Thursday 28 June 2012

Meadow Lake Junior Forest Wardens

Pagan Lake Clean-Up

by the Meadow Lake Junior Forest Wardens

If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound? Well, cleaning them up does!

After last summer’s weather, our walking trail at Pagan Lake was disastrous. Tree trunks lay across the walkway; information signs were lost in the debris; in some spots, you couldn’t even see the path. Armed with chainsaws, pruning shears, axes and a lot of determination, our volunteers worked hours to make the path accessible.

Once again, kids of all ages can enjoy the trail to observe the beautiful wildlife and breathtaking nature.

The interpretive trail was established in 2000 by the Meadow Lake Junior Forest Wardens (JFW) with assistance from the Meadow Lake Wildlife Federation. The signs give information on various animals, birds and plants common to the area.

Every spring, the Meadow Lake Junior Forest Wardens clean up the Pagan Lake campground. Our club officially adopted the Pagan Lake Recreation Area in 1998, with an official agreement with Sask Parks.

The site was to be closed due to constant vandalism. Our involvement (including large signs, annual events, and litter cleanup) has helped curb the problems, and the site has remained open for many to enjoy.

This year we had approximately 40 helpers, over half under 16. Forestry and ecology are two of the pillars of our family outdoor club. Activities in the outdoors which help the environment are one of the favorite pursuits of the kids!

Over the years we have installed numerous nesting boxes (mainly duck boxes) around the lake – some supplied by Ducks Unlimited, some built by us. At this event, we added another 15 JFW-made bird houses to the habitat.

We would like to thank EcoFriendly Sask for sponsoring our campground cleanup. We share a love of nature. Our JFW pledge is “As one who believes in the aim of the Junior Forest Wardens, I pledge myself and my services to the appreciation and responsible use of our forests, wildlife and natural heritages.”

Junior Forest Wardens is an exciting and educational opportunity for young people and their families to have fun, develop skills, and get educated in the many and diverse aspects of our natural environment. Interested in starting you own local club? For more information about our club or one in your area, please visit

The Meadow Lake Junior Forest Wardens received an EcoFriendly Action Grant in May 2012. EcoFriendly Action Grants are provided on a monthly basis to support small, local environmental projects.

Tuesday 26 June 2012

EcoSask News, June 26, 2012

Sage grouse and water, fruit-shaped bus stops and garden sculptures - there's something for everyone in this week's edition of EcoSaskNews

Hort Week, July 7-13
Hort Week, organized by the Centre for Continuing and Distance Education, includes an impressive array of workshops and activities – from constructing hypertufa containers and garden sculpture to identifying insects and garden tours. There is a free Sunday night lecture on Creating Privacy in your Garden.

Sage Grouse Numbers Drop by Half 
18 male sage grouse were counted in Saskatchewan in 2012 – less than half of the 42 recorded in the last count in 2010. In Alberta, only 13 males were counted – the same number as in 2011. The birds have been listed as endangered since 1998. The Alberta Wilderness Association says the grouse abandon their leks (mating grounds) when confronted with oil and gas development. Other challenges include human activity, weather, habitat change, and West Nile virus. Alberta Environment is attempting to bolster the Alberta population with birds from Montana, but this will take time.

Stress Points: Water & Economic Growth
Stress Points: An Overview of Water & Economic Growth in Western Canada, published by the Canada West Foundation, points out that a series of water challenges are beginning to emerge in Western Canada, encompassing water quality, quantity, and the effects of economic development on communities and aquatic ecosystems. The paper highlights some of the difficult decisions we face, such as whether water should be allocated based upon its economic value.

Food Access
Food is a basic necessity of life. Here are 10 steps that local governments can take to plan for healthier, more sustainable local and regional food systems.

