Thursday, 20 June 2019

Volunteer Opportunities

wild roses

We've added a new page to our website outlining volunteer opportunities with nature and environmental organizations in Saskatchewan.

Who did we miss? Email us to suggest additional volunteer opportunities. And be sure to check our list of environmental organizations who are always ready to welcome new members.

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.

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

EcoSask News, June 18, 2019

Pink-edged sulphur ?

Upcoming Events
Household Hazardous Waste Days, June 21/22 (Regina)
City of Regina is holding household hazardous waste days on June 21 and 22.

Green Initiatives, June 22/23 (Gravelbourg)
Gravelbourg Green Vert Initiatives will be at Gravelbourg’s Summer Solstice Festival, June 22-23, with information on recycling, waste reduction, and helping the environment.

Butterfly Count, June 23 (Fort Qu’Appelle) 
The Fort Qu’Appelle Nature Society is holding its annual butterfly count on June 23, weather permitting. Contact Keith at 306.334.2862 if you would like to participate.

Ask-Me Cart Volunteers, June 24 (Saskatoon) 
The Saskatoon Zoo Society is holding a training session for summer weekend interpreters for their biological artefact carts from 6-8 pm, June 24. Email to register.

Rural Communities & Climate Change, June 25 (webinar) 
The Sustainability Network and the National Farmers Union – Ontario are offering a webinar on how to engage rural communities on climate change at 11 am CST, June 25.

Looking Ahead 
Prairie Wind Art Exhibits, June 27 (Val Marie) 
Meet the artists of Prairie Wind & Silver Sage’s current art exhibitsThe Living Grasslands, photographs by James R. Page, and Small Works from a Big Land with artwork from across the province – from 7:30-9 pm, June 27.

Wilderness First Aid, Sept. 13-15 (Lumsden) 
SaskOutdoors is hosting a wilderness first aid training course Sept. 13-15 at Lumsden.

wasp ?

Saskatoon Nature Society
Golden Eagles 
June 20, 7:30 am – NCC property near Maymont
July 11, 8 am – Birds, Gardens & Art
Retirees and partners who are interested in birds and the natural world are invited to participate.

Other Saskatoon Nature Society Field Trips 
June 26, 7:15-8:30 pm - May Haga Memorial Bird Walk
July 1, 9:15 am-2 pm – Wild Orchids Field Trip
July 6, 8:45 am-? – North American Butterfly Count
Everyone is welcome. Check the Saskatoon Nature Society’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 
Saskatoon’s swales are under threat says a recent report by a U of S graduate student. We can have “a functioning native prairie landscape with its biodiversity and wetlands intact, or some more roads and buildings,” but we can’t have both.

Why construct artificial wetlands and stormwater retention ponds if natural wetlands such as Saskatoon’s Northeast Swale are already available?

Canada’s clean energy sector is growing faster than the rest of the country’s economy.

The province of Manitoba has established a $52 million fund to pay farmers for preserving and protecting wetlands on their farms.

The number of plants that have disappeared from the wild is more than twice the number of extinct birds, mammals, and amphibians combined.

Why are highway expansion projects approved with little debate or criticism, while more cost effective and beneficial bikeway and bus service improvements controversial and unfunded?

Victoria, BC, hopes to create life-long transit users by offering free transit to youth under 18.

Canada’s hospitals couldn’t function without single-use plastics.

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, 11 June 2019

EcoSask News, June 11, 2019

Chickadee singing

Upcoming Events
Live Animal Show, June 15 (Saskatoon) 
Lisa Wrangler will bring some of her reptiles to Wild Birds Unlimited at 4 pm, June 15.

Repair Café, June 15 (Prince Albert) 
There will be a Repair Café in Prince Albert from 1-4 pm, June 15.

Native Prairie Appreciation Week, June 16-22 (Saskatchewan) 
Saskatchewan Prairie Conservation Action Plan has organized a variety of activities online and in Moose Jaw, Regina, and Swift Current to celebrate Native Prairie Appreciation Week.

