Tuesday 31 July 2018

EcoSask News, July 31, 2018

butterfly on flower

Upcoming Events
Earth Overshoot Day, Aug. 1 (Saskatoon) 
There will be information and conversation about Earth Overshoot Day from 2-3:30 pm, Aug. 1, at Turning the Tide Bookstore.

Prairies & Petroglyphs, Aug. 12 (St. Victor) 
Join the Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan for a tour of St. Victor Petroglyphs Provincial Park from 3-7 pm, Aug. 12.

SODCAP AGM, Aug. 15 (Val Marie) 
South of the Divide Conservation Action Plan is holding its AGM from 1-7 pm, Aug. 15, in Val Marie.

Looking Ahead 
Green Economics, Sept. 20-21 (Calgary) 
The Sustainability Network is offering an intensive training in green economics for non-economists Sept. 20-21 in Calgary.

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

In the News 
Congratulations to individuals and organizations who received 2017 waste minimization awards from the Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council

Salt water, old leaking wells and aging oil industry infrastructure could be serious problems in future

Wildlife needs infrastructure too - wildlife bridges + tunnels around the world 

Wild summer reading for kids

It’s time we reclaim our cities from car storage [parking] and use the space for what we need more of, from housing and bike lanes to sidewalk cafes and parks

Zero-waste camping tips

Zero footprints - photographers exploring climate change 

EcoSask News is a weekly round-up of local news and events. Email us if you have items you would like us to include. 

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

Tuesday 24 July 2018

EcoSask News, July 24, 2018


Upcoming Events
Mending Meet Up, July 28 (Saskatoon)
Library of Things is holding a Mending Meet Up from 1-4 pm, July 28.

Northern Leopard Frog Project, July 31 (webinar)
Kimberly Pearson will discuss the northern leopard frog project in Waterton Lakes and Grasslands National Parks in a noon-hour webinar on July 31.

Free to be Me Animal Sanctuary, Aug. 1 (Moose Jaw)
Kids ages 6-10 are invited to join the Moose Jaw Public Library’s trip to Free to be Me Animal Sanctuary from 2-4 pm, Aug. 1.

Beyond the Big Dipper, Aug. 11 (Grasslands National Park)
View the stars and learn more about them from Royal Astronomical Society volunteers at Grasslands National Park on Aug. 11.

Looking Ahead
Conservation Expo, Sept. 6 (Regina)
The Saskatchewan chapter of The Wildlife Society is holding a conservation expo and networking event on Sept. 6 in Regina. Poster presentation title submissions must be sent in by Aug. 15.

Building Enclosures for High Performance Buildings, Nov. 15 (Saskatoon)
Building Enclosures for High Performance Buildings is a one-day course being offered by Passive House Canada in Saskatoon on Nov. 15.

Nature Conservancy Volunteer Opportunities
Help the Nature Conservancy of Canada maintain their properties by volunteering at one of their August events.

Aug. 11Campout for Conservation at Old Man on His Back – Clean up the bison handling facilities, repair fences, and build, repair, and install Ferruginous Hawk nest platforms.

Aug. 25Keeping it Clean at Shoe Lake – Remove shoreline debris from the Shoe Lake saline marsh.

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

In the News
Wascana Solar Co-operative and the Regina Catholic School Division are in talks about a joint project that would see solar panels put on the roof of Miller Comprehensive Catholic High School.

Thoughtful recommendations from the Saskatchewan Environmental Society on addressing climate change.

Farmers are very concerned about damage to their land following Husky’s salt water leak.

The United Church of Canada plans to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050. The initial focus is on energy efficiency and building retrofits. [video]

When we subsidize roads . . . make it impossible to live without a car, we send people strong signals to buy and own cars, and to drive... a lot.

Wide arterial roads designed for heavy traffic usage (such as 22nd Street in Saskatoon) don't have to be death traps for pedestrians.

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 19 July 2018

Prairie Beauty: NCC's Dundurn Property


As we bump our way down a leafy lane, a white-tailed deer pokes its head out to see who’s come to visit. Verity Moore-Wright, Acting Director of Development, and Ryan Dudragne, Conservation Science Co-ordinator – LIS, have invited us (Andrew and Penny McKinlay) to join them on a hike around one of the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s newest properties near Dundurn.

