Thursday 30 March 2017

Wildlife 911

Spring means new life with baby birds and animals in our gardens, parks, and rural areas. If we see a baby bird on the ground or a tiny fawn all alone, our first impulse is to rescue it. But hold on a moment and make sure that they really do need to be rescued.

What Should I Do?
The Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Saskatchewan (WRSOS) has a very informative webpage listing what to do if you find a bird, mammal, or reptile in distress. Here are a few key points to keep in mind before heading over to the WRSOS website for further instruction.
  • Be patient and watch the animal for several hours, from a distance so as not to scare the mother away. Some animal parents leave their babies alone for extended periods for their own protection or while the parent feeds. Unless the baby is in immediate danger, contact the WRSOS before removing them from the wild. 
  • Make sure the animal is in need of help before intervening. The WRSOS website lists signs of normal behaviour as well as signs of distress. 
  • A baby animal's best chance for survival is to be raised by its natural parents. Be very sure it’s necessary before removing an animal from the wild. 

Wildlife Hotline
If you’ve been observing an animal for a while and you really do think it needs help, it’s time to call the WRSOS Wildlife Hotline – 306-242-7177.

WRSOS operates a Wildlife Hotline 12 hours a day, 365 days a year. Volunteers respond to public inquiries about injured and orphaned wildlife and assess the situations by asking a series of questions designed to determine if the animals are in need or exhibiting natural behaviours.

WRSOS receives over 2,000 calls per year. They provide the initial triage, assessment, and vet care (if needed) so that the wildlife rehabilitators can focus directly on the animals.

In cases that do require intervention, WRSOS has approximately 70 volunteers around the province who help transport injured wildlife to one of the province’s 20 licensed rehabilitators or to one of the veterinary clinics that support the work of WRSOS.

Spring Baby Boom
May to July are exceptionally busy months for wildlife rehabilitators and WRSOS is always looking for volunteers to help feed injured animals, answer the wildlife hotline, provide transportation, or help with duck rescue.

WRSOS provides volunteer training sessions. You can also contact a wildlife rehabilitation centre in your area.
     Healing Haven Wildlife Rescue, Meadow Lake
     Wild and Cared Free Wildlife Rehabilitation Inc., Moose Jaw
     Salthaven West, Regina
     Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation, Saskatoon

Additional Information
Wildlife 911 – always make sure an animal is actually in need before intervening
Volunteer Opportunities 
Wildlife Rehabilitation Internship Opportunity
Wildlife Rehabilitation: Knowledge, Expertise, Hard Work – and Love
Wildlife Hotline - 306-242-7177

Tuesday 28 March 2017

EcoSask News, March 28, 2017

windblown chickadee

Upcoming Events
Radiation Heating, Apr. 6 (Saskatoon)
Vic Ellis will discuss radiation heating at the Apr. 6 breakfast meeting of the Saskatchewan Energy Management Task Force.

Beaver Flow Devices for Managers, Apr. 6 (webinar)
Learn how to successfully implement flow devices for beaver management in your community with The Fur-Bearers’ Apr. 6 webinar on Beaver Flow Devices for Managers.

Caribrew Release Party, Apr. 8 (Saskatoon)
Join CPAWS Saskatchewan and Prairie Sun Brewery on Apr. 8 for the release of Caribrew, a stout containing malts smoked with peat moss collected from Reindeer Lake, SK. Proceeds for the beer will go to support CPAWS’ work protecting habitat for Boreal Woodland Caribou.

Wildlife Rehab. Volunteer Orientation, Apr. 9 (Saskatoon)
Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Saskatchewan is hosting a volunteer orientation session from 1-3 pm, Apr. 9, in Saskatoon. Come out and offer your help during the spring baby boom.

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

birch bark

Looking Ahead
Building Operator Training, May 5 (Saskatoon)
Non-profits and small businesses are invited to learn how to efficiently operate their lighting, electrical equipment, heating, ventilation and cooling, and reduce water use at a one-day Building Operator Training in Saskatoon on May 5.

Wings Over Wascana Fundraising Dinner, May 8 (Regina)
Friends of Wascana Marsh are holding their annual fundraising dinner on May 8. Kelsey Marchand will talk about Western Painted Turtles in the Marsh.

Canoe Certification, May 20-22 (Saskatoon)
SaskOutdoors is offering a Paddle Canada Lake Canoe Skills certification course from May 20-22 in Saskatoon.