EnviroCollective, June 17 (Regina) 
Regina EnviroCollective is meeting from 7-9 pm, June 17.

Intro to Permaculture, June 19 (Regina) 
Learn about the design principles of permaculture from 7-8:30 pm, June 19, at the Prince of Wales Branch Library.

Bokashi & Vermicomposting, June 19 (Saskatoon) 
Join Saskatoon Compost Coaches for a workshop on bokashi and vermicomposting from 5:30-7 pm, June 19.

Camping Basics for Newcomers, June 20 (Regina) 
Newcomers to Canada are invited to learn the basics of camping from 7-8 pm, June 20, at the George Bothwell Branch Library.

Bat Stewardship & Citizen Science, June 20 (webinar) 
James Page will discuss bat stewardship and citizen science in a noon-hour webinar on June 20.

Coyote Walk, June 21-23 (Regina) 
Artist Jay White will hide from other humans as he walks and camps around Regina from June 21-23. The walk ends prematurely if White is spotted by a human at close range. Members of the public are invited to participate as trackers.

Wildlife Rehab Volunteers, June 22 (Swift Current) 
WRSOS is looking for wildlife rehabilitation volunteers throughout Saskatchewan. They’ll be in Swift Current at 2:30 pm, June 23. Email to save your spot.

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

Chickadee with caterpillar

In the News
Put your dollars to work preventing illegal uncontrolled agricultural drainage in Saskatchewan.

WUQWATR is looking for lake enthusiasts in central and southern Saskatchewan to participate in a water sampling project. For more information, contact Melissa Bramham at 306-946-6533 or

Endangered Grasslands Alliance, a new Saskatoon-based group, wants to save native grasslands - starting with Saskatoon's Northeast Swale.

Professor Cherie Westbrook is compiling information about Saskatoon’s beavers. Let her know, with GPS coordinates and photograph if possible, if you spot a beaver or a new lodge along the river.

100 all-candidate debates on the environment are being planned across Canada on October 7.

“A one-way flight from Ottawa to Toronto generates roughly 4,718 kg of carbon dioxide, which is about as much pollution as a car emits in an entire year.”

Reusable coffee cups and a package-free supermarket are on trial in the UK.

A municipality is sowing 27 wildflower meadows in its parks and open spaces to create a 7-mile bee corridor.

The Climate Change Toolkit for Health Professionals provides educational and advocacy resources.


“The pigeon is not a glamorous bird,” but Jon Day, author of Homing, “comes to admire their resilience, the ‘cocky, parasitic chanciness’ that allows them to thrive cheek-by-jowl with us.” [book review]

A praise song for unloved animals – even the most maligned creatures of backyards and roadsides have a potent purpose in the world.

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, 4 June 2019

EcoSask News, June 4, 2019

wild roses

Upcoming Events
Green New Deal Town Hall, June 5 (Prince Albert)
Prince Albert Council of Canadians is hosting a Green New Deal Town Hall at 7 pm, June 5.

North Sask River Basin Council AGM, June 5 (Cochin)
The North Saskatchewan River Basin Council is holding its annual general meeting from 9:30 am-2 pm, June 5, in Battlefords Provincial Park. There will be speakers on agricultural water management and stream flow response to anthropogenic change.

Will Carbon Pricing Cause a Recession in SK, June 6 (Regina)
There will be a presentation on the impact of carbon pricing on Saskatchewan’s economy at noon, June 6, in the Multipurpose Hall, CB 139, College Avenue Campus, University of Regina.

School Climate Strike, June 7, 14, 21, 28 (Regina)
School Climate Strikes are ongoing in Regina with events planned on June 7, 14, 21, and 28.

Planting Summer, June 8 (North Battleford)
Kids ages 5-12 are invited to help plant the children’s garden at North Battleford Library starting at 2 pm, June 8.

