Tuesday 27 June 2017

EcoSask News, June 27, 2017

Western Tiger Swallowtail

Upcoming Events
Prairie Agriculture Carbon Summit, July 13-14 (Saskatoon)
The Agriculture Producers Association of Saskatchewan is hosting a Prairie Agriculture Carbon Summit, July 13-14, in Saskatoon. Topics will include carbon pricing, carbon sequestration, fertilizer management, genomics, and economics.

Looking Ahead
Summer Star Party, Aug. 23-27 (Cypress Hills)
Observe the sun and the stars during the Royal Astronomical Society’s annual Summer Star Party at Cypress Hills Provincial Park’s dark-sky campground and observatory from Aug. 23-27.

Introduction to Passive House High Performance Buildings, Sept. 30 (Saskatoon)
Introduction to Passive House High Performance Buildings, an overview of the core principles of Passive House design and building energy efficiency regulations in Canada, is being offered in Saskatoon on Sept. 30.

Flowing Waters Conference, Oct. 17-19 (Leduc)
Partners FOR the Saskatchewan River Basin and the North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance are hosting their annual conference in Leduc, AB, Oct. 17-19. The theme is Flowing Waters: Water Quality and Transboundary Issues in the Saskatchewan River Basin.

Renewables in Remote Communities, Oct. 24-27 (Whitehorse)
Pembina Institute is hosting a Renewables in Remote Microgrids / Communities conference from Oct. 24-27 in Whitehorse.

Saskatoon Nature Society Field Trips
Saskatoon Young Naturalists
Aug. 24, 1-3 pm – Grasslands Hike
Sept. 23, 9:30 am-1:30 pm – Sandhill Crane Field Trip
Space is limited; register early to avoid disappointment

Other Saskatoon Nature Society Field Trips
July 8, 8:45 am-? – North American Buttefly Count
July 9, 1-4 pm – Botany Trip, Beaver Creek Conservation Area
July 15, 7am-5 pm – Douglas Park Sand Dunes Hike
July 16, 1:30-4:30 pm – Dragonfly & Damselfly Viewing
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 

The SES Solar Co-operative now has 140 members and has installed 210 solar panels. “The Co-op’s latest solar install is at 615 Haskamp Street in Saskatoon. It involves an innovative partnership between SES Solar Co-operative, which owns the solar panels, local building owner Montgomery Agencies (who has provided a reinforced rooftop space for the installation), and 4 private businesses at the Haskamp Street site which will now receive the majority of their electricity from a near emissions-free solar energy source.”


In the News
"The trucks picking up and delivering our goods make up nine per cent of Canada’s total emissions, and that number is projected to exceed passenger vehicle emissions by around 2030." Driving down freight emissions will require federal, provincial, and municipal cooperation.

The era of ownership is ending. "On-demand is about using things when we actually need them. It leads to the more effective use of resources."

Passive house construction is leaping from niche to mainstream. Here are 6 strategies for accelerating market transformation.

Managed collectively backyards could become more biodiverse landscapes. “What goes on in a yard is seen as a personal decision by homeowners. But all of those individual decisions add up. ‘We think it’s just our house, . . . But forty or fifty percent of a city is people’s yards. If you put us together and replicate it across the country, it’s a very large area.”

Rampant road building is having a shattering impact on wildlife. That’s why wildlife crossings are so important - watch 60 pronghorn navigate a road crossing for the first time.

Here’s why it’s time to stop punishing our soils with fertilizer.

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 20 June 2017

EcoSask News, June 20, 2017

black bear

Upcoming Events
Wildlife Rehab Volunteers, June 24 (Swift Current)
The Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Saskatchewan is holding a volunteer orientation session from 1-3 pm, June 24, at the Swift Current Pharmasave.

P4G Regional Plan Info Session, June 27 (Martensville) 
Partners 4 Growth is holding an open house and public presentation on the draft regional plan from 4-8 pm, June 27. The draft Plan recommends a series of guiding principles and policies around land use, transportation, servicing, and implementation, as well as proposing new governance and administrative structures for the Region.

Sustainability Circle – Composting, July 6 (Regina) 
RPIRG Green Patch is hosting a session on composting and environmental sustainability from 3:30-5 pm, July 6.

Kitchen Scrap Propagation, July 7 (Saskatoon) 
The Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre is hosting a workshop on kitchen scrap propagation from 6-8:30 pm, July 7, at the Garden Patch.

Wildlife Corridors, (webinar) 
Find out about the positive results of the wildlife corridors in Banff National Park in a Defender Radio podcast. Part Two will be available this coming week.