Community Pastures
A woman who lived for several years in cattle country writes a moving letter about the value of community pastures: Community pastures: “a vital support for rural communities”

Making Transit Fun! 
Making Transit Fun: How to entice motorists from their cars (and onto their feet, a bike, or bus) is an ebook from Darrin Nordahl. Examples from around the world range from bus stops that look like fruit to music-filled buses with skylights. Portland held a Streetcar Mobile Music Fest last year: 8 bands, 6 streetcars, 3 hours of fun. (via Making Public Transport Fun)

EcoSask News is a weekly round-up of local news and events. Email us if you have items you would like us to include. A listing of upcoming events can be found on our Calendar.

Follow EcoFriendly Sask by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, or by email (top right hand corner).

Friday 22 June 2012

EcoFriendly Action Grants - June 2012

EcoFriendly Sask has awarded three EcoFriendly Action Grants for June 2012.

Bike Valet, Saskatoon Cycles ($350) – The Bike Valet has been a popular feature of Saskatoon summer festivals for several years, providing residents with an opportunity to cycle to the Jazz Festival or Taste of Saskatchewan and be assured that their bicycle is safely stowed until it’s needed for the ride home.

This year, Saskatoon Cycles is operating the Bike Valet, and they are trying to extend coverage to as many events as possible. EcoFriendly Sask sponsored the Bike Valet at the Civic Pancake Breakfast on June 21, and both Andrew and Shelley McKinlay took advantage of the service to store their bikes while enjoying  some pancakes.

Cypress Hills TRoutreach Fisheries Research 2012 ($350) – A group of university students has initiated TRoutreach, a trout research and conservation project in Cypress Hills. They are developing tools to monitor the consequences of habitat degradation on the forage available for stream trout and measuring the ecosystem’s health.

In addition, they are conducting large-scale assessments of the impact of trout habitat restoration projects in the Cypress Hills on the biodiversity of aquatic organisms in order to identify streams and reaches that are suited to conservation and enhancement.

TRoutreach has also planned an active outreach program. School groups will be invited to visit the site and to experience firsthand the importance of conservation and fisheries research. The results of the research will be presented to the media and to provincial sports fishing groups. The project is being carried out in collaboration with the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, the University of Saskatchewan, and the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority. The EcoFriendly Action Grant will help to cover transportation costs.

Upper Souris Watershed Awareness Initiative ($350) – The Upper Souris Watershed Association is a non-profit organization whose mandate is to improve the quality and quantity of water within the Upper Souris watershed.

The grant from EcoFriendly Sask will help to support a public awareness campaign in Estevan and the surrounding area.

The Association plans to publish water facts focusing on water conservation and watershed awareness through radio spots and weekly newspaper articles as well as their newsletter and website. They plan to match the grant with additional in-kind and cash donations.

EcoFriendly Sask offers monthly EcoFriendly Action Grants of up to $500 to support local environmental initiatives. Tell us about your project and explain how you will use the grant and how it will benefit the environment. We review applications mid-month, so apply early and be prepared to wait for your application to be considered. 

CNYC Bike Power & Bike Laundry ($1500) – In January, EcoFriendly Sask published an article about Small Change Fund and encouraged Saskatchewan groups to apply for a grant. The Core Neighbourhood Youth Coop (CNYC), a skills building and alternative education program for youth in Saskatoon, did just that. CNYC is asking for $5,000 to support their Bike Power & Bike Laundry project. EcoFriendly Sask has made a donation to get the ball rolling. Now it’s your turn to support our local youth.

Tuesday 19 June 2012

EcoSask News, June 19, 2012

Cycle to the Civic Pancake Breakfast, follow the Bluebird Trail, research green jobs and wastewater - all this and more in EcoSask News 

Field Trips 
Saskatoon Nature Society Field Trips 
Join the Saskatoon Nature Society on one of their field trips. Full information is available on their website.
  • June 23 – Look for birds and explore the Donna Birkmaier Park, one of Saskatoon’s newest and largest naturalized parks. 
  • June 24 – Catch some butterflies, have a good look, and then release them. Trip may be cancelled if weather is poor. 
  • July 1 – Put on your boots and your insect repellent and go looking for orchids and other bog wildflowers. 
  • July 7 – North American Butterfly Count (if raining, will be postponed to July 8) 
  • July 15 – dragonflies and damselflies 

Bluebird Trail 
Join Greg Fenty and the Young Naturalists as they monitor the bluebirds and tree swallows along the Bluebird Trail on June 25, June 27, July 4, or July 18. Call 975-3042, or email for more information.