Snakes in Saskatchewan, June 11 (webinar) 
Christopher Somers will discuss snakes in Saskatchewan in a noon-hour webinar on June 11.

Hug a Tree and Survive, June 13 (Prince Albert)
Prince Albert North Search and Rescue is offering an Adventure Smart program that helps kids lost in the woods at 7 pm, June 13, in Prince Albert.

Looking Ahead 
Sask Summer Star Party, Aug. 28-Sept. 2 (Cypress Hills) 
The annual Saskatchewan summer star party will be held Aug. 28-Sept. 2 at Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park.

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

wild roses

In the News
If you see a bullsnake (dead or alive) during your summer travels, especially in southwest Saskatchewan, email the Royal Saskatchewan Museum at to contribute to a current research project.

Recycling successes and failures in Regina and Saskatoon.

It’s taken 8 years, but a settlement in a long-running drainage dispute in east-central Saskatchewan is finally in the works.

First Nations Power Authority has entered into an agreement with SaskPower to add 20 megawatts of solar power to the grid in the next 20 years through 2 projects: a solar farm to be constructed by the George Gordon and Starblanket First Nations near Weyburn and a partnership with Cowessess First Nation.

Alberta and Saskatchewan's ever-rising share of Canada's climate pollution is making it increasingly impossible for Canada to meet its climate obligations.

Whistles and cameras could prevent bats and birds from running into wind turbines.

“The Center for Biological Diversity today launched a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program for killing California beavers: ‘Our federal government needs to stop shooting and trapping native beavers whose ponds are safe havens for other wildlife.’ Last year, in response to a similar litigation threat, Wildlife Services agreed to stop killing beavers, river otter, muskrat and mink in Oregon.”

Waitrose, a major supermarket chain in the UK, is trialling package-free shopping.

10 tips to help you save money and reduce vehicle pollution.

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, 30 May 2019

Living with Beavers

A beaver was enjoying a snack in the bushes as we arrived for Saskatoon’s NatureCity Festival paddleboat cruise on The Prairie Lily on May 26, 2019. Apparently, the beavers have a lodge at the dock so there are regular sightings. What really surprised me was to learn that it’s this beaver family that has been active below the Children’s Hospital on the far side of the river. They’re towing the trees they chew down all the way back across the river!

Kenton Lysak, an interpreter with the Meewasin Valley Authority, says the beavers are very savvy. They choose trees high up on a slope so that they can slide them down into the river, using gravity to make their task a little easier. Kenton went on to explain that the City and Meewasin have counted 56 beaver lodges between Saskatoon and the Beaver Creek Conservation Area. That’s a positive sign of a clean, healthy river.

The beavers work together as a unit and can chew down a tree in just a couple of hours. Now, that’s a concern for many nature-lovers as we hate to lose our trees. And, unfortunately, you’re more likely to spot a tree stump than a beaver. But it’s all part of a natural cycle. The removal of a tree creates more light in the understory, allowing native plants and young saplings to have their turn in the sun. The beavers’ favourite meal is poplar, an excellent choice as the tree doesn’t die when its main trunk is removed. Instead, it sends out suckers and develops into a bushy shrub.

We can urge the City of Saskatoon to band some trees to protect them from the beavers, but we need to be careful what we wish for. The City could decide that it is easier to trap and kill a few beavers than to devote human resources to banding the trees. That’s a very short-term solution as beavers are mobile and other beavers will move in to any unclaimed territory. Perhaps the best solution is to recognize that humans are just one of many species inhabiting our river valley. Left undisturbed the coyotes will cull the beavers and maintain a steady population. It’s when humans interfere and disturb the natural cycle that things get out of balance.

If you enjoy seeing beavers by the river, remember to keep your dogs on a leash so they don’t attack the beavers. If you fish, be sure to clean up after yourself and don’t leave fishing line and hooks where they can get swept into the river. Beavers and water birds get tangled in the line and die a very painful death.

