Thursday, 23 May 2019

2019 NatureCity Award Winners and Nominees

Congratulations to the nominees and award winners of the 2019 NatureCity Awards. The awards recognize individuals, organizations, and businesses who advocate for the conservation and restoration of natural areas in and around Saskatoon and promote a relationship of belonging, connection, and care between local residents and the Nature that surrounds us.

The awards were presented on May 21, 2019, by Sheri Benson, MP, and Joseph Naytowhow. Listed below are the award winners and additional nominees.


Wildernook Fresh Air Learning was founded by Jana Miller, an outdoor educator and facilitator, in 2016. It offers nature learning to groups of people who might not otherwise have access to outdoor education. This includes grandparents in partnership with their grandchildren, young women who want to challenge themselves outdoors, and 3-5 year olds. A project this coming summer will focus on sustainability, assisting youth to develop environmental leadership skills through practical hands-on experiences. Wildernook provides an opportunity for participants to renew their connection with the natural world and branch out in new directions as well as fostering resiliency, confidence, creativity, and independence. Wildernook works closely with other organizations, including SaskOutdoors and Ducks Unlimited. Subsidized spots in some of the programs enhance accessibility for people who identify as Indigenous, Newcomers to Canada, or low-income.

Additional Nominees: CanoeSki Discovery/Cliff Speers, Wild Spirit Education

Saskatoon Nature Society was founded in 1955 to promote a deeper knowledge and appreciation of nature. They offer a wide range of birding, botany, and butterfly field trips, speakers, and courses that are open to the public, in most cases free of charge. The Society is an open and accepting community of people who care about nature in Saskatoon and want to preserve it. They are stewards of Saskatoon Natural Grasslands and strong and active advocates for nature at public hearings, committees, and other events. They support youth involvement in nature through Saskatoon Young Naturalists and the Kids in Nature program, which supports NatureCity Festival’s education program. They have published A Guide to Nature Viewing Sites In and Around Saskatoon and provided copies to schools free of charge. The book shows how to access sites by vehicle, bus, bike, or trails, and includes GPS coordinates. There is information about accessibility for those with mobility challenges.

Additional Nominees: Meewasin Valley Authority


Melanie Elliott is a strong advocate for the enjoyment, conservation, and protection of nature through outdoor education programs and wildlife protection and rehabilitation. She is passionate about getting kids outdoors so they know nature is safe and ran the Ecology Camps for Kids program through the Extension division at the University of Saskatchewan for many years. She took children for grassland walks, inviting them to lie down and “bond to the prairies.” Melanie was a founding member of the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Saskatchewan. She saves bats, overwinters bats, and helps people love them by sharing her knowledge, introducing her educational bats, and showing people how to build bat boxes. Melanie has mentored many people who have gone on to deliver ecological programming to children in the city and has demonstrated a lifetime of dedication to nature education for all.

Additional Nominees: Nancy Barr, Elizabeth Bekolay, Valerie Martz, Andrew Whiting

2017 Award Winners

Photo Credits: Branimir Gjetvaj

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

EcoSask News, May 21, 2019

flowering trees

Upcoming Events
Beginner Bird Id Workshop, May 21 (Prince Albert)
Nature Prince Albert is hosting a 2-hour basic bird identification workshop at 7 pm, May 21.

Moose Jaw Nature Society AGM, May 24 (Moose Jaw)
The Moose Jaw Nature Society will be holding its annual general meeting at 6:30 pm, May 24.

Global Strike for Future, May 24 (Regina)
Meet at 10 am at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum for a march to the rally at the Legislative Buildings at 11 am, May 24.

Trash Tag Challenge, May 25 (Regina)
WUQWATR is hosting a trash tag challenge at the Wascana Rowing Club from 1-3 pm, May 25.

Learn to Camp, May 25 (Saskatoon)
Learn basic camping and outdoor living skills from 2-4 pm, May 25, at the Alice Turner Branch Library.

Green New Deal Town Hall, May 28 (Regina)
Help shape a Green New Deal for Canada at 6:30 pm, May 28, Regina.

Fixing SK’s Climate Change Plan, May 28 (Saskatoon)
Ann Coxworth and Peter Prebble will present the SK Environmental Society’s response to the Saskatchewan government’s climate plan at 7 pm, May 28, as part of the Sustainable Speaker Series.

Green New Deal Town Hall, May 29 (Saskatoon)
Help shape a Green New Deal for Canada at 7 pm, May 29, Saskatoon.

International Trails Day, June 1 (Saskatoon)
Meewasin Valley Authority is celebrating International Trails Day on June 1 with activities from 1-4 pm at Friendship Park.

flowering trees

Looking Ahead
Detour, July 22-25 (Saskatoon)
Youth ages 13-14 are invited to flex their creative problem-solving muscles on an urban sustainable design project from July 22-25 at Detour: Spark Ideas, Shift Gears, Activate Change.

