Tuesday 28 February 2012

EcoSask News, February 28, 2012

Muskox and Pike Lake Birding, March 10
Join the Saskatoon Nature Society as they make a brief visit to a Pike Lake acreage to see two Muskox and then explore the park looking for winter birds on Saturday, March 10, from 9 am to noon. Contact the trip leader at 652-5975 for additional information.

We Canada Tour for Earth Summit, March 12
The University of Saskatchewan is hosting We Canada, Dialogues and Action for Earth Summit, on Monday, March 12, at 4 pm in the Neatby-Timlin Theatre, Arts Building.

Cross-Canada Canoe Odyssey, March 14
Over the course of 171 days in 2011, the Cross Canada Canoe Odyssey paddled, biked, snowshoed, and walked their canoes from Vancouver, BC to Saint John, NB. At 7 pm on March 14 at the Cliff Wright Library Auditorium, trip members will outline their route, discuss logistics, share stories, and show photos of their journey. This event is co-sponsored by the Saskatoon Public Library and the Saskatchewan Environmental Society.

Community Sustainability, March 16 & 17
The University of Regina Graduate Students Association is hosting its 7th annual research conference on March 16 and 17. The theme is From Theory to Practice: Creating Community Sustainability, and the keynote speakers are Dr. Eric Grimson, Chancellor MIT, and Dr. Mark Roseland, Director, Centre for Sustainable Community Development, Simon Fraser University.

Radioactive Wolves & Zoo Society AGM, March 18
Join the Saskatoon Zoo Society for a documentary film on the wolves in the post-Chernobyl dead zone at 12:30 on Sunday, March 18.

You’re invited to stay after the film and attend the Saskatoon Zoo Society’s Annual General Meeting at 1:30 pm.

Ecology Camps for Kids
The Centre for Continuing and Distance Education, University of Saskatchewan, offers ecology camps for kids aged 8 to 12 during school breaks and in the summer. There will be a Rain Forest Ecology Camp during Easter Break from April 9 to 13. Summer camps have a different theme every week.

Saskatoon Zoo Society Summer Camp Registration, March 21-22
The Saskatoon Zoo Society holds a number of week-long summer camps for children aged 7-10 and 11-14 during the summer. You can register in person or by phone on March 21 (Zoo Society members) and March 22 (non-members).

Native Plant Society Conference
EcoFriendly Sask was pleased to sponsor and attend the Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan’s annual conference. There was an outstanding line-up of speakers and topics, ranging from night sky campgrounds and zip lines in Cypress Hills Provincial Park, to trail development in Grasslands National Park, and stewardship opportunities for farmers and ranchers. Watch out for stories on these topics in future issues of EcoFriendly Sask.

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 21 February 2012

EcoSask News, February 21, 2012

VegISS Training Workshop, February 23/March 1
A Saskatchewan Prairie Conservation Action Plan working group is holding a Vegetation Information System Saskatchewan (VegISS) Training Workshop on February 23 in Regina and on March 1 in Saskatoon. Contact Jennifer Lohmeyer at (306) 787-8707 or Jennifer.lohmeyer@swa.ca for additional information.

Renewable Energy Open House, February 25 & 26
The National Farmers’ Union and the Saskatchewan Eco Network are hosting an open house on February 25 and 26 at Pedersen Apiaries, Cut Knife, to showcase practical applications in renewable energy.

Saskatoon Youth Advisory Council Grants
Batting 1000 Endowment for Children and Youth grants are available from the Saskatoon Community Foundation for projects involving environmental stewardship, active living, and more. Application deadline is March 1.

Ecoquest Open House, March 1
Find out more about Ecoquest, an ecological, outdoor adventure program for grade eight Saskatoon public school students, at an Open House from 7-10 pm on March 1 at Buena Vista School.

Northern Birding Trip, March 3
Join the Saskatoon Nature Society as they explore the forests north of Prince Albert looking for woodpeckers and other winter songbirds on Saturday, March 3, from 7:30 am-10:30 pm. For additional information, contact the trip leader at 934-3769.

Zoo Crew PD Day Camps, March
The Saskatoon Zoo Society is holding PD Day Camps on March 5, 9, and 23.

Eco Network Benefit Concert, March 9
The Saskatchewan Eco Network is hosting a benefit concert for the SEN Environmental Film Festival on March 9 from 8 pm to midnight at PAVED Arts (424-20th Street West). Tickets are $10 and can be purchased on Picatic.

Young Naturalists Owl Ecology, March 9
Meet Spirt, the one-eyed Great Horned Owl, and learn about owl pellets at the Young Naturalists event on Friday, March 9, from 1-2:30 pm.

