Thursday 6 February 2014

Impacts of Climate Change on the South Saskatchewan Watershed

The Outdoor School in Saskatoon, with support from EcoFriendly Sask and the Saskatchewan Environmental Society, went on a trip to Lake Louise to explore the question, “How will climate change affect the South Saskatchewan River system?”.

Students completing their first semester of grade 11 had researched the area's eco-region and watersheds, including glaciations, geography, biology, ecology, and wildlife management. The plan was to ski into a back country hut at Lake O'Hara and present their research there; however, avalanche conditions and road closures prevented that plan. Instead, students skied and snowshoed in the Lake Louise area, including the Tramline, Lake Agnes, and Moraine Lake trails.

Erin McVittie and Mitch Lowe (their teachers), along with Iain Phillips from the Saskatchewan Water Security Agency, taught and travelled with these engaged young people. Learning about our environment and how pollutants can both collect in high alpine areas and contaminate downstream watersheds, including Saskatoon, was a key area of learning.

The Outdoor School's mandate is to engage student in learning in the best place possible and, with the help of EcoFriendly Sask, students got to do just that. When students are immersed in outdoor learning, they are more passionate and inspired to make a difference in the world around them. Outdoor School aims to create environmental leaders for tomorrow and these young people can create change with the knowledge and passion that they have gained.

All in all, it was a successful trip, despite the weather.

Erin McVittie 
Saskatoon Public Schools