ForestART, Aug. 6-9 (Ness Creek)
Unleash your creativity in Ness Creek’s boreal forest setting by participating in ForestART, Aug. 6-9. Workshops include willow basketry, painting, silversmithing, blacksmithing, and printmaking.

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

In the News
Medicine Hat is pulling the plug on a $13 million concentrated solar power project saying its small, unreliable contribution to the city’s power grid didn’t justify the cost of maintenance during snowy winters and dusty summers.

The Great Plains Air Zone website lists the current air quality at their Belle Plaine, East Regina, and Yorkton stations.

Lawson Heights Mall in Saskatoon has installed bee hotels and flowers on its roof and has a bee-friendly mural in the corridor between the mall and Safeway.

Rare Trees of Saskatoon has a Facebook group.

Vintage clothes and natural fabrics – green fashion in Saskatchewan.

Harbour Air, based in Vancouver, hopes to zero out its emissions with electric airplanes – and save money.

Ensuring healthy ecosystems and biodiversity can force us to make tough choices. It’s caribou vs. jobs and recreation in British Columbia.

Barn swallows eat up to 600 bugs a day so don’t disturb their nests.

A BC inter-city bus service will be fuelled by vegetable oil.

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, 17 May 2019

I Spy with my Wild Eye: Saskatoon's 2019 NatureCity Festival

Saskatoon’s NatureCity Festival returns from May 21-26 with over 60 events. It’s an opportunity to get to know your wild neighbours, try your hand at citizen science, play, and create. Here are just a few activities that caught our attention. For full details, check out Wild About Saskatoon’s website.

Urban Wild
Factoria Riverbank Warbler Walk – 7-8:30 pm, May 21
Look and listen for warblers and other songbirds with members of the Saskatoon Nature Society.

Where the Wild Things Are – 7 pm, May 22
Dr. Maureen Murray, Urban Wildlife Institute of Chicago, is the Festival’s keynote speaker. Her focus is helping humans and wildlife coexist in cities, for the good of both people and animals.
Fur in the City, Planet S magazine

Wild Spring Walk – 6:30-8 pm, May 23
Explore the ecosystem and habitat of George Genereux Urban Regional Park in Saskatoon’s West Swale.

Wetland Field Trip – 9 am-11:30 am, May 24 (date has been changed to May 24)
Join a class of students for a half-day hike at the Northeast Swale.

Spring Wildflower Walk – 9-11:30 am, May 26
Spot early-season wildflowers at Beaver Creek Conservation Area.

I Spy with my Wild Eye
iSpy with iNaturalist – 7-8:30 pm, May 23
Explore new and old techniques you can use to become a citizen scientist.

Putting Citizen Science into Practice – 10 am-12 pm, May 25
Visit the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Dundurn property and document your observations.


Art Naturally
Creative Collaboration with the Urban Beaver – May 21-26
Join Laura Hale, NatureCity Festival’s artist-in-residence, in creating a site-specific art installation using beaver chewed wood chips, beaver sticks, willow, and other natural materials to outline the path made by the beaver in travelling to and from the river.
1-5 pm, May 21-25 & 1-3 pm, May 26 – Gabriel Dumont Park
4-5 pm, May 26 – Prairie Lily Riverboat Cruise

Photographic Scavenger Hunt – 2-3:30 pm, May 25
Explore nature and leave it wild by taking photographs not samples on a walk along the riverbank.

Art en Plein Air – 1-4 pm, May 26
Using Remai Modern’s art supplies, head outside, and create your own artwork.

Play and Learn
Adventure Smart – May 21, 23, 25 & 26
Saskatoon Search and Rescue will share safe practices for outdoor activities and preventative measures for camping and hiking on 4 different occasions. They’ll be offering Hug a Tree and Survive, a program that helps lost children survive in the woods, from 7-8 pm, May 21, at the YMCA.

Storytime – May 21, 22, 23, 24, and 25
Enjoy stories inspired by the Festival during Baby Storytime, Family Storytime, and Sleepytime Stories at various branches of the Saskatoon Public Library on different days throughout the week.

Early Learning Goes Wild – 1-4 pm, May 25
Join Preston Early Learning for a nature walk, scavenger hunt, collage activity, and face painting.

Eat, Drink, and be Merry
NatureCity Awards Celebration – 7-8 pm, May 21
Celebrate the nominees and award winners – individuals, organizations, and businesses – for their contributions to conservation and respect of nature in and around Saskatoon.

The Path to Wild Food – 1-2:30 pm, May 24
Look for edible wild plants, from licorice to sarsaparilla, with Sandra Walker, an ethnobotanist.

NatureCity Beer Release – 8 pm, May 24
Enjoy a pint of beer brewed specially for this year’s Festival at 9 Mile Legacy Brewing and celebrate with Saskatoon’s own Parab Poet.

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

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

EcoSask News, May 14, 2019

new leaves

Upcoming Events
School Climate Strike, May 17 (Regina)
Regina School climate strikes are ongoing on Fridays from 10-11 am at the Legislative Buildings.