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

Dew on spider web

In the News
The Government of Saskatchewan is asking for the public’s input on how pasture land formerly used for the Saskatchewan Pastures Program will be owned and operated in the future. The survey is open online until May 8.

Prairies matter because of their immense root systems; dense, sprawling, complex biological systems that store one third of the world’s carbon and subsequently clean our future water . . . . lawns do not compare and never will.”

The Federal Government’s Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development's report on protected natural areas highlights the need for longer term thinking and larger-scale and better connected protected areas networks.

The Honda Smart Home uses passive house design, rooftop solar panels, a geothermal heating and cooling system, and greywater capture.

The world's spiders devour 400-800m metric tons of insects yearly and play a big role in keeping pests and disease-carriers away.

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 26 March 2017

A Critique of the Independent Provincial Assessment of the Meewasin Valley Authority


MNP LLP prepared a governance and operational assessment of the Meewasin Valley Authority for the Saskatchewan Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport. The report, published in November 2016, was recently posted on the Ministry’s website.

A review of the report raises a number of questions regarding the validity of the assessment’s findings.

Comparator Parks
MNP compared the Meewasin Valley Authority with 8 other Canadian parks “in order to evaluate best practices in the areas of governance, organizational structure, and funding mechanisms.” The report states that the comparator parks were chosen based on size, location, urban population, and the park’s conservation activities.

Park Size
Reviewing the report, one has to wonder if MNP wasn’t trying to compare apples and oranges. The MVA is responsible for 6,278 hectares. Of the 8 comparator parks, only 3 are over 200 hectares and only 2 are over 500 hectares.

Park Location
The report states that most of the comparator parks are funded primarily by the local municipality. However, 41% of the MVA is Crown land outside of municipal jurisdiction. In addition, Meewasin includes a river valley, placing it under federal as well as provincial jurisdiction.

Conservation Activities
Unlike the majority of the comparator parks, Meewasin Valley Authority is responsible for carrying out a review of proposed developments within the Meewasin conservation zone that are in the river channel or have an aggregate worth of over $25,000.

The MVA also carries out a variety of conservation activities that are under provincial and federal jurisdiction (control of invasive species control, reports on species at risk and water quality).

Of the comparator parks, only 3 carry out any conservation activities. These are, in most cases, limited and carried out by volunteers.

prairie crocus

Alternate Park Comparisons
Only one of the comparator parks, the North Saskatchewan River Valley parks system, has a similar size (18,000 ha.) and scope (municipal parks, city-operated public facilities, and provincially-owned sites) with the MVA. The River Valley Alliance is responsible for coordinating river valley planning and development within the seven member municipalities. 69% of its funds are provided by the federal and provincial governments. The North Saskatchewan River Valley Conservation Society is responsible for protecting and enhancing biodiversity while the City of Edmonton has a natural areas conservation plan.

Fish Creek Provincial Park, located in southwest Calgary, is Canada’s second largest urban park and is under provincial jurisdiction.

Rouge National Urban Park in metropolitan Toronto is under federal jurisdiction. The Parks Canada website says that the park is “home to amazing biodiversity, some of the last remaining working farms in the Greater Toronto Area, Carolinian ecosystems, Toronto’s only campground, one of the region’s largest marshes, unspoiled beaches, amazing hiking opportunities, and human history dating back over 10,000 years, including some of Canada's oldest known Indigenous sites.” Similar features are found in the Meewasin Valley.

Pippy Park in St. John’s is a 1,376 ha. land reserve, nature conservation and recreation area close to the downtown core. In addition to providing local residents with recreational opportunities, it's responsible for protecting and conserving natural habitats and features. It’s a semi-autonomous Crown Corporation.

gopher (ground squirrel)

Mandate and Scope
The assessment report recommends transferring responsibility for primary funding of the MVA to the City of Saskatoon and cancelling funding from the Ministry, with the possible exception of the Crown lands. They suggest that the province could provide the MVA with funding for conservation and resource management on Crown lands or the lands could be returned to the Crown for their oversight. To divide up responsibility for a river valley rather than maintaining a comprehensive approach to conservation and development seems short-sighted. The Edmonton River Valley parks system receives provincial and federal funding and shares responsibility among 7 member municipalities.

In addition, the Province of Saskatchewan does not have a good track record for grassland conservation. In its most recent budget, the government stated that it plans to dispose of 51 community public pastures, despite the fact that 80% of the province’s grasslands are already in private hands.

