Tuesday, 28 January 2020

EcoSask News, January 28, 2020

sunrise

Upcoming Events
Green Parenting, Jan. 28 (Regina) 
There will be a talk on minimizing single-use plastics at 7:30 pm, Jan. 28, as part of a Green Parenting discussion series.

Fantastic Fungi, Jan. 29 (Saskatoon) 
The Saskatoon premiere of Fantastic Fungi is at 7 pm, Jan. 29.

Plovers on Shore, Jan. 29 (webinar) 
Shirley Barz, Nature Saskatchewan, will discuss how landowners are helping to conserve piping plovers in a noon-hour webinar on Jan. 29.

Gone Wild for Wildlife, Feb. 1 (Saskatoon) 
Take the whole family to Gone Wild for Wildlife from 11 am-5 pm, Feb. 1, for nature activities, science experiments, lectures, and live wildlife.

Winter Twigs & Buds, Feb. 1 (Saskatoon) 
Learn to identify native trees at Beaver Creek Conservation Area from 1-3 pm, Feb. 1.

Beginner Bird Id, Feb. 2 (Shellbrook) 
The Saskatchewan Breeding Bird Atlas is offering a free 2-hour workshop on the basics of bird identification from 3-5 pm, Feb. 2.

Kalium Observatory, Feb. 3 (Regina) 
Sign up before Feb. 1 to visit the Kalium Observatory with Nature Regina from 7-8:30 pm, Feb. 3.

House on Fire, Feb. 3-14 (Regina) 
Riddell Gallery is hosting an exhibit exploring issues surrounding climate change from Feb. 3-14. The opening reception is Feb. 6 from 4-6 pm.

REM & SaskEv, Feb. 5 (Saskatoon)
Tyler Krause and Jason Cruickshank will provide an overview of EVs’ functionality, types, environmental considerations, and the growing market at the Feb. 5 breakfast meeting of the Saskatchewan Energy Management Task Force.

Water in a Dry Land, Feb. 6 (Regina) 
Kerri Finlay will discuss adaptation and mitigation of prairie aquatic ecosystems under a changing climate from 7-9 pm, Feb. 6.

Regenerative Agriculture, Feb. 7 (Saskatoon) 
Slow Food Saskatoon is sponsoring a workshop on regenerative agriculture in Saskatoon on Feb. 7.

sunrise

Looking Ahead
Building Operator Training, Feb. 28 (Saskatoon)
The Environmental Society is hosting a workshop to introduce custodians and building operators to energy conservation principles, new technologies, and facility retrofits that will save energy and money on Feb. 28.

Wascana Junior Naturalists, Mar-May (Regina)
Registration is now open for the spring session of the Wascana Junior Naturalists from 6-8 pm, Mar. 3, 17, 31; Apr. 7, 21; and May 5 & 12.

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

Sask News
Extinction Rebellion Saskatchewan is looking for team members to organize protests and actions.

You’re invited to submit a short film (up to 2 minutes) educating and inspiring people about our need for water. The winning films will be featured at the Let's Talk About Water Film Festival,June 13-19, in Saskatoon.

FoodRenew has been selected as one of 8 startups for the upcoming Co.Labs tech incubator. If you or someone you know can help answer some questions about food waste problems in the food service and retail industry, get in touch at foodrenew@gmail.com

A proposed oil project in northwest Saskatchewan will use nearly 5 million litres of water a day. Is this a good use of our province’s finite freshwater supplies? Why will there be no environmental review?

Ideas & Resources 
Planning to Connect: A Guide to Incorporating Ecological Connectivity into Municipal Planning, provides practical guidance for integrating ecological connectivity into the structures and practical realities of municipal planning.

Imagination is the ability to look at things as if they could be otherwise. From What Is to What If by Rob Hopkins, cofounder of the Transition movement, is a call to action to reclaim and unleash our collective imagination and create the future we want.

Ghent’s zone-centred traffic circulation plan improved the local economy, producing more restaurants and bars, shorter journeys, cleaner air, and a cycling explosion.

A recent report looks at ways of reducing local opposition to renewables.

Climate change is a political crisis, not a reproductive one. “Population growth in the U.S. isn’t being driven by high-income, high carbon-emitting families having more children.”

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 January 2020

Saskatchewan's Snakes

Garter snake

So many people are terrified of snakes, and yet they are amazing creatures. We hope we can turn your fear into awe.

Snakes, with their flexible skulls and long bodies, are very different from lizards, their closest relatives. Scientists believe that the first snakes both swam like eels and burrowed like worms. The prehistoric South American Titanoboa was 50 feet long and may have weighed as much as a ton. It’s assumed that it preyed on equally huge crocodiles.