Explorer Camp, May 17 (Saskatoon)
Kids ages 6-10 are invited to discover the fauna and flora of the river valley on a guided bike tour with Wild Sky Adventure Learning from 9 am-5 pm, May 17.

Spring Bird Survey, May 18 (Fort Qu’Appelle)
The Fort Qu’Appelle Nature Society is holding a spring bird survey on May 18. Contact Alan at 306-432-5262 or 331-9181 or by email at if you plan to participate.

SOS Elms Coalition AGM, May 19 (Saskatoon)
SOS Elms Coalition is holding its annual general meeting (with a surprise guest speaker) at 2 pm, May 19.

Migratory Bats, May 20 (Regina)
Erin Swerdfeger will report on her work with migratory bats from 7:30-9:30 pm, at the May 20 annual general meeting of Nature Regina.

Blue Gold, May 20 (Saskatoon)
Pint of Science is all about water on the prairies from 7-9 pm, May 20, in Saskatoon.

Snakes & Bat-ers, May 21 (Regina)
Enjoy a Pint of Science about snakes and bats from 6-8:30 pm, May 21, in Regina.

From Himalaya to Space, May 22 (Saskatoon)
From mountains in Saskatchewan to badass women astronomers – find out more at Pint of Science, 7 pm, May 22.

Zero Waste: Where to Start, May 23 (Saskatoon)
Find out how to arrive at zero waste from 7-8 pm, May 23, at J.S. Wood Library.

new leaves

Looking Ahead
Star-Gazing, June 1/July 27(Grasslands National Park)
Join astronomers in exploring the skies in Grasslands National Park, one of Saskatchewan’s Dark Sky Preserves, on June 1 or July 27.

Traditional Plant Walk, June 16 (Saskatoon or Regina)
The Saskatchewan Archaeological Society is hosting a traditional plant walk led by Sandra Walker from 10:30 am-12 pm, June 16, in the Regina or Saskatoon area. Pre-registration is required.

Saskatoon Nature Society Field Trips
Saskatoon Young Naturalists
May 29 – July 3 – Bluebird Trail
Space is limited; register early to avoid disappointment.
Saskatoon Nature Society Field Trips 
May 20, 1:30-4:30 pm – Hyde Park Birding
May 28, 7-8 pm – Lakewood Pop-up Naturalist Event
Everyone is welcome. 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
In response to the UN Biodiversity Report, the Saskatchewan Environmental Society urges the government to give top priority to expansion of protected areas, wetlands preservation, and reducing greenhouse gas pollution.

Green your wardrobe – buy less and buy non-conventional fabrics from environmentally responsible companies.

1 square metre of prairie = 113 plant + animal species [video].

Fires, pests, disease and increased mortality – Canada’s forests have not captured more carbon than they’ve emitted since 2001.

Wildlife corridors and bridges are key to protecting biodiversity.

A local company is offering a furniture rental service.

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, 12 May 2019

Happy Mother's Day!

Fishing spider carrying babies

Fishing spiders take good care of their young. They stand guard over the eggs and, once the eggs hatch, the babies climb up onto Mum’s back and stay there until they’re ready to go out on their own.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Nature Programs for Kids

Baby canada geese

Royal Saskatchewan Museum 
School programs (grades pre-K-12)
Storytime (ages 2-5)

Saskatchewan Science Centre
Science Time for Tots (ages 3-5)
Day camps (Easter and summer) (ages 6-8 and 9-11)
Camp-ins for community groups, clubs, schools (grades K-9)
Go! Science outreach programs (grades K-12)

Wascana Centre 
Summer day camps (ages 6-11)
Day in the life of an ecologist (grades 9-12)
Wascana Junior Naturalist – spring and fall sessions (ages 9-13)
Coming soon! Sprouts Gardening Day Camp

Wild Child Adventure School (Earl Grey, SK)
Mini adventures (ages 3-5)
PD days (ages 5-12)
Home-schooling wild adventures


Saskatoon Young Naturalists
Year-round nature-based activities (families with 5-11 year olds)

Saskatoon Zoo Society
Preschool programs (ages 3 and up)
PD day camps (ages 5-12)
Summer & winter camps (ages 7-10 & 11-14)
Outreach school program
Coming soon! Bio-Bits and Bio-Explorer summer camps

Wild Sky Adventure Learning
Saskatoon Forest School (ages 3-6)
Ecological summer camps at Ness Creek (ages 3-13)
Urban explorer camps (ages 5-10)
Coming soon! Forest Kids Camps in July and August

Wildernook Fresh Air Learning
Nature Grandparenting (grandparents with 3-5 year old grandchildren)
Nature PlayCare (ages 3-4 & 4-5)
Summer and school holiday day camps (ages 10-11 & 13-14)
Coming soon! Detour: Spark Ideas, Shift Gears, Activate Change

What is missing? If you know of other nature programs for kids in Saskatchewan, email us and we'll add them to Nature Programs for Children & Youth.

