Tuesday 31 October 2017

EcoSask News, October 31, 2017

autumn leaves

Upcoming Events
Skills for Social Change, Nov. 1-30 (Saskatoon) 
Next Up Saskatchewan and community partners are presenting a series of free workshops on Skills for Social Change in November. These include Understanding Social Change (Nov. 1), Organizing Using Social Media (Nov. 8), and Your Message and the Media (Nov. 22).

URSU Sustainability Week, Nov. 6-8 (Regina) 
The University of Regina Students’ Union is hosting the following activities during its Sustainability Week:
Nov. 6, 7 pm – Screening of An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power
Nov. 7, 6 pm – Composting Workshop
Nov. 8, 6 pm – Sustainability Seminar & Panel Discussion

Northeast Swale Watchers, Nov. 7 (Saskatoon) 
Renny Grilz will discuss some important wildlife sightings at the Northeast Swale at the Nov. 7 meeting (4-5:30 pm) of the Northeast Swale Watchers. RSVP by Nov. 5.

Stakeholder Engagement in Water Quality Decisions in Qu’Appelle Valley, Nov. 10 (Lumsden)
The Global Institute for Water Security is hosting a meeting with producers and people living along the Qu’Appelle River system to present the water quality model they developed and future plans from 10 am-2:30 pm, Nov. 10, in Lumsden.

Mendel Riverbank & Weir Bird Walk, Nov. 12 (Saskatoon) 
Join the Saskatoon Nature Society on a walk by the river from 9-10:30 am, Nov. 12.

Islands of Grass Book Launch, Nov. 14 & 15 (Regina & Saskatoon)
Trevor Herriot and Branimir Gjetvaj’s new book, Islands of Grass, will be launched in Regina at 7 pm, Nov. 14, at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, and in Saskatoon at 7 pm, Nov. 15, at the Alice Turner Branch Library. Both launches will include an introduction by classical guitarist Ed Rodger and a reading by author David Carpenter.

Renewable Energy Forum, Nov. 15 (Saskatoon)
First Nations Power Authority is hosting the Western Canadian Indigenous Renewable Energy Forum in Saskatoon on Nov. 15.

Household Hazardous Waste Survey, Dec. 15
The Government of Saskatchewan is requesting public feedback on a recycling program for household hazardous waste in Saskatchewan. The online survey is open until Dec. 15.

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

floating autumn leaves

In the News
Nick Saunders' 2018 Saskatchewan Bird Calendar is ready for delivery.

Local residents are looking for more information about the plan to divert water from Quill Lakes into Last Mountain Lake.

A new fire hall near the U of S campus in Saskatoon will cost $8 million - just one of the hidden costs of suburban sprawl.

Bus rapid transit can improve travel times, modal share, and urban development at rates similar to those reported for light rail and metro.

We are breeding a world full of creatures that cannot survive: “Over the centuries, we’ve taken in various animal species as pets, domesticating them and teaching them to be docile — serving humans while establishing that we are the dominant species on Earth.”

Transport accounts for 18% of global emissions and is the single biggest energy user in 40% of countries, and the second biggest in the others (first Global Mobility Report).

Take pictures and notes, gather data, explore with the Science Journal app.

CO2 levels rose at record-breaking rates in 2016.

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).

Friday 27 October 2017

New Again: Rammed Earth Construction

Rammed earth is an ancient construction method that has recently come back into favour due to its environmentally friendly characteristics. Using sustainable materials and natural building methods, it is strong, cool in hot weather, well suited to passive solar heating, non-toxic, biodegradable, and fireproof.

Remnants of rammed-earth buildings can be found in Neolithic archaeological sites along the Yellow River in China dating back to 5000 BCE. The Great Wall of China was built using rammed-earth techniques as was the Alhambra in Granada, Spain.

Rammed-earth houses were first built in France in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. They weren’t just rural dwellings either. Some of the finest examples can be found around Lyon and Grenoble due to the region’s high-quality earth building material. Approximately 30% of the homes in Grenoble are of rammed-earth construction although they can be hard to spot due to their ornate plaster finishes.

