Tuesday 26 December 2017

Nature's Boxing Day Specials

Graybar grunts
Graybar Grunts produce a grunting sound by grinding their teeth
“The lasting pleasures of contact with the natural world are not reserved for scientists but are available to anyone who will place himself under the influence of earth, sea, and sky, and their amazing life.” (Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder)

Explore, Admire, Learn
Papiliones, Jonathan Bradley – “butterflies are part of the poetry of nature” – 33 poems about butterflies

Urban Biodiversity: From Research to Practice, Alessandro Ossola & Jari Niemela (eds.) – Interdisciplinary science-based information for urban biodiversity management – rewilding, urban agriculture, engaging the public


Klamath – “Ancient forests of the Klamath Mountains survive as a vivid living window into life’s long history on earth. They are one of a few remaining in the world home to great troves of the ideas life has conjured over 3.8 billion years of evolution.” Watch online (55 minutes): KS Film or Vimeo

River Blue – exploring the impact the fashion industry has on the world’s major rivers and calling for change from top fashion brands – now available on iTunes and dotstudiopro

Forest Man – “Majuli islander Jadav Payeng has been planting trees in order to save his island. To date he has single handedly planted a forest larger than Central Park NYC. His forest has transformed what was once a barren wasteland into a lush oasis.” Watch online (16 minutes) on YouTube

Christmas tree worms
Christmas tree worms filter out tiny plants and animals by pumping water up and over their crowns

Changing the World - Through Science, Art, and Conversation
Citizen Science
Submit a photograph and iNaturalist can now help you identify over 20,000 species. Got one that stumps the computer? That’s great as it will help increase the system’s capacity.

London’s Natural History Museum has been collecting specimens for over 250 years and has about 35 million insects in its collection. They’ve developed Inselect, software that rapidly catalogues and categorizes images digitally. It’s open source and available for anyone to use.

Disruptive Artists
Faviana Rodriguez: “Artists help us imagine how things can look different and they can help tell a story of the future. . . . Problems are often a consequence of habit and of systemic ways of working. Artists can disrupt those habits or those systemic ways by showing complexity and by actually shining a light on what’s really happening, which helps people change focus.”

Hold a Party
Climate for Change is an Australian not-for-profit helping “people who care about climate change have better discussions about why they care with the people they care about.” Hosts invite friends to a conversation with a trained facilitator and guests are invited to take action against climate change. One conversation leads to another.

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 19 December 2017

EcoSask News, December 19, 2017

Cedar Waxwing parent feeding juvenile

Upcoming Events
Wildlife Photography (webinar) 
John Marriott, wildlife photographer, talks about ethics, advocacy, and his new book, Tall Tales, Long Lenses: My Adventures in Photography, on a Fur-Bearers’ webinar.

Islands of Grass, Jan. 2 (Saskatoon) 
Branimir Gjetvaj will show images from Islands of Grass at the 7 pm, Jan. 2, meeting of the Saskatoon Camera Club.

Corporate & Industrial Waste, Jan. 3 (Saskatoon) 
Brenda Wallace, City of Saskatoon, will discuss Corporate and Industrial Waste in Saskatoon at the Jan. 3 meeting of the Saskatchewan Energy Management Task Force.

Looking Ahead 
Skills for Social Change, Jan. 12 & 13 (Swift Current) 
Next Up Saskatchewan is offering two workshops in Swift Current:

6:30-9 pm, Jan. 12 - Building Community Connections: A Gathering for People Committed to Social & Environmental Justice

10 am-5 pm, Jan. 13 - Storytelling Workshop: How to Speak about Social Change so People will Listen

Living in the Landscape, Feb. 7 (Saskatoon) 
Join PCAP-SK for an evening celebration of prairie stewardship with keynote speaker Sharon Butala on Feb. 7 in Saskatoon. Registration is required. This event is in conjunction with the Native Prairie Restoration and Reclamation Workshop.

Bohemian Waxwings

Saskatoon Nature Society
Saskatoon Young Naturalists 
Feb. 3, 1-2:30 pm – Chickadee Pishing
Mar. 17, 1-3 pm – Owl Pellet Dissection
Space is limited; register early to avoid disappointment.

Other Saskatoon Nature Society Field Trips
Jan. 7, 9-10:30 am – Sanatorium Site Bird Walk
Jan. 20-21 – Beauval Area Winter Birding Trip (members only, email trips@saskatoonnaturesociety.ca for more information)
Check the Saskatoon Nature Society’s website for full details and updated information.

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

In the News 
The Government of Saskatchewan is requesting input on Crown Resource Land regulations.

Buildings account for almost 1/3 of greenhouse gas emissions. “We need to maintain a sense of urgency . . . . The longer we wait, the higher amount of new infrastructure will lock us in in a high carbon path.”

Wildlife photographs that will make you laugh.

Saskatoon’s winter city strategy. 

Cedar Waxwing

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Wishing all of you a happy, fun holiday season with lots of time spent out of doors enjoying nature. 

Next Tuesday we’ll bring you our Boxing Day Specials - a round-up of unexpected stories, books, movies, and more to stimulate your imagination. EcoSask News will be back in 2018.

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).

Sunday 17 December 2017

Light Pollution: A Growing Problem

Saskatoon sunset

In the past 20 years, night-time light emissions in North America and Europe have increased by 70%. The Milky Way and the Northern Lights are lost to large percentages of the world’s population due to reflected light from homes, businesses, and streets.