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

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

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

EcoSask News, May 7, 2019

three-flowered aven

Upcoming Events
Hort Week, May 8-12 (Saskatoon) 
Hort Week workshops include The Magic of Moths, May 8; Identifying Insects in Your Yard, May 9; and Bears and Botany, May 12.

Bat Release, May 8 (Regina) 
Help release the bats that have been overwintering at the Sask Science Centre from 8:30-9 pm, May 8.

Bats, May 14 (webinar) 
Craig Willis, University of Winnipeg, is offering a noon-hour webinar on white-nose syndrome in bats on May 14.

Wascana Solar Co-op, May 15 (Regina)
There will be a presentation on the Wascana Solar Co-op at noon, May 15, at Innovation Place Regina.

Bike to Work Day YXE, May 15 (Saskatoon) 
May 15 is Bike to Work Day in Saskatoon.

Looking Ahead
Chaplin Lake Shorebird Festival, May 31-June 1 (Chaplin) 
Take a tour of the Chaplin Nature Centre during their Shorebird Festival, May 31 to June 1.

Generating Momentum, June 2/Aug 17/Aug 18 (Regina/Saskatoon/Prince Albert) 
In honour of its 10th anniversary, the Regina Public Interest Research Group is hosting 3 one-day activist leadership training camps for 18-35 year olds this summer:
June 2 – Regina
August 17 – Saskatoon
August 18 – Prince Albert

Lodgepoles Under Living Skies, June 21-23 (Cypress Hills) 
Connect with plant enthusiasts from Montana, Alberta, and Saskatchewan at an event planned by the Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan in Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, June 21-23.

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

Wildlife Champion 
Thank you Jan Shadick for speaking up for jackrabbits who lighten our days and pigeons who grace our skies. As Jan says, “A healthy wildlife population is an indicator of a healthy city.”

three-flowered aven

In the News
Proposed federal regulations would exempt major oil and gas projects from environmental assessment while discouraging renewables.

Meet the new generation of climate change activists: the teenagers who are marching in the streets, putting adults to shame and demanding action (Rolling Stone)

This is what conservation looks like: safe passage for pronghorns in Wyoming thanks to a wildlife overpass (short video).

Flushable wipes aren’t flushable and are blocking sewage systems and waterways.

Dragonflies fly up to 1500 miles over the course of 3 generations, but changes in temperature could foil their itineraries.

Here’s how to identify different sorts of bees.

À 14 ans, il ferait tout pour sauver la biodiversité.

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, 2 May 2019

Jane's Walks 2019 in Regina and Saskatoon

Canada goose & goslings

Jane’s Walks is an annual festival of citizen-led walks encouraging people to explore and learn about their neighbourhoods. They’re designed to promote the community-based approach to urban planning initiated by Jane Jacobs. Jane’s Walks began in Toronto in 2006 and have now spread to 225 cities around the world. 

A number of the 2019 walks explore Regina and Saskatoon’s natural areas and sustainability.

May 3, 7-8:30 pm – Rebuilding Riverside Dyke
May 4, 10-11:30 am – History and Nature of Wascana Lake
May 5, 11am-12:30 pm – From the Science Centre to Far Away Place

May 4, 10 am – Cohousing using Sustainable Building Practices
May 4, 2 pm – Saskatoon’s Man of Trees
May 4, 2 pm – Forestry Farm Walking Tour
May 4, 7 pm – Spring Evening Hike at Northeast Swale
May 5, 2 pm – Moose Jaw-Saskatoon Trail: A Remnant of Native Prairie
May 5, 1:30 pm – 17th Street Walking Path: From Rail Line to Multi-purpose Trail
May 5, 2 pm – Woodlands Walk: St. Barbe-Baker Afforestation Area
May 5, 3:30 pm – Wild Spring Walk: Flora & Fauna of George Genereux Urban Regional Park

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

EcoSask News, April 30, 2019

gopher (Richardsons ground squirrel)

Upcoming Events
National School Climate Strike, May 3 (Regina)
Join Regina’s climate strike rally from 11 am-12 pm, May 3.

Fridays for Future Canada Strike, May 3 (Saskatoon) 
A Fridays for Future Canada Strike is being held in Saskatoon from 9 am-3 pm, May 3.

Yellowgrass Sloughs & Marshland, May 4 (Regina)
Nature Regina is hosting a field trip to the Yellowgrass area from 8 am-3 pm, May 4.

Household Hazardous Waste, May 4 (Lloydminster) 
Lloydminster’s 2019 household hazardous waste round-up is scheduled for May 4.

Repair Cafe, May 4 (Saskatoon)
There will be a Repair Café from 10 am-4 pm, May 4, in Saskatoon.

WRSOS AGM, May 4 (Saskatoon) 
The public is invited to attend the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Saskatchewan‘s annual general meeting at 2 pm, May 4, including a talk on the Saskatchewan Breeding Bird Atlas project.

Wildlife Rescue, May 5 (Regina) 
Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Saskatchewan is hosting a volunteer orientation from 1-2:30 pm, May 5, in Regina. Email to save your seat.