Eco Tour to HELP International, July 11 & 12
Join the Saskatchewan Outdoor and Environmental Education Association at HELP International near Weyburn and experience firsthand some of the development issues in Canada and Africa.

Native Prairie Appreciation Week, June 17-23 
It’s Native Prairie Appreciation Week. Be sure to Get Out and Smell the Prairies.

CNYC Bike Powered Bike Laundry 
Saskatoon’s Core Neighbourhood Youth Co-op (CNYC) is looking for donations on Small Change Fund to support a bike powered bike laundry. EcoFriendly Sask has donated $1500. CNYC is looking for an additional $3500.

St. Joseph Green Guardians
The St. Joseph High School Green Guardians Environmental Club held the official opening of their new organic garden on June 15. The students have been collecting and composting food waste and have set up an impressive rainwater harvest system. They are using windmills, cayenne pepper, and other green approaches to protect their seedlings from Richardson ground squirrels and other garden pests.

There are currently six raised beds, but the students are eager to expand the garden with more beds, fruit trees, benches, and a solar panel to power the irrigation system.

Bike Valet 
EcoFriendly Sask is pleased to sponsor the Saskatoon Cycles Bike Valet at the Civic Pancake Breakfast on Thursday, June 21, from 7 to 10:30 pm in front of the Frances Morrison Library.

The Bike Valet will be offering their services at many upcoming events. So ride your bike and leave the car at home.

U of S Needs Bike Lanes 
In a letter to the editor, Bob Patrick points out that there are no bike lanes on any approach to campus or on the campus itself.

Wildlife Rehabilitation Society, June 27 / July 7 
The Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Saskatchewan is holding volunteer orientation events on June 27 in Regina and on July 7 in Saskatoon. Additional information can be found on their website.

A Green Industrial Revolution 
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has released a report on the green industrial revolution. The report contends that accelerated oil and gas extraction will boost profits but won’t drive major employment gains. In contrast, a commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions could lead to new jobs, innovation, and improved health.

North Dakota Oil Boom: Damage & Prosperity
As a result of natural gas drilling, North Dakota ranks second behind only Texas in US oil output. The downside is millions of gallons of salty, chemical-infused wastewater. It is supposed to be disposed of far underground, but state regulators acknowledge that companies are dumping truckloads of toxic fluid illegally.

EcoSask News is a weekly round-up of local news and events. Email us if you have items you would like us to include. A complete listing of all upcoming events can be found on our Calendar.

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

Friday 15 June 2012

We wish you were here in Saskatchewan - to have fun outdoors!

Saskatoon and Saskatchewan offer a wide range of outdoor adventures. Be sure to visit!

Cycle along Saskatoon’s riverbank on the Meewasin Valley trails. Be sure to visit the pelicans at the weir. Stop for an ice cream cone at River Landing.

Visit Saskatoon’s Northeast Swale, ancient river valley, urban nature reserve.

Spring is a great time to visit the Saskatoon Zoo and Forestry Farm as there are lots of baby animals. Ask one of the Saskatoon Zoo Society members to show you around.

Check out some of our community gardens. Or give Wally Satzewich, the co-founder of SPIN farming, a call and visit one of his urban farm plots.

Visit Mistik Acres, a flower farm on the Prairies, just outside of Saskatoon.

Canoe the Bagwa Loop in Prince Albert National Park. Maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of a beaver or hear the haunting cry of the loon.

If you’re here in the spring or fall, be sure to visit Last Mountain Lake Bird Sanctuary. The sheer number of birds passing through our province is spectacular.