As unfortunate as that is, the loss of the dark has far more serious consequences for both human and animal health.

Health Risks
Here are just a few examples of the impact of light pollution on humans and other animals:

Artificial light lures moths and other night-time insect pollinators away from plants. A recent trial found that light exposure reduced the number of pollinator visits by 62% with 29% fewer species coming to the lighted areas (1).

Almost all small rodents and carnivores and 20% of primates are nocturnal (3). Light pollution increases their mortality rates as they have difficulty foraging, can be detected more easily by predators, and have a harder time getting away because their vision is impaired (2).

Many birds migrate at night using the stars to navigate. Pulled off course due to light pollution or killed in collisions with lighted buildings, many of them never reach their destination.

Female sea turtles, who like to nest on dark, remote beaches, are deterred from laying eggs. The young hatchlings normally head towards the ocean and away from the dark land mass. Millions die each year when they become confused by the bright lights and crawl towards the city instead of the water (2).

Excessive light inhibits frogs’ mating calls and reduces their reproductive capacity (3).

Disruption of the normal rhythm of light and dark has a significant impact on human health: “Disruption of the circadian clock is linked to several medical disorders in humans, including depression, insomnia, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, says Paolo Sassone-Corsi, chairman of the Pharmacology Department at the University of California, Irvine, who has done extensive research on the circadian clock. ‘Studies show that the circadian cycle controls from ten to fifteen percent of our genes,’ he explains. ‘So the disruption of the circadian cycle can cause a lot of health problems” (3).

Two Israeli studies show a statistically significant correlation between outdoor artificial light at night and breast cancer (3).

let it snow

LED Lighting Increases Light Pollution
Greater use of LED lighting has significantly increased light pollution: 

Recent satellite measurements of light pollution underestimate the actual degree of night-time radiance as satellite images aren’t sensitive to the blue-light wavelengths emitted by LED lights (4).

Short-wave LED lighting has greatly increased the amount of light scattered by the atmosphere, causing a glow over areas with little or no lighting (4).

LED lights use just a fraction of the electricity required by incandescent bulbs and last much longer. As a result, “decreases in cost allow increased use of light in areas that were previously unlit, moderately lit, or lit only during the early evening hours” (4).

“LED light bulbs are increasing light pollution because, since they require less electricity to create the same amount of light, people are installing more and more of them. ‘We’ll light something that we didn’t light before, like a bicycle path through a park or a section of highway leading outside of town that in the past wasn’t lit,’ lead author Chris Kyba, a physicist at the German Research Center for Geosciences, said to Phys.org. ‘And so all of those new uses of light offset, to some extent, the savings that you had” (5).

We assume that increased efficiency will lead to decreased demand, but that’s not the case. For example, consumers tend to travel more when they have fuel-efficient cars (6). Research has shown that, “Regardless of historical or geographical context, humans tend to use as much artificial light as they can buy for ~0.7% of GDP” (4).

There are Solutions
“We could instantly reduce the problem by about half if we assured that all outdoor lighting fixtures were fully shielded, meaning that they emitted no light directly above the horizon. . . . We could then further reduce the amount of light pollution in the world if fixtures were properly designed and installed such that the light they emit was confined to the task area, and provided in no greater intensity than needed to safely illuminate the task. Lastly, we could reduce the biological harm of our lights by ensuring that they emit as little short-wavelength (blue) light as possible, by choosing ‘warmer’ lamps,” says John Barentine, the resident physical scientist for the International Dark-Sky Association (7).

A great deal of the responsibility for reducing light pollution belongs with individual property owners. The International Dark Sky Association provides some useful tips when selecting night sky-friendly light fixtures (8).

Further Information
The High Cost of Lighting up the Night 
Traffic Calming Measures to Protect Wildlife in the Swale 

1. Light Pollution Lures Nighttime Pollinators Away from Plants
2. The Effects of Light Pollution on the Environment 
3. Missing the Dark: Health Effects of Light Pollution
4. Artificially Lit Surface of Earth at Night Increasing in Radiance and Extent
5. Energy-saving LED Lightbulbs are Contributing to Light Pollution
6. Jevons Paradox 
7. Switch to Outdoor LED Lighting has Completely Backfired
8. Outdoor Lighting Basics

Tuesday 12 December 2017

EcoSask News, December 12, 2017


Upcoming Events 
CPAWS Saskatchewan Open House, Dec. 14 (Prince Albert)
Meet the CPAWS Saskatchewan staff at an open house from 10 am-4 pm, Dec. 14, in Prince Albert.

Communicating Effectively Online, Dec. 20 (Regina) 
The Regina Public Interest Research Group is offering a workshop on Communicating Effectively Online via Facebook and E-News from 8:30 am-12 noon, Dec. 20, as part of their Toolkit Workshop series.

Looking Ahead 
Learn to Winter Camp, Jan. 13-14 (Lumsden)
SaskOutdoors is offering a winter camping skills workshop Jan. 13-14 in Lumsden.

Snowlandia, Feb. 20-23 (Saskatoon)
Wildernook is offering Snowlandia, an opportunity for young women ages 10-12 to be active outdoors during the winter break from Feb. 20-23.

Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival, Apr. 13 (Saskatoon) 
Spend an evening watching awe-inspiring short films dedicated to showcasing the natural world when Saskatoon Search and Rescue hosts the Best of the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival on Apr. 13.

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


In the News
Have your say on the Saskatchewan government's Captive Wildlife Survey, which includes important questions regarding wildlife rehabilitation. The deadline is December 31, 2017.

Pronghorn Xing needs your help reporting wildlife sightings in SW Saskatchewan. The data will be used to assist in reducing the number of collisions.

The Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council has developed a strong set of strategic directions that could take the province a long ways towards zero waste.

Meewasin Valley Authority has received generous funding support from the City of Saskatoon and has begun discussions with the University of Saskatchewan and the Province of Saskatchewan. The proposals are based on the needs of each partner and the efficiencies that can be gained by working together rather than independently. You can support Meewasin’s efforts by contacting your MLA and thanking the City of Saskatoon. 

Everyone in the world should be taxed on their energy footprint.

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 5 December 2017

EcoSask News, December 5, 2017

frosty river scene

Upcoming Events
Transit Plan Open House, Dec. 6 (Saskatoon)
Complete an online survey or attend a come-and-go open house regarding Saskatoon’s bus rapid transit plan from 5:30-8 pm, Dec. 6.

Wildlife Photography, Dec. 6 (Saskatoon)
Robin and Arlene Karpan will provide advice on photographing wildlife from 3:30-4:30 pm, Dec. 6, as part of the WildEcol seminar series at the U of S.

Environmental Costs, Dec. 7 (Saskatoon)
Monique Martin’s artwork to create conversation around the recent oil spill in Saskatchewan will be installed at the Saskatchewan Craft Council on Dec. 7.

Birds of Christmas, Dec. 11 (Saskatoon)
Lyndon Penner will discuss the birds associated with Christmas at 7 pm, Dec. 11, at Wild Birds Unlimited.

Green Health Leaders, Dec. 12 (webinar)
The Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care’s Dec. 12 webinar will provide an overview of the relationship between health and the environment and build the case for health leaders to become stronger champions for the environment.

Monarch Butterflies in their Winter Retreat, Dec. 14 (Saskatoon)
Blair McCann will show photographs of monarch butterflies in their winter retreat at the Dec. 14 meeting of the Saskatoon Nature Society.

Sustainable Solid Waste Management Workshop, Dec. 15 (Regina)
There will be a workshop on sustainable solid waste management in the RIC Atrium, University of Regina from 12-1 pm, Dec. 15. For more information, contact RPIRG.

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

Newly Protected Grasslands Near Dundurn
Nature Conservancy of Canada has purchased a 65-hectare site near Dundurn consisting of rolling hills made from old sand dunes, which are covered by aspen trees, shrubs, wet meadows, and native grasslands. Several important species can be found on the site, including hairy prairie-clover. Wildlife includes white-tailed deer, mule deer, moose, elk, and olive-backed pocket mouse.

frosted berries

In the News
The Province of Saskatchewan has increased its list of electronics that can be recycled to include: countertop microwave ovens, desktop and portable scanners, floor-standing printers, external storage drives and modems, game consoles (including hand-held and accessories), e-book readers, and portable and vehicle (after-market) GPS systems.

The company building the Nutana condo has been asked to keep bird safety in mind. Meewasin Valley Authority will provide them with guidelines. One MVA board member noted that other buildings, such as the towers at River Landing, pose an even greater risk as they have unbroken walls of glass.

Montana ranchers are helping grizzlies, wolves, and coyote co-exist.

Four crazy ways cool creatures survive cold winters.

Prices have fallen so much that it is now cheaper to build new commercial renewable energy sources than it is to keep existing coal and nuclear power plants running.

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 30 November 2017

2017 Christmas Bird and Mammal Counts in Saskatchewan

Swainson's hawk

Join a century-old tradition by participating in the 2017 Christmas Bird and Mammal Count in Saskatchewan. No experience is necessary. Count birds at a feeder on your property or join a team that is covering part of a count circle.

Organizers ask that you register as soon as possible.

Christmas bird counts are for all ages! Check out the Christmas Bird Counts for Kids in Regina and Saskatoon.

Moose Jaw Nature Society plans to hold a search, but the date is not yet set. Contact them if you’re interested in participating.

We will continue to update this list, so let us know if any counts are missing.

Dec. 14 – Shell Lake – hosted by Nature Conservancy of Canada (additional details available online) – Ryan Dudragne (306-520-4824) Ryan.Dudragne@natureconservancy.ca

Dec. 16 – Clark’s Crossing (Martensville, Warman) – John Patterson (306-249-0468) jrpatterson@shaw.ca or https://goo.gl/forms/a9MUigaSj1990kL13

Dec. 16 – Fort Qu’Appelle – Keith Stephens (306-334-2862)

Dec. 16 – Craven – Brett Quiring (306-551-8729) bquiring@sasktel.net

Dec. 17 – Qu’Appelle Dam (Elbow) – Michael Williams (306-242-5383)

Dec. 18 – Gardiner Dam – Guy Wapple (306-249-3280) or gswap@sasktel.net

Dec. 26 – Regina – Brett Quiring (306-551-8729) bquiring@sasktel.net

Dec. 26 – Saskatoon – Stan Shadick (306-652-5975) stan.shadick@usask.ca or https://goo.gl/forms/l7GCwexrrpAPYCck2

Dec. 29 – Centre Block, Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park. Meet at the Visitor Centre at 10:30 am for a walk-about and at 1:30 pm for a snowshoe hike. Dress warmly and bring your own lunch.