SEN Environmental Activism Awards
Send your nominations for a Saskatchewan Eco Network Environmental Activist Award to info@econet.sk.ca by March 9.

Seedy Saturday, March 10
CHEP Good Food Inc. is hosting Seedy Saturday, a family-friendly eco fair promoting open pollinated and heirloom seed-saving, biodiversity and sustainable living on Saturday, March 10 from 11 am – 4 pm at E.D. Feehan High School (411 Avenue M North). The event includes 35 exhibits, the SaskTel Mendel Art Caravan for children, lunch, and hourly workshops. Admission is $2; lunch is pay what you can.

Workshop schedule:
11:45 am Saving the Seed, David Rain & Karen Farmer, USC Canada
12:45 pm Bringing Biodiversity to Your Backyard with Wildflowers, Renny Grilz, Blazing Star Wildflowers
1:45 pm Home Composting on the Prairies, Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council
2:45 pm Sustainable Agriculture in Cuba: A Canadian Perspective, Michelle Hubbard

Lake Diefenbaker Source Water Protection
A PhD student researching source water protection of Lake Diefenbaker is having trouble finding participants. Email info@safewater.org if your group would be willing to spend two hours discussing this topic.

Summer Jobs
Crew Leader & Field Technicians, University of Alberta/Environment Canada study on ferruginous hawks and industrial development in Alberta and Saskatchewan
Shell Conservation Intern, Nature Conservancy of Canada – deadline February 24
Hydrology & Water Conservation, Saskatchewan Watershed Authority
Saskatoon Zoo Society (Admissions, Gift Shop, Zoo Train, ice cream sales)

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 February 2012

EcoSask News, February 14, 2012

Permaculture & Sustainable Gardening, February 17 & 18
Rob Avis of Verge Permaculture is leading an intensive workshop on the Fundamentals of Permaculture on Saturday, February 17, from 9 am to 5 pm. The workshop will cover permaculture strategies for energy efficiency, water reduction, nutrient cycling, and food growing. You’ll learn how to create an abundant garden by following a practical philosophy of working with nature. Email the Permaculture Research Institute of Saskatchewan at info@permasask.ca to register.

Rob Avis will also be leading a free discussion on Sustainable Gardening on Friday, February 17, from 7-9 pm at Broadway Theatre.

Craik Curling FUNspiel, February 19
The Craik Sustainable Living Centre is holding a Family Fun Day Curling FUNspiel on Sunday, February 19, at 1 pm. Call Crystal at 734-7737 to register as a team or individual. No curling experience necessary. Healthy snacks and prizes.

Native Prairie Speaker Series, February 22
Saskatchewan Prairie Conservation Action Plan is hosting two presentations on February 22 in Saskatoon.

Darcy Henderson, Canadian Wildlife Service, will provide a technical presentation on The Road Less Travelled...by Rare Plants Looking for a Home from 12:10-12:50 pm in Room 129, Physics Building, University of Saskatchewan.

The public is invited to hear Stuart Houston discuss Turkey Vultures: Parents in Absentia at 7 pm in the Palace Theatre, Western Development Museum.

Student Job Postings, Meewasin Valley Authority
Meewasin Valley Authority has posted a number of student summer job opportunities. Deadline for applications is March 1.

Saskatoon Heritage Society Dinner, March 2
The Saskatoon Heritage Society is holding its annual dinner on Friday, March 2, at the Delta Bessborough. Dr. Ryan Walker will be speaking on Reflections on Saskatoon’s Urban Growth and Changing Concept of Place. Call 717-1791 to obtain tickets.

Wanted: Jane’s Walk Tour Guides
Jane’s Walk celebrates Jane Jacobs’ legacy by getting people out exploring their neighbourhoods and meeting their neighbours. In 2011, 511 walks were held in 75 cities in 15 countries worldwide.

The 2012 Jane’s Walk will be held on May 5 & 6. If you are interested in leading a walk, contact Gord Androsoff (gandrosoff@sasktel.net, 371-8108), Tom Wolf (tom.wolf@sasktel.net, 716-2490), or Dwayne Keir (keir.dwayne@gmail.com, 717-2807).

Gardening Classes, Prairie Master Gardeners
Prairie Master Gardeners enjoy sharing their love of gardening. Below is a list of the classes they will be offering this spring. Take an individual class or sign up for certification as a Master Gardener.

Course fees are $25 per class with an additional charge of $25 to cover supplies for the Floral Design class. The last date to register is the Wednesday before the date of the class.

