the young minds of tomorrow."

Ecology Day Camps for Kids are offered during February, Easter, and summer school breaks for kids from 8-11 plus one Junior Leader from 12-17. There's still time to register for the Easter Break Rainforest Ecology camp, but hurry as space is limited.

In-school environmental workshops for teachers and their K-8 students are offered throughout the year. Classes can also participate in guided wetland and grassland field trips. Free guided field trips for grade 4-6 are sponsored by Ducks Unlimited Canada and SaskPower. 

EcoFriendly Action Grants support local projects that will reduce or prevent damage to the environment.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

EcoSask News, February 7, 2017

Sandhill crane

Upcoming Events
Seed: The Untold Story, Feb. 15 (Saskatoon)
Permaculture Saskatchewan is hosting a showing of Seed: The Untold Story from 6:30-8 pm, Feb. 15.

Let’s Talk Solar, Feb. 15, 16, 22, 23 (SK) 
SaskPower is holding workshops in 4 communities to obtain input on how SaskPower can support solar power generation for residential, small and medium businesses, and communities in Saskatchewan. For further information, email solarconversation@saskpower.com.
Feb. 15 - Estevan
Feb. 16 - Regina
Feb. 23 - Swift Current

Beavers and Water, Feb. 16 (Saskatoon)
Cherie Westbrook will discuss beavers and the important role they play in regulating water flow at the Feb. 16 meeting of the Saskatoon Nature Society. Saskatoon Nature Society meetings are held monthly at 7:30 pm in Room 106, Biology Building, University of Saskatchewan.

Oxen to Oil, Feb. 15 – Mar. 16 (Saskatoon)
A photography series by Valerie Zink, taken during the height of Saskatchewan’s recent economic boom, considers the complex relationship between rural communities and the oil industry. It will be on display in the Gallery at Frances Morrison Library from Feb. 15-Mar. 16.

Burrowing Owls, Feb. 16 (webinar)
Corey Scobie, Government of Alberta, is offering a webinar about the influence of human development on burrowing owl habitat selection and reproductive success at noon on Feb. 16 as part of SK-PCAP’s Native Prairie Speaker series.

Great Backyard Bird Count, Feb. 17-20 (SK)
Join the Great Backyard Bird Count, Feb. 17-20, by tallying the number and kinds of birds you see.

Sandhill cranes

Looking Ahead
Conservation Awareness & Appreciation Supper, Feb.23 (Shaunavon)
Nature Saskatchewan is hosting a Conservation Awareness & Appreciation Supper in Shaunavon on Feb. 23. Meet a live burrowing owl and receive updates on the Stewards of Saskatchewan program. RSVP by Feb. 15.

Fire & Ice Winter Festival, Mar. 4-5 (Ness Creek)
The second annual Fire & Ice Winter Festival is being held at Ness Creek Mar. 4-5. Enjoy skiing, snow sculpting, and sleigh rides.

SustainTech, Mar. 16 (Saskatoon)
The SustainTech conference, featuring technologies and practices that promote sustainability and environmental responsibility, will be held in Saskatoon on Mar. 16.

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

In the News
Evaluating pipelines - Will it move us towards a more promising future? 

“We settled the prairies by draining them and now we need to put [wetland] features back on the landscape that allow us to retain and manage the water that drains off”

“We are selectively determining which species [animals and plants] can live in cities” 

A guide to solar roof tiles - the next big thing

The Saskatchewan Breeding Bird Atlas is a five-year project teaming citizen scientists with professionals to deliver a province-wide account of the distribution and relative abundance of populations of breeding birds. You’re invited to participate if you have some experience and familiarity with how to identify birds. You don’t need to be an expert, but you do need to be confident in the identification of the birds that you report.

Photographs: Sandhill Cranes enjoying the winter sunshine in Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico (Andrew McKinlay)

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).

Monday, 6 February 2017

Making Roads Safer for Wildlife


Vehicles hit an estimated 1-2 million animals every year in the United States – and that is only reported collisions. In addition, roads fragment wildlife habitat, of particular concern for migratory animals or reptiles and amphibians that move annually from hibernation to breeding sites. 

Saskatoon’s Northeast Swale 
The Northeast Swale Watchers are very concerned about the number of road crossings that are planned within the Northeast Swale. They had hoped to stop new roads from being built but have begun to feel that they are inevitable and are instead focusing their energy on mitigating their impact.

“If they are going to build this thing (Saskatoon Freeway), you have to consider optimal design for wildlife,” says Louise Jones.

At the February 3, 2017, meeting of the board of the Meewasin Valley Authority the application by Graham Commuter Partners to construct the new McOrmond Drive and related stormwater infrastructure through the Northeast Swale was approved subject to a number of provisions, including:

  • Third party ecological monitor on site once per day when work is taking place – weekly reports submitted to Meewasin 
  • Submission of wildlife movement design
  • Submission of a landscape restoration plan and specifications including establishment and long term management and interim landscape/erosion plan
  • Monitoring of water quality and quantity entering the NE Swale at all outlet points 

It will be extremely interesting to see the company’s submission on wildlife movement design. One can only hope it will consider some of the following measures that have proven successful elsewhere.

Overpasses, Underpasses & Fences 
Banff National Park has a total of 44 wildlife crossings (6 overpasses and 38 underpasses) and 82 km of highway fencing. 152,514 animals from 11 different species have used the crossings in the past 17 years and wildlife fatalities have dropped by over 80%.

The People’s Way, a 56-mile section of US Highway 93 North in Montana “represents the most extensive wildlife-sensitive highway design effort in the United States.” It includes 41 fish and wildlife crossing structures, 18 miles of fencing, 16 jump-outs, and numerous wildlife crossing guards. Over 53,600 wildlife uses by 30 species were documented between 2010 and 2012.