Household Hazardous Waste, (Saskatoon) 
Dispose of household hazardous waste in Saskatoon from 9 am-3:30 pm, May 5.

Project Wet, May 6 (Gronlid) 
SaskOutdoors is offering a Project Wet workshop in Gronlid on May 6.

Advancing Sustainable/Responsible Consumption & Production, May 6 & 7 (Regina)
A conference on Advancing Sustainable/Responsible Consumption and Production in Higher Education is being held in Regina on May 6 & 7.

After-School Gardening, May 6-27 (Regina) 
Kids ages 8-13 can help plan and plant the Regina Prince of Wales Library garden from 3:30-5 pm, May 6-27.

Smarter Science, Better Buildings, May 6-24 (North Battleford) 
Grade 7 students and the general public are invited to view the Smarter Science, Better Buildings exhibit at North Battleford Western Development Museum from May 6 to 24.

Call of the Forest, May 7 (Moose Jaw) 
Watch the film Call of the Forest: The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees at 7 pm, May 7, at the Moose Jaw Public Library.

Education for Sustainable Development Awards, May 8 (Candle Lake) 
RCE Saskatchewan’s Sustainable Development Awards ceremony will be held on May 8 at Candle Lake.

Civilization Critical Book Launch, May 9 (Saskatoon)
Darrin Qualmann is hosting the launch of his book, Civilization Critical, at 7 pm, May 9.

World Migratory Bird Day Celebration, May 11 (Regina) 
Nature Regina is hosting a field trip to Buffalo Pound Park from 8 am-2:30 pm, May 11.

World Migratory Bird Day, May 11 (Last Mountain) 
Celebrate the return of migratory birds with family-friendly activities organized by Nature Saskatchewan from 8 am-4 pm, May 11, at Last Mountain Regional Park.

SaskOutdoors Birthday Party, May 11 (Saskatoon)
SaskOutdoors is hosting a 50th birthday party from 6:30-10:30 pm, May 11.

13-lined ground squirrel

Saskatoon Nature Society Field Trips
Saskatoon Young Naturalists 
May 4 – Pike Lake field trip
Space is limited; register early to avoid disappointment.

Golden Eagles 
May 2, 8 am – Porter Lake, water and marsh birds
May 9, 8 am – Spring shorebirds at Perdue
Retirees and partners who are interested in birds and the natural world are invited to participate.

Other Saskatoon Nature Society Field Trips
May 4, 9 am-2 pm – Waterfowl viewing trip to Porter Lake
May 5/12/19/26, 7-9:30 am – MVA trail bird walk (register in advance)
May 11, 9 am-3 pm – Waterfowl viewing trip to Brightwater Marsh and Blackstrap Lake
Everyone is welcome. 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
Qu’Appelle River Basin Land Use and Water Quality Report

Briarpatch magazine devoted its most recent issue to the concept of a just transition. Articles include:
Both residents of coal-producing communities and climate justice activists in Saskatchewan are fearful for the future and feel ignored by politicians and government representatives.

Confronting economic barriers to sustainability, including a reliance on non-renewable resources, will be deeply disruptive to Canada’s political and economic order.

The degrowth movement in Quebec is “a call to liberate ourselves from the capitalist growth imperative and build more sustainable, just, and democratic societies.”

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, 23 April 2019

EcoSask News, April 23, 2019

bee on prairie crocus

Upcoming Events
Bullsnakes, Apr. 25 (Maple Creek) 
Find out about the Royal Saskatchewan Museum’s new research project on bullsnakes in the Cypress Hills area from 7-9 pm, Apr. 25, in Maple Creek.

History of Tatawaw, Apr. 26 (Moose Jaw)
Tatawaw’s history and plans for a bioblitz and bison fest will be discussed at the 6:30-8:30 pm, Apr. 26, meeting of the Moose Jaw Nature Society.

Household Hazardous Waste Day, Apr. 26/27 (Regina) 
City of Regina is holding Household Hazardous Waste Days on Apr. 26 and 27.

Predictive Models for Grassland Songbirds, Apr. 26 (webinar) 
Julie Landry-Deboer is presenting a noon-hour webinar on predictive models for occurrence of grassland birds in Alberta on Apr. 26.

Living Green Expo, Apr. 26-28 (Saskatoon)
The Living Green Expo is being held in Saskatoon Apr. 26-28.

Nature Regina Field Trip, Apr. 27 (Regina) 
Nature Regina is hosting a field trip from 9:30 am-12 pm, Apr. 27.

Diamond Willow Carving Workshop, Apr. 27 (Saskatoon) 
Craft your own walking/hiking stick from 12:30-3:30 pm, Apr. 27, in Saskatoon.

Bat Chat, Apr. 27 (Saskatoon) 
Melanie Elliott will introduce her educational bats at 3 pm, Apr. 27, at Wild Birds Unlimited.

Drive Electric Earth Day, Apr. 28 (Saskatoon)
Drive Electric Earth Day from 12-5 pm, Apr. 28, will feature a variety of electric vehicles for visitors to experience.

