Tuesday 31 January 2012

EcoSask News, January 31, 2012

A Home Built of Straw, February 8
Bert Weichel, a lecturer in the Department of Geography at the University of Saskatchewan, will discuss his experience building a straw bale house on February 8 at 7 pm at the Cliff Wright Library, 1635 McKercher Drive. This event is co-sponsored by the Saskatchewan Environmental Society and the Saskatoon Public Library.

Comments re Species at Risk Legislation, February 8
You’re invited to comment on the proposed amendment to Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA), the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. The public comment period for the amendment ends February 8.

The Saskatoon Nature Society indicates that the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada has recommended the addition of 13 terrestrial species, the up-listing of six terrestrial species, and the down-listing of 5 others. More details are available on the SARA website.

Backyard Bird Count, February 17-20
Join bird watchers across North America in tallying the birds you see in your own backyard or neighbourhood between February 17 and 20. Instructions and tally sheets are available on the Great Backyard Bird Count’s website.

Children are encouraged to participate, and the GBBC for Kids page provides an online bird guide, a bird sounds quiz, and a recipe for a bird treat.

Winter Fun Days, Beaver Creek, February 20-24
Indoor and outdoor activities will be available at the Beaver Creek Conservation Centre from 10 am-4 pm from February 20 to 24. For more information, call 374-2474.

Kids’ Winter Camp, Wanuskewin, February 21-24
Wanuskewin Heritage Park is holding a winter camp for kids aged 7 to 10 from 9 am-4:30 pm, Tuesday, February 21 to Friday, February 24. The camp will include guided trail walks, bannock baking, tipi raising, First Nations’ crafts, and winter activities.

Saskatoon’s Naturalized Parks
The Saskatoon Nature Society reports that the City of Saskatoon has designated several city parks as naturalized parks. Gary Pedersen, Naturalized Areas Supervisor, prepared a report for the Society outlining the shrubs that have been planted to attract songbirds. The City plans to maintain its grassland management strategy to accommodate the widest possible diversity of wildlife species.

Managing On-Farm Plastic Waste
The Government of Saskatchewan has partnered with CleanFARMS to manage on-farm plastic waste, such as bale wrap and grain bags. CleanFARMS currently operates a national empty pesticide container recycling program and an obsolete pesticide collection program.

People-Friendly Urban Design
Saskatoon's future is up to us - transportation, housing, neighbourhood design, and agricultural reserves. Find out more in It's Our Choice: People-Friendly Urban Design, an interview with Professor Ryan Walker.

EcoSask News is a weekly round-up of local news and events. Email us if you have items you would like us to include.

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Thursday 26 January 2012

It's Our Choice: People-Friendly Urban Design

Cities normally grow incrementally with small changes and additions over a long period of time. But sometimes the change is transformative, fundamentally affecting the way people move or occupy the space.

Saskatoon was a quiet, slow-moving city during the Depression, but the end of World War II brought major changes. There was a housing boom as soldiers returned home, got married, and started families. And families expected to live in single-family dwellings, to own a car, and to drive to work every day. The municipal government supported these cultural norms by developing new residential neighbourhoods and roads.

After several decades of incremental change, Saskatoon is once again on the brink of a fundamental transition. The population is expanding, new businesses are coming to town, and there is increasing discussion about the sort of city we want to live in.

Ryan Walker is an Associate Professor in the Regional and Urban Planning Program at the University of Saskatchewan. He has conducted extensive research on Prairie cities and the forces that are shaping their future. Walker believes that the pre-conditions of population growth and economic prosperity are setting the stage for a dramatic change, but he is not sure that there is an alignment of vision, public demand, and political will. He suggests that the transition may be partial with a new urban vision awkwardly superimposed on top of the current structure.

Outlined below are some of the forces that Professor Walker believes are shaping the conversation.

Transportation Options
Almost 2.5% of Saskatoon residents ride their bike to work, twice as many as in Regina, Edmonton, Calgary, or Canada as a whole (1.0-1.5%).* And yet, our road system is designed for cars not cyclists. Dedicated cycle lanes are patchy or non-existent.