Rolling hills – stabilized sand dunes – stretch out to a clear blue sky. A red-tailed hawk soars overhead and there are treasures to be found at our feet. A patch of wild bergamot is flowering near the entrance to the property attracting long-tongued bees, bee flies, butterflies, and moths. Wasps may steal the nectar by drilling a hole in the nectar tubes.


We’re delighted to spot a hunch-backed Mormon cricket. It’s not a cricket at all but a shield-backed katydid. Although they have no wings, they can travel up to 2 km a day when they’re swarming, heading out in the thousands to find food.

Mormon cricket

There are plenty of other grasshoppers and katydids. We tend to think of grasshoppers as pests, but only a few of them destroy crops. There is such variety in their sizes, colors, and patterns.


We weren't initially able to identify the following insect, but, with help from iNaturalist, we now know it's a Broad-winged Bush Katydid (scudderia pistillata) late instar nymph.

insect on wild rose

We need to watch where we step as there are plenty of cactus – both pincushion and prickly pear.

Prickly-pear cactus

pincushion cactus

The rush skeleton plant, with next to no leaves, is another plant that can tolerate dry conditions.

Rush skeleton plant

The red-blue checkered beetle stands out against the goldenrod’s bright yellow flowers. Pollen will stick to the long hairs on its body and legs and be passed along to other plants.

Red-blue checkered beetle on low goldenrod

A flycatcher keeps a close eye on us as we pass by, but many of the site’s inhabitants are harder to spot. They do, however, leave us clues – moose poop (these guys are part of Ryan Brook’s Saskatchewan Farmland Moose Project), a freshly dug badger hole, heaps of loose dirt left behind by pocket gophers. If you look really closely at the loose dirt, you’ll spot small round holes indicating the homes of tiger beetles. Ryan describes them as predatory bullies, dragging other insects into their hole or chasing them down.

Alder Flycatcher (?)

We’re hot and hungry after a long walk around the property but very grateful to Nature Conservancy of Canada for inviting us out to see the site and for the important work they do in protecting natural areas and maintaining biodiversity. And a special thank you to Ryan who was so helpful in identifying all the fascinating species we were fortunate enough to spot.

For more information about the Dundurn site and the work of the Nature Conservancy, take a look at the article we posted in May.

bee on purple prairie clover

Tuesday 17 July 2018

EcoSask News, July 17, 2018

adult and young sparrow

Upcoming Events
Native Species Plant Garden, Thursdays (Regina)
A group of Nature Regina members are renewing the Native Species Plant Garden at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum and would appreciate help any Thursday morning between 8:30 am and noon until the end of September.

Metamorphosis, July 13-19 (Regina/Saskatoon) 
Metamorphosis, a film about how humanity is being transformed in new ways by the environmental crises we have created, is showing in Regina and Saskatoon from July 13-19.

SK Parks Virtual Bioblitz, July 15-21 
If you’re visiting a Saskatchewan park between July 15 and 21, be sure to take part in the virtual bioblitz.

The Amazing World of Falconry, July 22 (Saskatoon) 
Meet Lynn Oliphant’s peregrine falcons on July 22. Meet at Wild Birds Unlimited at 6:30 pm.

Amazing Facts about Animals, July 25 (Saskatoon) 
Sally Meadows will launch her new book, When Sleeping Birds Fly: 365 Amazing Facts about the Animal Kingdom at a come-and-go event at Wild Birds Unlimited from 6-8 pm, July 25. There will be hands-on activities for kids.

Looking Ahead
Boreal Forest Eco Kids Camp, Aug. 6-10 (Ness Creek) 
Camp at Ness Creek from Aug. 6-10 and your kids can take part in a boreal forest eco camp.

Summer Star Party, Aug. 8-13 (Cypress Hills Inter-Provincial Park) 
The Regina and Saskatoon Centres of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada present their annual Summer Star Party in Cypress Hills Inter-Provincial Park, Aug. 8-13.