None of Saskatchewan’s snakes are anywhere near as large, but they are still a pretty interesting bunch.

Prairie Rattlesnake
Prairie Rattlesnakes are Saskatchewan’s only venomous snake. They immobilize their prey (rodents, lizards) with a toxic venom before swallowing them whole. Digesting their food makes rattlesnakes sluggish, so they normally hide out for a couple of days after eating.

Each time the rattlesnake sheds its skin, a ring is added at the end of its tail. The rings knock together and make a rattling noise.

The Prairie Rattlesnake carries her eggs inside her body and gives birth to live young as an adaptation to the harsh prairie environment.

Rattlesnakes have a thick body with a triangular head and are 1-8 feet long. The scales usually form a dark geometrical pattern on a light background. They are found in southern British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan; however, the majority live in the deserts of the American southwest and northern Mexico. Arizona has 13 species of rattlesnake, more than any other area in North America.

Garter Snake
Garter Snakes are long and thin and usually have 3 stripes on their back. Garter snakes can be found right across Canada, including the Northwest Territories, but there are none in Newfoundland. Plains Garter Snake live throughout southern Saskatchewan and are often found close to water where they can find frogs and toads to eat. Red-sided Garter Snakes are famous in Saskatchewan for their large mating balls. Wandering Garter Snake are technically terrestial, but they love to swim and eat fish.

Garter snake

Hognose Snake
Hognose Snakes are short (2-4 feet) and stout. Their colour and pattern are extremely variable. Western Hognose Snake will play possum and pretend they are dead as a way to deter predators. You’ll find them in sandy areas where it’s easier for them to dig in the dirt using their upturned, pointed snout.

Hognose Snakes eat rodents and lizards, although Eastern Hognose specialize in eating toads.

Bullsnake
The Bullsnake is the prairies’ biggest snake. It is 3-8 feet long and can weigh as much as 5 pounds. Despite being so large, they are very calm and are unlikely to bite or attack humans. Bullsnakes have a large head, large eyes, and a narrow neck. They are light brown to yellow with a cream-coloured belly and dark blotches on their back and sides. An enlarged nose shield helps them to burrow in the sand.

Bullsnakes squeeze their prey to death. They particularly like to eat gophers and mice, so you are lucky if you have them on your farm.

Bullsnakes spend up to 90% of their time in underground dens, although they spend so much time sunning themselves during the summer that they can develop skin cancer.

If you see a Bullsnake (dead or alive), especially in southwest Saskatchewan, email the Royal Saskatchewan Museum at snakes@royalsaskmuseum.ca to contribute to a current research project.

Smooth Greensnake
Smooth Green Snakes are a bright emerald green colour with a creamy white or yellowish belly. They are often found in grassy areas where their colouring provides excellent camouflage. Smooth green snakes mostly eat insects, which they detect through smell, sight, and vibrations. They spend their winters in ant hills.

Eastern Yellow-bellied Racer
Eastern Yellow-bellied Racers are long, smooth-scaled, and quick moving. They have a yellow belly and olive-coloured scales on their back. They live in mixed-grass prairie and sagebrush thickets where they can hide from predators. The species is threatened and very rare.

Eastern Yellow-bellied Racers don't bask in the sun like other snakes. They are always on the move, hunting for grasshoppers with their heads up.

Northern Red-bellied Snake
The Northern Red-bellied Snake is as thin as a pencil! Look for it in the Qu’Appelle area. It is the only Canadian snake with a bright red belly. Red-bellied snakes can be found in forest clearings and grassy areas where there is plenty of ground cover such as logs and rocks.

Red-bellied snakes are nocturnal and help to control garden pests, such as slugs, worms, snails, and insects.

Garter snake 

Did You Know?
Snakes can swallow food larger than their head. Their jaw bones are not attached at the front and only loosely connected to their skull so they can open their mouths very wide and each side of the jaw can move independently. The snake gradually walks each side of its jaws over the prey until it can be swallowed.

Snakes taste and smell the world using their tongues. Thanks to their forked tongue, they can tell which direction the scent is coming from.

Large-bodied snakes such as Bullsnakes, Yellow-bellied Racers, and Rattlesnakes appear to be completely dependent on major river valleys. Find out more in this presentation by Ray Poulin, Royal Saskatchewan Museum.

Our thanks to the Saskatchewan Prairie Conservation Action Plan for assisting us in preparing this article. The Saskatchewan Prairie Conservation Action Plan (SK PCAP) Partnership brings together 30 agencies and organizations representing producers, industry, provincial & federal governments, environmental non-government organizations, research and educational institutions working towards a common vision of prairie and species at risk conservation in Saskatchewan. They produce a variety of communications materials to improve public understanding of native prairie and species at risk. 

