Thursday 31 May 2018

Nature Conservancy of Canada: Protecting Natural Areas in Saskatchewan

Dundurn property

“We envision a world in which Canadians conserve nature in all its diversity, and safeguard the lands and waters that sustain life.” (Nature Conservancy of Canada)

For the past 55 years, the Nature Conservancy of Canada has been securing and managing properties in order to protect natural areas and maintain biodiversity. They secured their first property in Saskatchewan, the Qu’Appelle Coulee, in 1982 and now have approximately 68 properties and 206 conservation easements. 

The Conservation Process
Cameron Wood, Program Director for Central and Southeast Saskatchewan, outlined the steps the Nature Conservancy takes to identify, plan, and execute protection for the best of Canada’s natural habitats and species.

Identify need by evaluating opportunities and threats. A Conservation Blueprint for Canada’s Prairies and Parklands, published in 2007, covers parts of 3 provinces and 2 states and is intended to “identify and map conservation targets, map existing protected areas and conservation lands, analyze the current protection of particular target species and ecosystems, and identify the best areas required to meet shortfalls in achieving conservation goals set for those targets.” Cameron explains that the NCC is looking for areas of relatively high concentrations of biodiversity while taking into consideration the factors threatening this biodiversity to determine where their activities can be most effective.

Take action. Once NCC has mapped conservation targets on a large scale, they proceed to break it down by ecoregion. They are now ready to consider obtaining properties. Landowners with a deep connection to their land who want to ensure that it will be protected after they are gone may approach the Nature Conservancy to see if it would be interested in purchasing the land. The NCC then looks to see if there is a match between opportunity and biodiversity potential. They refer back to their regional reports identifying biodiversity hotspots and undertake a combination of desktop review and walk around/discussion with the property owner to see if the data is correct and the property would be a valuable addition to the NCC’s natural areas conservation program.

If it’s decided that the property will be a good fit, the land is either purchased or donated. Purchases are supported by corporate and private donors as well as federal (Natural Areas Conservation Plan) and provincial (Fish & Wildlife Development Fund) funding. In some cases the land is donated; however, there are still costs as the NCC contributes to a stewardship endowment fund to support long-term land management expenses.

Conservation easement. Landowners can also choose to keep their land in private ownership but set limits on how it can be used. A conservation easement is a legal agreement registered to the land title in perpetuity that restricts certain activities, such as draining wetlands or farming on native prairie. 

Dundurn Property

Dundurn Property
One of the Nature Conservancy’s most recent provincial acquisitions is 160 acres of rolling stabilized sand dunes near Dundurn. Sand dunes of this sort are rare in Saskatchewan, particularly on private land. 53 acres are covered by hardwood forest, 13 acres by shrubs and wet meadows, and the remaining acres are native prairie. The property is potentially home to a number of rare species, including the Hairy Prairie-clover and Gibson’s Big Sand Tiger Beetle, and provides excellent habitat for deer, moose, and elk. The property is adjacent to the Dundurn military base, also native habitat, thereby extending the property’s reach and biodiversity value.

Once a property has been purchased, NCC staff carry out a close inspection, compiling a baseline inventory of all the species found on the property as well as the species they expected to find but didn’t. They invite volunteers, whose expertise and time are a valuable addition to staff resources, to participate in a bioblitz (June 2 at Dundurn, June 22 at Pasqua Lake).

The inventory sets the stage for the property management plan. Protecting the site from outside interference isn’t always enough. Disturbance (cattle grazing or prescribed burns) also plays an important role in trying to match the natural balance. The Gibson’s Beetle, for example, requires a mix of open exposed sand as well as vegetated areas. Another priority is managing invasive species – whether it’s weeds, wild boar, or insects that have moved in from another habitat.

Planting trees at Meeting Lake

Conservation Volunteers
Volunteers are a valuable part of NCC’s activities and play an active role in land conservation. As a non-profit, the Nature Conservancy of Canada doesn’t have the staff to complete all the actions outlined in the management plan. They rely on volunteers, working alongside staff, to protect and maintain NCC properties through a wide variety of activities – from removing shoreline debris and old fencing to pulling up burdock or installing nest platforms. Anyone can volunteer, including families, students, and landowners. Some people return year after year. Carpooling to the day-long events is usually an option and you don’t have to be an expert to participate. One or two events are planned in each eco region every summer.