Dec. 30 – Balgonie – Brett Quiring (306-551-8729) bquiring@sasktel.net

Dec. 30 – Pike Lake – Murray Morgan (306-290-4078) bevnmurray@gmail.com

Christmas Bird Counts for Kids
December 28 – Saskatoon
Saskatoon Zoo Society is hosting a Christmas Bird Count for Kids at Pike Lake Provincial Park. No registration is necessary. Meet at the Pike Lake Visitor Centre. At the top of each hour between 11 am and 4 pm, participants will go for a short (20-30 minutes) bird walk and then head back to the Centre to warm up with hot chocolate and cookies. No binoculars? No problem – some will be available to borrow.

January 6 – Regina
Nature Saskatchewan is hosting a Christmas Bird Count for Kids in Wascana Park from 1-4 pm, Jan. 6. There will be a live burrowing owl presentation, snacks and hot chocolate. RSVP to Lacey (306-780-9481, lweekes@naturesask.ca).

Tuesday 28 November 2017

EcoSask News, November 28, 2017

squirrel in the yard

Upcoming Events
Islands of Grass, Nov. 30 (Saskatoon) 
Branimir Gjetvaj will share his thoughts on Canadian grasslands and show images from Islands of Grass at 2 pm, Nov. 30, at Mayfair Library.
Prince Albert Parkland Permaculture Guild Christmas Party, Dec. 1 (Prince Albert) 
Prince Albert Parkland Permaculture Guild is holding their annual Christmas party on Dec. 1.

Lakeview Community Climate Conversation, Dec. 5 (Regina) 
Jared Clarke’s Grade 6/7 class at Lakeview School is hosting a community climate conversation at 7 pm, Dec. 6. Call 306-791-8513 for further information.

Resource-based Economies & Sustainability, Dec. 6 (Regina) 
A panel discussion on Resource-based Economies & Sustainability: the case of Saskatchewan will be presented at 7 pm, Dec. 6, as part of the University of Regina’s Faculty of Arts’ series.

Wild Species Data Sharing, Dec. 6 (webinar) 
Jeff Keith, SK Conservation Data Centre, will present a webinar on the value and tools available for sharing data on Saskatchewan’s wild species at noon, Dec. 6.

Carbon Tax in Saskatchewan, Dec. 6 (Saskatoon)
Dr. Brett Dolter and Ecofiscal Com, University of Ottawa, will discuss carbon tax in Saskatchewan at the Dec. 6 meeting of the Saskatchewan Energy Management Task Force.

SaskOutdoors Winter Networking Event, Dec. 7 (Regina) 
Join SaskOutdoors for a winter networking event of outdoor and environmental educators from 7-9 pm, Dec. 7.

Fetch your own Christmas Tree, Dec. 9 (near Alvena) 
A former owner of the Nature Conservancy’s Messier property planted spruce trees, but they’re not native to this area and their presence could have a negative impact on the native habitat. You’re invited to come and chop down your own Christmas tree from 1-3 pm, Dec. 9.

Nature Regina Christmas Social, Dec. 11 (Regina) 
Nature Regina is holding a Christmas Social with members’ photos at 7 pm, Dec. 11.

Wascana Family Play Day, Dec. 16 (Regina) 
Bring the family to Wascana Marsh from 2-4 pm, Dec. 16, for a Family Play Day organized by SaskOutdoors.

squirrel in the yard

Looking Ahead
Building Operator Training, Feb. 2 (Saskatoon) 
The Saskatchewan Environmental Society is offering a one-day workshop on Feb. 2 in Saskatoon for small businesses that would like to make their buildings more energy-efficient.

Native Prairie Restoration & Reclamation Workshop, Feb. 7 & 8 (Saskatoon) 
The theme of this year’s Native Prairie Restoration & Reclamation Workshop, Feb. 7 & 8 in Saskatoon, is Look to the Future: Learn from the Past.

Transboundary Grasslands Workshop, Feb. 13-15 (Montana) 
The Transboundary Grasslands Workshop, featuring presentations on challenges facing wildlife and human communities in the grasslands of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Montana, will be held Feb. 13-15 in Glasgow, Montana.

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

Kids in Nature Grant (Saskatoon)
The Saskatoon Nature Society is now taking applications for their Kids in Nature Grant. The grant was established to strengthen existing programs and encourage new initiatives that connect youth in the Saskatoon area with nature. The application deadline is December 31, 2017. Information and applications are available on the Saskatoon Nature Society website.

In the News
Glitter has a devastating impact on human and non-human animals alike.

50M tonnes of e-waste! We need better systems for recycling electronics.

The challenge of EnergieSprong is to retrofit ordinary homes to the standard of a zero-carbon eco-home, but at a fraction of the cost.

Canmore community members are passionate about protecting the space and habitat wildlife require.