The report questions Meewasin’s future vision of becoming a world-class corridor and suggests that their plans to purchase additional land are a sign of “scope creep.” For those of us who place a high value on protecting our natural resources for future generations, it is heartening to see that the MVA shares those values. To restrict the MVA’s mandate would be short-sighted.

What is your reaction to the assessment report? How do you envision the future of the Meewasin Valley Authority?

See Also
Toronto and Region Conservation Authority: A role model for Meewasin Valley Authority?

Tuesday 21 March 2017

EcoSask News, March 21, 2017

Goldeneye taking off

Upcoming Events
Ecosystem Services Provided by Native Prairie, Mar. 24 (webinar)
Sue Michalsky, Ranchers Stewardship Alliance, will discuss ways of valuing ecosystem services in a Mar. 24 webinar (SK-PCAP Native Prairie Speaker series).

Carbonless Concert, Mar. 25 (Saskatoon)
The fifth Carbonless Concert with solar-powered audio is being held from 6:30-9 pm, Mar. 25, at d’Lish by Tish Café.

Sustainability Slam & Carbonless Concert, Mar. 29 (Saskatoon)
The U of S Graduate Students’ Association is holding a Sustainability Slam & Carbonless Concert from 6-9:30 pm, Mar. 29.

Sage Grouse & Cropland Conversion, Mar. 29 (webinar)
Joe Smith, University of Montana, is offering a webinar on greater sage grouse and cropland conversion at noon, Mar. 29 (SK-PCAP Native Prairie Speaker series).

WUQWATR AGM, Mar. 30 (Lumsden)
Wascana Upper Qu’Appelle Watershed Association Taking Responsibility (WUQWATR) is holding its AGM from 6:30-8 pm, Mar. 30, in Lumsden.


Bicycle Mechanic Workshops, Mar/Apr (Saskatoon)
Bridge City Bicycle Co-op is offering weekly workshops from Mar. 30 to Apr. 27 on how to repair parts of your bike.

World Water Day Movie, Apr. 3 (Prince Albert)
Council of Canadians – Prince Albert Chapter is hosting a showing of the movie Above All Else at 7 pm, Apr. 3.

Nature Regina Field Trips
Mar. 25, 10 am - noon - NATUREWALK in Wascana
Apr. 8, 9 am – 4:30 pm – Early Arrivals & Winter Birds at Echo Lake & Fort Qu’Appelle
Check Nature Regina’s website for full details and updated information.

Saskatoon Nature Society Field Trips
Young Naturalists
Apr. 18 – Crocus Hike
Space is limited; register early to avoid disappointment.

Golden Eagles
Apr. 6, 8 am – Bluebirds in Merrill Hills Area
Apr. 13, 8 am – Crocuses and Bluebirds
Retirees and partners who are interested in birds and the natural world are invited to participate in Golden Eagle field trips.

Other Saskatoon Nature Society Field Trips
Apr. 1, 9 am – 2 pm – Bluebird Trip to Pike Lake
Apr. 5, 7-10 pm – Saw-whet Owling near Pike Lake
Apr. 12, 6:30-8 pm – Gull Identification
Check the Saskatoon Nature Society’s website for full details and updated information.


Looking Ahead
SK Living Green Expo, Apr. 7-9 (Saskatoon)
The Saskatchewan Living Green Expo, Apr. 7-9, includes presentations on solar energy, socially responsible investing, and reducing chemicals in the home. There will be bats and snakes in the Kidsphere, and DIY workshops on choosing a green builder, green heating options, and eco retrofits. Frank Wolf, long-distance wilderness canoeist, will talk about his 1800 km, 44-day expedition from La Ronge to Baker Lake.

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

In the News
Buy a rain barrel and support the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Saskatchewan’s efforts to help injured and orphaned wildlife. Rain barrels are $70 each and must be pre-ordered online.

The Council of Canadians Prince Albert chapter has won their city council executive committee's support for the human right to water and publicly financed, owned, and operated water and wastewater services.

JNS Yoga, Saskatoon, is committed to zero waste. First step - switching from paper to cloth towels.

3 easy step to take to protect wild bees.

15 ways to stop microfiber pollution now.

A New Zealand river is the first in the world to be given legal human status and is quickly followed by the Ganges and Yamuna rivers in India.

The burial industry is starting to offer greener end-of-life options.