An early example of rammed-earth construction in Canada is St. Thomas’ Anglican Church in Shanty Bay, Ontario. Built from 1838-42, it “utilized wet clay mixed with chopped straw, compacted into forms and covered, when dry, with plaster or siding for protection against weather.”

Rammed-earth walls are built in layers. The earth is poured into a mold, pressed down, and then another layer is added. Today’s rammed-earth buildings cover a wide range of styles and purposes:
  • A student-designed house in Ghana pairs rammed-earth walls with windows made from used water packaging, combining traditional construction with recycling. 
  • An award-winning rammed earth home in Spain halves normal CO2 emissions. All the building materials were sourced from within a 150-km radius. 
  • An observation tower built from locally sourced earth, clay, and gravel blends into its surroundings on a Belgian nature reserve. 
  • A 750-foot rammed-earth wall forms the zigzag façade of 12 homes in Western Australia, and a planted roof keeps the houses naturally cool even on the hottest days. 
You can find several rammed-earth houses in Saskatchewan:
See Also:

Photo credits
Alhambra, Granada, Spain - P. McKinlay
French Town Hall - Rammed Earth Consulting

Tuesday 24 October 2017

EcoSask News, October 24, 2017

autumn leaves

Upcoming Events
Household Hazardous Waste Day, Oct. 28 (Saskatoon)
You can dispose of household hazardous waste in Saskatoon from 9 am – 3:30 pm, Oct. 28.

Jadis, the Red-tailed Hawk, Oct. 25 (Saskatoon)
Meet Jadis, the Red-tailed Hawk, at 7 pm, Oct. 25, at Wild Birds Unlimited.

Wash Away the Garden Woes, Nov. 1 (Saskatoon)
Join PermaSask members from 7-10 pm, Nov. 1, and share your gardening not-so-successful stories and learn from each other’s mistakes.

Climate Change Policies in Canadian Cities, Nov. 1 (Saskatoon)
Dr. Elizabeth Schwartz, U of S faculty, will discuss climate change policies in Canadian cities at the Nov. 1 meeting of the SK Energy Management Task Force.

SENS Open House, Nov. 7 (Saskatoon)
The School of Environment & Sustainability, U of S, invites students and professionals to an open house from 4:30-6 pm, Nov. 7, to learn about their 1-year Master’s program geared towards careers in environmental management, sustainability, and water security.

Diamond Willow Carving Workshop, Nov. 7 (Regina)
Carve your own diamond willow walking/hiking stick in this SaskOutdoors workshop on Nov. 7.

Nature Talks: Grasslands, Nov. 8 (Saskatoon)
Nature Conservancy of Canada is hosting a panel discussion on grasslands in Saskatoon at 7 pm, Nov. 8. Tickets are available online.

Radiance Cohousing Tour, Nov. 11 (Saskatoon)
Radiance Cohousing is now under construction following passive house standards. Take a tour from 2-6 pm, Nov. 11.

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

Looking Ahead
Canadian Bumble Bee Course
Dr. Cory Sheffield, Royal Saskatchewan Museum, will be offering a Canadian Bumble Bee course in January/February to provide participants with the skills to accurately identify bumble bees found in Canada.

Climate Realty
Jared Clarke attended the Climate Reality leadership corps training last week and is eager to give presentations on what he has learned and move the discussion on climate change forward in Saskatchewan. You can reach him on Twitter at @jaredclarke5

Social Change Mentorship & Support Program
Next Up, The Stand Community Organizing Centre, and Strong Roots Consulting are offering personalized coaching and support to individuals or organizations working toward social, environmental, or economic justice.

autumn leaves

In the News
The provincial governmment is requesting public feedback on a recycling program for household hazardous waste in Saskatchewan. The online survey is open until Dec. 15.

From paper targets to spent bullets, everything that can be recycled is recycled at Saskatoon Police Service's indoor gun range.

Interactive graphs and maps in the Prairie Climate Atlas allow users to explore how climate is projected to change across the Prairies.

"a sea change is now under way in the scientific community, as more and more researchers acknowledge that migration is a fundamental right of nature, and that in our militaristic assault on invasive species, we have hubristically done more ecological harm than good."

