Sunday, 21 April 2019

Outdoor Volunteer Opportunities 2019

Aspen grove and smooth brome

Enjoy fresh air and exercise while caring for the environment this summer.

Nature Conservancy of Canada
Help the Nature Conservancy of Canada maintain their properties by volunteering at one of their upcoming events. Events fill up fast so apply as soon as possible.

May 4, Meeting Lake (Prince Albert/Saskatoon) – plant a variety of tree seedlings
June 1, Chaplin Nature Centre (Swift Current/Regina) – shoreline tour and bird survey
June 15, Big Valley (Regina) – plant milkweed
June 22, Hole in the Wall (Big Muddy) – bioblitz and fence pull
July 20, Asquith North (Saskatoon) – range and forest health assessment
July 27, May (Moose Jaw) – collect native seeds
Aug. 10, Old Man on His Back (Swift Current, Eastend) – weekend campout
Sept. 14, Wideview (Val Marie) – install visibility markers on fence lines

Additional events are sure to be added over the next few months. If you would like to be notified when a listing becomes available in your area, contact national@conservationvolunteers.ca

See also:
Conserving Nature in Saskatchewan
Prairie Beauty: NCC’s Dundurn Property

National Parks
Opportunities to protect Sage Grouse, Short-horned Lizards, and Black-tailed Prairie Dogs are often available during the summer at Grasslands National Park.

Prince Albert National Park welcomes volunteer help with activities ranging from tree planting to loon surveys.

Prickly-pear cactus

Nature Saskatchewan
Nature Saskatchewan welcomes volunteers in its PlantWatch program, at birding events at Last Mountain Bird Observatory, or to monitor and care for important bird areas and nature sanctuaries.

Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan
The Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan is always looking for volunteers and hosts a variety of summer events to remove invasive species or identify native plants.

Saskatchewan Breeding Bird Atlas
The Saskatchewan Breeding Bird Atlas is an ambitious 5-year project teaming citizen scientists with professionals to survey the distribution and relative abundance of breeding birds in the province. A variety of workshops and field trips provide a great opportunity to improve your bird identification skills.

Least Flycatcher

Local Opportunities
Additional volunteer opportunities can be found by contacting local nature and environmental groups.

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

What did we miss? Let us know and we’ll add it to the list.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

EcoSask News, April 16, 2019

pelican splashdown

Upcoming Events
Humanity in Harmony with Nature, Apr. 17 (Regina)
Nature Saskatchewan will present an overview of their programs at noon, Apr. 17, at Innovation Place Regina.

Batty about Bats, Apr. 18 (Regina)
Learn about local bats and build a bat box from 7-10 pm, Apr. 18, at the Saskatchewan Science Centre.

North Central Community Clean-up, Apr. 19-21 (Regina)
A clean-up is being planned for the North Central neighbourhood of Regina the weekend of Apr. 19-21. Indicate interest and lunch preferences in advance.

Three Cheers for Recycling, Apr. 20 (Moose Jaw)
Kids can celebrate Earth Day with games and crafts at the Moose Jaw Public Library from 10:30 am-12 pm, Apr. 20.

Appreciating the Worm, Apr. 20 (Prince Albert)
Enjoy displays and presentations on the work of worms from 12:30-4:30 pm, Apr. 20, in Prince Albert.

Repair Café Prince Albert, Apr. 20 (Prince Albert)
Share and learn skills to repair things at Repair Café Prince Albert from 1-4 pm, Apr. 20.

Save the Bees, Apr. 21 (Redvers)
Kids are invited to make a bee-friendly flower planter and bee hotel at Redvers Public Library from 1-2 or 2:30-3:30 pm, Apr. 21. Call 452-3255 or text 452-7734 to reserve a spot.

Earth Day Hike, Apr. 22 (Moose Jaw)
Moose Jaw Nature Society is hosting a hike at Buffalo Pound Provincial Park from 1:30-6:30 pm, Apr. 22.

