Tuesday 25 October 2016

EcoSask News, October 25, 2016

White-winged crossbill

Upcoming Events
Native Plant Workshop, Oct. 25 (Regina) 
Natural Urban Landscape is hosting a native plant workshop and seed giveaway at 6 pm, Oct. 25, in Regina.

Challenges of Multiple Species Management, Oct. 26 (SK)
Samantha Fischer will talk about the Challenges of multiple species management: Effects of cattle grazing and resting rangeland on songbird abundance in the mixed-grass prairie at 7:30 pm, Oct. 26, at Val Marie. The presentation is part of PCAP-SK’s Native Prairie Speaker Series.

Trevor Herriot Book Launch, Oct. 27 (Regina)
Trevor Herriot is launching his latest book, Towards a Prairie Atonement, from 7-9 pm, Oct. 27, at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, Regina.

For more book suggestions, check our list of Saskatchewan nature and environment books.

Big, Flat & Beautiful, Oct. 26-Nov. 24 (Saskatoon)
A. Elizabeth Muirhead offers an unapologetic ode to the prairies in her fibre art exhibit in The Gallery, Frances Morrison Library, Oct. 26-Nov. 24.

Hallowe’en at the Creek, Oct. 29 (Saskatoon)
Take in a special Hallowe’en celebration at Beaver Creek Conservation area from 6-11:30 pm, Oct. 29.

Pet a Porcupine, Oct. 30 (Saskatoon) 
Pet Georgia, a friendly North American porcupine, from 1-2 pm, Oct. 30, at Wild Birds Unlimited.

Saskatchewan’s Hydro Option, Nov. 2 (Saskatoon)
Naomi Christianen, Canada West Foundation, will discuss Saskatchewan’s hydro option at the Nov. 2 meeting of the SK Energy Management Task Force.

Fence Marking at Grasslands, Nov. 7-9 (SK)
Grasslands National Park is looking for volunteers to attach markers along the fence line from Nov. 7-9. Contact Danielle.Grant@pc.gc.ca for additional information.

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). 

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

Tuesday 11 October 2016

EcoSask News, October 11, 2016


Upcoming Events
Liveable YXE Mayoral Forum, Oct. 12 (Saskatoon)
Liveable YXE is hosting a mayoral forum on Oct. 12 at the Frances Morrison Library. Council candidates will be available prior to the forum to answer questions.

Liveable YXE has released a Candidates’ Report Card outlining their responses to a wide variety of questions, including climate change, environment, active and public transportation.

Northeast Swale Watchers, Oct. 13 (Saskatoon)
Kenton Lysak, Meewasin Valley Authority, will speak on light pollution in Saskatoon and its effect on wildlife at the Northeast Swale Watchers’ meeting from 5-6:30 pm, Oct. 13.

Meet Batrick & Elizabat, Oct. 15 (Saskatoon)
Melanie Elliot will introduce two of her educational bats, Batrick and Elizabat, at 11 am, Oct. 15, at Wild Birds Unlimited.

Household Hazardous Waste Day, Oct. 15 (Saskatoon)
You can dispose of household hazardous waste (e.g. light bulbs, aerosols, fuels) at the SaskTel Centre from 9 am – 3:30 pm, Oct. 15.

fishing spider

Insects We Meet, Oct. 17 (Regina)
Nature Regina members Fran Kerbs and Kim Mann will describe their experiences photographing and identifying bugs and provide useful resources at Nature Regina’s meeting at 7:30 pm, Oct. 17.

Save Energy - at Home and at Work, Oct. 18 (Saskatoon)
Angie Bugg, SES Energy Conservation Coordinator, will offer numerous actions you can take to save energy, water, and greenhouse gas emissions, both at home and at work, at 7 pm, Oct. 18, at the Frances Morrison Library.

Striking Balance Film Premiere, Oct. 19 (SK)
Striking Balance, a documentary TV series exploring Canada’s biosphere reserves will premiere in Hafford at 7 pm, Oct. 19.

Minimalism, Oct. 20 (Saskatoon)
Watch Minimalism: A Documentary about the Important Things at the Roxy Theatre, Oct. 20, as part of Waste Reduction Week, and meet people who are striving to live meaningful lives with less.

Snowy Owl Wintering Ecology, Oct. 20
Alexander Chang will talk about snowy owl wintering ecology at the Oct. 20 meeting of the Saskatoon Nature Society.

Reflection of Nature Art Show and Sale, Oct. 21-23 (Saskatoon)
The Reflections of Nature Art Show & Sale will showcase over 500 pieces of art from around 200 North American artists, carvers, sculptors and photographers (primarily from Western Canada) at Prairieland Park, Oct. 21-23.