Geothermal Energy, Apr. 29 (Regina) 
Catherine Hickson, Geothermal Canada, will discuss geothermal energy at 7 pm, Apr. 29.

Permaculture Saskatchewan AGM, Apr. 29 (Saskatoon) 
Permaculture Saskatchewan is holding their annual general meeting on Apr. 29. You are welcome to come only for the film, Living the Change, at 7 pm.

Synchrotron Art, Apr. 30 (Saskatoon) 
A scientist and an artist will share how they collaborated on Sci-Art works using synchrotron imaging techniques at Café Scientifique, 7:30 pm, Apr. 30.

Introduction to Vermicomposting, May 1 (Regina)
Learn the basics of worm composting from 7-8:30 pm, May 1, at the Regent Place branch of the Regina Public Library.

Introduction to Spring Birdwatching, May 1 (Regina)
Learn how to identify the birds in your yard with Jared Clarke from 7-8:30 pm, May 1, at the Sunrise branch of the Regina Public Library.

Bio-energy & Carbon Capture, May 1 (Saskatoon) 
David Maenz will discuss the potential for early adoption of bio-energy with carbon capture and storage in Saskatchewan at the May 1 breakfast meeting of the Saskatoon Energy Management Task Force.

Birding by Ear, May 3 & 10 (Saskatoon) 
Learn to identify the songs and calls of birds at this free two-part workshop on May 3 and 10 from 7-10 pm.

bee on prairie crocus

Looking Ahead
Compost Field Day, May 29 (North Battleford) 
SK Waste Reduction Council is hosting an all-day workshop on large-scale composting in North Battleford on May 29.

Nature Saskatchewan Spring Meet, June 14-16 (Eastend)
Nature Saskatchewan is holding it Spring Meet in Eastend from June 14-16.

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

In the News 
Canada broke international rules when it dumped more than 100 shipping containers of garbage disguised as plastics for recycling into the Philippines six years ago.

Urban wastelands may appear to be an eyesore, but they are rich in bees and other wildlife.

Wildlife crossings make animals and people safer – and save money (deer-car collisions cost an average of $8,190).

5G could consume up to 1,000 times as much energy as 4G.

Federal legislation to protect species at risk isn’t working. It requires more public engagement and stricter timelines.

Walking by Erling Kagge focuses on “how walking has changed lives, what it does to our thoughts and emotions, and the ways it has made us who we are.”

There is No Planet B by Mike Berners-Lee looks at the big topics behind climate change: values, economics, thinking skills.

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, 21 April 2019

Outdoor Volunteer Opportunities 2019

Aspen grove and smooth brome

Enjoy fresh air and exercise while caring for the environment this summer.

Nature Conservancy of Canada
Help the Nature Conservancy of Canada maintain their properties by volunteering at one of their upcoming events. Events fill up fast so apply as soon as possible.

May 4, Meeting Lake (Prince Albert/Saskatoon) – plant a variety of tree seedlings
June 1, Chaplin Nature Centre (Swift Current/Regina) – shoreline tour and bird survey
June 15, Big Valley (Regina) – plant milkweed
June 22, Hole in the Wall (Big Muddy) – bioblitz and fence pull
July 20, Asquith North (Saskatoon) – range and forest health assessment
July 27, May (Moose Jaw) – collect native seeds
Aug. 10, Old Man on His Back (Swift Current, Eastend) – weekend campout
Sept. 14, Wideview (Val Marie) – install visibility markers on fence lines

Additional events are sure to be added over the next few months. If you would like to be notified when a listing becomes available in your area, contact

See also:
Conserving Nature in Saskatchewan
Prairie Beauty: NCC’s Dundurn Property

National Parks
Opportunities to protect Sage Grouse, Short-horned Lizards, and Black-tailed Prairie Dogs are often available during the summer at Grasslands National Park.

Prince Albert National Park welcomes volunteer help with activities ranging from tree planting to loon surveys.

Prickly-pear cactus

Nature Saskatchewan
Nature Saskatchewan welcomes volunteers in its PlantWatch program, at birding events at Last Mountain Bird Observatory, or to monitor and care for important bird areas and nature sanctuaries.

Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan
The Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan is always looking for volunteers and hosts a variety of summer events to remove invasive species or identify native plants.

Saskatchewan Breeding Bird Atlas
The Saskatchewan Breeding Bird Atlas is an ambitious 5-year project teaming citizen scientists with professionals to survey the distribution and relative abundance of breeding birds in the province. A variety of workshops and field trips provide a great opportunity to improve your bird identification skills.

Least Flycatcher

Local Opportunities
Additional volunteer opportunities can be found by contacting local nature and environmental groups.

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

What did we miss? Let us know and we’ll add it to the list.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

EcoSask News, April 16, 2019

pelican splashdown

Upcoming Events
Humanity in Harmony with Nature, Apr. 17 (Regina)
Nature Saskatchewan will present an overview of their programs at noon, Apr. 17, at Innovation Place Regina.