Wildlife Detection Systems 
The BC Ministry of Transportation is testing two wildlife detection systems to prevent elk and deer collisions between Cranbrook and the Alberta border. The system will use radar and thermal cameras to trigger flashing warning signs when large animals approach the highway.

Road Closed for Egret Hatchlings 
Both Great and Snowy Egrets call Google’s Mountain View campus home. Every year they return to raise their young in the noisy Shorebird Way colony. Since 2005, a section of the road is closed to cars during breeding season to ensure that hatchlings that fall out of the nest aren’t run over. In addition, Google doesn’t use poison to kill rodents (a favorite egret snack), and provides financial support to local groups that monitor the egret colonies.

Further Information 
Rise in Roadkill Requires New Solutions 
What Can Highway Managers Do?
10 Cool Wildlife Crossings (from crabs, toads, and salamanders to wild boar and elephants)
Ecology at Google Brings Holistic Design to our Outdoor Environments

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

EcoSask News, January 31, 2017


Upcoming Events
25 Acts of Energy Conservation, Feb. 8 (webcast) 
The Saskatchewan Science Centre and the Saskatchewan Environmental Society are hosting a webcast on Feb. 8 to raise awareness among students of the 25 Acts of Energy Conservation contest.

Pet a Porcupine, Feb. 11 (Saskatoon) 
Meet Georgia, a friendly North American porcupine, on Feb. 11 at Wild Birds Unlimited.

Looking Ahead
Plant Id Workshop, Feb. 23 (Saskatoon)
The Saskatoon Nature Society is organizing a Plant Id Workshop from 7-9 pm, Feb. 23. Renny Grilz will use photos and samples to point out key identification features of some common native wildflowers, grasses, and shrubs.


Saskatoon Nature Society Field Trips
Feb. 12, 1:30-3:30 pm – Forestry Farm Birding
Check the Saskatoon Nature Society’s website for full details and updated information.

Nature Regina Field Trips
Feb. 11, 10 am – Wascana Winter Birds and Wildlife
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 

In the News
The Meewasin Valley Authority is fighting for its survival. Is the provincial government review of Wascana Centre and MVA equitable?

Is it time we banned cars from our national parks?

Two Alberta homes illustrate the benefits of straw-bale construction.

Pembina Institute sets out its vision for a modernized National Energy Board in an era of low carbon.

San Francisco’s Business Council on Climate Change is bringing businesses together to support municipal policy.

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, 24 January 2017

EcoSask News, January 24, 2017

frosty river scene

Upcoming Events
Carbonless Concert Series III, Jan. 28 (Saskatoon) 
The third instalment of a series of Carbonless Concerts to promote local live music and renewable energy will be held at D’lish from 6:30-9 pm, Jan. 28.

Aboriginal & Northern Engagement in Environmental Remediation Projects, Jan. 31 (video conference) 
Dr. Joe Muldoon, SRC, and Vice-Chief Joseph Tsannie, Prince Albert Grand Council, will discuss mine remediation best practice from 10:30-12, Jan. 31, in a video conference based in Regina and Saskatoon.

Food & Sustainability, Feb. 1 (Saskatoon)
Join Grant Wood, Dr. Phil Loring, Dr. Michael Schwandt for a panel discussion on sustainability and food from 5-6:30 pm, Feb. 1, at Louis’ at the University of Saskatchewan. Complimentary food featuring local ingredients will be provided. RSVP online.

Carbon Pricing in SK, Feb. 1 (Regina) 
Panelists will discuss carbon pricing in Saskatchewan from 7-8:30 pm, Feb. 1, at the University of Regina.

Integrating Environment & Sustainability at U of S, Feb. 1 (Saskatoon) 
Margret Asmuss, Sustainability Coordinator, University of Saskatchewan, will discuss integrating environment and sustainability into education and research at the U of S at the Saskatchewan Energy Management Task Force meeting on Feb. 1.

Nature of Cities, Feb. 2 (Saskatoon) 
Watch a film about how our urban environments can be integrated with nature at 2 pm, Feb. 2, at the Mayfair Library.

Sustainability & Education, Feb. 3 (Saskatoon) 
Dr. Philip Loring will discuss Sustainability Issues as Education Issues or Education Issues as Sustainability Issues? Lessons from Rural Alaska from 3-4 pm, Feb. 3, at the U of S.

Waste Reduction Workshop, Feb. 4 (Saskatoon) 
The founders of Waste Not YXE will share what, why, and how they are reducing waste from 2-4 pm, Feb. 4.

Bidder 70, Feb. 6 (Prince Albert) 
Join the Council of Canadians - Prince Albert chapter to view Bidder 70, civil disobedience that held government and industry accountable.

Frost flower 2

Looking Ahead
Beekeeping Seminars (Lloydminster, Saskatoon, Yorkton)
Peavey Mart is offering free beekeeping seminars as follows:
Feb. 28 - Lloydminster
Mar. 1 - Saskatoon
Mar. 2 - Yorkton

Co-Create: Waste ReForum, May 17-19 (Saskatoon) 
Registration is now open for the 2017 Waste ReForum. The conference will examine the role of waste reduction and waste management in a circular economy and look at ways we all can contribute to arriving at solutions.

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

In the News
Congratulations to The Green Builder and Chain Reaction Urban Farm, SABEX award finalists.

What Works in Conservation 2017, a free online book, evaluates the outcomes of specific conservation practices reported in more than 150 scientific journals as well as in unpublished reports and other literature from around the world.

Wind and solar are making progress - but not as much as headlines would imply: how renewable energy advocates are hurting the climate cause.

The Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre Passive House will provide 25 affordable suites for youth, elders and families of the local aboriginal community.

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).