Fault Lines Book Launch, Oct. 24 (Saskatoon)
Turning the Tide Bookstore is hosting a book launch for Fault Lines: Life and Landscape in Saskatchewan’s Oil Economy by Valerie Zink and Emily Eaton at 7 pm, Oct. 24. Fault Lines captures the complexities of engagement, ambivalence, and resistance in communities living amid oil.

For more book suggestions, check our list of Saskatchewan nature and environment books.

Saskatoon Nature Society Field Trips
Oct. 22, 1-5 pm – Glenburn Park, Radisson Lake & Fall Supper
Oct. 30, 9-10:30 am – Sanatorium Site Bird Walk
Nov. 5, 9 am-4 pm – Blackstrap Lake Birding
Check the Saskatoon Nature Society’s website for full details and updated information.

Nature Regina Field Trips
Oct. 15, 9 am-3:30 pm – Lakeside Trail, Regina Beach
Check Nature Regina’s website for full details and updated information.

Outdoor Education (Saskatoon)
Lichen Nature is now offering consultations and workshops for teachers who would like to bring their students outside more often. The consultation includes mapping out all potential destinations for outdoor experiential education in your neighbourhood, lesson plan outlines, personal support so that the class can be split into smaller groups for a deeper (and quieter) experience, and long-term planning for integrating seasonal ecological literacy.

The EcoFriendly Sask family is going on holidays so we'll be publishing on a reduced schedule over the next few weeks. The next issue of EcoSask News will be published on October 25.

You can follow EcoFriendly Sask by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, or by email (top right corner). A full list of upcoming events can be found on the EcoFriendly Sask Calendar

Wednesday 5 October 2016

Why Should We Care for Planet Earth?

Student Action for a Sustainable Future 2015-16 - Grade 8 Inquiry Unit, St. George School

Student Action for a Sustainable Future involves students in Grades 5 to 8 in projects that reduce classroom, school, and household greenhouse gas emissions. A year-end showcase provides students with an opportunity to highlight the results of their projects and to demonstrate what’s possible in terms of sustainable action. The program is sponsored by the City of Saskatoon, Saskatoon Public Schools, Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools, the Saskatchewan Environmental Society, SERI, and several other community partners.

The Grade 8 students at St. George School took on 7 different projects as part of the 2015-2016 program. EcoFriendly Sask supported their efforts with a $500 EcoFriendly Action Grant.

The deadline for teachers to apply for the 2016-2017 program is October 7, 2016.

Students developed projects that would (1) reduce greenhouse gases and (2) bring about change in their target group. Their teacher, Ryan McAllister, reported on their results.

Lights Out Campaign in School 
The group calculated energy and greenhouse gases that could be saved/reduced by turning off approximately half the light bulbs in each classroom for the period of a day. They then extrapolated their results across a week, month, and year.

Their calculations indicated that they saved 82,000,000 watts in a month ≈ $105 ≈ 900kg greenhouse gases.

Water Bottles for Every Student
The group calculated water saved by giving each student in the school a water bottle and encouraged the school to only use those water bottles rather than drinking out of water fountains. They performed this project for a week then were able to extrapolate the results to cover a longer time frame.

By reading the water meter before and during their action plans, they got their results. Saved ≈ 21,000 liters of water over a week (“results may be skewed on this one”)

Eliminating Plastic Bags in the School
The group placed containers in each classroom to gather all the plastic bags used in student lunches so they could be recycled. They educated the school about not using so many or any bags at all and also provided alternative options. They calculated bags saved and reduced.

Pre-audit found 90 bags in garbage in one day. Post audit, there were only 35 bags in the garbage, 40 in the recycle bin, and a total of 15 less bags used in a day. (“a lot more potential success with this program”)

Composting at School
This group brought someone in to speak about vermi-composting who gave a “how-to” lesson on setting up and taking care of their own vermi-composting bin. The students also promoted composting food scraps rather than throwing them out. They calculated the amount of compostable food before and then after getting the compost bins.

Pre-audit found 32 lbs of garbage in school in one day. Of that, 14 lbs was compostable waste. The students were unable to set up functional compost bins in every class but did so in their own class and basically eliminated all their class’s compostable waste (≈ 2-5 lbs/week).

Water Usage at Home 
The group surveyed water usage in the homes of all the school’s students and asked the students in their class to change their water behaviour for one week (e.g. shower and bath lengths and times a week, washer usage, and sink tap usage).