“The traffic bridge debate was a good example of the tension between transition and path dependence,” Walker says. Public demand for a pedestrian/cycling bridge appeared to be supported by a traffic study indicating that the city had an adequate number of bridges for vehicle traffic but insufficient cycling and pedestrian connections between the east side and River Landing and downtown.

However, City Council wasn’t ready to endorse this shift in urban strategy, and they removed the pedestrian/cyclist bridge from the list of options and increased the width of the vehicle lanes on the new bridge design.

Saskatoon may lead the way in the number of cyclists, but we finish last when it comes to using public transit. 16% of Calgarians and 10% of Edmontonians take the bus to work, but only 4% do in Saskatoon and Regina.*

Unfortunately, the structure is not in place to support public transit. “There are only 14 bus shelters in the city centre, including downtown, large segments of City Park, Broadway Avenue, 20th Street, and College Drive,” Walker says. “And none of them are heated.”

In a recent essay on Equitable Urbanism in Saskatchewan’s Large Cities,** Walker argues that, “At present, we plan for the efficient movement of private automobiles but give only secondary consideration to public transit, and a very distant third consideration to bicycle networks.

Much like building new traffic lanes only induces further traffic – confounding our efforts to relieve congestion – better cycling and transit infrastructure will predictably induce further use of these alternate transport choices, which will effectively relieve automobile traffic congestion.”

Housing Options
In 1945, the average Canadian house size was just over 800 square feet. By 2000, it had almost tripled to 2,266 square feet. And yet, the number of residents in each home had decreased.

While some families are deliberately choosing to live in older, well-established neighbourhoods where they can walk to work and shop locally, low-density suburban neighbourhoods are dramatically expanding the city’s footprint. Saskatoon has doubled in size since 1999.

Walker observes a similar tension in some of Saskatoon’s new neighbourhoods, which attempt to combine old and new styles of community design. On one side of the street, there are small lots, front porches, and pedestrian-friendly street lighting; on the other side, there are conventional suburban houses with two-car garages dominating the street frontage.

Low-density development comes at a cost. An Edmonton study documents the high price of suburban sprawl - $500 million over the first 30 years, rising to over $3 billion as the city starts replacing aging infrastructure.

A recent municipal report indicated that Saskatoon’s roads will require an additional $10 million per year just to keep them in their current state and an investment of over $120 million over 5 years is required to bring Saskatoon’s roads back to a 2005 level of repair (as reported by Sean Shaw).

Walker points to 33rd Street, west of Idylwyld, as an alternate form of urban development. The neighbourhood commercial strip includes an abundance of retail and community outlets – restaurants, grocery store, pharmacy, hair salons, law offices, library, and more. Walker believes that the current mix of residential housing could be enhanced by increasing the residential density on the streets adjacent to 33rd Street.

“There’s an advantage to higher-density development along commercial corridors,” Walker says. “The density supports regular public transit and local businesses, and there’s a mix of people who live and work there.”

Urban vs. Rural Options
Agriculture has always been front and centre in Saskatchewan. And yet urban sprawl and a larger number of families choosing to live on acreages in order to enjoy a more rural lifestyle is reducing the amount of land available for agriculture and increasing energy consumption through longer commutes.

Walker says that other provinces have used various tools to discourage urban sprawl and protect agricultural lands. Growth boundaries define the urban/rural border and ensure that agricultural land surrounding the city remains highly productive as landowners are not anticipating its sale for residential development. British Columbia has established agricultural land reserves in the Lower Mainland, a tangible statement of the value of food production.

Policy Options
Municipal and provincial regulations can shape our urban future. In the past, the focus has been on zoning to create distinct boundaries between residential, business, and industrial districts. Little or no consideration has been given to the quality of the streetscape, its environmental sustainability, or its integration with transportation systems.

If we want to encourage more pedestrian traffic, we need to ensure interesting urban design – trees and benches rather than strip malls, small stores and restaurants rather than ground-level parking garages (i.e. the new Holiday Inn across from TCU Place).

Community development and transportation planning must go hand in hand. Public transit only becomes a viable option in high-density areas, with the conventional minimum target set at 12 units per acre, and yet even Evergreen, Saskatoon’s most ambitious neighbourhood concept plan, envisages only 8.6 units per acre.