Humans are part of the natural ecosystem and the NCC recognizes the importance of people visiting their sites to develop a love of nature and an appreciation for the NCC’s conservation activities. The properties are intended to remain wild areas. Most of the sites don’t have paths or other recreational facilities, but the public are welcome to wander over the properties on foot (permission for larger groups to visit the Dundurn property may be required due to its proximity to the military base).

A full list of conservation volunteer opportunities is available on NCC’s website. For additional information about volunteer events or corporate opportunities, contact Kayla Burak, Engagement Manager, at

Erecting a bat box on Edenwold property

Photo credit: Nature Conservancy of Canada - Saskatchewan

Tuesday 29 May 2018

EcoSask News, May 29, 2018

Wood frog

Upcoming Events
Repair Café, June 2 (Prince Albert) 
Work together to repair household items and on bicycle maintenance at Repair Café Prince Albert from 1-4 pm, June 2.

Low-Water Gardening Workshop, June 2 (Saskatoon) 
Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre’s Garden Patch is hosting over 30 workshops this summer. They’ll be discussing low-water gardening from 1-2:30 pm, June 2.

SaskOil Revisited, June 3 (Saskatoon)
Join Briarpatch Magazine and Climate Justice Saskatoon from 3-5 pm, June 3, to discuss whether Saskatchewan could resurrect the idea of a Crown-owned oil company to combat climate change and colonialism.

SES Fun Run, June 3 (Saskatoon) 
Support the Saskatchewan Environmental Society by participating in a trail fun run from 9 am-12 pm, June 3.

Birding Blitz, June 5 (Yorkton) 
Yellowhead Flyway Birding Trail is hosting a birding blitz on June 5 to contribute to the SK Breeding Bird Atlas. All birders of all expertise welcome. Contact Paula (306 782-7287) or or Akusib (

Wood Products & Building Systems, June 6 (Saskatoon) 
Adam Robertson, Canadian Wood Council, will discuss Wood Products and Building Systems: Climate Change Benefits at the June 6 meeting of the Saskatchewan Energy Management Task Force.

Wascana Solar Co-operative, June 7 (Regina) 
Wascana Solar Co-operative is meeting from 8-9:30 pm, June 7, to gauge members’ interest in purchasing shares in a large-scale solar installation. Contact the Co-op if you are interested in becoming a member and attending the meeting.

Blue, June 7 (Saskatoon) 
Celebrate World Oceans Day at a screening of Blue at 7 pm, June 7, in Saskatoon.

Birds of a Feather, June 7 (Saskatoon) 
Meewasin Valley Authority is hosting a grassland bird survey at Cranberry Flats from 4-8 am, June 12.

Project Wet, June 9 (Regina) 
Project Wet, to be offered in Regina on June 9, offers K-12 classroom teachers resources and activities about water.

Wood frog

Looking Ahead
Prairie Dog Ecosystem Research, June/July/Sept (Grasslands National Park) 
Help Calgary Zoo with their Prairie Dog ecosystem research project on one of the following dates: June 10-15, June 24-29, July 15-20, or Sept. 2-7.

Photography Workshop, June 15-16 (Grasslands National Park) 
Practise taking night-sky photographs at a workshop in Grasslands National Park, June 15-16.

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

In the News
The human impact on the natural world is immense. 96% of mammals are livestock and humans. Poultry make up 70% of all birds. We've destroyed 83% of wild mammals.

Should we fight for public lands because they provide us with recreation opportunities or because they support biodiversity? Should we only protect those plants and animals that directly benefit us or that we find beautiful — or should we fight for the entire community of life?

The City of Vaughan’s urban design guidelines are worth imitating. They cover dark sky lighting, bird-friendly design, wildlife corridors, pedestrian amenities, urban forest, green stormwater management, and climate change mitigation.

The City of Prince Albert is offering free public transit on National Clean Air Day, June 6. Are any other cities doing this?

For many municipalities in SK oil-producing regions, the costs of servicing the oil boom can outweigh the benefits and they’re relying on oil industry philanthropy for essential services.

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 22 May 2018

EcoSask News, May 22, 2018

Golden bean

Upcoming Events
Grandfather’s Teachings of the Meadowlark, May 19-June 23 (Saskatoon)
Artist Claude Morin explores his connection with nature in a Saskatchewan Craft Council exhibition entitled Grandfather’s Teachings of the Meadowlark from May 19-June 23. There will be an artist talk at 2 pm and a public reception from 7-9 pm on June 9.