What if we banned cars in cities? “It’s not just about banning cars. Cities also have to help their citizens live without a car. This means they must approve taller buildings, get rid of parking minimums, and expand public transit options. Build rail instead of roads. Turn gas stations into bike kiosks. Convert parking lots to sidewalks. Provide a fleet of low-speed zero-emission vehicles (like golf carts!) to make deliveries and help residents get around. And introduce better technology solutions to help everyone navigate the city more efficiently.” 

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 23 November 2017

Branimir Gjetvaj: Conservation Photographer

Dr. Branimir Gjetvaj is a biologist, internationally published environmental photographer, and president of Nature Saskatchewan. He and Trevor Herriot recently published Islands of Grass, sharing the wonder and importance of Saskatchewan’s grasslands. 

Branimir Gjetvaj moved to Saskatchewan 19 years ago, and his first big trip was to Grasslands National Park. The vast open spaces took him by surprise: “Saskatchewan is so sparsely populated. There are places where you never see a house. You have a view out to the horizon, and the air is so clear.”

Branimir grew up in Croatia and has fond memories of hiking and skiing in the mountains with his parents. There was a ravine close to his home in Zagreb with a little stream, grassy slopes, and trees. As a child, he would explore this jungle, jumping from tree to tree like Tarzan. “I would immerse myself in it. It was my whole world,” he says.

Branimir joined his high school’s photography club, taking black and white photographs using the school darkroom. A trip to England when he was 16 or 17 motivated him to start taking lots of photographs as a way to record his memories. Photography was again a tool for exploring and experiencing new surroundings when Branimir moved to Nova Scotia as a Master’s student 30 years ago.

Branimir’s interest in nature photography was stimulated by university lectures by Vladimir Pfeifer, a Croatian nature and wildlife photographer. With limited equipment at first, it was tricky to take photographs of wild animals. However, over time, Branimir developed his skills, learning by trial and error, studying books of other people’s photographs, and looking to painters for inspiration.

When taking photographs, Branimir likes to focus on a particular project. A decision to document biodiversity hotspots in Saskatchewan led to a series of photographs of Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Saskatchewan properties when they were celebrating their 50th anniversary as well as participation in Meet Your Neighbours. An interest in the Great Sand Hills led to the publication of his first book, The Great Sand Hills: A Prairie Oasis.

When the federal government started to dismantle the PFRA community pastures system in 2012, Branimir decided to take photographs of the pastures and the ranching way of life linked to them, and he approached Trevor Herriot to see if he’d be interested in working on a book. As the project got underway, the two men expanded their focus to Canadian grasslands as a whole and did a lot of fieldwork together in 2015.

“Trevor knows a lot about the history of the prairies and families with long connections to the Prairies,” Branimir says. “I was intrigued to discover the diversity of human connections to the pastures – historically, culturally, and continuing to the present day.”

Islands of Grass required a great deal of effort. The fieldwork was carried out over an extended period of time, but processing the photographs was intense. Branimir spent 5-6 hours a day for 4-5 weeks processing the images and preparing them for the press until he was happy with the way they turned out.

Branimir feels a deep responsibility to reach as many people as he can through his photography. “People have heard all the rational arguments; they just zone out. It’s easier to advance conservation if you impact their feelings and behaviours. There is so much beauty on the prairies that people aren’t aware of. They rarely venture outside cities to experience the natural landscape that’s rapidly disappearing around us. We hope to motivate people to explore the grasslands and see their beauty for themselves.”

Islands of Grass emphasizes the importance of the prairies to ranchers who depend upon it for their living, demonstrating the possibilities for a positive relationship with nature. “Everywhere you go, people have left their mark,” Branimir says. “I want to take more photographs showing how people connect with nature and involve people as part of saving nature.”

Both Branimir and Trevor are offering presentations concerning Islands of Grass. You’ll find the dates listed on their websites as well as on the EcoFriendly Sask Calendar.

Want to be a conservation photographer?
If you’re interested in developing and using your nature photography skills for a greater good, Branimir suggests working with local conservation organizations that are always in need of good-quality photographs.

“Conservation photography doesn’t pay well,” Branimir says, “but amateur photographers can play a valuable role by working with local organizations in motivating people to go out and experience nature and by supporting particular projects.” Branimir says there’s no money in it but lots of personal satisfaction. You’ll have easier access to the sites and support from the NGOs.

Branimir has been inspired by the work of many conservation photographers, most notably Michael Forsberg, Carlton Ward, and Eliot Porter.

Additional Information
Prairies as Placeholders, Chris Helzer
Meet the Woman who Elevated Conservation Photography to a Whole New Level
How to Take “Likeable” Photos that Inspire Conservation, Neil Ever Osborne

Photo Credits: Branimir Gjetvaj Photography

Tuesday 21 November 2017

EcoSask News, November 21, 2017

foggy winter sunrise

Upcoming Events
Fall Food Fair, Nov. 22 (Prince Albert) 
The Prince Albert Food Coalition is holding a Fall Food Fair from 5:30-7:30 pm, Nov. 22.

Bird Habitat & Biodiversity at the NE Swale, Nov. 22 (Saskatoon) 
Renny Grilz, Meewasin Valley Authority, will discuss Enhancing Grassland Bird Habitat & Biodiversity at the Northeast Swale as part of the WildEcol seminar series at the University of Saskatchewan at 3:30 pm, Nov. 22.

Not Just Flat: SK Geological Sites, Nov. 23 (Regina) 
The University of Regina’s Science Pub series is offering a talk, Not Just Flat: Top Geological Sites of Saskatchewan, from 5-7 pm, Nov. 23.