To register contact: prairie.mastergardeners@gmail.com or phone 651-1457. Payment may be sent to Prairie Master Gardeners c/o 2504 Blain Avenue, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, S7J 2B6.

March 3
9:30 am to 12 noon, Propagation (starting new plants from seed or cuttings)

March 10
9:30 am to 12 noon, Woody Ornamentals (caring for trees and shrubs that thrive in our climate)
1 to 3:30 pm, Floral Design (take home an arrangement you create)

March 17
9:30 am to 12 noon, Soils (components of healthy soil and how to strengthen it)
1 to 3:30 pm, Plants: all you need to know (how plants grow and the role of the environment)

April 14
9:30 am to 12 noon, Vegetables (vegetables that do well in our climate, new varieties and cultivars)
1 to 3:30 pm, Fruits (new SK varieties, what it takes to be a successful fruit grower)

April 21
9:30 am to 12 noon, Plant problems . . . and how to solve them (common plant diseases and garden pests)
1 to 3:30 pm, Composting (feeding your plants without store-bought preparations)

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 9 February 2012

Contents Page

We’ve added a Contents page (see the tab along the top) to make it easier for you to find past EcoFriendly Sask articles.

The Contents are divided up into sections:

  • Authors and Books
  • EcoFriendly Design
  • EcoFriendly Travel and Recreation
  • Energy Conservation
  • Environmental Action and Policy
  • People-Friendly Urban Design
  • Plants and Gardening
  • Wildlife

EcoFriendly Sask is always looking for new story ideas. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have suggestions.

Tuesday 7 February 2012

EcoSask News, February 7, 2012

Green Drinks, February 10
Green Drinks Saskatoon is meeting at 5:30 pm on February 10 in the back room at Amigo’s (10th and Dufferin).

Weir and City Park Birding, February 11
Join the Saskatoon Nature Society from 1-3:30 pm on Saturday, February 11 as they look for waterfowl at the weir and then walk some of City Park’s back alleys looking for songbirds. There will be an optional stop at the end of the afternoon at City Perks. Call the trip leader at 244-1927 for additional information.

Bergs, Bears, and Bowheads, February 16
Blair McCann will be speaking on Bergs, Bears, and Bowheads at the February 16 meeting of the Saskatoon Nature Society. The program begins at 7:30 pm in Room 106, Biology Building, University of Saskatchewan.

RE Art Auction and Closing Reception, February 16
The closing reception and auction for the Permaculture Research Institute of Saskatchewan’s sustainability-focused art exhibition is now scheduled for Thursday, February 16 from 7-10 pm at The Refinery.

Environmental Film Festival Benefit, February 16
The Riversdale Community Association is hosting a steak dinner (vegetarian stir fry option) on Thursday, February 16. Tickets are $20.00 and proceeds will help to support the SEN Environmental Film Festival. Contact Lana at lanalehr@care2.com or any member of the Riversdale Community Association for tickets.

Environment in Focus Photo Challenge, March 1
The Saskatchewan Museums Association is looking for digital photos showing environmental sustainability in action and people living in long-term harmony with the natural world. Selected entries will be featured in the next Museums Association of Saskatchewan’s Museums and Sustainability publication. The overall winner will receive $100 and 2 copies of the publication. Two runners up will each receive $50 and one copy.

Email your submissions to pdcoordinator@saskmuseums.org by March 1, 2002. Full details are available on the Museums Association website.

Wildlife Rehabilitation Training, March 24 &25
The Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Saskatchewan (WRSOS) will be sponsoring the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council’s (IWRC) Basic Wildlife Rehabilitation, Parasitology, Feeding and Nutrition courses in Regina on March 24 & 25. Go to the IWRC website to sign up.

WRSOS will hold a fundraising banquet on the evening of March 24. For more information contact Jan Shadick at 306-652-5975 or at jshadick@sasktel.net.

The Better Good Go GREEN Contest
The Better Good on Broadway Avenue is holding a Go GREEN Contest. Individuals are invited to commit to one act that will benefit the individual and the planet (e.g. eating vegetarian one day a week, walking to work), writing it down on a piece of paper, and dropping it off at The Better Good. At the end of the month, two entries will be drawn, and they’ll receive a Sustainability Kit ($50 value, all items exchangeable for anything in the store).

Go Green Funding
Three Saskatchewan projects recently received provincial government Go Green funding. Eat Healthy Foods will use cold outdoor air to cool their refrigerators and save electricity in winter. The Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan will develop teaching resources focusing on native plants and habitats, and Ground Effects Environmental Services will test ways of reusing industrial waste water.