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 16 March 2017

Made to Last

Keep? Throw away? Our grandparents bought durable products and repaired them when they broke down. That hasn't always been the case for our generation. But times are changing and people are becoming more aware of the cost to the environment of our disposable consumer culture. They’re reinventing ways to repair, reuse or reduce, and reestablishing and strengthening the power of the consumer.

When something breaks, our tendency is to replace it; we’ve lost the knowledge that past generations had. But there are other options.

Repair Cafés 
Grassroots groups are organizing repair cafés where neighbours help neighbours to repair items. It reduces waste, saves money, and offers people a chance to socialize. Toronto Repair Café and Brighton Repair Café (photo) are two examples of a global movement.

Fix It 
iFixit is a wiki-based site that teaches people how to fix almost anything and empowers individuals to share their technical expertise. For example, they’ll show you how to replace the Home button on your iPhone and you can order all the necessary parts and equipment through their website.

Spareka, a French website, believes that the majority of broken appliances can be repaired. The website helps you identify the problem, buy the necessary repair parts, and carry out the repairs. If you want to repair your dishwasher, Spareka explains how it works, provides an overview of all the component parts, tips on how to maintain it in good condition, a checklist to diagnose the problem, and videos on how to repair specific problems, such as replacing the pump or the door closure. Technicians are on hand if you can’t find the solution to your problem online.

Regen Box 
Where there’s a will there’s a way, and one determined individual has set up Regen Box, an open-source regenerator for non-rechargeable alkaline batteries. The goal is to establish a community of beta testers to try it out with all the different types of batteries currently on the market.

Create Café
3D Printing Technology creates opportunities as well as roadblocks. Digital saws, laser cutting tools, and 3-D printing provide new options for repairing or creating. Create Cafe 3D Printing is a Saskatoon-based 3-D printing and coffee shop. They favour 3-D printing due to the low waste produced, cost benefits, and dynamic abilities.

Equipment and materials don’t have to end up in the landfill. Here are a few alternatives.

If you’re doing home renovations, why not donate old fixtures and appliances to Habitat for Humanity? ReStore resells quality new and gently used building materials and home furnishings.

PSI Technologies Inc. crushes and recycles up to 2,500 tonnes of material a day using concrete collected from demolished commercial and industrial buildings in and around Saskatoon. During demolition,

Innovation Place salvages as much material as possible so that doors, ceilings, light fixtures, and other items can be reused. If there is surplus material, it is donated. (photo: Marks & Spencer, UK)

Reconditioned Appliances and Electronics 
Back Market bills itself as a supermarket for reconditioned electronics (from cameras and smart phones to coffee makers and toasters). NEU Appliances of Austin, Texas, cleans, tests, warranties, and sells used appliances.

Recycled Jeans 
REMADE in France uses old jeans to make new ones. Their goal is to save water and reduce pesticide contamination as growing cotton requires immense amounts of water and uses 24% of the world supply of pesticides.

Magasin pour Rien 
Magasin pour Rien in Mulhouse, France, accepts items that people no longer want and then gives them away. People are invited to visit once a week and pick out 1-3 free items, including children’s clothing and toys, dishes, and small electrical appliances. Social service agencies now direct their clients to the store.

Ads encourage us to buy, buy, buy while manufacturers control availability and information. Reestablishing and strengthening the power of the consumer is happening in various different ways.

In 2014, France passed a law to enhance the rights of consumers. Manufacturers are expected to provide a 2-year warranty (in place of 6 months) and to list the availability of replacement parts.

Sweden has introduced tax breaks for repairs in a bid to cut waste.

Putting an End to Planned Obsolescence 
HOP: Halte à l’Obsolescence Programmée, a French advocacy group, has 3 principal objectives: inform and speak out against planned obsolescence, bring people (from citizens to academics to manufacturers) together to take action, and put forward research papers and proposals to support a different economic model.

The most effective means of valuing natural resources and preventing waste is by reducing consumption.

Made to Last
Individuals and companies are encouraging consumers to buy less stuff by buying good-quality, durable products.

Made to Last, a UK website, profiles products that have been hand selected for the quality of their workmanship and designed to stand the test of time. Products must have a clear guarantee and a high utility value.

BuyMeOnce “finds and promotes products that don't break the bank, don't break the planet ... that don't break at all!” They challenge manufacturers to build stuff that really lasts.