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, 21 January 2020

EcoSask News, January 21, 2020

Bobcat (Lynx rufus)

Upcoming Events
Shoe Repair, Jan. 22 (Saskatoon) 
Find out how to make your shoes last longer at a winter shoe/boot maintenance and repair workshop from 6:30-8 pm, Jan. 22.

Fish Hatchery, Jan. 24 (Moose Jaw) 
There will be a presentation about the Moose Jaw Wildlife Federation’s mobile fish hatchery at the 6:30 pm, Jan. 24, meeting of the Moose Jaw Nature Society.

Sharp-tailed Grouse, Jan. 25 (Fort Qu’Appelle) 
Brandon Burda will discuss sharp-tailed grouse habitat selection and population trends at the 7 pm, Jan. 25, meeting of the Fort Qu’Appelle Nature Society at the Fort Qu’Appelle Train Station.

Richard St. Barbe Baker, Jan. 25 (Saskatoon) 
Paul Hanley and Richard White will introduce Richard St. Barbe Baker, founder of the international Men of the Trees organisation, from 7-9 pm, Jan. 25.

Bike Regina AGM, Jan. 28 (Regina) 
Bike Regina is holding its annual general meeting at 6:30 pm, Jan. 28.

Energy & Material Flows, Jan. 28 (Saskatoon) 
Darrin Qualman will discuss sustainability: energy & material flows in human & natural systems at the 7:30 pm, Jan. 28, Café Scientifique YXE.

Beavers & Natural Infrastructure, Jan. 28 (webinar)
Miistakis Institute and the Candian Wildlife Service will be presenting a webinar on beavers and other natural infrastructure solutions from 12-1:30 pm CST, Jan. 28. Register by Jan. 24.

Untitled

Looking Ahead
Repair Café, Feb. 1 (Gravelbourg) 
Gravelbourg Green Initiatives is hosting their second repair café from 9 am-noon, Feb. 1.

Art & Craft Supply Swap, Feb. 1 (Gravelbourg)
Swap and shop for art and craft supplies from 9 am-noon, Feb. 1, in Gravelbourg.

Winter by the Lake, Feb. 1 (Anglin Lake) 
Enjoy cross-country skiing and snowshoeing at Anglin Lake from 1-4 pm, Feb. 1.

Winter Power-up Workshops, Feb. 1 (Regina) 
Join the Regina Public Interest Research Group for issue sessions and skill-building workshops for social and environmental justice on Feb. 1.

Gone Wild for Wildlife, Feb. 1 (Saskatoon) 
Take the whole family to Gone Wild for Wildlife from 10 am-5 pm, Feb. 1, for nature activities, science experiments, lectures, and live wildlife.

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

Bobcat (Lynx rufus)

In the News
Regina’s EnviroCollective invites people under 30 to complete a short survey to keep the conversation going around renewable energy in Regina following last year’s youth community forum. Deadline is Jan. 30, 2020.

Canadian Institute for Climate Choices is a network of researchers who hope to produce rigorous and independent research, analysis and insight to bring clarity to the climate challenges and transformative policy choices ahead for Canada.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s very difficult to break down compostable plastics and they are only effective where the appropriate composting facilities are available.

“Coyotes test what decisions we make when we cross paths with those who are different” and are “a bellwether of our ability to live in community.”

Bobcats will live in cities, but they keep their distance from people, avoiding areas that are more than 20% developed.

Conservation policies based on the native-alien dichotomy could threaten biodiversity.

Success! After many years of legal and political battles, Jumbo Glacier will remain wild. Rather than a resort, the area will become an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area and will provide a valuable wildlife corridor for grizzly bears travelling north-south between Canada and the United States.

Electric cars work great – even in extreme cold.

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, 14 January 2020

EcoSask News, January 14, 2020

Pronghorn

Upcoming Events
Human-Induced Climate Change, Jan. 16 (Regina) 
Academics for Climate – Regina Chapter is hosting a discussion of the evidence for human-induced climate change at 7 pm, Jan. 16.

Full Tilt, Jan. 17/18 (Regina) 
Enjoy contemporary dance fuelled by a love of birds at 7:30 pm, Jan. 17, and at 2 and 7:30 pm, Jan. 18.

Renewable Energy, Jan. 20 (Prince Albert) 
Join RPIC from 6:30-8 pm, Jan. 20, to discuss plans for the early-April Smarter Science Better Building initiative.