Looking Ahead
Carbon yXe, July 19-20 (Saskatoon) 
Saskatoon business leaders have invited the finalists of the international Carbon X Prize to Saskatoon for a summit on July 19 & 20, 2017. Finalists will have the opportunity to tell their stories while learning what Saskatchewan has to offer.

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

In the News
The City of Saskatoon is considering linking the cost of garbage collection with the amount of usage. Pay as you throw systems can reduce waste and promote recycling. Some methods are more effective than others.

Carlsberg Brewery is aiming for zero carbon emissions. “People in Carlsberg are more energised after Trump said no to the Paris agreement,” he said. “We feel we can take responsibility in our own hands and don’t need to depend on politicians for this." 

Swainsons Hawk with gopher

A Swainson’s Hawk had to put some effort into protecting its supper from two magpies and a crow.

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 13 June 2017

EcoSask News, June 13, 2017

White-winged crossbill

Upcoming Events
Trump, the Paris Agreement, and Climate Change, June 15 (Saskatoon) 
Dr. Greg Poelzer will discuss Trump, the Paris Agreement, and Climate Change: What is the Future of the Global Energy Transition from 5:30-8:30 pm, June 15, at The Woods Alehouse (Tox on Tap).

Piping Plover Critical Habitat, June 20 (webinar)
Kerry Hecker is presenting a noon-hour webinar on June 20 regarding Piping Plover Critical Habitat on Last Mountain Lake National Wildlife Area as part of the SK PCAP Native Prairie Speaker Series.

NE Swale Prescribed Fire Tour, June 21 (Saskatoon)
The Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan is organizing a tour of less-visited parts of the Northeast Swale from 6:30-8:30 pm, June 21. Renny Grilz, MVA Resource Management Officer, will lead a comparison of areas that have and have not been burned recently.

The Prairie Ecologist, June 22 (webinar)
Chris Helzer, The Prairie Ecologist, is giving a webinar presentation, It’s All the Little Things, at noon, June 22, as part of Native Prairie Appreciation Week.

Tiger Hills Field Trip, June 24 (Saskatoon)
Join Wild Birds Unlimited staff on a field trip from 8 am-5 pm, June 24, to the Tiger Hills Uplands. Troutreach Saskatchewan is conducting a bioblitz at the property and will be available to answer questions. Meet at the Wild Birds Unlimited store to car pool.

Build a Static Pile, June 24 (Saskatoon)
Find out how to build a static pile (composting) from 12:30-2 pm, June 24, at Saskatoon Food Bank’s Garden Patch.

Biddulph Natural Area Field Trip, June 25 (Saskatoon)
The Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan will visit the Biddulph Natural Area from 1-4 pm, June 25, as part of the Native Prairie Appreciation Week celebrations.

Red-tailed hawk

Native Prairie Appreciation Week (June 18-24)
Native Prairie Appreciation Week is celebrated across the province, June 18-24, with a variety of events, including awareness booths at Farmer's Markets, a social media campaign, a photo contest, and more. SK PCAP will be on-site at the following Farmer's Markets:
Sunday, June 18, 10am-3pm - Saskatoon Farmers' Market
Wednesday, June 21, 8am-1pm - Regina Farmers' Market
Saturday, June 24, 10am-3pm - Swift Current Market Square

Saskatoon Nature Society
Golden Eagles
June 22, 8 am – Saskatoon’s Historic Trees
June 29, 8 am – Donna Birkmaier Park
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
June 17, 8-11 am – May Haga Memorial Bird Walk, Lakewood & Heritage Parks
June 24, 7-10 am –Breeding Bird Atlas Point Counts
July 1, 9:15 am-2 pm – Wild Orchids Field Trip
Check the Saskatoon Nature Society’s website for full details and updated information.

Looking Ahead
Generating Momentum, Aug. 24-27 (Little Manitou Lake)
Registration is now open for Generating Momentum, a 4-day camp for 18-35 year olds who are passionate about social, global, and environmental justice.

Photography Workshop, Sept. 22-24 (Cypress Hills)
Join Branimir Gjetvaj in the Cypress Hills for a workshop focusing on landscape and outdoor photography from Sept. 22-24.

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

In the News 
The Saskatoon Freeway, destined to be the most expensive transportation infrastructure project in Saskatchewan history, is set to bypass scrutiny - despite the fact that it cuts through the vulnerable Northeast Swale and passes very close to the Small Swale, home to Loggerhead Shrike, a federally threatened species.

Canadian watersheds face growing threats; water supply across the country is at risk.

The Better Good, Saskatoon, plans to launch a tool/sharing library in their basement. They're looking for organizers and volunteers.