Loss of Nature & Ecological Grief, Apr. 22 (Saskatoon)
The Saskatoon Enviro Collective is hosting a potluck supper and discussion about the loss of nature and ecological grief from 6:30-9:30 pm, Apr. 22. Register early as spots are limited.

Easter Break Explorer Camp, Apr. 22-25 (Saskatoon)
Kids 5-10 are invited to spend a week exploring the Saskatoon riverfront with Wild Sky Adventure Learning.

Meewasin Clean-Up Campaign, Apr. 22-May 30 (Saskatoon)
Dumpsters will be available for individuals and groups cleaning up the river valley. Register with Meewasin to be assigned a particular area.

Beginner Bird Id, Apr. 24 (Battlefords)
Find out more about the Breeding Bird Atlas project and learn the basics of bird identification from 7-9 pm, Apr. 24, at the Battlefords Wildlife Federation.

Not Your Grandparent’s Weather, Apr. 25 (Regina)
Find out what’s happening to our weather from 7-9:30 pm, Apr. 25, at the Sask Science Centre.

White Pelican

Looking Ahead
Student Planning Meeting, Apr. 28 (Regina)
Help plan the upcoming Canada-wide school strike from 3-5 pm, Apr. 28.

National School Climate Strike, May 3 (Regina) 
Regina is holding a national school climate strike from 11-12 pm, May 3.

Canoe Certification Course, May 18-20 (Saskatoon)
SaskOutdoors is offering a canoe certification course in Saskatoon May 18-20.

Food Forestry Workshop, June 14-16 (Ness Creek)
Permaculture Saskatchewan and Wild Sky Adventure Learning are hosting a forest gardening workshop at Ness Creek from June 14-16.

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

white pelicans

In the News
NEW! Sustainable Yorkton & Area strives to support members to live a low impact lifestyle to protect and restore their community and planet.

Calling for a Sustainable Quill Lakes Solution is concerned about the absence of environmental impact assessments on 20 provincial wetland drainage projects. One couple has lost their property rights and the process has begun to expropriate their land by the Smith Creek Watershed Association. 

Concerns have been raised about the rezoning applications for Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and George Genereux Urban Regional Park. The first is being classified as agricultural land for use by public utilities; the second is being designated for future urban development. Why are they not being classified as parks or naturalized areas? Submit concerns to the City of Saskatoon.

Urban planners are questioning the necessity and route of the proposed perimeter highway: "Before spending an enormous amount of money, sit back and look at the big picture, because the big picture has completely changed."

Chet Neufeld, Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan, recommends planting native flowers in our gardens.

Swimsuits are bad for the environment.

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, 14 April 2019

They Deserve an Award!


As part of Saskatoon’s 2019 NatureCity Festival, Wild about Saskatoon is offering awards to recognize the contributions of individuals, community initiatives, and businesses who advocate for the conservation and restoration of nature and natural areas in and around Saskatoon. The NatureCity Awards also honour people and projects that promote a relationship of belonging, connection, and care between local residents and the nature that surrounds us.

If you know someone who would be wildly deserving of this award, nominate them now. Awards will be made in each of 3 categories: Individual, Community Initiative, Business. Nominees must be a resident of Saskatoon or its surrounding area. They cannot have been a previous award recipient or be a member of the Wild about Saskatoon/NatureCity Festival steering committee.

Nominations must be submitted by May 1. Awards will be presented at a special ceremony during the 2019 NatureCity Festival from May 21-26.

See also: 2017 NatureCity Awards

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

EcoSask News, April 9, 2019

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Upcoming Events
Climate Reality in SK, Apr. 12 (Swift Current)
Margaret Asmuss will discuss how climate change is affecting Saskatchewan from 6:30-9:30 pm, Apr. 12, at First United Church.