62% of Saskatoon residents live in single-detached dwellings (compared with 43% in Vancouver and 52% in Halifax) that require more energy, land, and materials to construct and maintain. A revised Building Code could incorporate green building standards and a greater focus on health and safety.

Looking Ahead
Saskatoon is currently prospering. Will we take advantage of our prosperity to make the transition to a people-friendly city that sits lightly upon the land? The choice is ours.

See Also:
Sean Shaw: The Opportunity to Make a Difference

Resiliency: Cool Ideas for Locally-Elected Leaders (Cities in Transition by Ryan Walker)

*   Many of the statistics quoted in this article can be found in Public Spaces, Activity and Urban Form, Phase 1 of Saskatoon's City Centre Plan. You may also want to read the City of Saskatoon Strategic Plan 2012-2022 (priorities include environmental leadership, sustainable growth, and alternative transportation options).

** New Directions in Saskatchewan Public Policy, David McGrane, ed. (Regina, SK: CPRC Press, 2011).

Photographs are of Barcelona, Jumilla, and Valencia (Spain)

Wednesday 25 January 2012

CHEP Community Gardening Conference

Are you a community gardener? Would you like to start a community garden?

Cultivating the Vision
Don’t miss Cultivating the Vision, a community gardening conference organized by CHEP Good Food Inc. The conference is being held in Saskatoon on Saturday, February 4 from 9 am to 2 pm.

Call Ruth Anne Rudack, CHEP’s Community Gardening Coordinator, at 655-5322 to register. The deadline for registrations is Monday, January 30.

Seedy Saturday
Mark your calendars. Seedy Saturday is scheduled for Saturday, March 10, in Saskatoon. There will be locally-harvested seeds and a whole range of gardening workshops. EcoFriendly Sask will post complete details in February.

See Also
CHEP Good Food Inc. - working with community gardeners to increase access to fresh, affordable, healthy food

Tuesday 24 January 2012

EcoSask News, January 24, 2012

WinterShines, January 28-February 12
WinterShines, Saskatoon’s winter festival, offers 150 different ways to enjoy being outdoors in the winter – from free sleigh rides, to ice sculptures, to a Winter Camp in the City for children in grades 6 to 8.

Montgomery Place Birding, February 4
Join the Saskatoon Nature Society on a birding field trip from 9:30-11:30 am on Saturday, February 4. Walk through Montgomery Place, a neighbourhood with mature trees, looking for winter songbirds. Meet at the intersection of Crerar Drive and Caen Street in Montgomery Place. For more information, call the field trip leader at 653-2610.

Young Naturalists Chickadee Pishing, February 4
Join the Saskatoon Young Naturalists as they attract and feed chickadees at Pike Lake at 1 pm on Saturday, February 4. Dress warmly and bring some bird snacks and binoculars. Call 975-3042 or email saskatoonnaturekids@gmail.com to sign up.

Sustainable Gardening/Permaculture, February 17 & 18
Rob Avis of Verge Permaculture will host a discussion on Sustainable Gardening on Friday, February 17 from 7-9 pm at Broadway Theatre (free admission).

On Saturday, February 18, he will lead a six-hour intensive workshop on the Fundamentals of Permaculture.

For more information, contact the Permaculture Research Institute of Saskatchewan.

SOEEA Ski Trip, February 24-26
The Saskatchewan Outdoor and Environmental Education Association is planning a ski trip to Duck Mountain Provincial Park from February 24-26. The weekend will include registration for the Duck Mountain Cross Country Ski Loppet, outdoor games and nature activities. The loppet is suitable for novice and experienced cross-country skiers. Registration details can be found on the SOEEA website.

Decommission Abandoned Wells
Vote and help the North Saskatchewan River Basin Council win $25,000 to decommission abandoned wells that are a pathway for ground water contamination.

Wanted: Bird Nerds
The Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve will be participating in the Prairie and Parkland Marsh Monitoring Program this spring. The surveys compares the number of wetland birds in different habitats. Birds are recorded at a wetland site for 15 minutes at 6 to 8 different survey stations at least 3 times between May 20 and June 31. Participants must be able to identify approximately 60 birds by sight and sound.