Celebrating & Protecting our Oceans, May 24 for June 7 (Regina, Saskatoon)
Buy your tickets by May 24 for Blue in Regina and Saskatoon on June 7. It’s an on-demand film and won’t be shown if not enough tickets are sold.

Shorebird Field Trip, May 26 (Regina)
Nature Regina will be visiting the Chaplin Shorebird Reserve and Ducks Unlimited Marshes from 8 am-5 pm, May 26.

Misaskwatomina Planting Day, May 26 (Saskatoon)
Help re-Indigenize Riversdale through the planting of misaskwatomina (Saskatoon berry shrubs) from 12-3 pm, May 26.

Spring Plant Walk, May 26 (Regina)
Join Edible Landscapes Permaculture Design for a walk on May 26 to identify local wild edible and medicinal plants.

Repair Café, May 27 (Regina)
Learn how to fix broken items from 1-4 pm, May 27, Regina Central Adult Library.

Indigenous Cultural Knowledge Share, May 27 (Grasslands National Park)
Join Elder Joseph Naytowhow for an introduction to Indigenous culture and the ways of the land on May 27 at Grasslands National Park.

Household Hazardous Waste Day, May 27 (Saskatoon)
Dispose of household hazardous waste in Saskatoon from 8 am-2:30 pm, May 27.

Moose Jaw Nature Society AGM, May 28 (Moose Jaw)
The Moose Jaw Nature Society is holding its annual general meeting and members’ slide night at 6:30 pm, May 28.

Update on the Downtown Cycling Network, May 28 (Saskatoon)
Representatives from the City of Saskatoon will provide an update on the downtown cycling network at 7 pm, May 28.

Blue Dot Meeting, May 28 (Regina)
The Regina Blue Dot Movement will meet at 7 pm, May 28, following the screening of Green Rights.

Renewables for Nature, May 28 (Saskatoon)
Join the U of S School of Environment and Sustainability and World Wildlife Fund Canada for a panel presentation and discussion regarding habitat-friendly renewable energy in Saskatchewan from 9 am-12:30 pm, May 28.

Tree ID Tour, May 30 (Moose Jaw)
Learn to identify the trees in Moose Jaw's Crescent Park from 6-7 pm, May 30.

Green Cleaning Goddess, May 31 (Regina)
Learn to make earth-friendly cleaning products from 7-8 pm, May 31, Glen Elm Branch Library.

Nature Conservancy Bioblitzes, June 2 (Saskatoon) & June 22 (Regina)
Help create a baseline inventory for a new Nature Conservancy of Canada property near Dundurn on June 2 and at Pasqua Lake on June 22.

Saskatoon Nature Society Field Trips
Saskatoon Young Naturalists
May 30-July 14 – Help monitor the bluebird and tree swallow populations
July 19, 1:30 pm – Butterflies & Other Insects
Sept. 22, 9:30 am – Sandhill Crane Field Trip
Space is limited; register early to avoid disappointment.
Golden Eagles
June 7, 9 am – Biddulph Natural Area
June 14, 8 am – Rosthern Area
Other Saskatoon Nature Society Field Trips
June 13, 7-9 pm – Richard St. Barbe Baker Park
June 16, 7-10 am – Sask Breeding Bird Atlas Point Counts
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
A new study conducted in Alberta indicates that livestock isn’t a significant part of the diet of coyotes and wolves. Listen to a podcast with one of the authors.

Recycling electronics isn't enough. We need to cut the waste from mining, manufacturing, and usage.

Managing protected areas for just one species may harm other wildlife.

Wildlife evolves astonishingly fast in cities (i.e. different species of mosquitoes on different subway lines).

The City of Whitehorse’s draft downtown plan addresses light pollution.

Dark Matters: Nature’s Reaction to Light Pollution (youth fiction)

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).