Survey Study Designs, Apr. 12 (Saskatoon)
Jean-Michel DeVink is tentatively scheduled to talk about survey study designs: why details matter to the question being asked at 3:30 pm, Apr. 12, as part of the WildEcol seminar series at the U of S.

Hidden Valley, Crocuses & Bluebirds, Apr. 13 (Regina)
Join Nature Regina on their field trip along the Qu’Appelle Valley as they look for bluebirds and other signs of spring from 9:30 am-1 pm, Apr. 13.

Wildlife Rescue Info Session, Apr. 13 (Saskatoon)
A wildlife rescue orientation session is being held at 1 pm, Apr. 13, in Saskatoon. There will be rescue training after the orientation from 2-3 pm. Email volunteer@wrsos.org to save your spot.

Native Plants, Apr. 14 (Regina)
Join Chet Neufeld, NPSS, to find out how to bring biodiversity into your yard with native plants from 2:30-3:30 pm, Apr. 14, at the Prince of Wales branch of the Regina Public Library.

Ferruginous Hawk Ecology, Apr. 15 (Regina)
Janet Ng will summarize her research on ferruginous hawk ecology from 7:30-9:30 pm, at the Apr. 15 meeting of Nature Regina.

90th Birthday Celebrations, Apr. 15 (Saskatoon)
A public event is being held at 7:30 pm, Apr. 15, to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the University of Saskatchewan Observatory. Speakers will discuss The Observatory’s history and the history of astronomy. A walk to The Observatory and cake will follow.

Beginner Bird Id Workshop, Apr. 16 (Yorkton) 
The Breeding Bird Atlas project is offering a free workshop on beginner bird identification from 7-9 pm, Apr. 16, in Yorkton.

Post-Industrial Consumerism, Apr. 16 (Saskatoon)
Darrin Qualman will explore sustainability and make a case for restructuring the core processes of industrial civilization from 7-8:30 pm, Apr. 16.

Breeding Bird Atlas, Apr. 17 (Preeceville)
Find out more about the Breeding Bird Atlas project at the 7 pm, Apr. 17, meeting of the Kelsey Ecological Society.

Outdoor/Environmental Ed Conversation, Apr. 17 (Swift Current)
SaskOutdoors is hosting an outdoor and environmental education community conversation from 7-8:30 pm, Apr. 17, in Swift Current.

Climate Crisis & its Solutions, Apr. 17 (Regina)
Join Jared Clarke to discuss the climate crisis and its solutions from 7-8:30 pm, Apr. 17, at the Sunrise branch of the Regina Public Library.

SK Environmental Society AGM, Apr. 17 (Saskatoon)
Dr. Irena Creed, Executive Director, School of Environment & Sustainability, U of S, will be the guest speaker at the Saskatchewan Environmental Society’s annual general meeting starting at 6 pm, Apr. 17.

Composting 101, Apr. 18 (Moose Jaw)
Find out how to choose, set up, and maintain a compost bin at 2:30 pm, Apr. 18, at the Moose Jaw Public Library.

Nature-based Solutions for Climate Change, Apr. 18 (Saskatoon)
Branimir Gjetvaj will discuss nature-based solutions for climate change mitigation and adaptation at the 7:30 pm, Apr. 18, meeting of the Saskatoon Nature Society.

Life off Grid, Apr. 18 (Saskatoon)
Watch a film about people who have built their lives around renewable energy from 2-3 pm, Apr. 18, at the Mayfair branch of the Saskatoon Public Library.

crow

Saskatoon Nature Society - Golden Eagles
Apr. 11, 9 am-1 pm – Crocuses & bluebirds at Beaver Creek
Apr. 18, 8 am – Bluebirds in the Pike Lake area
Apr. 25, 8 am – Brightwater Marsh and area
Retirees and partners who are interested in birds and the natural world are invited to participate.

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

In the News
Gravelbourg Green/Vert Initiatives is brand new! Let’s wish them well in their goal to inspire, facilitate, and promote sustainability in Gravelbourg and surrounding areas.