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 2 February 2012

Small Change Fund: Supporting Grassroots Environmental and First Nations Projects

$10,000 promised to Saskatchewan environmental projects

Every day, Matt and Dave rowed around the Bay of Fundy monitoring for toxic pollutants – an ongoing commitment that would be much easier if they just had a motor for their boat.

But none of the big foundations were interested in funding such a small project.

Fundy Baykeeper, a program of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, turned to Small Change Fund for help and obtained the money they needed - $1,250 – within a week.

Small Change Fund
Mary McGrath and Ruth Richardson have spent many years working for charitable organizations and philanthropic foundations. They were concerned that small grassroots projects had a difficult time obtaining funding. The large foundations weren’t interested in small-scale projects, and the paperwork was overly time-consuming for a small organization. And yet, they knew that local grassroots projects are often the ones that can really make a difference.

In addition, investors’ attitudes were changing. Donors wanted to take a more hands-on approach by choosing the projects they funded and establishing a connection with the people who were out in the field. Mary and Ruth decided to blaze a new trail by establishing Small Change Fund in late 2009.

Small Change Fund (SCF) is a crowd-funding platform that uses the power of the Internet to connect charitable organizations with donors. Organizations that can issue official tax receipts are invited to submit projects (under $5,000) that impact the environment or focus on First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. A network of advisors reviews the projects, ensures that the information is complete, and chooses the most compelling, urgent projects.

Successful projects are posted on the SCF website, and donors from around the world can invest as much or as little as they want in specific projects. The project’s sponsor will receive whatever funding they raise, even if they are unable to raise the full amount. Donations can be made anonymously; tax receipts are provided for donations of $5 and above.

From Fruit Harvesting to Knowledge Transfer
Small Change Fund supports a variety of different projects. Here are two examples:

The Hamilton Fruit Tree Project harvests local, fresh fruit that would otherwise go to waste. The fruit is shared between homeowners, volunteers, and food banks. The project integrates social and environmental issues in a concrete, practical way and raised $2,161 through the SCF site.

A generation ago, the Berger Inquiry played a key role in stopping a gas pipeline on the Mackenzie River. A BC journalist who had participated in the original Inquiry wanted to share her knowledge with young people so that they could apply the historical experience to the current pipeline debate.

In the River Journey, six participants from the original Berger Inquiry travelled down the Mackenzie River, stopping at nine village schools to share their knowledge. The project was fully funded to $4,500.

“It’s been wonderful to see the support for grassroots leaders across Canada,” Dani LaGiglia, SCF’s Program Director says. “We have people in BC giving to groups in Hamilton, ON. It’s surprising how much we do care about each other.”

Building a Canadian Network
Small Change Fund was initiated in 2009 and received its own financial status in 2010. In addition to acting as the intermediary for individual donations, the Fund works with a number of large foundations that do not have the capacity to select and support small grassroots projects. Instead, they delegate this responsibility to Small Change Fund.

The foundation funding supports the staffing and operational costs at SCF, so that all the crowd-sourced funding can be given to the projects, less 10% needed to cover administration and credit card charges.

Small Change Fund has a strong presence in British Columbia, Ontario, the Maritimes and north of 60, but they are eager to expand their network on the Prairies and in Quebec. “It would be a great opportunity for local groups,” Dani says. “We know there is great work happening there, and there aren’t many large foundations operating in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec.

SCF welcomes Saskatchewan community leaders to join their network by getting involved with Small Change Fund. “We’re looking for people who are real leaders in their communities and have experience in the environmental area,” explains Dani LaGiglia. She encourages people to contact SCF if they are interested. “We’re very open,” she says. “We’ll always make time for people who reach out to us.”

$10,000 for Saskatchewan Environmental Projects
There is plenty of incentive for submitting a proposal to Small Change Fund as a Saskatoon resident is offering to invest up to $10,000 in local environmental projects.

“I think the Small Change Fund is a great idea,” he says. “I can choose where my money will go and feel a connection with the projects. I hope to see lots of Saskatchewan environmental projects listed on the Small Change Fund’s website in the very near future.”

If you belong to a Saskatchewan organization with charitable status, do consider submitting a project proposal – funding is available.

How Does Small Change Fund Work?

  1. Submit a project: impacts the environment or focuses on First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples; up to $5,000;
  2. SCF Advisors review and approve the project;
  3. Your project goes on the website;
  4. You and SCF promote the project;
  5. Donors fund projects of their choice;
  6. Your project gets funded, and you report back on your activities.