Batty about Bats, Apr. 18 (Regina)
Learn about local bats and build a bat box from 7-10 pm, Apr. 18, at the Saskatchewan Science Centre.

North Central Community Clean-up, Apr. 19-21 (Regina)
A clean-up is being planned for the North Central neighbourhood of Regina the weekend of Apr. 19-21. Indicate interest and lunch preferences in advance.

Three Cheers for Recycling, Apr. 20 (Moose Jaw)
Kids can celebrate Earth Day with games and crafts at the Moose Jaw Public Library from 10:30 am-12 pm, Apr. 20.

Appreciating the Worm, Apr. 20 (Prince Albert)
Enjoy displays and presentations on the work of worms from 12:30-4:30 pm, Apr. 20, in Prince Albert.

Repair Café Prince Albert, Apr. 20 (Prince Albert)
Share and learn skills to repair things at Repair Café Prince Albert from 1-4 pm, Apr. 20.

Save the Bees, Apr. 21 (Redvers)
Kids are invited to make a bee-friendly flower planter and bee hotel at Redvers Public Library from 1-2 or 2:30-3:30 pm, Apr. 21. Call 452-3255 or text 452-7734 to reserve a spot.

Earth Day Hike, Apr. 22 (Moose Jaw)
Moose Jaw Nature Society is hosting a hike at Buffalo Pound Provincial Park from 1:30-6:30 pm, Apr. 22.

Loss of Nature & Ecological Grief, Apr. 22 (Saskatoon)
The Saskatoon Enviro Collective is hosting a potluck supper and discussion about the loss of nature and ecological grief from 6:30-9:30 pm, Apr. 22. Register early as spots are limited.

Easter Break Explorer Camp, Apr. 22-25 (Saskatoon)
Kids 5-10 are invited to spend a week exploring the Saskatoon riverfront with Wild Sky Adventure Learning.

Meewasin Clean-Up Campaign, Apr. 22-May 30 (Saskatoon)
Dumpsters will be available for individuals and groups cleaning up the river valley. Register with Meewasin to be assigned a particular area.

Beginner Bird Id, Apr. 24 (Battlefords)
Find out more about the Breeding Bird Atlas project and learn the basics of bird identification from 7-9 pm, Apr. 24, at the Battlefords Wildlife Federation.

Not Your Grandparent’s Weather, Apr. 25 (Regina)
Find out what’s happening to our weather from 7-9:30 pm, Apr. 25, at the Sask Science Centre.

White Pelican

Looking Ahead
Student Planning Meeting, Apr. 28 (Regina)
Help plan the upcoming Canada-wide school strike from 3-5 pm, Apr. 28.

National School Climate Strike, May 3 (Regina) 
Regina is holding a national school climate strike from 11-12 pm, May 3.

Canoe Certification Course, May 18-20 (Saskatoon)
SaskOutdoors is offering a canoe certification course in Saskatoon May 18-20.

Food Forestry Workshop, June 14-16 (Ness Creek)
Permaculture Saskatchewan and Wild Sky Adventure Learning are hosting a forest gardening workshop at Ness Creek from June 14-16.

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

white pelicans

In the News
NEW! Sustainable Yorkton & Area strives to support members to live a low impact lifestyle to protect and restore their community and planet.

Calling for a Sustainable Quill Lakes Solution is concerned about the absence of environmental impact assessments on 20 provincial wetland drainage projects. One couple has lost their property rights and the process has begun to expropriate their land by the Smith Creek Watershed Association. 

Concerns have been raised about the rezoning applications for Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and George Genereux Urban Regional Park. The first is being classified as agricultural land for use by public utilities; the second is being designated for future urban development. Why are they not being classified as parks or naturalized areas? Submit concerns to the City of Saskatoon.

Urban planners are questioning the necessity and route of the proposed perimeter highway: "Before spending an enormous amount of money, sit back and look at the big picture, because the big picture has completely changed."

Chet Neufeld, Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan, recommends planting native flowers in our gardens.

Swimsuits are bad for the environment.

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, 14 April 2019

They Deserve an Award!

As part of Saskatoon’s 2019 NatureCity Festival, Wild about Saskatoon is offering awards to recognize the contributions of individuals, community initiatives, and businesses who advocate for the conservation and restoration of nature and natural areas in and around Saskatoon. The NatureCity Awards also honour people and projects that promote a relationship of belonging, connection, and care between local residents and the nature that surrounds us.

If you know someone who would be wildly deserving of this award, nominate them now. Awards will be made in each of 3 categories: Individual, Community Initiative, Business. Nominees must be a resident of Saskatoon or its surrounding area. They cannot have been a previous award recipient or be a member of the Wild about Saskatoon/NatureCity Festival steering committee.

Nominations must be submitted by May 1. Awards will be presented at a special ceremony during the 2019 NatureCity Festival from May 21-26.

See also: 2017 NatureCity Awards

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

EcoSask News, April 9, 2019


Upcoming Events
Climate Reality in SK, Apr. 12 (Swift Current)
Margaret Asmuss will discuss how climate change is affecting Saskatchewan from 6:30-9:30 pm, Apr. 12, at First United Church.