Why Grasslands Matter, Nov. 23 (Regina) 
Nature Conservancy of Canada is presenting a panel discussion on Why Grasslands Matter at 7 pm, Nov. 23, in Regina.

Walking Saskatoon, Nov. 26 (Saskatoon) 
Everyone is welcome at the upcoming meeting of Walking Saskatoon from 1-3 pm, Nov. 26.

Moose Jaw Nature Society, Nov. 27 (Moose Jaw)
Moose Jaw Nature Society will be meeting on Nov. 27 at 6:30 pm to make ornaments and decorate a tree for wildlife. Check out the recipes and ideas on their Facebook page.

From Global to Local, Nov. 28 (webinar)
Nature Canada is hosting a webinar panel to discuss interdependencies and the need for global governance systems to protect critical habitats and migratory paths from 10-11:30 am PST, Nov. 28.

The Battle for Dark Skies in Saskatchewan, Nov. 28 (Saskatoon)
Rick Huziak will discuss what stands in the way of eliminating light pollution at the 7:30 pm, Nov. 28, meeting of Café Scientific.

Want Local Food?, Nov. 29 (Regina) 
Permaculture Regina is screening the documentary, Cultivating Calgary’s Local Food Resiliency followed by a discussion about local food production at 7 pm, Nov. 29.

Sagebrush Restoration for Greater Sage-Grouse, Nov. 29 (webinar) 
Autumn Watkinson will present a webinar on Sagebrush Grasslands Restoration for Greater Sage-Grouse Recovery at noon, Nov. 29. (EcoFriendly Sask is pleased to be a sponsor of the PCAP-SK Native Prairie Speaker series.)

Wymark Wind Project Open House, Nov. 29 (Swift Current) 
ENGIE Canada Inc. is holding an open house from 4-8 pm, Nov. 29, in the Chinook Golf Course restaurant to solicit feedback on their plans for the Wymark Wind Project, 25 km southeast of Swift Current.

Benchlands Wind Project Open House, Nov. 30 (Gull Lake)
ENGIE Canada Inc. is holding an open house from 4-8 pm, Nov. 30, in the Gull Lake Community Hall to solicit feedback on their plans for the Benchlands Wind Project, 80 km southwest of Swift Current.

Co-existing with Coyotes (webinar) 
Join Lesley Sampson of Coyote Watch Canada for a webinar on co-existence programs, community buy-in, and what can lead to success or failure for co-flourishing with coyotes.

foggy winter sunrise

Saskatoon Nature Society Field Trips
Saskatoon Young Naturalists 
Jan. 13, 1-3 pm – Snowshoeing
Jan. 20, 1-3 pm – Tracks and Scats
Space is limited; register early to avoid disappointment.
Other Saskatoon Nature Society Field Trips 
Nov. 26, 2-3 pm – Pre-Grey Cup Birding at President Murray Park
Dec. 2, 9 am-5 pm – Gardiner Dam Birding
Check the Saskatoon Nature Society’s website for full details and updated information.

Looking Ahead 
Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan AGM & Conference, Jan. 27 & 28 (Regina)
The Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan will hold their annual general meeting and conference in Regina, Jan. 27 & 28. This year’s theme is A Prairie Patchwork: Selected Topics on Native Prairie and keynote speakers are Branimir Gjetvaj and Trevor Herriot.

The Prairie Ecosystems learning module of the Saskatchewan Master Naturalist program is scheduled for Jan. 28.

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

In the News
Let’s give this road to the birds.

“A coal phase-out is not only attainable but an imperative for better health and climate change mitigation, and the longer the province puts off planning for this inevitable transition the more difficult it is going to be.” (Climate Justice Saskatoon)

“H. sapiens depends utterly on a rich diversity of life-forms to provide various life-support functions essential to the existence and continued survival of human civilization.” Accelerating biodiversity loss poses as big a threat as climate change.

Armchair ecotourism: “For no reason that I can describe, I have a deep yearning to visit the desert south of Arizona. However, this would involve an 11-hour flight each way – bypassing so many other places en route – and then lots of driving, and I'd be exerting ecological pressure on an ecosystem from which it would be unfair to expect support for large numbers of non-desert humans. So I've opted, instead, for an armchair surrogate in the form of second-hand copy of the Time-Life natural history book Cactus Country.”

Solar power is expanding - but so is oil use. “It is far too early to write the obituary of oil as growth for trucks, aviation, petrochemicals, shipping, and aviation keep pushing demand higher.”

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 November 2017

EcoSask News, November 14, 2017


Upcoming Events
Islands of Grass (various)
Islands of Grass by Branimir Gjetvaj and Trevor Herriot will be launched Nov. 14 and 15 in Regina and Saskatoon respectively. Trevor Herriot will be speaking at a number of additional events on Nov. 16, Nov. 18, and Nov. 20. Both Branimir and Trevor will be presenting at McNally Robinson Booksellers in Saskatoon on Nov. 21. Check the EcoFriendly Sask Calendar for full details.

Disruptive Innovation Festival, Nov. 6-24 (online)
The online Disruptive Innovation Festival, Nov. 6-24, asks what if we could re-design everything. Topics include the circular economy, regenerative agriculture, using fungus to destroy plastic waste, and much more.