Monday 21 May 2018

Climate Change and Green Rights at the 2018 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences

The 2018 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, a gathering of 70 scholarly associations, is being held in Regina from May 26-June 1. Although many of the events are strictly for association members, there are also a number of events that are free and open to the public. They include:

May 26, 12:15-1:15 pmOn the front lines: Indigenous women and climate change

May 26, 5-6:30 pmA celebration of Regina writers (Gail Bowen, Connie Gault, Trevor Herriot)

May 27, 7-9 pmThe Climate Atlas of Canada (film)

May 28, 9-10:30 amIndigenous women, food sovereignty, sustainability, and climate change

May 28, 10:30 am-12 pm - Climate change and academia: Addressing the carbon footprint of scholarly conferences

May 28, 5:30-7 pmGreen Rights: The human right to a healthy world (film)

May 28, 7-9 pm - The Regina Blue Dot Movement will hold a planning meeting following the screening of Green Rights

May 29, 5:30-7:30 pmBird Radio: Reflections on ecology, children, birds, and art

June 1, 8-10 am - Urban Ecosystem Walking Tour (part of Community Congress)

Thursday 17 May 2018

Water, Wildflowers, and Grasslands: Saskatoon's NatureCity Festival

With over 50 events spread over 7 days, there’s something for everyone at Saskatoon’s sixth annual NatureCity Festival. We’re highlighting just a handful of activities that connect us back to nature.

Free Wetland Field Trips at Chappell MarshMay 23, 12:30-2:30 pm (a half-day session of experiential learning in the conservation area)

An Intro to CanoeingMay 24, 6-9 pm (a come-and-go workshop to learn the basics of canoes and safety equipment)

Chief Whitecap Waterway Voyageur TrekMay 27, 2-6 pm (feel the exhilaration of paddling and see the dynamic interplay of land and water)

Wildflower Identification WorkshopMay 23, 7-9:15 pm (learn about the native violets, lilies, and irises in the Saskatoon region)

Path to Wild FoodMay 25, 10:30 am-12 pm (explore native plants, wild foods, and “nature’s pharmacy” on a walk at Wanuskewin – please note time change)

Spring Wildflower WalkMay 27, 9-11 am (see early season wildflowers at Cranberry Flats)

Reclaim Our Prairie IMay 22, 7-8:30 pm (a presentation on our native prairie ecosystem, followed by an opportunity to plant native prairie seeds and seedlings)

Reclaim Our Prairie IIMay 26, 3-3:45 pm (tour the St. Joseph Grassland Demonstration site at St. Joseph High School)

Tuesday 15 May 2018

EcoSask News, May 15, 2018

pretty pigeon

Upcoming Events
Recycling, May 16 (Regina)
A lunch and learn on recycling will be held at noon, May 16, at Innovation Place Regina.

Zoom, May 17 (Regina)
View nature up close in the new exhibit at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum opening May 17.

Best Places to Bird in the Prairies, May 19 (Saskatoon)
Alan Smith will be signing copies of Best Places to Bird in the Prairies at 1 pm, May 19, at McNally Robinson Booksellers.

Management Targets for Grassland Songbirds, May 21 (Regina)
Join Nature Regina at 7 pm, May 21, for their AGM and a talk by Philip Rose on developing management targets for grassland songbird species at risk on native rangelands.

The Climate Crisis and its Solutions, May 23 (Regina)
Jared Clarke will speak on what can be done to address climate change in Saskatchewan from 7-8 pm, May 23.

Our Nationhood, May 23 (Regina)
Join Cinema Politica Regina for a screening of Our Nationhood on the Mi'gmaq people's ongoing struggle to maintain control over their natural resources at 6:30 pm, May 23.

Build a Bathouse, May 23 & June 11 (Saskatoon)
Nutana Community Association is hosting bathouse building workshops at 7:30 pm, May 23 or June 11.

Bicycle Tune-Up Workshop, May 24 (Saskatoon)
Bridge City Bicycle Co-op is hosting an Intro Bicycle Tune-up Workshop from 6:30-8 pm, May 24.

Greater Sage-Grouse Volunteer Event, May 24-27 (Grasslands National Park)
Help plant sagebrush as part of a Greater Sage-Grouse enhancement and restoration project at Grasslands National Park, May 24-27.

Nature Needs Half, May 25 (Saskatoon)
Harvey Locke will be explaining why nature needs half at 7 pm, May 25. An article in Planet S explains that keeping ecosystems healthy means giving them enough space to thrive.