7 key steps for addressing decent work in the transition to a green economy

Photography and plant ID tips from SaskOutdoors' Fall Nature Photography Walk

"We're basically a library, but instead of books, we have a bunch of stuff to borrow and it's all for free

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 22 October 2017

Dundurn School Heads Outdoors

Dundurn Elementary School has added an outdoor learning space to their playground to help students connect with nature and protect and respect the environment.

Over time, their plans grew to include a timber pergola, pockets of wilderness with trees and shrubs, a rock landscape, stepping stones, camp out benches, and a biking hill.

We’re delighted to have been able to support this project with a $500 EcoFriendly Action Grant. As Evergreen states on its website, “Taking kids outdoors is a great way to support their natural curiosity in the world around them and helps to develop their respect for nature.”

Outdoor learning is a chance to touch, see, and do; practise team problem-solving; recognize one’s place as part of a community with a responsibility for the natural environment; understand scientific concepts; and develop critical thinking skills (5 Benefits of Outdoor Learning).

Tuesday 17 October 2017

EcoSask News, October 17, 2017

Sunset & grass, Saskatoon riverbank

Upcoming Events
Demystifying Composting, Oct. 19 (Saskatoon)
Steep Hill Food Co-op is sponsoring a free talk about composting by the SK Waste Reduction Council at 7 pm, Oct. 19.

Saw-whet Owl Banding Trip, Oct. 20 (Saskatoon)
The Saskatchewan Chapter of The Wildlife Society is organizing a saw-whet owl banding trip at 7:30 pm, Oct. 20.

Library of Things Open House, Oct. 21 (Saskatoon)
Library of Things, a volunteer-run library filled with items members can borrow for free, is holding an Open House from 12-5 pm, Oct. 21.

Wildlife Rehab Volunteer Orientation, Oct. 22 (Saskatoon)
Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Saskatchewan (WRSOS) is holding a volunteer orientation session in Saskatoon from 1:30-3 pm, Oct. 22. Contact WRSOS to register.

Nature Photographs, Oct. 23 (Moose Jaw)
Michael St. Laurent will show his nature photographs at the Nature Moose Jaw meeting at 6:30 pm, Oct. 23.

Compassionate Conservation Webinar Series, Oct. 24-27 (webinar)
The Fur-Bearers are offering a free series of 10 webinars from Oct. 24-27. Topics include co-existence with coyotes, pragmatic compassion & beavers, and content development for advocates.

Starlight at Sunrise, Oct. 25 (Regina)
Learn about telescopes, planets, stars, and galaxies with the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada from 7-9 pm, Oct. 25, at the Sunrise Branch, Regina Public Library.

MVA Canada 150 Celebration, Oct. 26 (Saskatoon)
Meewasin Valley Authority is hosting a Canada 150 celebration from 2-3:30 pm, Oct. 26, at Chief Whitecap Park.

Talking ‘bout Citizen Science, Oct. 26 (Regina)
Sam Droege, US Geological Survey wildlife biologist, will share pictures and stories about his career setting up animal monitoring programs from 7-10 pm, Oct. 26, at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum.

Last Mountain Lake Bird Observatory, Oct. 28 (Fort Qu’Appelle)
Find out more about Last Mountain Lake Bird Observatory at the Fort Qu’Appelle Nature Society meeting at the train station from 7-9 pm, Oct. 28.

Dark Skies at the Creek, Oct. 28 (Saskatoon)
Explore the night sky and learn about nocturnal wildlife at Beaver Creek Conservation Area from 6-11 pm, Oct. 28.


Looking Ahead
Waste Reduction Council Fall Workshops, Nov. (SK)
The Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council will be hosting the following fall workshops:
Nov. 2 – North Battleford
Nov. 9 – Moose Jaw
Nov. 16 – Yorkton

Build Sask Green Conference, Nov. 1-2 (Regina)
The Build Sask Green Conference will be in Regina Nov. 1 and 2.

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

In the News
Low-tech Magazine refuses to assume that every problem has a high-tech solution. Instead, Low-tech Magazine talks about the potential of past and often forgotten knowledge and technologies when it comes to designing a sustainable society."

Regina’s Northwest YMCA is converting organic waste into biofuel to heat its swimming pool and fuel the building's boiler system.