Enjoy the night skies at Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park. There’s an observatory and a resident astronomer in the summer.

While you’re there, take a ride on the zipline with Cypress Hills Eco-Adventures

#WeWishYouWereHere     #Saskatchewan

Thursday 14 June 2012

Native Prairie Appreciation Week, June 17-23, 2012

The Prairies have a quiet, understated beauty, but they are often under-appreciated. Native Prairie Appreciation Week is an opportunity to explore and enjoy the land beneath our feet.

What is Native Prairie?
Over 10,000 years ago, the Wisconsin glacier which had blanketed most of Saskatchewan began to melt and retreat, leaving in its place rolling plains interspersed with lakes, ponds, and rivers. A harsh climate along with periodic fires and grazing animals created a unique environment with a range of plants and animals that were uniquely suited to the land.

At first glance, the grass-covered landscape looks uniform and unchanging. But, look a little closer, and you discover hundreds of different plants and wildflowers. Saskatoon berries and wild onions can be harvested for food, while the red prairie lily and crocus are vibrant exclamation marks.

Wake Up and Smell the Prairies
As more and more people settled on the Prairies, the land was cultivated and developed, destroying much of the native prairie habitat. Only 17% of native prairie still remains to be enjoyed and protected.

The Saskatchewan Prairie Conservation Action Plan (SK PCAP), along with its partners, encourages us to take advantage of Native Prairie Appreciation Week from June 17 to 23 to get out and smell the prairies.

Here are some suggestions:

Tuesday 12 June 2012

EcoSask News, June 12, 1212

Sustainability, pipelines, pesticides, butterflies, birds, and play 
- all this and more in EcoSask News 

State of the Art in Sustainability, June 16
The Saskatchewan Eco-Network is holding its annual general meeting on June 16 from 1-5 pm at aodbt architecture + interior design, 235 Avenue D North. At 1 pm, Dr. Sean Connelly will host a session entitled “State of the Art in Sustainability.”

Twitter Storm, June 18
Organizations around the world are planning a 24-hour Twitter storm on June 18 to urge world leaders at Rio+20 to agree to end fossil fuel subsidies. Figures compiled by Oil Change International indicate that countries jointly spend as much as $1 trillion dollars annually on fossil fuel subsidies.

The Corporate Knights’ Green Provincial Report Card gave Saskatchewan a failing grade, naming it the worst ecological laggard in Canada due to high energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

The federal government recently agreed to give Saskatchewan control over how it cuts greenhouse gas emissions at its coal-fired power plants.

Policing SK Pipelines
As Alberta mops up after a pipeline break that forced some residents to evacuate, Saskatchewan’s auditor says that the provincial government is not doing enough to police the pipelines that crisscross our province.

There are 23,500 kilometres of licensed pipelines in Saskatchewan, a quarter of which are more than 40 years old. In addition, there are 68,000 unregulated flowlines connecting a wellhead to a storage facility, with up to 4,000 more being added each year.

Pesticides and Children 
The City of Regina’s Environmental Advisory Committee has rejected a ban on cosmetic (non-essential) pesticides. The Committee made the decision before holding discussions with the Saskatchewan Environmental Society and the Canadian Cancer Society who have been pushing for the change. The Cancer Society says that there is growing evidence linking pesticides and cancer, particularly in children.

The City of Saskatoon hasn’t sprayed for dandelions since 1994 and supports the Saskatchewan Environmental Society and the Saskatoon Environmental Advisory Committee in their efforts to get the word out about alternatives to spraying.

The Environmental Society has an extensive collection of publications on this topic on their website.

Mining near the Athabasca Basin, June 27
Areva Resources is proposing to mine and mill ore from a uranium deposit near the eastern margin of the Athabasca Basin. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is inviting the public to comment on the report by June 27, 2012.

Permaculture Potluck, June 14
Doug Weatherbie will speak on the importance of living soils at the Permaculture Research Institute of Saskatchewan’s monthly potluck at 6 pm on June 14.