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

mallards and ducklings

In the News
The Last Mountain Lake Stewardship Group and SAWS have prepared a series of information sheets regarding the Quill Lakes drainage issue

A University of Saskatchewan professor has received a grant to test green roofs designed for cold regions

Help shape the future of Canada’s forests by responding to the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers’ survey. CPAWS is urging the ministers to adopt a bolder vision that recognizes the health of the ecosystem as a priority above all else

Nature Canada is offering to help nature/conservation groups with their public engagement

Research shows that predator removal is an ineffective and costly approach to conflict prevention and resolution [podcast]

The Norwegian government places an environmental tax on all producers of plastic bottles. The more they recycle, the more that tax is reduced

A single cigarette filter can contaminate hundreds of litres of water because of the chemical substances it contains and can take more than a decade to decompose

People are so annoying that animals are becoming more nocturnal

Bird diversity has already doubled as Madrid launches a strategic plan for biodiversity

Recycling plastic is to saving the Earth what hammering a nail is to halting a falling skyscraper

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 July 2018

EcoSask News, July 10, 2018

solitary male pronghorn

Upcoming Events
Household Hazardous Waste Day, July 14 (Saskatoon)
You can dispose of household hazardous waste in Saskatoon from 8 am-2:30 pm, July 14.

Go! Science, July 19 (Swift Current)
Kids in grades 1-6 are invited to attend interactive science activities presented by the Saskatchewan Science Centre from 1-4 pm, July 19, at the Swift Current Branch Library.

U of S Lunch & Learn Series, July 20 (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, July 20 (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.

Healthy Planet, Healthy Life, July 23-27 (Regina)
Kids ages 5-12 are invited to discover the technology scientists use to measure changes to the environment at the July 23-27 Regina Public Library program presented by the Saskatchewan Science Centre.

Looking Ahead
The Dammed Rivers, Oct. 1-3 (Saskatoon)
Partners FOR the Saskatchewan River Basin in collaboration with the Canadian Water Resources Association will hold their annual conference Oct. 1-3 in Saskatoon. The conference will bring together experts from many fields related to the existence of dams. Early bird registration until Aug. 31.

Environmental Law Toolkit Workshop, Oct. 2 (Toronto)
The Sustainability Network is offering a 1-day workshop on Oct. 2 in Toronto on the legal tools available to protect our air, water, land, and human health.

pronghorn and fawn

Saskatoon Nature Society Field Trips
Golden Eagles
July 19, 8 am – Gabriel Dumont Park
Aug. 9, 8 am – Shorebirds and Early Migration
Retirees and partners who are interested in birds and the natural world are invited to participate.

Other Saskatoon Nature Society Field Trips 
July 14, 10 am-1 pm – Botany Trip to Beaver Creek Conservation Area
July 22, 1:30-4:30 pm – Dragonfly Field Trip
July 28, 9 am-12 noon – Shorebird Driving Trip
Aug. 11, 8:15 am – Douglas Park Sand Dunes Hike
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
Nature Conservancy of Canada has purchased 335 acres of native grasslands and natural wetlands in the Upper Qu’Appelle Natural Area close to Craven. The Natural Area is home to a number of species at risk, included Sprague’s Pipit, Chestnut-collared Longspur, and Baird’s Sparrow.

Lead poisoning from fishing tackle kills loons.

5 tips for having fun birding with kids.

Want to live a more sustainable life? Individual choice isn’t enough - you have to change the system.

What trash on Everest can teach us about tackling problem waste.

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 5 July 2018

Every One of Us Can be an Eco-Warrior

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Mary Oliver 

Do you know an eco-warrior – someone who is putting energy and determination into protecting and preserving our natural environment? EcoFriendly Sask has the privilege of not only meeting some of Saskatchewan’s eco-warriors but of helping them out financially. They may not get their picture in the paper, but in so many different ways they are working to make this world a better place for all of us.

From January to June 2018, we distributed EcoFriendly Action Grants worth over $23,000 to 34 different groups. Here is just a sampling to demonstrate the groups' initiative, enthusiasm, and commitment.

Digging in the Dirt
The Grade 5/6 class at Englefeld School researched native trees and shrubs with fruits and berries for the birds to enjoy, voted for their favourites, and planted them in a future off-leash dog park. They planted mountain ash, wild rose, hazelnut, burning bush, gooseberry pixels, highbush cranberry, honeysuckle, elm, maple, scotch pine, spruce, birch, flat-needled spruce, and false sunflowers, attaching tags with the tree’s name and some fun facts.

20 children and 13 parents celebrated Earth Day at Redvers Public Library. They planted and learned how to take care of a flower pot and then listened to stories about bees and how to protect them.

Political Advocacy 
Stand Up for Meewasin organized a social media campaign prior to the last provincial budget to promote continued provincial funding for Meewasin Valley Authority.