Saskatoon Nature Society Field Trips
Golden Eagles 
May 24, 8 am – Warblers at the Forestry Farm
May 31, 7:30 am – Shorebirds in the Perdue Area
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 
May 19, 8 am-9 pm – Quill Lakes Area Birding
May 20, 7-9:30 am – MVA Trail Bird Walk
June 2, 9 am-late evening – Last Mountain Lake Bird Sanctuary
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
Members of Nature Regina spoke out about the importance of urban wildlife: “The animals make Regina what it is — and we’re going to have to find a way to share our city.”

Andrew Garn, author of The New York Pigeon, views pigeons as a gateway drug to nature as they are some of the only wildlife many city dwellers see.

The City of Saskatoon has published feedback from residents, businesses, and non-profits concerning Saskatoon’s climate action plan. Top priorities for all groups included energy efficiency and waste management.

The University of Saskatchewan has released its 2017 Sustainability Report.

Listen to an interview with Dr. Max Foran, author of The Subjugation of Canadian Wildlife: Failures of Principle and Policy. Foran argues that, “wildlife policies are as much – or more – about human needs, priorities, and profit as they are about preservation.”

Congratulations to municipalities looking for and finding new markets for recycled materials - but the long-term solution remains using less plastic and other waste materials.

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 8 May 2018

EcoSask News, May 8, 2018

trees flowering

Wow! What a line-up – from a garden tool swap in Saskatoon to birds, bees, and dinosaurs in Regina, compost in Yorkton, and a Moose Jaw road trip.

Upcoming Events 
Local Bats & Surprise Plants, May 8 (Saskatoon) 
Enjoy a surprise class about local bat rescue and a mystery plant family at the U of S from 7-9:30 pm, May 8.

Release the Bats, May 8 (Regina) 
The Saskatchewan Science Centre is releasing its overwintering bats at 8 pm, May 8.

U of S Lunch & Learn Series, May 11 (Saskatoon) 
Join the U of S Office of Sustainability from 12-1 pm, every third Friday of the month, for presentations and discussions on sustainability.

U of S The Fix, May 11 (Saskatoon) 
Join the U of S Office of Sustainability and university sustainability professionals over a pint at 5 pm, every third Friday of the month, to fix some of sustainability’s most complicated issues.

Saskatoon Wildlife Tour, May 12 (Moose Jaw) 
Join Moose Jaw Nature Society on May 12 for a tour of two Saskatoon wildlife rehab. facilities and Beaver Creek Conservation Area.

Wildlife Rehab Volunteer Orientation, May 12 (Saskatoon) 
The Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Saskatchewan is holding a volunteer orientation session from 11 am-12:30 pm, May 12, in Saskatoon.

Garden Tool Swap, May 13 (Saskatoon) 
Bring your unneeded garden tools to swap with or donate to other gardeners from 12-1 pm, May 13, at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market.

Oil Well Noise & Songbirds, May 15 (webinar) 
Paulson Des Brisay will present a webinar on studies regarding the impact of oil well noise on songbirds at noon, May 15.

EV Enthusiasts Meetup, May 15 (Saskatoon) 
EV drivers and enthusiasts are invited to a meetup from 7-9 pm, May 15, in Saskatoon.

National Energy Code for Buildings, May 15 & 16 (Regina, Saskatoon) 
The Canada Green Building Council is hosting Lunch ‘n’ Learns on the National Energy Code for Buildings in Regina on May 15 and in Saskatoon on May 16.

Bike to Work Day, May 16 (Saskatoon) 
It’s Bike to Work Day in Saskatoon May 16 with food, prizes, and other activities.

Birds, Bees, & Dinosaurs, May 16 (Regina)
Cory Sheffield and Ryan McKellar, curators at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, will discuss birds, bees, and dinosaurs at 6:30 pm, May 16, at O’Hanlon’s Irish Pub, Regina.

Harvesting & Using Compost, May 16 (Saskatoon) 
Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre’s Garden Patch is offering a workshop on harvesting and using finished compost from 6-7:30 pm, May 16.

Everybirdy Deserves a Home, May 17 (Edenwold)
Join Nature Conservancy of Canada in installing birdhouses on their Edenwold property from 10 am-3 pm, May 17.

Beyond the Big Dipper, May 19 (Grasslands National Park) 
View the stars and learn more about them from Royal Astronomical Society volunteers at Grasslands National Park on May 19.

larch flowers

Looking Ahead
NatureCity Festival, May 22-27 (Saskatoon) 
There are over 50 activities to choose from at this year’s NatureCity Festival in Saskatoon. Teachers, be sure to register your class for one of the school programs - bus subsidies are available.

