Friday, 18 January 2019

Win a Free Family Pass to Gone Wild for Wildlife 2019

Meet hawks, bats, and snakes; dissect an owl pellet; make a pine cone bird feeder; and enjoy science experiments, juggling, and face painting at Gone Wild for Wildlife from 10 am-5 pm, Saturday, January 26, at the Saskatoon German Cultural Centre.

EcoFriendly Sask is one of the event’s sponsors and we’re giving away two FREE family passes. To have your family entered in the draw, post a comment or send us an email telling us about your favorite local wild animal.

The draw will close at midnight on Saturday, January 19, and winners will be notified on Sunday. Good luck!

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

EcoSask News, January 15, 2019

frost covered grass

Upcoming Events
Bike Regina AGM, Jan. 16 (Regina)
Bike Regina is holding its annual general meeting at 6:30 pm, Jan. 16.

Prairie Resilience, Jan. 17 (Regina)
Learn more about the provincial government’s climate change strategy at a lunch and learn on Jan. 17 at Innovation Place Regina.

Ecology & Conservation of Whooping Cranes, Jan. 17 (Saskatoon)
Join the Saskatoon Nature Society at 7:30 pm, Jan. 17, for a talk by Mark Bidwell on the ecology and conservation of whooping cranes. The Society is meeting in a new location – Room 1130, Health Sciences E-Wing, University of Saskatchewan.

Repair Café, Jan. 19 (Prince Albert)
Share and learn skills to repair things at Repair Café Prince Albert from 1-4 pm, Jan. 19.

Ice Cycle & Bike Art Show, Jan. 19 (Saskatoon)
Join Saskatoon Cycles for a group ride and a repurposed bicycle art exhibit by SCYAP from 6:45-8:45 pm, Jan. 19.

Breeding Bird Atlas, Jan. 21 (Regina)
Kiel Drake will provide an update on the Saskatchewan Breeding Bird Atlas project from 7:30-9:30 pm, at the Jan. 21 meeting of Nature Regina.

Owl about Owls, Jan. 22 (Moose Jaw)
Join Moose Jaw Nature Society at 6:30 pm, Jan. 22, for a talk about owls in Saskatchewan.

Hidden Dangers of Agricultural Pesticides, Jan. 22 (Saskatoon)
Dr. Christy Morrissey will share the latest research on agricultural pesticides at Café Scientifique, 7:30 pm, Jan. 22.

Toxic Trespass, Jan. 23 (Regina)
The film Toxic Trespass, an investigation into toxic chemicals in industrial centres such as Windsor and Sarnia, will be shown in Regina at 6:30 pm, Jan. 23.

Secrets of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Jan. 24 (Regina)
Jared Clarke will uncover the secrets of ruby-throated hummingbirds at Friends of Wascana Marsh’s annual general meeting on Jan. 24.

Passive House Design & Construction, Jan. 24-27 (Saskatoon)
Passive House Canada is offering a 4-day course on passive house design and construction in Saskatoon from Jan. 24-27.

Apathy into Action, Jan. 25 (Regina)
Winning the Renewable Regina campaign will be one of the topics discussed on Jan. 25 at the Apathy into Action conference.

frosty riverbank

Looking Ahead
Snowlandia, Feb. 19-22 (Saskatoon) 
Wildernook Fresh Air Learning invites young women ages 10-11 to participate in 4 days of outdoor activities from Feb. 19-22.

Wascana Junior Naturalist, Mar-May (Regina)
Young people ages 9-13 are invited to participate in Wascana Junior Naturalists from 6-8 pm, Mar. 5, 12, 26; April 2, 16, 30; and May 7. Activities will include prairie flora, soil ecology, and outdoor animal CSI.

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

In the News
A recent study found that only 41% of existing “natural” areas in the US are sufficiently connected to enable species to follow the environmental conditions they need.

Soil supports 98% of biodiversity, 99% of human food, filters 100% of rainfall for drinking water, and stores more active carbon than air, forest, and seas combined.

“An end to growth is inevitable. . . . If we plan for and manage it, we could well wind up with greater well-being."

Four corporations control over 60% of global seed sales. 

Cities not individuals should be responsible for clearing snow from sidewalks.

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, 8 January 2019

EcoSask News, January 8, 2019

great horned owl

Happy New Year! There's lots to look forward to.

Upcoming Events 
Rob Dumont Principles in Action, Jan. 9 (Saskatoon) 
Dave Palibroda will discuss putting Rob Dumont’s principles into action at the Jan. 9 breakfast meeting of EMTF Saskatchewan.

Carbonless Concert, Jan. 10 (Saskatoon) 
Enjoy a free carbonless concert at Louis’ Loft on campus from 6:30-9:30 pm, Jan. 10.

Regina Beach Enviro Collective, Jan. 12 (Regina Beach) 
The Regina Beach Enviro Collective is meeting at 3 pm, Jan. 12.