Prince Albert National Park’s healthy wolf population is a good indicator of a healthy ecological area. Wolves are typically scared of humans so there’s no reason to fear them.

The City of Swift Current is killing crows because they’re too noisy.

The U of S Arts Building is now using 50% less water following replacement of 75% of its toilets and urinals and the addition of aerators on 85% of the faucets.

Saskatchewan needs to change how it designs and builds communities and infrastructure in response to climate change, says John Pomeroy, Canada Research Chair in Water Resources and Climate Change. “We already had an extreme climate and to make it more extreme really pushes the viability of our agriculture, our cities, communities and our transportation networks.”

Moving freight or moving people – trains are far more energy efficient and less polluting than cars or airplanes.

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, 7 April 2019

10 Surprising Facts about Beavers - And Why They Make Great Neighbours

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1. Beavers’ earliest ancestors appeared on the scene 38-54 million years ago. The first North American beavers ranged in size from tiny ones weighing less than 1.5 kg to giant ones over 3 metres long and the size of a female black bear.

2. The world’s longest beaver dam, found in Wood Buffalo National Park, is over 850 metres long and visible from space. Beavers prefer to build their dams out of wood, but they’ll make do with whatever is available. A dam in the Yukon is built almost entirely out of stones the size of soccer balls.

3. Beaver lodges are initially a solid mass of wood, small twigs, and sticks as well as mud and debris used to fill the gaps. Once it’s big enough, the beavers head underwater and chew their way up through the wood to create an entrance tunnel and living quarters – a feeding platform just above the water level and a larger room where they’ll raise their young and spend most of their time. The beavers then use their paws to plaster the interior walls with mud, leaving just a few holes for ventilation.

4. Beavers’ teeth never stop growing. It’s only by gnawing on wood that they can keep them to a manageable size.

5. Indigenous North Americans and early Europeans used beaver teeth as tools for carving. It’s believed that a beaver jaw with its teeth intact was used to carve the images and hieroglyphics on an 11,000-year-old religious idol found in Russia’s Ural Mountains.

6. Beaver tails are large and shaped like a paddle. They use them to steer while underwater, to balance themselves while on land, and to store fat for the winter. Beavers slap their tail on the water to warn of danger.

7. Beavers can swim at speeds of up to 8 kph and stay underwater for up to 20 minutes at a time. 

8. Beavers were hunted to extinction in the United Kingdom 300-400 years ago. They are now being re-introduced in parts of England and Scotland. Eurasian beavers are slightly larger than North American beavers with narrower heads and tails.

9. Ice melts more quickly on active beaver ponds, providing a refuge for early-migrating waterfowl. The cool water at the base of ponds formed by beaver dams is the perfect habitat for baby fish, such as salmon.

10. Beavers help protect against drought by raising the water level, stabilizing and increasing groundwater levels, and holding back water that would otherwise drain away. The cellulose at the bottom of the dams helps break down pesticides and herbicides from agriculture.

beaver

Conflict Management
Many cities and rural municipalities in Saskatchewan trap and kill beavers because they damage trees or cause flooding. This is an ineffective, short-term solution as other beavers will quickly repopulate the area and rebuild dams.

The Fur-Bearers offer free workshops in non-lethal co-existence methods that benefit the environment, the public, and beavers. The cities of Calgary and Airdrie have both taken advantage of their services.

Environmental Engineers
Many people believe that by working with beavers and not against them we can restore water to a dry land. Here are a few current initiatives:
Building Riparian Resilience through Beaver Restoration (New Mexico)
Putting Beavers to Work: Leave it to Beavers Watershed Stewardship (Alberta)
The Beaver Solution (State of Washington)

For More Information
Eager: The Surprising Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter, Ben Goldfarb (2018)
Once They Were Hats: In Search of the Mighty Beaver, Frances Backhouse (2015)
The Beaver Manifesto, Glynis Hood (2011)
Review of The Beaver Manifesto (EcoFriendly Sask, 2015)
The Beaver Believers (documentary)

beaver

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Let's Spring Clean our Community - Natural Areas Clean-Up Grants 2019


The snow has melted and laid bare the garbage along our waterways and trails and in our parks. It’s time to spring clean our community and we’re offering school and community groups throughout Saskatchewan the opportunity to raise some money for their activities in the process.