Big Quill Lake, Jan. 20 (Regina) 
Jenya Kinstinov will present his undergraduate research on the Big Quill Lake Drainage Basin at the 7:30 pm, Jan. 20, meeting of Nature Regina.

Learn to Camp, Jan. 20 (Saskatoon) 
Parks Canada will provide an introduction to basic camping skills from 6:30-8:30 pm, Jan. 20.

Saving Our Swales, Jan. 21 (Saskatoon)
Meghan Mickelson and Warrick Baijius will share insights and recommendations for sustaining the Small and Northeast Swale ecosystems at 7 pm, Jan. 21.

Seeds of Change, Jan. 22 (Regina) 
Seeds of Change, documenting the impacts genetically engineered canola is having on farmers and rural communities in the Canadian Prairies, will be shown at 6:30 pm, Jan. 22, in Regina.

What Is Climate Change, Jan. 23 (Regina) 
David Sauchyn will discuss What is climate change? What impact is it having in Saskatchewan? from 7-9 pm, Jan. 23, as part of the Academics for Climate Community Series.

Net Metering, Jan. 23 (Regina) 
SaskPower will present their net metering program at noon, Jan. 23, at Innovation Place Regina.

Downy woodpecker

Secret Lives of Woodpeckers, Jan. 23 (Saskatoon) 
Lyndon Penner will discuss woodpeckers at 7 pm, Jan. 23, at Wild Birds Unlimited.

Watersheds Conference, Jan. 23-24 (Saskatoon) 
The Saskatchewan Association of Watersheds is holding their annual conference in Saskatoon Jan. 23 and 24.

Building Operator Training, Jan. 24/Feb. 28 (Regina/Saskatoon) 
The Saskatchewan Environmental Society is hosting a workshop to introduce custodians and building operators to energy conservation principles, new technologies, and facility retrofits that will save energy and money from 9 am-4 pm, Jan. 24, in Regina and on Feb. 28 in Saskatoon.

Growing Up Wild & Wet, Jan. 25 (Regina) 
SaskOutdoors is offering a Growing Up Wild and Getting Little Feet Wet workshop from 1-5 pm, Jan. 25, in Regina.

Native Plant Conference, Jan. 25/26(Regina)
The Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan is holding its annual meeting and conference in Regina Jan. 25 and 26. The Aquatic Ecosystems module of the Saskatchewan Master Naturalist Program will be presented on Jan. 26.

Cross-Country Ski Weekend, Jan. 25/26 (Regina)
Wascana Centre is hosting a cross-country ski weekend from 11 am-4 pm, Jan. 25 & 26.

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

In the News
The newly created Academics for Climate - Regina chapter is on Facebook.

The Honnold Foundation is now accepting grant applications from organizations or projects that use solar energy to increase social and economic equity and reduce environmental impact.

Students across Canada will be collecting data on trembling aspens for University of Saskatchewan researchers.

Presentations from a recent workshop on Putting Beavers to Work for Watershed Resiliency and Restoration make it clear there are no simple answers when it comes to coexisting with beavers, but the potential benefits are many, including wildfire resiliency and enhanced fish growth rates.

Moving beyond net zero through home renovation rather than new build.

9 articles about sustainable fashion – from buying less vs. buying green to false claims of carbon neutrality and fighting climate change.

squirrel in the yard

In a changing climate, will small forest creatures help by distributing nuts or seeds they’ve never seen before?

Just for Laughs 
Innovative responses to Thailand’s plastic bag ban. What will it be? A wheelbarrow or a laundry basket?

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, 7 January 2020

EcoSask News, January 7, 2020

frost and ice

Upcoming Events
50th Anniversary Celebrations (Saskatoon) 
The Saskatchewan Environmental Society is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2020 with a series of fundraising events to ensure their ongoing sustainability. Events include a music series, a picnic, a spin class, and a trivia night.

Implementing Regulatory Commitments, Jan. 8 (Saskatoon) 
David Stevenson, Government of Saskatchewan, will present an update on the implementation of regulatory commitments made in Prairie Resilience at noon, Jan. 8, at the U of S.

Microscopic Organisms, Jan. 16 (Saskatoon)
Find out about the microscopic organisms below the surface in your backyard at the 7:30 pm, Jan. 16, meeting of the Saskatoon Nature Society.

Electronic Recycling, Jan. 16 (Saskatoon)
Find out how the Electronic Recycling Association is reducing electronic waste and reusing unwanted equipment at noon, Jan. 16, at Innovation Place.

Repair Café, Jan. 18 (Prince Albert) 
Celebrate and share maintenance and repair skills from 1-4 pm, Jan. 18, at Repair Café Prince Albert.