Carbon Tax Debate, Nov. 17 (Regina)
A panel discussion, Should a Carbon Tax be Part of the Plan to Combat Global Warming, will be held from 2:30-4 pm, Nov. 17, at the University of Regina.

Talkin’ ‘bout Hidden Fossils, Nov. 20 (Regina)
Ryan McKellar will talk about his research on insects and other fossils trapped in amber at the Nov. 20 meeting of Nature Regina.

Royal Astronomical Society General Meeting, Nov. 20 (Saskatoon)
The Royal Astronomical Society, Saskatoon Centre, is holding a general meeting from 8-9:30 pm, Nov. 20.

Let’s Talk Climate Change, Nov. 21 (Saskatoon)
Hayley Carlson, and Rachel Malenachan will discuss Let’s Talk Climate Change: How to Build Bridges in Saskatoon at 7 pm, Nov. 21, as part of the SES/Public Library Sustainable Speaker Series.

Burrowing Owls: Conservation in Saskatchewan, Nov. 23 (Regina)
Join PCAP-SK for breakfast and a presentation on Burrowing Owls: A Symbol of Conservation in Saskatchewan from 8-9 am, Nov. 23, at Agribition.

Banding Hummingbirds, Nov. 25 (Fort Qu’Appelle)
Jared Clarke will discuss his summer of banding hummingbirds at the Fort Qu’Appelle Nature Society meeting at the train station from 7-9 pm, Nov. 25.


Looking Ahead
Conservation Awareness & Appreciation Supper, Nov. 29 (Glentworth)
Nature Saskatchewan is holding a free Conservation Awareness & Appreciation Supper in Glentworth on Nov. 29.

Building Operator Training, Dec. 1 (Prince Albert)
The Saskatchewan Environmental Society is offering a one-day workshop on Dec. 1 in Prince Albert for small businesses that would like to make their building more energy-efficient.

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

In the News
Settle down for a good read with six environmentally-themed books

There is reason for hope: 7 megatrends that could beat global warming

The UK will back a total ban on neonicotinoids. If only Canada would do the same as neonics have been found to harm songbirds as well as bees.

Urban flower patches — in parks, residential properties, community vegetable plots, and vacant lots — support surprisingly healthy populations of bees

“If the First Nation gets its wish, a judge would force the Ministry of Environment to put the controversial project through a science-based review process to suss out whether redirecting seven million cubic metres of water from Kutawagan Lake and Pel Lake into Last Mountain Lake could produce some negative impacts.”

Rural Saskatchewan municipalities are concerned about a growing beaver population. Let’s hope they turn to The Fur Bearers for help in finding non-lethal solutions.

"Degrowth means embracing sufficiency for all, rather than excess for a few, and culturally, it means imagining a good life beyond consumerism." Art can help the degrowth movement in 3 ways: through story, myth, and narrative; engaging the heart as much as the head; and presenting information in an attractive, compelling way.

It ain’t natural: how we know humans are causing climate change

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).

Wednesday 8 November 2017

EcoSask Extra, November 8-12, 2017

Canada goose

It’s a challenge to stay on top of all the upcoming events across Saskatchewan. Here are a few that we missed yesterday - but don’t want you to miss this week!

Yellowhead Flyway Birding Trail, Nov. 8 (Saltcoats)
Yellowhead Flyway Birding Trail is holding a general meeting tonight, Nov. 8, at 7 pm, in the Stirling Room, Saltcoats.

Environmental Planning in Human-Dominated Landscapes, Nov. 10 (Regina) 
Dr. Jeremy Pittman, University of Waterloo, will discuss Environmental Planning and Policy for Connectivity in Human-Dominated Landscapes from 2:30-3:30 pm, Nov. 10, at the University of Regina.

Green Drinks Saskatoon, Nov. 10 (Saskatoon) 
Green Drinks Saskatoon is meeting at 5:30 pm, Nov. 10, at Cathedral Social Hall.

Passive House Tours, Nov. 10-12 (Saskatoon) 
Join The Green Builder on a tour of 3 passive houses in Saskatoon and area:
Temperance Street Passive House 
1104 Temperance Street Saskatoon
Friday Nov 10 / 7 pm - 9 pm
Saturday Nov 11 / 10 am - 3 pm
Sunday Nov 12 / Noon - 4 pm
Grasswood Estates Passive House 
28 Grasswood Estates, Corman Park
Sunday Nov 12 / Noon - 3 pm
Lancaster Passive House
1107 Lancaster Blvd, Saskatoon
Saturday Nov 11 / 10 am - 3 pm
Sunday Nov 12 / Noon - 3 pm

Wildlife Rehab Orientation, Nov. 12 (Saskatoon) 
Find out more about volunteering with the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Saskatchewan from 12-1:30 pm, Nov. 12, in Saskatoon.

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

In the News 
And, because there are always interesting news stories, here are a few that caught our attention in the last 24 hours.

"It’s easy to dismiss grasslands as unimportant when you only see them as wastelands of grass that stand between you and the mountains or forests you really want to see. It’s harder to dismiss them once you’ve gotten to know them a little better."

Toronto Council votes to make the Bloor Street bike lanes permanent.

How long do you expect/hope your washing machine or refrigerator will last? The United Nations reports on measures that could extend product lifetimes and reduce waste.