The City of Melbourne has announced a $1.2 million Urban Forest Fund, which it will use to match private investments in urban greening initiatives (parks, tree planting, stormwater projects, green walls, and roofs).

Bald eagles are playing host to a baby red-tailed hawk in Sidney, BC.

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 8 June 2017

Walking Saskatoon

Walking – healthy for the body and the mind, easy on the environment – it’s a great way to move around a city. Or at least it should be. Walking Saskatoon was established two years ago to advocate for better pedestrian infrastructure and development.

“Walking Saskatoon believes in the need of any city for complete, efficient, and safe pedestrian infrastructure. This means more and better sidewalks, well-lit paths, frequent rest stops and trash receptacles, proper integration with transit stops and cycling paths, and full accessibility for people with restricted mobility.” 

Walking Saskatoon held its first public meeting on May 28, 2017, and highlighted three pressing issues. More information on all these topics is available on their website.

Missing Sidewalks
The City of Saskatoon’s Active Transportation Plan Final Report highlights the benefits of walking and cycling. However, 25% of major and minor arterial streets have no sidewalks, which leaves some pretty big gaps, as demonstrated on the map on page 22 of the report.

There is no ongoing budget item assigned to sidewalk infill; however, in 2016 and 2017, City Council allocated funds from the Traffic Safety Reserve (money from traffic cameras) to improve walkability (pedestrian crossings, new sidewalks). Locations with no sidewalks on either side of the road; sidewalks connecting to schools, parks, and bus stops; and locations identified through a Neighbourhood Traffic Review are the priority. Only a fraction of the missing sidewalks can be replaced in a given year, and there is no guarantee of ongoing funding.

Walking Saskatoon is advocating for increased funding and greater transparency of the process and the choice of priorities in order to ensure that pedestrians can walk safely on sidewalks throughout the city. They are currently profiling missing sidewalks on their Facebook and Twitter feeds with the hashtag #sidewhere.

Sid Buckwold Bridge Pedestrian Crossing 
The Sid Buckwold Bridge plays an important role in connecting the east side of the city with River Landing, the Remai Arts Centre, the Remai Modern, and the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market. Unfortunately, it’s a hazardous crossing for cyclists and pedestrians:

“The existing walkway on the north side of the bridge is too small and too exposed. Stories abound about near misses from protruding lumber pieces on trucks or debris kicked up from the road, and getting splashed by a disgusting slurry of road detritus is a given from fall to spring. To make matters even worse, there is no crossing on the south side of the bridge.”

The bridge is scheduled for extensive maintenance work in the next few years, but current plans do not include any additions or improvements to the pedestrian crossing. Walking Saskatoon has been talking to City Councillors and planners, and several plans have been drawn up to improve the pedestrian crossing. One calls for wide walkways on both sides of the bridge, while the other would widen the existing walkway and provide a higher divider. Both proposals would come with a significantly lower price tag than the current long-term plan for a pedestrian bridge and would further the City’s goal to support active transportation. The advocacy group plans to take its proposal to the June 12 meeting of the City of Saskatoon’s Standing Committee on Transportation.

Pedestrian Beg Buttons 
Have you ever stood at a crossing and wondered why there’s a green light for vehicles but the signage for pedestrians says Don’t Walk? The signalling mismatch is caused by beg buttons; pedestrians need to hit the button to get a walk signal and extend the amount of time available to cross the street. The problem is that nobody knows how the walk signals work and they only affect some crossings. You’ll get a walk signal in downtown Saskatoon without pressing a button. If you want to cross Broadway Avenue, you’ll have to press the button. On top of that, you have to press the button at just the right time, or it won’t work.

“Beg buttons probably have a place on streets with lower pedestrian traffic but for corridors with heavy pedestrian traffic (Broadway, Downtown, College Drive, etc.) they should be eliminated and pedestrians should be able to count on consistent crossing lights and times. Edmonton is already in the process of doing this, recommending in three separate reports for either the full elimination of beg lights or, at the least, their elimination on major shopping corridors.” 

Walking Saskatoon & Sidewalks of Regina 
Walking Saskatoon welcomes new members. You can follow their activities on their website, Facebook, or Twitter.

If you live in Regina, you can follow Sidewalks of Regina on Facebook or on Twitter.

You can follow EcoFriendly Sask by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, or by subscribing to our postings by email from the top right hand corner of our website.

Tuesday 6 June 2017

EcoSask News, June 6, 2017

Wolf Willow flowers

Upcoming Events
Migratory Bird Sanctuary Open House, June 8 (Last Mountain Lake)
Last Mountain Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary is celebrating its 130th anniversary from 2-6 pm at the Last Mountain Lake headquarters. There will be games and activities for kids, tours, and birthday cake.