Soil & Permaculture, Jan. 12 (Regina) 
Join Permaculture Regina at 1:30 pm, Jan. 12, at the Cathedral Neighbourhood Centre for a brief AGM and to share knowledge about soil and upcoming permaculture projects.

Year-round Composting, Jan. 12 (Regina)
Learn how to compost year-round from 2-3 pm, Jan. 12, at the Central Library.

Zero Waste 101, Jan. 15 (Saskatoon) 
Meg Dorwart will share how she’s lived waste-free for the past 2 years from 7-8:30 pm, Jan. 15, as part of the Sustainable Speaker Series organized by the Saskatoon Public Library and the Saskatchewan Environmental Society.

Smarter Science, Better Buildings, Jan. 15 - Feb. 15 (Saskatoon) 
Grade 7 students and the general public are invited to view the Smarter Science, Better Buildings exhibit at Saskatoon’s Western Development Museum, Jan. 15-Feb. 15.

Saskatoon Nature Society Field Trips 
Jan. 13, 9-11 am – Chorney acreage bird feeders
Jan. 20, 2:15-3:15 pm – Visit to Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation facility
Jan. 27, 9 am-4 pm – Snowy Owl census
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 
Changes are afoot at the Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park and Zoo. But is the City paying attention to the important issues of animal welfare, environmental conservation, and education?

Michelle Brass is offering climate change workshops to Saskatchewan First Nations to discuss and develop solutions rooted in Indigenous values.

City Councillor Andrew Stevens discusses the evolution of Renewable Regina: “Even in the heartland of oil and gas there is excitement about the potential of increasing our reliance on renewable energy and in moving away from fossil fuels as a source of electricity.”

Oil Fall - how clean energy, electric cars, and grid technology will profoundly impact the oil market [book review]

Spain is making sure displaced workers are taken care of when they shut 26 coal mines.

Walkable cities are good for the economy - and for people!

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).

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Zoos in the 21st Century


Zoos tend to generate opposing points of view. Some people wholeheartedly endorse them as a means of promoting interaction between humans and other animals, educating the public about wild animals, and assisting with species conservation. Other people oppose keeping animals in captivity indefinitely in order to entertain humans.

The City of Saskatoon has developed a Master Plan outlining their ideas for the future of the Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park and Zoo. The Plan pays a lot of attention to services (i.e. parking) and a shared vision (botanical, zoological, heritage, and recreation), but there is little information about how they intend to develop a world-class zoo in the 21st century.

Zoos are very popular and they generate a lot of money so they are unlikely to cease to exist any time soon. But there are ways in which zoos could be improved to promote animal welfare, environmental education, and human/animal interaction. 


Animal Welfare
“Zoos that support efforts to improve sub-standard zoos, zoos that take on non-breeding or old animals (often because no one else will), zoos that join forces with animal welfare groups to rescue animals, zoos that refuse to hold certain species and zoos that speak out against unethical and immoral welfare practices – these compassionate zoos should be the future.”

Zoos need to focus on individual animal welfare. Don’t break up friends and families by moving them from zoo to zoo. Don’t treat wildlife as breeding machines, expected to breed on demand. Stop unnecessary killing of animals simply because they are surplus to requirements.

Some animals do not do well in captivity (the most intelligent animals or large ones that need space to roam) and don’t belong in a zoo.

By working hand in hand with wildlife rehabilitation organizations, zoos can serve as a refuge for rehabilitated wildlife. Whether it’s an eagle that can no longer fly or an orphaned bear cub that cannot be returned to the wild, these animals can be a wonderful introduction to the amazing diversity of local wildlife.

More and more, zoo visitors can observe wildlife in large, naturalistic enclosures. But, “as night falls and the facilities need to be cleaned, the animals are commonly led into small concrete holding areas.” This can lead to negative changes in behaviour and should be stopped.

pygmy mouse

Pro-Environmental Behaviour
The world-class zoo or aquarium of the 21st century will not consider itself to have an effective education programme simply because it displays graphics for visitors. . . . In order to be outstanding, conservation education programmes must inspire people to change their attitudes and behaviour to benefit wildlife and their habitats.” 

Zoos tend to house charismatic animals with big eyes, cuddly fur, and high profiles. Less attractive animals are under-represented. Instead, zoos could shift to smaller animals, such as reptiles and amphibians. “Exotic insects like the Madagascar hissing cockroach could teach visitors how dynamic ecologies work and still let young people encounter animal life up close. An emphasis on endangered amphibians like the Panamanian golden frog would allow for a wide-ranging set of exhibits on the vulnerability of delicate ecosystems around the world.”

Graphic displays should move beyond informing visitors of biological facts or the loss of biodiversity to actively promoting pro-environmental behaviour. This could include linking problems with human actions and providing comparisons between human and non-human behaviour.

Zoos could skip the Noah’s Ark approach by housing a larger population of a smaller number of species from a specific geographical area. Grouping animals from a specific environment to show how they interact would emphasize the importance of conserving habitats rather than individual species.