Volunteer training on bird sights and sounds will be offered during the winter months. Contact Rachel at (306) 549-4060 or (306) 549–7473 if you are interested.

Climate Justice
Local volunteers are seeking to revitalize the climate justice movement in Saskatoon in order to bring climate issues to the minds and hearts of Saskatchewan. They hope to create a varied group with respect for a diversity of ideas and tactics.

For more information, contact Karen Rooney (karen-rooney@hotmail.com) or Mark Bigland-Pritchard (mark@lowenergydesign.com).

Urban Small Plot Intensive (SPIN) Farming
“The urban farming potential in Saskatoon is huge as we have a large land base,” Wally says. It’s an opportunity to grow fresh, healthy food close to home and create employment with a very minimal initial investment.

Read the complete interview with Wally Satzewich, one of the founders of SPIN Farming.

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 19 January 2012

Urban, Small Plot Intensive (SPIN) Farming

“You can have big aspirations on an urban acre of land”

Farming can be productive and profitable without owning land or living in the country.

Wally Satzewich and Gail Vandersteen, the owners of Wally’s Urban Market Garden, have been growing and selling vegetables at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market for over 20 years. They grow their crops on small garden plots in and around Saskatoon. In some cases, they own the land; in other cases, they rent it.

“We need to redefine what it means to be a farmer,” Wally says. “You can be a farmer even though you’re small. You don’t have to own a large, sprawling farm.”

Getting Started
Wally and Gail started farming on an acre-sized plot outside of Saskatoon. They thought they would need a larger acreage in order to succeed, so they purchased a parcel of farmland and grew on 20 acres.

It should have been the perfect spot, but they were challenged by the weather, wildlife, fluctuating water levels, and labour shortages. After six years, they sold the acreage and went back to urban farming on small plots of land.

Their success at sub-acre farming prompted Gail and Wally to help found SPIN (Small Plot Intensive) Farming, an organization dedicated to helping people who are new to farming, or who want to farm in a new way, to get started. They describe SPIN Farming as a non-technical, easy-to-learn, and inexpensive-to-implement vegetable farming system that makes it possible to earn significant income from land bases under an acre in size.

Wally believes that sub-acre farms have many advantages over large-scale operations. First of all, you don’t need to own land. You can rent or barter a small piece of land in the city or the country. And you’re not locked into one structure: it can change according to circumstances.

Urban farming provides a more controlled environment with fewer pests, better wind protection, and a longer growing season. You don’t need large, expensive equipment. Wally and Gail use simple tools, such as a rototiller, a push-type seeder, and a few hand tools.

SPIN farmers have greater flexibility. “If you own a large market garden, you typically plant once, and you don’t plant again as you’re too busy looking after your crop,” Wally explains. “We focus on small weekly plantings of crops such as arugula and pea greens as well as conventional one-time plantings of carrots and potatoes.” As a result, Wally’s Urban Market Garden can provide fresh, new produce that is not typically available on a weekly basis, and crop failure is often only a temporary setback.

Find Your Niche
Success as a SPIN farmer depends on finding your niche so that you can compete effectively with large-scale operations and enhance the market environment.

Wally’s Urban Market Garden focuses on crops that provide higher value per plot size, such as fresh greens, as well as crops that aren’t normally available, such as heritage carrots in every colour of the rainbow.

The vegetables are cleaned and bagged so that they are ready to use. Shoppers can buy a small chunk of squash rather than an entire pumpkin that is large and messy to deal with.

An innovative pricing system – any two bags for $5.00 – encourages customers to make additional purchases.

Invest in Success
Wally believes that too many novice farmers focus on the soil and the style of gardening but neglect the business side of their operation. “You have to be prepared to make some investments early in your career,” he says. “A large cooler is essential in order to avoid inefficient work flow.”

Wally and Gail have a large walk-in cooler at home as well as a smaller one at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market. As a result, they are able to harvest continuously rather than doing everything immediately before the market. “We take a staged approach, starting with the carrots and finishing with the leafy greens,” Wally says.

Not only does this method rescue you from burnout (no more all-nighters harvesting vegetables before a full day at the market), but it also ensures that the vegetables are in good condition. “You have to remove the field heat from leafy greens so that they have some shelf life,” Wally explains.