Snowshoe & Skate, Jan. 18 (Echo Valley)
Check out the new skating trail and participate in a guided snowshoe hike at Echo Valley Provincial Park from 11 am-4 pm, Jan. 18.

Saskatoon Nature Society Field Trips
Saskatoon Young Naturalists 
Mar. 7, 1-3 pm – Owl Pellets
Mar. 28, 1-2:30 pm – Birdhouses
Apr. 19, 7-8:30 pm – Crocus Hike
May 2, 1-3 pm – Pike Lake Field Trip
Space is limited; register early to avoid disappointment.

Other Saskatoon Nature Society Field Trips
Feb. 1, 1-3 pm – Beaver Creek Twigs & Bark
Feb. 8, 2-3:30 pm – Forestry Farm Bird Walk
Feb. 23, 2-3:30 pm – City Park Bird Walk
Feb. 29, 9-4:30 pm – The Leap to Gardiner Dam

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 

frost


In the News
A 12-year-old says cigarette butts should be part of a federal single-use plastic ban expected in 2021.

The fracking industry has to stop flaring and venting so much methane.

Major oil companies, facing the prospect of reduced demand for their fuels, are ramping up their plastics output.

From domination to fellow beings - a tidal shift in how Americans view wildlife.

“Over the years, clothes have been my comfort blanket and confidence boost. They’ve been a recreational hobby, a competitive sport and a way to bond with people in pub toilets”: her New Year’s resolution - and she stuck to it - no new clothes for a year. Here are some tips for following her example.

Shifting baseline syndrome, collective amnesia about past natural abundance, is a curse for conservation.

Turning contaminated land into a solar park.

Icarus Complex, a European biannual magazine, is an in-depth look at the issues surrounding climate change. The first issue included articles about ClientEarth, a charity using the power of the law to protect the planet, and about the American Conservative Coalition, which is seeking “to activate the conservative movement . . . . through the promotion of free-market and pro-business environmentalism.”

Food in the nude: “a group of supermarkets have abandoned the use of plastic wrapping for virtually all of their fruit and vegetables.”

The City of Vancouver is slowly eliminating single-use plastics.

Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale by Adam Minter looks at what happens to our stuff when we no longer want it - from “thrift stores in the American Southwest to vintage shops in Tokyo, flea markets in Southeast Asia to used-goods enterprises in Ghana.”

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, 5 January 2020

Dare to Dream: 2019 EcoFriendly Action Grants

In 2019, 54 organizations and individuals in Saskatchewan applied for an EcoFriendly Action Grant because they believed that they could make a difference by undertaking a project to protect, preserve, or repair our natural environment. EcoFriendly Sask supported their efforts with over $33,600 in grants.

From individuals and small rural communities to provincial organizations, their efforts involved bees and other pollinators, waste reduction, food security, land and water, trees and shrubs, nature activities for kids, organizational development, and Saskatoon’s NatureCity Festival. Take a look at what they accomplished.


Dare to Dream

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, 31 December 2019

New Year's Eve Special 2019

Turkey vulture

Greetings! We’ve got apps, comic strips, Instagram accounts, graphic novels, and even a game to help you welcome in a green new year.

A new generation of naturalists & environmental activists:
BirdGirl is a 17-year-old birder and environmentalist who wants to remove the barriers from visual minority ethnic (VME) people getting into nature.

Diary of a Young Naturalist chronicles 15-year-old Dara McAnulty’s world in Northern Ireland.


@glacier996girl introduces climate change to a younger audience.

Next Generation Naturalists is a Kamloops group for 17-22 year olds, facilitated by the Kamloops Naturalist Club.

Comic strips, graphic novels, games, & Instagram:
Consider the vulture: a comic strip that gently reminds us that we will all return to the earth someday.


Follow the story of two ecologists studying quail in the Sierra Nevada in a short art game.

@colinfranksphotography takes photos of birds in Victoria, BC.

@everydayclimatechange, photographers on six continents, document climate change.

Rain, a graphic novel by Mary and Bryan Talbot, is both a love story and a flood story: “ a desperate appeal on behalf of our land, our lives and the lives of our “non-human fellow earthlings.”


There’s an app for that:
Eevie is an eco habit tracker, designed to help you improve your carbon impact by making small changes every day.

Lens is designed to help us explore our surroundings - from identifying plants and animals to scanning and translating text or seeing what’s popular on menus.

They may be shy and retiring, but they still leave tracks in the snow. Find out their identity with iTrack Wildlife.


Help identify plants as part of a citizen science project with Pl@ntNet.

“The only lost cause is the one we give up on before we enter the struggle.” – Vaclav Havel

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