Compost Field Day, May 29 (Yorkton) 
The Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council is hosting a Compost Field Day in Yorkton on May 29.

Dundurn Bioblitz, June 2 (Dundurn)
Help the Nature Conservancy of Canada create a baseline inventory for a new property near Dundurn on June 2.

Tree Planting, June 3 (Saskatoon) 
Alchemy Salon, Better Good, and Green Tree Beauty will be planting 3,000 trees near Saskatoon on June 3. Contact Melissa at Alchemy if you’d like to help.

SES Fun Run, June 3 (Saskatoon) 
Support the Saskatchewan Environmental Society by participating in a trail fun run from 9 am-12 pm, June 3.

Saskatoon Nature Society Field Trips
May 12, 9 am-12 pm – Beaver Creek Conservation Area Birding
May 13, 7-9:30 am – MVA Trail Bird Walk
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 
City of Regina to study whether City-owned buildings could be fitted with solar panels.

Small strips of prairie can reduce erosion and run-off & provide bird/pollinator habitat.

Praise, admiration + respect for the wildness in coyotes.

Native bees would be better off with fewer honey bees.

The federal environment minister has reaffirmed ecological integrity as the first priority in all aspects of national parks management.

Combining business and political activism - Patagonia v. Trump.

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 3 May 2018

Jared Clarke: Naturalist and Climate Change Advocate

When he was 5 years old, Jared Clarke was given a birdfeeder. And that simple act changed his life. When a Spotted Towhee landed at the feeder, Jared and his parents weren’t able to identify it, so they purchased a bird guide. Jared, despite his young age, was soon a backyard birding expert.

Jared joined Nature Regina when he was 10 or 12 years old and his mother accompanied him on all the group’s field trips. “I was definitely a lone wolf,” Jared says. “There was no one else my age on those trips.” It was the same at school where none of the other students shared his fascination for birds and nature. Jared wasn’t deterred. He now bands birds and is actively involved in the Saskatchewan Breeding Bird Atlas project.

After obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, Jared worked as a park naturalist at Wascana Centre for 5 years. It was around this time that he and his wife, Kristen Martin, a biologist with a Master’s degree in Natural Resources Management, purchased a quarter-section of land northwest of Edenwold. Their goal was to put the land back to grass and create a patch of prairie.

“Healthy prairie needs a grazer,” Jared says, so they started investigating their options. A neighbour raised goats. That sounded interesting, so they purchased 5 does. Over time their herd expanded to 48 does and 93 kids. Jared took advantage of his flock in his work at Wascana Centre, transporting some of the animals to graze on the caragana growing in the natural area. “But we won’t do that again,” he says. “It was too intensive. We had to sleep in the conservation area, staying with the goats 24/7.” The birth of twins of their own has led them to downsize their herd, and it has become more of a hobby than a business.

Jared returned to university and obtained a degree in Education. A Grade 6/7 teacher at Regina’s Lakeview School, Jared tries to incorporate the environment and outdoor education into the classroom program as much as possible. The first day of school is reserved for a Beetle Blitz. The students are sent home with a small container to collect 5 beetles from their yard or cabin. They go on to donate their collection during a visit to the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. “It’s an opportunity to talk about what we learn from collecting and studying,” Jared says.

Jared also shares his love of nature through a weekly radio program, The Prairie Naturalist, on CJTR Radio in Regina. He’s hosted over 100 episodes since beginning the program in February 2016, holding over 180 conversations with more than 135 people. It’s a one-man show and Jared is responsible for finding and booking guests, writing the script, and producing the audio. “It takes about 3-3 ½ hours’ commitment before the ½ hour show, but I really enjoy it,” Jared says.

A woman Jared had interviewed on his radio program suggested that he attend Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Training. It sounded interesting, but it was a big commitment – 5 days off work and away from his family. Nonetheless, Jared applied, was accepted, and spent 5 days in Pittsburgh in October 2017. “It was really energizing,” he says. “There were 1400 people from 32 countries who were doing amazing things. We heard from 7 scientists whose work demonstrates that climate change is real.”

Jared points out that some areas are already experiencing climate change in a very real way. “Miami is spending millions to raise roads and add pumps because of flooding,” he says. Saskatchewan weather has always been variable, so it’s easy for residents to overlook the impact of climate change. However, the Regina/Yorkton/Moose Jaw region has just experienced the driest 15-month period in 130 years.