Creating disruptive and lasting change: energy conservation strategies

A murmuration of budgies in the Australian desert

In the war on cars, only drivers kill

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 10 October 2017

EcoSask News, October 10, 2017


Upcoming Events
Wildlife Rehab Volunteer Orientation, Oct. 15 (Regina)
Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Saskatchewan (WRSOS) is holding a volunteer orientation in Regina from 10 am-12 pm, Oct. 15. Contact the WRSOS to register.

Right to a Healthy Environment, Oct. 15 (Saskatoon)
Dianne Rhodes will discuss the impact of climate change on the natural world and what we can do to change it at 1 pm, Oct. 15, at Wild Birds Unlimited.

Demystifying Recycling, Oct. 16 (Saskatoon)
Steep Hill Food Co-op is sponsoring a talk on demystifying recycling at 7 pm, Oct. 16, at the J S Wood Library.

Life Photo Shoot, Oct. 17 (Saskatoon)
Join the Saskatoon Camera Club for a life photo shoot at Chief Whitecap Park at 7 pm, Oct. 17.

Talking ‘bout Bioblitz, Oct. 17 (Regina)
Royal Saskatchewan Museum staff will share photos and stories of the Regina Bioblitz at a meeting co-hosted by Nature Regina at 7 pm, Oct. 17.

Rubbish Dinner & Movie, Oct. 17 (Saskatoon)
The Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council is hosting a Rubbish Dinner on Oct. 17 using food that is often thrown away.

New Directions in Habitat Mitigation, Oct. 18 (webinar)
Peter Joyce, SK Ministry of Environment, will speak on new directions in habitat mitigation: early experience and future opportunities at a noon webinar, Oct. 18 (SK PCAP Native Prairie Speaker Series).

Ecological History of the Northeast Swale, Oct. 19 (Saskatoon)
Kenton Lysak will discuss the ecological history of the Northeast Swale at the Oct. 19 meeting of the Saskatoon Nature Society.

Waste Reduction Week Conference, Oct. 20 (Prince Albert)
The City of Prince Albert is hosting a Waste Reduction Week conference from 1-4 pm, Oct. 20.

Our Journey Toward Hope, Oct. 20-22 (Saskatoon)
Guy Dauncey, BC environmentalist, will speak on journey to the future: a better world is possible at Meewasin Valley United Church’s conference Oct. 20-22.

Reconciliation in the Watershed, Oct. 21 (Regina)
A reconciliation in the watershed workshop on Oct. 21 in Regina will blend reflection with hands-on environmental practice.

Wild for Life, Oct. 22 (Dorintosh)
Join Healing Haven Wildlife Rescue for their annual Wild for Life supper and dance fundraiser on Oct. 22 in Dorintosh.

mallard ducks

Nature Regina Field Trips
Oct. 21, 8 am – Exploring the Meacham Area for Whooping Cranes
Oct. 28, 9 am – Exploring the Fort Qu’Appelle Area (new date)
Check Nature Regina’s website for full details and updated information.

Saskatoon Nature Society Field Trips
Golden Eagles 
Oct. 19, 9 am – Forestry Farm & Zoo
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 
Oct. 15, 1:30-5 pm – Pike Lake Birding & Vanscoy Fall Supper
Oct. 19, 1:30-5 pm – Blackstrap Lake Birding
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 
Looking at a web page with pictures or video emits an estimated .2 grams of CO2 per second. Here are 6 ways you can reduce your personal internet carbon footprint [infographic].

"If there is a single animal on this planet who will test our own mettle as a species, who pushes us to question our ability to understand instead of judge, to study instead of kill, to coexist instead of dominate, to become more thoughtful and less fearful, it is the coyote."

This Saskatoon-made ambulance has it all - hybrid engine, solar panels, anti-idling device.

Two-car households - 1 energy efficient + 1 gas hog = no energy savings

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).

Friday 6 October 2017

Wanted: Wildlife Rehab Volunteers in Southern Saskatchewan

The Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Saskatchewan (WRSOS) receives over 3000 calls every year from individuals who have found an injured bird or animal. Over 1000 of those calls come from southern Saskatchewan.