We would love to hear about beavers in other Saskatchewan communities, so do send us your stories and we’ll share them with other readers.

Let us know if your community wants to protect its wildlife but is concerned about loss of trees or flooding caused by beavers. EcoFriendly Sask, in co-operation with Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation, will sponsor a free Fur-Bearers’ workshop on healthy coexistence with beavers. The workshop would cover both banding trees and installing flow devices. 

Further information 
10 Surprising Facts About Beavers 

Photo credit: Sean Taylor, Saskatoon Search and Rescue

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

EcoSask News, May 28, 2019

Canada geese goslings

Upcoming Events
Seed Exchange, May 31 (Jansen) 
Jansen Public Library is hosting a seed exchange from 4-8 pm, May 31.

Animal Sanctuary Tour, June 2 (Moose Jaw) 
Join Moose Jaw Nature Society for a tour of the Free to be Me Sanctuary from 1-2 pm, June 2.

Household Hazardous Waste, June 2 (Saskatoon) 
You can dispose of household hazardous waste in Saskatoon from 9 am-3:30 pm, June 2.

Water Conservation, June 4 (Regina) 
Learn about irrigation and water conservation in the garden at 12 noon, June 4, at Innovation Place Regina.

SK Communities and the Coal Phase-out, June 5 (Saskatoon) 
Hayley Carlson and Justin Fisher will discuss communities and the coal phase-out in Saskatchewan at the June 5 breakfast meeting of the Saskatoon Energy Management Task Force.

La Terre Vue du Coeur/ Earth: Scene from the Heart, June 6 (Saskatoon) 
La Terre Vue du Coeur, a documentary about threats to biodiversity, will be shown at the Frances Morrison Library at 6:30 pm, June 6.

Narrative Approaches to Engaging with the Climate Crisis, June 7 (Saskatoon) 
Rachel Malena-Chan will discuss narrative approaches to engaging with the climate crisis at 12:30 pm, June 7, at SERI, College of Education, U of S.

Learn to Camp, June 8 (Saskatoon) 
Learn basic camping and outdoor living skills from 2-4 pm, June 8, at the Round Prairie Branch Library.

Canada geese and goslings

Looking Ahead
Beginner Bird Id, June 13 (Rosthern) 
The Saskatchewan Breeding Bird Atlas is offering a 2-hour beginner bird identification workshop in Rosthern from 7-9 pm, June 13.

Native Prairie Pasture Tour, June 22 (Regina) 
Join PCAP-SK for a guided tour of Caledonia-Elmsthorpe Community Pasture from 4-9 pm, June 22, with buses from Regina. Register by June 14.

Botanizing the Badlands, July 6 (Avonlea) 
Join the Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan in spotting wildflowers in the Avonlea Badlands on July 6.

Saskatoon Nature Society Field Trips
Golden Eagles 
June 6, 8 am – Chappell Marsh & St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
June 13, 8 am – Turtles at Pike Lake
Retirees and partners who are interested in birds and the natural world are invited to participate.

Other Saskatoon Nature Society Field Trips 
June 12 & 19 – Invasive Plants Identification Workshop
Everyone is welcome. Check the Saskatoon Nature Society’s website for full details and updated information.

Canada geese goslings

Birdwatching with Stan (Saskatoon)
Birdwatch with Stan Shadick at Wanuskewin Heritage Park from 7-8:30 am on June 26, July 28, Aug. 18, and Aug. 28. Birdwatch from 7-8:30 pm on June 5, July 14, and Aug. 7 ($20/person). Stan is also offering guided birding tours at Blackstrap and Beaver Creek as a fundraiser for Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation.

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

In the News
Saskatoon is the second Canadian city to join the Urban Wildlife Information Network. The goal is to learn how urbanization affects wildlife in order to preserve urban biodiversity and minimize human-wildlife conflict.