EcoFriendly Sask is offering a limited number of $500 grants to clubs and voluntary organizations for cleaning up a natural area in or around their community. Apply by sending us an email telling us about your group and your clean-up plans. We’ll let you know whether or not your grant application is approved.

Groups that are approved for a grant will be sent a cheque once we’ve received a photograph of your clean-up crew and the garbage you’ve collected.

Photo: Big Fat Tire Brigade, 2018 Clean-Up at the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area

EcoFriendly Sask informs, encourages, and supports Saskatchewan environmental initiatives through an online publication and Action Grants. You can follow EcoFriendly Sask by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

EcoSask News, April 2, 2019

trees flowering

Upcoming Events
True Nature Writing, Apr. 7 (Regina) 
Join Joyce Belcher for a session on nature writing from 1:30-3:30 pm, Apr. 7, at the Sunrise branch of the Regina Public Library.

Household Hazardous Waste, Apr. 7 (Saskatoon) 
You can dispose of household hazardous waste at City of Saskatoon’s Civic Operations Centre from 9 am – 3:30 pm, April 7.

Bats in Saskatchewan, Apr. 9 (Regina) 
Mark Brigham will discuss bats, the role they play in the ecosystem, and how to attract them to your yard from 7-8 pm, Apr. 9, at the Sunrise branch of the Regina Public Library.

Changing Freshwater Availability as Viewed from Space, Apr. 11 (Regina) 
Dr. Jay Famigletti, Executive Director, Global Institute for Water Security, will discuss the latest research on water sustainability at an event in Regina from 5-9 pm, Apr. 11. Register online by Apr. 4.

Outdoor/Environmental Ed Conversation, Apr. 12 (Yorkton) 
SaskOutdoors is hosting an outdoor and environmental education community conversation from 7-8:30 pm, Apr. 12, in Yorkton.

YFBTA Spring Event, Apr. 13 (Saltcoats) 
Join the Yellowhead Flyway Birding Trail Association on Apr. 13 for an afternoon of bugs, birds, and long walks followed by a delicious supper.

trees flowering

Looking Ahead
Flying Wild Workshop, May 4 (Regina & Saskatoon) 
Teachers are invited to learn about Flying Wild’s focus on migratory birds designed for young people grades 1-9 to learn more about the natural world. The workshop will be held in Regina and in Saskatoon on May 4.

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

In the News 
“The Province of Saskatchewan is preparing to give the go ahead to a new solution potash mine that would harm or destroy up to 6,000 hectares (14,800 acres) of increasingly rare grassland, wetland and riparian (creek valley slopes) habitat in the upper Wascana Creek watershed near the towns of Sedley and Lajord.” Here’s what you can do to prevent this happening.

Restoring 71 Habitat Conservation Project – bringing life back to the Prairies (p. 8 of RM Review).

Darrin Qualman’s book, Civilization Critical, is now available. The book charts the past, present, and possible future of our global petro-industrial consumerist civilization with chapters on energy, the industrial revolution, transport, farming, efficiency, and progress.

The dark side of geothermal energy – it’s contaminating the local water supply in New Mexico.

If we are going to advocate battery power, we need to do so responsibly – from ethical supply chains to recycling options.

On-road freight is a major contributor to climate change and pollution in Canada. An international report examines low-carbon goods movement strategies.

Pigeon and turtle sculptures as traffic barriers – reinforcing the nature that is already part of our cities.

Mystery novels for nature lovers.

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).