They found that ≈ 400,000 liters of water were used in a week in grades 5-8. Their class was able to save ≈ ¼ of that in their action plan week.

Native & Endangered Plant Awareness 
This group focused their attention on raising awareness due to the limits on what could be planted in their school yard. They handed out several surveys and talked to classes to educate them. The group learnt how difficult is to create and make change on this issue. They discovered how much of the city has empty parks full of grass and about all the hoops that need to be jumped through to do something as simple as planting a few plants. As a result, the group purchased grow lights and garden boxes.

No More Idling 
The group carried out audits over four weeks while educating their fellow students. In week 1 pre-audit, 18,060 ml of gas was wasted. By week 2, the amount had decreased to approximately one third (6,360 ml) and it was down to 3,060 ml by week 4.

Benefits of an Action Grant
“From a personal standpoint what I noticed from my class in comparison to the other groups at the Showcase and in general is that my students took their projects very seriously and did amazing work,” says teacher Ryan McAllister.

“They did not simply research and theorize but rather went into the school and community of St. George to test and solve their hypotheses. They performed pre-audits and surveys, put into action their plans, and did post-audits, all of which made their projects very rewarding and successful.

“A lot of groups had ideas and made posters, but our school really went into great detail and each student brought so much to their projects. This would not have been possible without the extra funding to help them put together the necessary action plans. Without the funding, the groups would not have been able to weigh their garbage and composted material, gather compost and plastic bags, and bring awareness to all the great ideas.”

See also: Student Action for a Sustainable Future 2014-2015

Tuesday 4 October 2016

EcoSask News, October 4, 2016

moon through trees

Upcoming Events
From the Ground Up, Wednesdays (Saskatoon) 
Climate Justice Saskatoon is hosting a weekly spot on CFCR Radio on Wednesdays at 6:30 pm.

Continuous, Oct. 7 – Nov. 19 (Saskatoon)
Take a walk through a giant paper beehive filled with the sights, smells, and sounds of an active hive during Monique Martin’s exhibit at the Saskatchewan Craft Council from Oct. 7-Nov. 19. A public reception will be held at 7 pm, Oct. 21.

Starlight at Sunrise, Oct. 11 (Regina)
The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada – Regina Centre will describe the basics of astronomy at 7:30 pm, Oct. 11, at the Sunrise Branch, Regina Public Library. If skies are clear, participants will have a chance to use the club’s telescopes.

Campus Sustainability Week, Oct. 11-14 (Saskatoon)
The University of Saskatchewan is holding a wide variety of events during Campus Sustainability Week:
Oct. 11 - Climate Friendly Zone Local Action Workshop
Oct. 12 - Dr. Danny Blair, University of Winnipeg, will talk about climate change’s upcoming impacts on Saskatchewan and how we can best adapt to our new climate from 1:30-2:30 pm. At 3:30 pm, Dr. Doerthe Tetzlaff, Chair in Hydrology and Landscape Ecology at the University of Aberdeen, will speak about how water interacts with the landscape around it and what that means for ecosystems.
Oct. 13 - Loraas Materials Recovery Facility Tour (advance registration is required)

Nature Moose Jaw, Oct. 14 (Moose Jaw)
Allan Smith, a naturalist who has done extensive work in southern Saskatchewan, will be speaking at 7 pm, Oct. 14, at Nature Moose Jaw’s meeting in the Eaton Building (Moose Jaw & District Seniors Citizens’ Association).

Sunset & grass, Saskatoon riverbank

Looking Ahead
Indigenous Water Forum, Oct. 27-28 (Saskatoon)
Indigenous Water Forum: Strategies for Community Drinking Water is being held on Oct. 27 and 28 at the Dakota Dunes Casino. The purpose of the forum is to make recommendations for action-oriented strategies to achieve safe drinking water in First Nations communities.

FNPA Energy Forum, Nov. 16 (Saskatoon)
First Nations Power Authority is hosting a one-day First Nation Renewable Energy in Saskatchewan Forum on Nov. 16 in Saskatoon. The Forum will focus on renewable energy power development opportunities in Saskatchewan, successful First Nation partnerships, and funding options for power projects.

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

In the News
Cities have begun installing high-intensity blue LED street lights, but the American Medical Association says they disturb sleep rhythms and can increase the risk of serious health problems. Let’s hope that Saskatoon follows the example of other municipalities that are choosing lower-intensity LED lights that cause less problems for humans and wildlife.

Sweden has proposed an incentive program that will reward citizens who choose to repair their consumer goods rather than throw them out.

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).