Sustainable Fashion
The fashion industry, with its seasonal trends and cheap, badly made clothes, is responsible for a great deal of waste. A few companies are breaking with that pattern with clothes made with recycled or organic materials. Patagonia is leading the trend with a mission statement to “build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”

Fairphone “is a Dutch social enterprise that makes smartphones with easily replaceable components, encourages the recycling of e-waste, uses materials that support local economies, and advocates fairness among its partners.”

Say No to Greenwashing 
In a joint position paper on Bioplastics in a Circular Economy, Friends of the Earth Europe stress the need to focus on waste reduction and prevention to avoid false solutions. “Our overconsuming, throwaway culture is tied to a linear buy-use-dispose economy, and will not be solved by relying on technological solutions. Instead, we need behavioural and production change and for government priorities to be on prevention and reuse.”

Values Reset 
In most parts of the world, the focus is on continuous economic growth sustained by the non-stop acquisition of goods and materials as measured by the Gross Domestic Product. Some countries and regions have chosen to follow a different path.

Kerala, in southern India, follows a model of equitable growth, emphasizing land reforms, poverty reduction, access to education, and child welfare rather than a high GDP.

Bhutan champions “a new approach to development, which measures prosperity through formal principles of gross national happiness (GNH) and the spiritual, physical, social and environmental health of its citizens and natural environment.”

Each of us as individuals chooses how to define success and prosperity. By making changes in our personal lives and advocating for society-wide changes, we can make a difference.

See Also
Landfills, Organic Waste, and Recycling

Tuesday 14 March 2017

EcoSask News, March 14, 2017

frost and ice

Upcoming Events
Northern Owling Overnight Trip, Mar. 18/19 (Saskatoon)
The Saskatoon Nature Society is planning a northern owling overnight trip on Mar. 18/19. Check their website for more detailed information.

Saskatoon Zoo Society AGM, Mar. 19 (Saskatoon) 
Find out about the programs offered by the Saskatoon Zoo Society at their annual general meeting, 1:30-3 pm, Mar. 19.

SK Breeding Bird Atlas, Mar. 20 (Regina) 
Dr. Keil Drake will present the Saskatchewan Breeding Bird Atlas project at the Mar. 20 meeting of Nature Regina.

Healthy Yards for Prairie Gardeners, Mar. 21 (Saskatoon) 
Find out about home composting, water conservation, native plants, pesticide reduction, and more at 7 pm, Mar. 21, at the Frances Morrison Library as part of the Sustainable Speaker Series.

GHG Reductions through Electrification, Mar. 21 (Regina/Saskatoon) 
Alan Fogwill, Canadian Energy Research Institute, will speak on greenhouse gas emissions reductions in Canada through electrification of energy services from 10:30-noon, Mar. 21. The Johnson Shoyama Graduate School public lecture can be heard in either Regina or Saskatoon.

sun on floating ice

Zoodles, Mar. 22-Apr. 27 (Saskatoon) 
Ryan Schmidt’s portraits of animals living at the Saskatoon Forestry Farm & Zoo will be on display in the Gallery at Frances Morrison Library from Mar. 22-Apr. 27.

Seed Bombs, Mar. 24 (Regina) 
Teens are invited to a talk about native plants and creating green spaces in the community from 7-8:30 pm, Mar. 22, at the Prince of Wales Branch, Regina Public Library.

SK Wildlife Society AGM, Mar. 25 (Regina) 
Todd Whiklo will talk about Alberta’s Sage Grouse Recovery Program during The Wildlife Society – Saskatchewan chapter’s AGM from 4-5:30, Mar. 25.

Public Pastures Public Interest AGM, Mar. 25 (Regina) 
Public Pastures Public Interest will be holding their annual general meeting from 1-5 pm, Mar. 25.

Burrowing Owls, Mar. 25 (Regina) 
Meet a burrowing owl at 1:30 pm, Mar. 25, at Cabela’s in Regina as part of SK-PCAP's Native Prairie Speaker series.