A European organization that advocates an end to planned obsolescence is running a campaign protesting the extremely short life of pantyhose.

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

Tuesday 7 November 2017

EcoSask News, November 7, 2017

bare trees at sunset

Upcoming Events
Songwriting for Nature Wind-Up Show, Nov. 9 (Regina)
Enjoy songs inspired by Last Mountain Lake National Wildlife Area at 7 pm, Nov. 9, at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum.

Quartet for the End of Time, Nov. 12 (Saskatoon)
The Elixir Ensemble, with Margaret Wilson, clarinetist, will perform the Quartet for the End of Time at 2:30 pm, Nov. 12. This piece of music was the first attempt to compose music based on an analysis and adaptation of the structure and rhythms of birdsong.

Saskatoon Cycles AGM, Nov. 15 (Saskatoon)
Saskatoon Cycles is holding their annual general meeting from 7-9 pm, Nov. 15.

Water Management & Species at Risk, Nov. 16 (Saskatoon)
Michael Pollock, Saskatoon Water Security Agency, will discuss the responses of birds and other vertebrates to changing water levels and relate these to balancing the needs of wildlife, including endangered species, with the needs of farmers and municipalities at risk of flooding at the Nov. 16 meeting of the Saskatoon Nature Society.

Household Hazardous Waste Day, Nov. 18 (Saskatoon)
You can dispose of household hazardous waste in Saskatoon from 9 am–3:30 pm, Nov. 18.

Freeze Up Play Day, Nov. 19 (Great Blue Heron Provincial Park)
Join SaskOutdoors for an all-ages-friendly event exploring the boreal forest in the in-between season and meet a yard full of puppies at Sundog Excursions on Nov. 19.

Looking Ahead
Passive House Design & Construction, Nov. 23-26 (Saskatoon)
Passive House Design and Construction, a four-day course covering the technical, economic, and policy elements of Passive House buildings, is being offered in Saskatoon from Nov. 23-26.

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

floating ice at sunset

Elizabeth May discusses successful political policies and actions for going green on Defender Radio.

Mountaineers discuss the impacts of climate change on mountain communities.

In the News
If you find a bat in your home or office, call the WRSOS hotline. Or, if you’re in Regina, the Saskatchewan Science Centre will give them a cozy home for the winter.

“The breadth and depth of the climate change issue is such that no one policy instrument is sufficient to meet Canada’s 2030 GHG reduction target. There is no magic bullet,” said Dale Eisler, co-author of a new report on climate change in Saskatchewan.

Urbanization is reshaping and creating new species of microbes, plants, and animals.

Rethinking agriculture: Is it possible to use crops with lower water needs without affecting the level of production?

Biofuels from agricultural waste instead of food crops are finally reaching the market.

Walking is a man’s best medicine, Hippocrates declared. The 2017 Walking Summit outlined problems for pedestrians but also highlighted communities that are getting it right.

Climate change lawsuits: Global warming is increasingly being fought in the courtroom.

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 November 2017

Taking Steps to Reduce Waste in Saskatchewan

A school, a youth club, and a community are doing their best to reduce waste in Saskatchewan, with a little help from an EcoFriendly Action Grant.

Boys & Girls Club of Yorkton 
The staff at the Boys & Girls Club of Yorkton are passionate about making a difference and in fostering that passion in children and youth as they grow. With over 15,000 visits to the club each year, Program Manager Erin Roussin saw an opportunity to incorporate environmental education into their summer program, which includes week-long day camps for 5-12 year olds and drop-in evening programs for middle-years youth and teens.

The Club received a $500 EcoFriendly Action Grant to educate the children and youth on reducing, re-using, and recycling and the difference this will make to the environment. In addition to immediate efforts at waste reduction, Erin believes the project will have a long-term impact: “Children and youth being educated on important topics will carry on with them through life as they will have the knowledge and tools needed to make a difference.”

The program ran for 9 weeks over the summer and included:
  • The purchase of 3 sets of stacking recycle bins to encourage recycling of a variety of materials; 
  • The purchase of recycle bags for bagging up items for pick-up; 
  • Entries into a draw for prizes every time a student brought a litterless lunch (no waste/Ziploc bags); 
  • Crafts using only recycled items; 
  • An outdoor garbage clean-up; and 
  • Talks about topics such as reducing water usage, recycling, and the impact we can all have on our environment. 

There's no waste in this lunch bag!

Blaine Lake Composite School 
Blaine Lake Composite School is initiating a daily full breakfast program. In order to reduce waste, they received a $500 EcoFriendly Action Grant to purchase non-disposable cutlery and an environmentally friendly dishwasher.

They plan to minimize food waste and environmental impact through careful meal planning with the students in their Commercial Cooking classes, by sourcing local ingredients whenever possible, and by only using reusable dishes and utensils. They will recycle all applicable materials.

Odessa Recreation Association 
Odessa is a small community of 250 people southeast of Regina. They were already recycling paper, but their active volunteer base identified a need for additional recycling bins so that they could recycle cans and plastic as well.

The Odessa Recreation Association received a $500 EcoFriendly Action grant to purchase recycling bins. They’ll be located at the rink during the winter and will be moved to the community centre in the summer. They’ll also be made available at the annual truck and tractor pull, which is a community fundraiser.

Photos: Boys and Girls Club of Yorkton