8-80 Cities conducted an active transportation survey in Saskatoon. They learned: people want to cycle but aren’t sure it’s reasonable; sharing the road with drivers and pedestrians is tricky; and fear of bike theft is a barrier for low-income residents.

Slovenia’s capital, Ljubjlana, has a comprehensive waste management program incorporating household repair workshops, zero-waste stores, and recycled toilet paper in municipal facilities.

They may not be cute, but earthworms provide us with fertile soil that retains rainwater. Unfortunately, their numbers are dropping rapidly.

We assume that streetlights make cities safer, but there is no research to back that up.

Textile waste consumes nearly 5% of all landfill space, and 20% of all freshwater pollution is a result of textile treatment and dyeing. Researchers are inventing new ways to turn old clothes into everything from new cotton to fake knees.

70-80 otters live in Singapore. 30,000 people follow their activities on Facebook [video].

If you're in the area, check out the trails at Cannington Lake Resort Hamlet, an EcoFriendlySask Action Grant recipient.

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, 23 May 2019

2019 NatureCity Award Winners and Nominees

Congratulations to the nominees and award winners of the 2019 NatureCity Awards. The awards recognize individuals, organizations, and businesses who advocate for the conservation and restoration of natural areas in and around Saskatoon and promote a relationship of belonging, connection, and care between local residents and the Nature that surrounds us.

The awards were presented on May 21, 2019, by Sheri Benson, MP, and Joseph Naytowhow. Listed below are the award winners and additional nominees.


Wildernook Fresh Air Learning was founded by Jana Miller, an outdoor educator and facilitator, in 2016. It offers nature learning to groups of people who might not otherwise have access to outdoor education. This includes grandparents in partnership with their grandchildren, young women who want to challenge themselves outdoors, and 3-5 year olds. A project this coming summer will focus on sustainability, assisting youth to develop environmental leadership skills through practical hands-on experiences. Wildernook provides an opportunity for participants to renew their connection with the natural world and branch out in new directions as well as fostering resiliency, confidence, creativity, and independence. Wildernook works closely with other organizations, including SaskOutdoors and Ducks Unlimited. Subsidized spots in some of the programs enhance accessibility for people who identify as Indigenous, Newcomers to Canada, or low-income.

Additional Nominees: CanoeSki Discovery/Cliff Speers, Wild Spirit Education

Saskatoon Nature Society was founded in 1955 to promote a deeper knowledge and appreciation of nature. They offer a wide range of birding, botany, and butterfly field trips, speakers, and courses that are open to the public, in most cases free of charge. The Society is an open and accepting community of people who care about nature in Saskatoon and want to preserve it. They are stewards of Saskatoon Natural Grasslands and strong and active advocates for nature at public hearings, committees, and other events. They support youth involvement in nature through Saskatoon Young Naturalists and the Kids in Nature program, which supports NatureCity Festival’s education program. They have published A Guide to Nature Viewing Sites In and Around Saskatoon and provided copies to schools free of charge. The book shows how to access sites by vehicle, bus, bike, or trails, and includes GPS coordinates. There is information about accessibility for those with mobility challenges.

Additional Nominees: Meewasin Valley Authority


Melanie Elliott is a strong advocate for the enjoyment, conservation, and protection of nature through outdoor education programs and wildlife protection and rehabilitation. She is passionate about getting kids outdoors so they know nature is safe and ran the Ecology Camps for Kids program through the Extension division at the University of Saskatchewan for many years. She took children for grassland walks, inviting them to lie down and “bond to the prairies.” Melanie was a founding member of the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Saskatchewan. She saves bats, overwinters bats, and helps people love them by sharing her knowledge, introducing her educational bats, and showing people how to build bat boxes. Melanie has mentored many people who have gone on to deliver ecological programming to children in the city and has demonstrated a lifetime of dedication to nature education for all.

Additional Nominees: Nancy Barr, Elizabeth Bekolay, Valerie Martz, Andrew Whiting

2017 Award Winners

Photo Credits: Branimir Gjetvaj