The cooler at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market means that Wally doesn’t have to haul produce back and forth every market day. If there are leftovers, they can be stored in the cooler until the next market.

Financial Success
Wally says that you can make a good living as a SPIN farmer. He points to Curtis Stone of Green City Acres in Kelowna who has a three-quarter acre urban farm spread over seven different sites. An $8,000 investment in his first year yielded $20,000 in profit. The following year he invested an additional $5,000 and finished the season with over $65,000 in sales.

Before starting his urban farm in 2009, Curtis had no experience in farming or even gardening. He uses a cargo bike to take his products to market and to collect compost.

Becoming a SPIN Farmer
The SPIN Farming website provides a wealth of useful information. Learning guides cover SPIN Farming basics, work flow practices, marketing, and farming specialties (greens, garlic, carrots and potatoes, flowers). Once you have purchased a learning guide, your name is added to the list serve and you can obtain more detailed information by phone or email from established SPIN farmers.

“I’m very accessible,” Wally says. “I’ve helped people all over Canada and the United States. This coming summer, I’ll have two interns, and I’m encouraging them to launch their own sub-acre farms.”

SPIN Farming is a growing trend in Canada, particularly Victoria, Vancouver, and Kelowna. There is no reason why Saskatoon cannot participate. “The urban farming potential in Saskatoon is huge as we have a large land base,” Wally says. It’s an opportunity to grow fresh, healthy food close to home and create employment with a very minimal initial investment.

Tuesday 17 January 2012

EcoSask News, January 17, 2012

The Natural History & Diversity of Bees in Canada, January 18
Dr. Cory Sheffield will be speaking on the Natural History and Diversity of Bees in Canada on Wednesday, January 18 from 12:10-12:50 pm in the Royal Saskatchewan Museum theater. Dr. Sheffield has applied for the position of Research Scientist – Curator of Invertebrate Zoology at the Museum.

Forestry Farm Zoo & Field Trip, January 22
You are invited to join the Saskatoon Nature Society on their Forestry Farm and Zoo field trip on January 22 from 2-4 pm. They will be looking for winter songbirds at the Forestry Farm and then exploring the Zoo area. Meet at the Zoo parking lot. For more information, call the field trip leader at 343-6943.

Northeastern Birding Trip, January 28
Join the Saskatoon Nature Society on January 28  from 8 am–10:30 pm for a drive to the Saskatchewan River valley north of Carrot River to look for Northern Hawk Owls, Great Gray Owls, and songbirds. Everyone is welcome. Participants may leave early. Bring a lunch. The group plans to have supper in Tisdale.

Meet at the southwest corner of the Lawson Heights Mall parking lot. For more information, call the field trip leader at 934—3769.

Earth Day Program Facilitators, Regina Public Library
The Regina Public Library branches are looking for facilitators to partner with and develop family-friendly sustainability programming for Earth Day in April 2012. They would like to put on a series of family-focused programs that highlight sustainable living and are looking for presenters on permaculture and Indigenous perspectives on environmental issues for Prince of Wales, Glen Elm, and Albert branches. Compensation would be arranged with the library. If you’re interested, contact Jessica Generoux at 777-6607 (jgeneroux@reginalibrary.ca). (via RCE Saskatchewan)

Working with Farmers & Rural Municipalities
The rural municipalities of South Qu’Appelle, Indian Head, Francis, and Lajord have agreed to introduce the Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) conservation program. ALUS’s goal is to create a healthy, working landscape that sustains agriculture, wildlife, and natural spaces for all Canadians. Under ALUS, farmers receive payments to reconstruct natural ecosystems.

Starting this spring, the focus in southeast Saskatchewan will be on protecting wetlands, improving riparian areas, and enhancing native grasses. The Saskatchewan project is supported by the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, Saskatchewan Association of Watershed, and Delta Waterfowl.

See also: Public Review: Saskatchewan Environmental Code

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 12 January 2012

Public Review: Saskatchewan Environmental Code

The Saskatchewan government has initiated a public review of a new draft Environmental Code.