Wildlife Rehabilitation Volunteer Orientation, June 9 (Regina)
Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Saskatchewan is holding a volunteer orientation session in Regina from 6-7:30 pm, June 9, at Cabela’s. Register with Sean at shonersquid20@yahoo.ca.

Campus Master Plan Community Engagement, June 13 (Saskatoon)
The University of Saskatchewan is developing a new master plan and is asking for input on topics such as natural areas, building design, transportation, outdoor landscapes. They’re holding a come and go at Amigos from 5-7 pm, June 13.

Butcher Birds and the Stewards of Saskatchewan, June 14 (Val Marie)
Ashley Vass, Nature Saskatchewan, will be talking about butcher birds and the Stewards of Saskatchewan at 7:30 pm, June 14, in Val Marie.

Small Space/Container Gardening, June 14 (Saskatoon)
The Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre is hosting a workshop on small space/container gardening from 6-8:30 pm, June 14, at the Garden Patch.

The Pisim Project, June 14 (Saskatoon)
Watch The Pisim Project about high school students building an energy-efficient house at 1 pm, June 14, at the Frances Morrison Library.

Introduction to Beekeeping, June 15 (Regina)
Find out about beekeeping and how to start a honey bee colony at 7 pm, June 15, at Regina’s Central Adult Library.

Cycling Advocacy Task Force, June 15 (Regina)
Bike Regina is holding a public meeting at 7 pm, June 15, at the Artful Dodger Café, to discuss establishing an advocacy task force to help Regina become a world-class cycling city.

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

Looking Ahead
The City of Edmonton will be hosting the global Cities & Climate Change Conference in March 2018.

Wolf Willow flowers

Awards & Submissions
Rob Dumont Energy Management Awards (Saskatoon)
Nominations are now open for the 2017 Rob Dumont Energy Management Awards. Nominations for the lifetime achievement and education awards are due June 30. Nominations for the remaining award categories are due Sept. 7.

Urban Forestry & Urban Greening
Urban Forestry & Urban Greening magazine is inviting contributions for a special issue on Urban Food Forests – a potential contributor to increased livelihood in urban areas. Deadline is February 2018.

In the News
Toronto's Best Practices for Effective Lighting is a companion book to Bird-Friendly Development Guidelines

Urban wildlife photography has the power to reconnect people with nature by reminding them that we can and do coexist with it, even in the heart of the city”

An abandoned factory in Rome is now an urban wilderness and home to 62 species of birds

Calgary Zoo gives young burrowing owls a head start - back in the wild, they've mated and laid eggs

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 4 June 2017

EcoFriendly Action Grants - May 2017

EcoFriendly Action Grants are intended to preserve and protect the natural environment. We offered financial support for 9 projects in May 2017 and were proud to increase our support for Saskatoon’s NatureCity Festival.

Natural Areas Clean-Up Grants 
Five organizations took advantage of our offer to raise funds for their organization by cleaning up a natural area in or around their community. A cheque for $500 was sent out once we received a photo of their clean-up crew and the garbage they collected.

Saskatoon Search and Rescue’s haul from Diefenbaker Park included two exercise bikes, furniture and car parts, several bags of food garbage, and other questionable items.

Grades 7-9 students at Ponteix School cleaned up the community park, playground, and campground.

Hudson Bay Park/Mayfair/Kelsey-Woodlawn Community Association brought together 81 people of all ages for a community clean-up.

South Nutana Park Community Association collected 3,140 kg of garbage.

Craik Sustainable Living Project is planning a clean-up; we look forward to receiving their report.

Action Grants 
In addition to the clean-up grants, we provided EcoFriendly Action Grants to the following groups:

Craik Communities in Bloom - $500 to plant a pollinator garden at the head of Craik’s main street

Ecology Camps for Kids - $1,000 to support their camps, which are designed to inspire a love of nature and teach children about the environment

Northeast Swale Watchers - $1,000 to support a Good Neighbours to the Swale community engagement campaign

Grade 5/6 class, Englefeld School - $500 to build birdhouses and set up bird feeders and benches for viewing birds

NatureCity Festival 
EcoFriendly Sask is an ongoing sponsor of Wild About Saskatoon’s NatureCity Festival.

This year, in addition to a $5,000 operational grant, we sponsored the EcoFriendly Sask NatureCity Awards and reception.

We also collaborated with Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation and Saskatoon Nature Society to sponsor a public talk and technical workshop on bird-friendly building design and a songbird window collision survey with Michael Mesure, FLAP Canada.

EcoFriendly Sask informs, encourages, and supports Saskatchewan environmental initiatives through an online publication and Action Grants. 

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