Galapagos turtle
Turtle Sanctuary, Ajaccio, Corsica

Enhanced Human/Animal Interaction
“Zoos should move forward in developing a social movement for conservation. They can effectively drive social innovation in the relationship between humans and animals by bringing new voices to conservation and connecting humans to the ultimate responsibility we have to care for our planet.” 

Zoos are often the only place where urban children encounter living animals. As such, it’s important to demonstrate healthy animal behaviours and avoid the mixed messages conveyed by petting zoos and horse-drawn carriages.

Visitor behaviour can have an effect on the wildlife. “Noisy visitors and larger groups will have a larger impact than solitary quiet visitors. Visitors that offer food, eat and smoke around enclosures will also have a negative impact on animal behaviour.” Visual barriers and sound-absorbing materials are two of the ways that enclosures can be designed to protect the animals.

Further Information:
Can a More Compassionate Zoo Improve Animal Welfare
Characteristics of a World-Class Zoo or Aquarium in the 21st Century
Different Views on How to Make Zoos More Resident-Friendly
Expert Offers Suggestions on Improving Zoos and Aquariums
Fostering a New Relationship Between Humans and Nature
How to Make Zoos Happier Places 
How to Save Zoos? Focus on Education, Conservation
Zoos Aren’t Victorian-era Throwbacks: They’re Important in Saving Species

poison dart frog

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

New Year's Day Special

red river hog

“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.” Mary Oliver 

We’re welcoming in 2019 with some new ideas.

What if . . . 

Your home was also an urban farm?

Your bike commute powered your neighbourhood?

You planted 5-10-100 trees a year for the rest of your life?

Your city was lit by glowing trees or squid-powered light bulbs?

There were more bees than humans in your city?

We heated buildings with heat pumps in our parks?

“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.” Winnie the Pooh, A. A. Milne

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

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Boxing Day Specials 2018

Bobcat (Lynx rufus)

"Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts."  Rachel Carson 

Books, games, videos, and more to enjoy during the holidays.

There’s an award-winning video game based on Thoreau’s Walden: “It opens in the summer and for a virtual year, the player, Thoreau, can build a cabin, plant and harvest beans, jot down thoughts in a journal, collect arrowheads, go fishing, and, should the mood strike, stroll over to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s place for a bit of conversation.”

Try your hand at growing a forest with sunlight as your currency in the Photosynthesis board game.

Geckos are known for their acrobatic feats. But did you know they can actually race on water?

These microscopic images of seeds are extraordinary.

From a purple-flowering yam to a 24-metre tall rainforest tree, Kew Gardens’ scientists identified 172 plants new to science in 2018.

Fox 8 by George Saunders is the story of a fox who learns to talk Yunan by listening to children’s bedtime stories, goes shopping at the mall, and tries to save his pack when their food supply runs out.

"I come home with a chicken or a rabbit and sit up singing all night with my friends. It’s baroque, my life, and I tell it on the mountain. I wouldn’t trade it for yours."  Coyote, William Stafford

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 December 2018

EcoSask News, December 18, 2018


Upcoming Events
Makerspace Play Date, Dec. 27 (North Battleford)
Kids can make robots, video games, circuits, and more at North Battleford Public Library’s Makerspace Play Date at 2 pm, Dec. 27.

Enviro Collective, Jan. 10 (Regina)
Regina’s Enviro Collective will meet at 7 pm, Jan. 10. Participants will hear about and get a chance to become involved in various projects.

Meet a Sloth, Jan. 11-13 (Regina) 
Enjoy a natural history exhibition with over 30 live animals from Jan. 11-13 in Regina.

Below Zero/Project Wild, Jan. 19 (Regina)
Join SaskOutdoors for a one-day workshop introducing educators to the Project Wild and Below Zero interdisciplinary activity guides on Jan. 19 in Regina.

Below Zero, Jan. 19 (Saskatoon)
SaskOutdoors and Wildernook Fresh Air Learning are holding a one-day workshop from 9 am-4 pm, Jan. 19, in Saskatoon to introduce educators to the interdisciplinary Below Zero activity guide.

Saskatoon Young Naturalists
Jan. 19, 1 pm – Tracks and Scats
Feb. 2, 1 pm – Chickadee Pishing
Space is limited; register early to avoid disappointment.

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

In the News
The Saskatchewan Environmental Society proposes a practical path to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Saskatchewan.

The aviation industry is responsible for approximately 4.6% of human-caused climate change.

South of the border, Friends of the Wild Whoopers are concerned about the loss of whooping crane stopover habitats: “These habitats are being diminished and degraded due to a variety of factors, including intensified management on agricultural lands, construction of wind energy facilities and power lines, wetland drainage and reduction in river flows. Changes in agricultural programs are continuing to further reduce the stopover habitats available for whooping cranes.”

Energy-positive buildings: if you can do it in Norway, you can do it anywhere.

Patagonia’s new company mission is to save the planet.


Merry Christmas
This is the last issue of EcoSask News for 2018. We’ll be back on January 1, 2019, with a New Year’s Day Special. Happy holidays!

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).