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

frost and ice

In the News
Usask Worms hopes to kick-start a vermicomposting revolution at the U of S

An on-campus solar array at the U of S will provide students with hands-on experience in renewable energy technologies

Saskatoon groups are proposing an electric car-share pilot program

Bokashi balls can clean polluted waterways. For more information, talk to Saskatoon’s Bokashi Ninja 

The City of Regina's Landfill Gas to Energy Project generates one megawatt of power — enough to power 1,000 homes

 Illegal farmland drainage is a huge problem in Saskatchewan (article and column)

Nature Conservancy of Canada has unveiled a new conservation area next to Grasslands National Park

An Ontario city is temporarily closing a road to protect endangered salamanders

Useful tips on how to protect existing trees on building sites

Reliance on hazardous pesticides is a short-term solution that undermines the right to adequate food and health for present and future generations” (United Nations)

Inhabit: a documentary film looking at permaculture people and practices in over 20 rural, suburban, and urban environments

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 March 2017

EcoFriendly Action Grant Ideas for Gardeners and Teachers


Gardens are fabulous: fresh air, exercise, healthy food, and colourful flowers. And children learn so much better when they’re out of doors, experiencing the real world, not just reading about it in a textbook.

We’re delighted that so many people are planting community gardens or planning outdoor classrooms. Unfortunately, when people come to EcoFriendly Sask for financial assistance, their proposals don’t always meet our grant criteria.

EcoFriendly Action Grants are intended to prevent, reduce, or repair damage to the environment. That may not be one of your top priorities when you are planning a community garden or an outdoor classroom, but it can certainly be one of the positive outcomes of your project if you think it through from that angle.

Here are a few ideas (in no particular order) to get you started - and they are all activities that EcoFriendly Sask would consider supporting financially.

Build and erect birdhouses and/or bat boxes

Construct insect hotels

Plant butterfly-friendly plants or a pollinator garden

Plan a pesticide-free garden

Set up a composting system

Collect rainwater

Save and use your own seeds (get help from groups such as the Prince Albert Seed Library)

Host a community demonstration project (Saskatoon’s Garden Patch has installed a solar panel, a rainwater catchment system, and a green roof)

Organize community workshops (e.g., bird identification, co-existing with coyotes, beneficial insects, native plants)

bee on flowers

Tuesday 7 March 2017

EcoSask News, March 7, 2017


Upcoming Events
Preserving Saskatchewan’s Environment, Mar. 9 (Regina)
Join the Saskatchewan Environmental Society and environmental student groups at the University of Regina from 7-10 pm, Mar. 9, for a discussion of environmental issues in and around Regina.

SK Raptors: Hawks, Mar. 10 (Moose Jaw)
Dave Stymeist will present Raptors of Saskatchewan: Hawks at the Mar. 10 meeting of Nature Moose Jaw (7 pm, MJDS cardroom, Eaton building).

Jane’s Walk Regina, Mar. 12 (Regina)
Find out how you can lead a Jane’s Walk in Regina from 2-3:30 pm, Mar. 12, at the Central Library, Regina.

Our Ancient Prairie Land, Mar. 12 (podcast)
Join Jared Clarke at 11 am, Mar. 12, for a podcast entitled Our Ancient Prairie Land (PCAP-SK Ecological Goods and Services Week).

Education Responds to the Sustainability Agenda, Mar. 13 (Saskatoon)
Dr. Stephen Sterling will speak on How Far is Higher Education Responding to the Sustainability Agenda? Policy, Practice, and Change at 12:30 pm, Mar. 13, at the University of Saskatchewan (Sustainability Research Education Institute).

Escape into Nature, Mar. 14-16 (Regina)
Nature Conservancy of Canada is showcasing its properties and habitats for species at risk at the Art Gallery of Regina from Mar. 14-16.

Astronomy Night, Mar. 15 (Moose Jaw)
Youth are invited to attend an astronomy night as part of Moose Jaw Public Library’s Maker Series.

Saskatoon Nature Society AGM, Mar. 16 (Saskatoon)
The Saskatoon Nature Society is holding its annual general meeting on Mar. 16 at 7:30 pm in Room 106, Biology Building, University of Saskatchewan.

Valuing Ecosystem Services Provided by Native Prairie, Mar. 16 (Swift Current)
Sue Michalsky will discuss the importance of valuing the ecosystem services provided by native prairie at 7 pm, Mar. 16, in Swift Current (PCAP-SK Ecological Goods and Services Week).

Introduction to Biodynamic Beekeeping, Mar. 16 (webinar)
The Biodynamic Association is offering an introduction to biodynamic beekeeping webinar from 7:30-9 pm EST, Mar. 16.


Looking Ahead
Circular Economy Lab, May 17 (Saskatoon)
On May 17, The Natural Step will guide a discussion about a system where materials are not simply discarded but reused or recycled into new products in a pre-conference workshop for ReForum 2017.