The Discussion Document states that the code is a set of legally binding requirements to be followed by anyone conducting activities regulated by legislation that references the code. The first version of the Code has 19 chapters in six areas:
  1. Air quality management (halocarbon control and industrial emissions);
  2. Forest management (forest regeneration assessments, data submission, scaling of forest products, strategic and operational planning);
  3. Greenhouse gas management and reduction (baseline emission level and annual emission reporting);
  4. Hydrostatic testing (upstream oil/gas industry for testing a pipeline before it goes into full operation);
  5. Industrial activities (discharge and discovery reporting, site assessments, corrective action plans, substance designation, and transferring the responsibility of impacted sites); and
  6. Municipal matters (drinking water, sewage works, liquid waste disposal, landfills, litter control).
Results-Based Regulatory Approach
The Code is the first in Canada to employ a results-based regulatory approach. Businesses and municipalities will have the choice of following the proven Acceptable Solutions outlined in the code, or they can develop their own Alternative Solutions, which must be signed off by a qualified person and accepted by the Minister.

The Government believes that this approach will ensure that the environmental performance objectives are constant and can be applied consistently across all sectors while providing the flexibility to take advantage of emerging technology and processes.

The Saskatchewan New Democratic Caucus has expressed concern that self regulation can mean no regulation. NDP Environment critic Buckley Belanger has stated that, “A permit-based system with regulations is in place to help and ensure companies make responsible choices when it comes to our environment," Belanger said on Wednesday. "Scrapping the need for permits could result in permanent damage to our environment before the government even realizes there is a problem."

Public Meetings
Public meetings focusing on specific sectors are scheduled for the following dates:
  • Municipal Sector – January 30, 8 am – 12 noon; Conexus Arts Centre, Regina
  • Forestry Sector – February 2, 8 am – 12 noon; Travelodge, Prince Albert
  • Industrial & Mining Sectors – February 3, 8 am – 12 noon; Saskatoon Inn, Saskatoon

Information Sessions (First Nations & Métis)
Information sessions with First Nations and Métis representatives are planned as follows:
  • January 30, 1  – 4:30 pm; Conexus Arts Centre, Regina
  • February 2, 1 – 4:30 pm; Travelodge, Prince Albert (see Comments)
  • February 3, 1 – 4:30 pm; Saskatoon Inn, Saskatoon

Background Materials
The Ministry of Environment, Government of Saskatchewan website, provides extensive background information:

Comments can be submitted online but must be received by March 16, 2012 to be considered for Version One of the Code.

Note: The information in this article is based on the material provided on the Government website and the information in the Discussion Document.

Tuesday 10 January 2012

EcoSask News, January 10, 2012

Winter Cycling Seminar, January 12
The College of Kinesiology is offering a free winter cycling seminar on January 12 from 12:05-12:50 pm at the PAC, University of Saskatchewan. Sign up in advance if you are interested.

Prairie Master Gardeners Winter Workshop, January 21
Join the Prairie Master Gardeners for their annual Escape Winter workshop on Saturday, January 21. The morning session will focus on permaculture basics, while the afternoon session will be on pruning and grafting. The deadline for registrations is January 18.

Animal Adaptations, January 22
Learn how animals in and around Saskatoon get ready for the winter season and make a craft to take home at the Meewasin Valley Centre from 2-4 pm on Sunday, January 22.

Zoo Crew PD Camp, January 27
Join the Saskatoon Zoo Society on Friday, January 27 from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm for a Zoo Crew PD Camp. Visit with Georgia the porcupine and Pretzel the python. Feed Ariel the hawk and Spirit the owl. Learn about birdwatching and build a bird feeder to take home with you.

Groundwater Contamination, January 28
Jessica Ernst, a scientist with 30 years petroleum industry experience, will explain why she believes that the natural gas industry has contaminated a shallow aquifer in her community with toxic, community-industry-related chemicals. Listen to her presentation at 1 pm on Saturday, January 28 in Michael Hall, St. Peter’s Abbey, Muenster (sponsored by the Council of Canadians).

Heritage Festival, February 5
Join the Saskatoon Zoo Society at the annual Saskatoon Heritage Festival from 12-5 pm on February 5 at the Western Development Museum.