Climate Justice Saskatoon is interviewing residents of coal-mining communities and preparing videos to share what they’ve learned about the social and political barriers to transitioning to renewable energy.

Less Waste – More Worms 
Kiskahikan School, Weyakwin, has purchased reusable cups, dishes, and cutlery to replace the disposable ones that were creating waste in the landfill.

The Grade 6 class at Minahik Waskahigan High School, Pinehouse Lake, spent several months learning how to compost and recycle. Worm composting was a huge success: “at some point all the students were engaged with them and we spent a lot of time examining them and how they were decomposing the food. We weren't able to get a lot of food from our classroom snacks so students would bring in food from home. I also heard from parents that students had started to talk about recycling and composting at home.” Recycling was trickier as Pinehouse Lake doesn’t have a community-wide recycling program. Every week the students filled multiple garbage bags with materials that would otherwise be sent to the dump, stored them in the classroom bathroom, and the teacher would fill up her car and take them with her when she visited Saskatoon.

Food Renew is working with local food businesses in Saskatoon to save and renew food that would otherwise be wasted and thrown away. The rescued food will be collected by volunteers and delivered to community groups and organizations who need it the most.

Organizational Support 
A crew of volunteers helped Nature Saskatchewan reshingle the monitoring station at the Last Mountain Bird Observatory – and EcoFriendly Sask helped purchase the shingles.

Every year NatureCity Festival invites the whole community to get outside and grow a little wild. Over 3,000 participants took part in over 60 events in 2018. EcoFriendly Sask is proud to have sponsored this event since its inception.

Tuesday 3 July 2018

EcoSask News, July 3, 2018

Swainson's hawk

Blue Hill Wind Energy Project, July 10
Nature Regina is urging concerned citizens to contact the Ministry of Environment by July 10 to raise concerns about the siting of the Blue Hill Wind Energy Project. According to Nature Regina, the site chosen is in a major migration corridor close to Chaplin Lake and over 200 bird species have been sighted in this nesting and staging area.

Email, write, or call (deadline July 10, 2018): Aimann Sadik, Senior Environmental Assessment Administrator, Environmental Assessment and Stewardship Branch, Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment, 3211 Albert Street, Regina, SK S4S 5W6 Phone: (306) 787-7706 Fax: 306 787 0930 Email: environmental.assessment@gov.sk.ca

Upcoming Events 
Invasive Plants: The Urban/Rural Interface, July 5 (Saskatoon) 
Learn about invasive plants while visiting 5 Meewasin-managed properties from 6:30-9:30 pm, July 5.

Garden Patch Bioblitz, July 11 (Saskatoon) 
The Saskatoon Nature Society and the Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre are hosting a bioblitz at the Garden Patch from 6-8 pm, July 11.

Nocturnal Birds, July 12 (Saskatoon) 
Lyndon Penner will talk about birds that live in the dark at 7 pm, July 12, at Wild Birds Unlimited.

Bat Chat & Bat House Build, July 14 (Redberry Lake) 
Join Melanie Elliot, Batrick, and Elizabat to chat about bats, make a bat house, and look for bats in the park on July 14 at Redberry Lake Regional Park.

Geeking Out, July 14 (Prince Albert)
Kids from grades K-6 are invited to attend interactive science activities presented by the Saskatchewan Science Centre from 9-12 am, July 14, at the John M. Cuelenaere Library.

Summer Plant Walk, July 14 (Regina)
Edible Landscapes Permaculture Design is hosting a walk on July 14 to learn about local wild edible and medicinal plants in the Regina area.

Swainson's hawk

Looking Ahead
Waste Reduction Workshops 
Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council will be holding the following workshops:
Weyburn – Oct. 30
Prince Albert – Nov. 6
Kindersley – Nov. 14
Humboldt – Nov. 21

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

In the News 
Economists question Saskatchewan’s government-funded anti-carbon tax study

In considering oilsands projects, First Nations face impossible choices: “They are saying in order for you to survive in the economic system we have imposed on you, you have to join us”

Biological poverty - Why we need cities where you can take your shoes off and reconnect with the ground [book review]

Red wiggler worms could make stinky outhouses a thing of the past

Resurgence Voices - podcasts from The Resurgence Trust on ethical living, ecoactivism, and the arts

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).