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

Grant Opportunities
The City of Saskatoon is offering $25,000 worth of grants to community groups and agencies for new winter program or design initiatives. The application deadline is April 21.

The Regina Horticultural Society offers grants for projects that “promote the engagement of Regina citizens in gardening through education for the enhancement of their local environment and their quality of life.”

In the News 
"in these times of government cost-cutting and a view that oil companies should self-police rather [than] the Environment Ministry because that’s best for the economy, we are losing sight of the fact that we are talking about clean water. This has to be about more than ensuring an oil company pays all its bills for the damages it caused after the fact. . . . Why does commerce take precedence over regulation enforcement?"

A massive LED lighting retrofit is underway at the University of Saskatchewan and is changing the university's energy profile.

Edmonton’s Resilience Festival aims to inspire participants to help create a sustainable and promising future. Last year's workshops included Creating a Backyard Food Forest, Tiny Homes, Wildcrafting, Water, Pesticides, and Sustainable Living. Could we do this in Saskatoon? 

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 5 March 2017

Step Into Spring: Upcoming Nature-Friendly Events

Swainson's hawk

The EcoFriendly Sask Calendar is filling up quickly with interesting activities all around the province. Here are just a few – head on over to the EcoFriendly Sask Calendar to see what else might be of interest. 

Hawks, Mar. 10, Moose Jaw
Learn to identify some of Saskatchewan’s birds with help from Dave Stymeist who will be introducing the hawks of Saskatchewan at the Nature Moose Jaw meeting at 7 pm, Mar. 10, in the MJDS cardroom, Eaton building.

ForestART, July 3-7, Ness Creek
ForestArt, July 3-7, is an opportunity to spend 4 days in the boreal forest. Paint out of doors; use design and colour to translate your experience into lines on paper; try your hand at blacksmithing; using ancient encaustic techniques, create works inspired by your forest surroundings; or practise design and composition techniques that will enhance your landscape photographs. In addition to making art, there will be morning yoga, guided nature walks, and boreal forest-sourced appetizers.

Beekeeping, April, Prince Albert
A member of the Prince Albert Parkland Permaculture Guild has offered to host a beekeeping weekend in April.

In the meantime, you might be interested in a Mar. 10 introductory webinar on Biodynamic Beekeeping.

momma and ducklings

Escape into Nature, Mar. 14-16, Regina
Nature Conservancy of Canada is transforming the Art Gallery of Regina from Mar. 14-16 with displays, videos, interactive maps, and virtual reality showcasing their properties and habitats for species at risk.

We Are Water, May 23-28, Saskatoon
NatureCity Festival is asking for your help in showing off the wild side of the City of Saskatoon. Highlight the work you and your organization are doing while introducing your neighbours to the wild creatures and native plants that are all around us.

The theme of this year’s NatureCity Festival is We Are Water: Explore our Prairie Waterscape.

EcoFriendly Sask informs, encourages, and supports Saskatchewan environmental initiatives. Our EcoFriendly Action Grants are designed to prevent or reduce damage to the natural environment.

Thursday 2 March 2017

All-Season Outdoor Recreation: Waskawîhew Trails, Buffalo Narrows

The Buffalo Narrows Ski Club received a $500 EcoFriendly Action Grant in 2016. They reported back on their project. 

The Buffalo Narrows Ski Club maintains a 13km network of trails on the outskirts of town named the Waskawîhew Trails (Waskawîhew means to move oneself with his or her own body in Cree). The trails are used daily throughout winter for recreational, club, and school skiers. In the summer they are used for running, cycling, and hiking.

There was a short wetland crossing with a small amount of flow that couldn’t be avoided during the construction of the trails. This crossing posed a barrier for people accessing the trails beyond that point (beyond the hardiest individuals who didn’t mind getting a bit wet). With the generous support of EcoFriendly Sask the club built a culvert bridge crossing, which was pre-approved by SERM.

This new crossing has significantly improved the trail experience and opened up many more areas for spring through fall use. Indeed, we have seen at least double the number of pedestrians making use of the trails this fall.

As a result of this trail improvement, the Club was also able to host the first ever cross-country running race on the Waskawîhew Trails and the first in Buffalo Narrows in over a decade. Over 130 elementary and high school students competed in distances ranging from 2km to 6km in early October. This was a stepping stone towards possibly hosting the regional championships next year prior to provincials. Our community is very grateful for your support!

EcoFriendly Action Grants support local projects that will reduce or prevent damage to the environment.