Icecycles, February 5
Don’t miss Saskatoon Icecycles on Sunday, February 5. A winter cycling workshop will be followed by the world’s coldest bike parade, along with live music, door prizes, and bike repair stations. Register early and you will receive special offers and discounts from the local bike stores.

Summer Job Opportunities, February 17
Check out the employment opportunities with Nature Saskatchewan. They include habitat stewardship, rare plant rescue, and bird monitoring.

Hometown Heroes Awards, March 30
Earth Day Canada invites you to nominate a local individual, organization or business that has fostered meaningful, long-term community awareness and action for a Hometown Heroes award.

The deadline for nominations is March 30.

Courtney Milne, Order of Merit
Courtney Milne, Saskatchewan photographer and author, was invested posthumously with the Saskatchewan Order of Merit.

EcoFriendly Sask Calendar
Additional events, including the Native Prairie Speaker series  on January 18 and a talk on Forensic Tools in Wildlife Research on January 19, are listed on the EcoFriendly Sask calendar.

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

Tuesday 3 January 2012

EcoSask News, January 3, 2012

Don Kerr Reading, January 12
Don Kerr will be reading from his latest book, The Wind Thrashing Your Heart, at McNally Robinson Booksellers on January 12 at 7:30 pm. The book of poetry is described as a passionate, thoughtful, and humorous look at love, landscape, and the people of the prairies.

Canticle to the Cosmos, January 17
The Queen’s House Retreat & Renewal Centre is offering a four-part video series, starting January 17, from 7-9 pm. The session is entitled Care of Earth: A Christian Response and will be lead by Judy Schactel who holds an MA in Culture and Spirituality and offers workshops and retreats in Ecological Spirituality.

Native Prairie Speaker Series, January 18
Rob Wright will provide a technical presentation on Protecting Native Grasslands from Smooth Brome Invasion from 12:10 to 12:50 pm on January 18.

From 7-8 pm in the evening, Sarah Vinge of Nature Saskatchewan will provide a public presentation on the Stewards of Saskatchewan program.

Both presentations are sponsored by the Saskatchewan Prairie Conservation Action Plan and will be held in the Royal Saskatchewan Museum auditorium in Regina. Presentations are also streamed live at www.ustream.tv/channel/native-prairie-speaker-series

Forensic Tools in Wildlife Research, January 19
Keith Hobson will speak on Forensic Tools in Wildlife Research at the January 19 meeting of the Saskatoon Nature Society. The presentation will begin at 7:30 pm in Room 106 of the Biology Building, University of Saskatchewan.

Making Tracks, Young Naturalists, January 27
Saskatoon Young Naturalists will meet at 1 pm on Friday, January 27 to look at the basic animal track patterns for some of the common animals found around Saskatoon. Participants will make a plaster track craft to take home and, if weather permits, will look for animal tracks in the snow. Enrolment is limited. Pre-register by calling 975-3042 or e-mail saskatoonnaturekids@gmail.com

Saskatoon Community Foundation Quality of Life Grants, February 1
Registered charities are invited to apply for the Saskatoon Community Foundation’s Quality of Life Grants program. The Quality of Life grants have seven key areas of focus: family and community; education; human development; health; arts and culture; environment; and research, strategy and capacity building.

The deadline for submitting Letters of Intent is February 1.

Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan Conference, February 17 & 18
The Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan will hold its annual AGM and conference in Regina on February 17 and 18. This year’s theme is Balancing Conservation and Profit and will discuss ecotourism in Saskatchewan and the delicate balance that it must maintain regarding other environmental and societal aspects.

The Society is looking for individuals and organizations to sponsor the event.

Permaculture Enthusiasts, Moose Jaw & Swift Current
Rob Avis of Calgary-based Verge Permaculture will be touring Saskatchewan from February 15 to 28 and would like to offer a 3-hour or 1-day presentation in Moose Jaw and/or Swift Current. If you are interested, contact Jessie (j.best@gmail.com).

EcoSask News is a weekly Tuesday feature. Email ecofriendlysask@gmail.com if you have news or events that you would like us to include.

Visit EcoFriendly Sask's Calendar page for a more complete list of upcoming events.

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