Unfortunately, WRSOS has fewer volunteers in the south, and care for these injured animals is often delayed due to increased transport and rescue times. It took 5 days to transport a White Phase Red-tailed Hawk with a broken wing to a vet. A Great Horned Owl was hit by a car south of Moose Jaw and has been waiting – with a broken wing – for over a week for transportation. It will probably die from starvation.

Saskatoon-based volunteer Bonnie (left), and Regina-based volunteer Erin met up in Davidson to transport a porcupine with a dislocated and fractured hind leg from Salthaven Wildlife Rehabilitation & Education Centre West to the Western College of Veterinary Medicine for further treatment.

EcoFriendly Action Grant
WRSOS applied for an EcoFriendly Action Grant to help them construct and transport an information booth to events in southern Saskatchewan in order to build awareness and recruit new volunteers.

They took the new display to the Yorkton Pet Expo in September and 4 people expressed an interest in signing up and attending a volunteer orientation session.

Volunteer Opportunities 
The WRSOS is looking for volunteers who are available during the daytime for hotline coverage and/or rescues/transports. Hotline volunteers check the answering machine and return phone calls from the comfort of their own home. Some calls are simple; others are much more complex and interesting. You always have someone on hand to call for advice.

Volunteer orientation sessions are currently being organized in the following centres. Contact WRSOS for additional information and to register.

Regina – Oct. 15, 10 am-12 pm
Saskatoon – Oct. 22, 1:30-3 pm
Lloydminster – Nov. 26
Kindersley – Mar. 25 (tentative)
Tisdale – Apr. 29 (tentative)
Saskatoon – May 27 (tentative)

Tuesday 3 October 2017

EcoSask News, October 3, 2017


Upcoming Events
Campus Sustainability Week, Oct. 10-13 (Saskatoon)
The University of Saskatchewan Office of Sustainability is hosting Campus Sustainability Week, Oct. 10-13. Events include:
Oct. 10, 12-1:30 pm, Public Health Impacts of Climate Change
Oct. 11, 1-3 pm, Bicycle Tune-Up Workshop (BCBC)
Oct. 11, 3-4 pm, Ice-Cycling on Campus
Oct. 11, 5-7 pm, Sustainable Drinks
Oct. 12, 10 am-4 pm, Sustainable Swap Meet
Oct. 12, 11 am-1 pm, Native Vegetation Tour

U of S Sustainability Networking Fair, Oct. 12 (Saskatoon)
As part of Campus Sustainability Week, the U of S Office of Sustainability is hosting a networking fair from 4:30-6:30 pm, Oct. 12, so students can meet businesses and organizations involved in sustainability initiatives.

UN Sustainable Development Goals, Oct. 12 (Saskatoon)
The USSU Sustainability Committee and the Office of Sustainability, University of Saskatchewan, are hosting a UN Sustainable Development Goals training seminar from 6:30-9:30 pm, Oct. 12.

NatureCity Festival Celebration & Planning Kick-Off, Oct. 12 (Saskatoon)
Wild About Saskatoon is hosting an evening of celebration and fun as they begin planning for NatureCity Festival 2018 at 7 pm, Oct. 12. Everyone is welcome.

Seeking Sustainability: Practices for Mindful Living, Oct. 14 (Saskatoon)
Churches for Environmental Action are presenting a workshop on Oct. 14 on Seeking Sustainability: Practices for Mindful Living.

Vermicomposting for Families, Oct. 15 (Regina)
Learn about vermicomposting for families from 2-3 pm, Oct. 15, at the Sunrise Branch, Regina Public Library.


Looking Ahead
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.

Wilderness First Aid, Oct. 27-29 (Lumsden)
SaskOutdoors is offering a Wilderness First Aid course, Oct. 27-29, in Lumsden.

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

In the News
"Local energy has only become possible with renewables, which can be installed at small scale . . . . As wind and solar get cheaper the technology opens up all sorts of new opportunities for people to take ownership of their energy supply, and have a stake in their own services." [book review]

Toilet paper was clogging the pipes; the Netherlands used it to pave a bike path.

NYC is mandating that existing buildings become energy-efficient. It’s an expensive but effective way to cut carbon emissions.

Wildlife collisions are expensive. Fences and over/underpasses can pay for themselves.

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).