Nature Play Day, June 15
Make a date with your family and friends to play outside and connect with nature on Nature Play Day, Friday, June 15.

Monarch Butterfly Workshop, July 10 & 11
A two-day workshop for educators on Teaching and Learning with Monarch Butterflies will be offered in Regina on July 10 and 11.

Bird Monitors
Important Bird Areas (IBA) is an international program to monitor sites that provide essential habitat for bird populations. Volunteer caretakers watch for changes in bird populations, report conservation threats, and raise awareness.

Saskatchewan has 33 volunteer caretakers but needs more. Why not volunteer a day or two a year to visit one of the following sites: Big Muddy Lake (& surroundings); Cabri Area, Coteau Lakes, Cumberland Marshes, Grasslands National Park - East and West Blocks, Landis Lake, Manitou Lakes Area, Primrose Lake, Quill Lakes, South Saskatchewan River (Empress to Lancer Ferry), and Suggi Lake.

For further information, contact Deanna at

EcoSask News is a weekly round-up of local news and events. Email us if you have items you would like us to include. A complete listing of all upcoming events can be found on our Calendar.

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

Tuesday 5 June 2012

EcoSask News, June 5, 2012

Visit the Northeast Swale, have an Art Trek Cycling Adventure, find out about muncipal wind turbines, or repair your own bike. All this and more in EcoSask News! 

Art Trek Cycling Adventure, June 8
Saskatoon Cycles is hosting the first-ever urban studio art trek and cycling adventure on Friday, June 8 from 5-10 pm. The tour is led by Cathy Watts, Saskatoon Cycles co-president. You can join the group at any of the stops. There will be refreshments at each of the venues.

Swale of a Day
Be sure to visit the Northeast Swale on June 10 and take one of the guided tours. See and hear the birds, discover the native plants, or go on an ecosystem tour featuring the wildlife, geography, cultural heritage, and pond dipping. Enjoy a free lunch provided by the Saskatoon Wildlife Federation. (recipient of an EcoFriendly Action Grant)

Redberry Lake Music Jam, June 10
Starting at noon on Sunday, June 10, it’s the 3rd Annual Back to the Bowl, Redberry Lake Music Jam. Sign up to reserve a campsite. Food will be available from the concession.

Municipal Wind Turbine Projects, June 13 
Kevin Hudson, Saskatoon Light & Power, will discuss the process for developing municipal wind turbine projects at 7 pm on June 13 at the Cliff Wright Library Auditorium. It's Getting Windy Out There: An Overview on Municipal Wind Turbine Projects is sponsored by the Saskatchewan Environmental Society and the Saskatoon Public Library.

Nature Saskatchewan Spring Meet, June 15-17
Nature Saskatchewan is holding their Spring Meet in Prince Albert from June 15 to 17. Participants can choose between five different tours in addition to displays and early morning nature walks.

Parkland Bioblitz, June 17 
Join the Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan as they conduct a bioblitz of a parcel of privately-owned native parkland near Shell Lake. The property owner wants to more fully understand the diversity on his property and how to manage it.

Core Neighbourhood Youth Co-op
The Core Neighbourhood Youth Co-op (CNYC) is running a Bike Shop from 10 am – 4 pm, Monday to Friday, June 25 to August 24. Repair your own bike or help someone else with theirs.

Attend CNYC’s Vermicomposting workshop on June 13, make a Garden Box on July 4 or Guerilla Seed Balls on August 1. Call Ben at 665-3889 to sign up.

CNYC also offers woodworking courses, a summer garden program, and a summer youth program.

Beaver Pond Room, Beaver Creek 
Heavy rains in 2010 destroyed the interpretive beaver pond room at the Beaver Creek Conservation Area. The room has now been rebuilt, and there is a new accessible trail thanks to several major donations.

Interesting Reading 
EcoSask News is a weekly round-up of local news and events. Email us if you have items you would like us to include. A complete listing of all upcoming events can be found on our Calendar.

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

Monday 4 June 2012