Convinced that we need to start talking about climate change, Jared set out to share what he had learned in presentations to over 1,000 people to date. The presentation provides evidence that the climate is changing and the solutions that are already on hand today. “As a biologist and scientist, I’ve looked at evidence from around the world, and I’m convinced that climate change is real and caused by humans but that we have everything we need to deal with it,” he says. Jared encourages his audiences to go home and start talking to family, friends, and politicians about what they’ve learned. “We need leadership from government at all levels to set policy to ensure we’re all moving in the same direction,” he says.

Jared says he and his family make decisions through a climate lens. They’ve installed solar panels on their house, drive a Prius C, and grow a lot of their own food. “I want to leave the world in a better way than I found it so that my kids can see just as many birds as I did when I was a kid.”

Tuesday 1 May 2018

EcoSask News, May 1, 2018

Bohemian Waxwing eating juniper berries

The sun is shining and we’re heading outdoors - with bikes, Jane’s Walks, and summer camps for kids.
Upcoming Events
Household Hazardous Waste Day, May 4 (Regina)
City of Regina is holding household hazardous waste days on May 4 (4-7 pm) & May 5 (9 am-3:45 pm).

Jane’s Walk, May 4-6 (Regina, Saskatoon)
Take a look at the Jane’s Walks being offered in Saskatoon and Regina May 4-6. In Saskatoon, you can visit trees in Buena Vista, share your experiences as a pedestrian with the City, or join a walk at the Northeast Swale. Nature Conservancy of Canada is leading a nature walk in Regina’s Wascana Marsh.

Repair Café, May 5 (Prince Albert)
Work together to repair household items and bicycles at Repair Café Prince Albert from 1-4 pm, May 5.

Spiders & the Prairie Gardener, May 5 (Saskatoon)
Learn to identify the spiders in your garden and appreciate their contributions to a healthy garden ecosystem at 1 pm, May 5, at the University of Saskatchewan.

Predatory Birds in your Yard, May 7 (Saskatoon)
Lyndon Penner will discuss some of Saskatchewan’s most interesting birds of prey at 7 pm, May 7, at Wild Birds Unlimited.

Bats, May 12 (Regina)
Learn interesting facts about bats from University of Regina researchers from 1-2 pm, May 12, Prince of Wales Branch Library.

Making Bat Houses, May 12 (Regina)
Learn how to build a home for bats from 2-4 pm, May 12, Prince of Wales Branch Library.

Bohemian Waxwing drinking from puddle

Great Canadian Birdathon, May 12 (Regina)
Nature Saskatchewan will be hosting the Great Canadian Birdathon on May 12 starting with early morning birding around Wascana Lake followed by an afternoon birding at Last Mountain Lake.

Sprucin’ Up Meeting Lake, May 12 (Meeting Lake)
Join Nature Conservancy of Canada in planting spruce, birch, and dogwood at Meeting Lake 3 from 9 am-3 pm, May 12.

Ecological Literacy, May 12 (Saskatoon)
Lichen Nature will be offering monthly ecological literacy sessions for the remainder of 2018. The first session is from 12:30-4:30 pm, May 12.

Looking Ahead
Camp Wild Roots, July 8-14 & Aug. 26-31
Camp Wild Roots is offering two summer camps for kids to learn about growing and foraging food, permaculture, and wilderness skills. The July 8-14 camp is in Dunblane. The Aug. 26-31 camp is at Aloha Farm east of Regina and will be followed by a 3-day food and music festival.

Science Centre Day Camp, Aug. 21-24 (Prince Albert)
The Saskatchewan Science Centre is hosting a day camp in Prince Albert for 8-13 year olds from Aug. 21-24.

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

In the News
The global energy transition is happening. Why are Canadians distracted by pipelines?

Montana First Nation has established a solar energy company providing training and work opportunities for the community.

Urban climate adaptation needs to include biodiversity. For example, Amsterdam is "enlarging protected areas to enhance extreme-weather resilience and allow for animal migration" while London's Walthamstow Wetlands are enjoyed by birds and humans.

Canada's new methane regulations will be able to cut methane pollution by up to 45% in the next 8 years.

From flat-pack coffins to water cremation: how to have an environmentally friendly death.

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