Survey Study Designs, Apr. 12 (Saskatoon)
Jean-Michel DeVink is tentatively scheduled to talk about survey study designs: why details matter to the question being asked at 3:30 pm, Apr. 12, as part of the WildEcol seminar series at the U of S.

Hidden Valley, Crocuses & Bluebirds, Apr. 13 (Regina)
Join Nature Regina on their field trip along the Qu’Appelle Valley as they look for bluebirds and other signs of spring from 9:30 am-1 pm, Apr. 13.

Wildlife Rescue Info Session, Apr. 13 (Saskatoon)
A wildlife rescue orientation session is being held at 1 pm, Apr. 13, in Saskatoon. There will be rescue training after the orientation from 2-3 pm. Email to save your spot.

Native Plants, Apr. 14 (Regina)
Join Chet Neufeld, NPSS, to find out how to bring biodiversity into your yard with native plants from 2:30-3:30 pm, Apr. 14, at the Prince of Wales branch of the Regina Public Library.

Ferruginous Hawk Ecology, Apr. 15 (Regina)
Janet Ng will summarize her research on ferruginous hawk ecology from 7:30-9:30 pm, at the Apr. 15 meeting of Nature Regina.

90th Birthday Celebrations, Apr. 15 (Saskatoon)
A public event is being held at 7:30 pm, Apr. 15, to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the University of Saskatchewan Observatory. Speakers will discuss The Observatory’s history and the history of astronomy. A walk to The Observatory and cake will follow.

Beginner Bird Id Workshop, Apr. 16 (Yorkton) 
The Breeding Bird Atlas project is offering a free workshop on beginner bird identification from 7-9 pm, Apr. 16, in Yorkton.

Post-Industrial Consumerism, Apr. 16 (Saskatoon)
Darrin Qualman will explore sustainability and make a case for restructuring the core processes of industrial civilization from 7-8:30 pm, Apr. 16.

Breeding Bird Atlas, Apr. 17 (Preeceville)
Find out more about the Breeding Bird Atlas project at the 7 pm, Apr. 17, meeting of the Kelsey Ecological Society.

Outdoor/Environmental Ed Conversation, Apr. 17 (Swift Current)
SaskOutdoors is hosting an outdoor and environmental education community conversation from 7-8:30 pm, Apr. 17, in Swift Current.

Climate Crisis & its Solutions, Apr. 17 (Regina)
Join Jared Clarke to discuss the climate crisis and its solutions from 7-8:30 pm, Apr. 17, at the Sunrise branch of the Regina Public Library.

SK Environmental Society AGM, Apr. 17 (Saskatoon)
Dr. Irena Creed, Executive Director, School of Environment & Sustainability, U of S, will be the guest speaker at the Saskatchewan Environmental Society’s annual general meeting starting at 6 pm, Apr. 17.

Composting 101, Apr. 18 (Moose Jaw)
Find out how to choose, set up, and maintain a compost bin at 2:30 pm, Apr. 18, at the Moose Jaw Public Library.

Nature-based Solutions for Climate Change, Apr. 18 (Saskatoon)
Branimir Gjetvaj will discuss nature-based solutions for climate change mitigation and adaptation at the 7:30 pm, Apr. 18, meeting of the Saskatoon Nature Society.

Life off Grid, Apr. 18 (Saskatoon)
Watch a film about people who have built their lives around renewable energy from 2-3 pm, Apr. 18, at the Mayfair branch of the Saskatoon Public Library.


Saskatoon Nature Society - Golden Eagles
Apr. 11, 9 am-1 pm – Crocuses & bluebirds at Beaver Creek
Apr. 18, 8 am – Bluebirds in the Pike Lake area
Apr. 25, 8 am – Brightwater Marsh and area
Retirees and partners who are interested in birds and the natural world are invited to participate.

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

In the News
Gravelbourg Green/Vert Initiatives is brand new! Let’s wish them well in their goal to inspire, facilitate, and promote sustainability in Gravelbourg and surrounding areas.

Prince Albert National Park’s healthy wolf population is a good indicator of a healthy ecological area. Wolves are typically scared of humans so there’s no reason to fear them.

The City of Swift Current is killing crows because they’re too noisy.

The U of S Arts Building is now using 50% less water following replacement of 75% of its toilets and urinals and the addition of aerators on 85% of the faucets.

Saskatchewan needs to change how it designs and builds communities and infrastructure in response to climate change, says John Pomeroy, Canada Research Chair in Water Resources and Climate Change. “We already had an extreme climate and to make it more extreme really pushes the viability of our agriculture, our cities, communities and our transportation networks.”

Moving freight or moving people – trains are far more energy efficient and less polluting than cars or airplanes.

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, 7 April 2019

10 Surprising Facts about Beavers - And Why They Make Great Neighbours


1. Beavers’ earliest ancestors appeared on the scene 38-54 million years ago. The first North American beavers ranged in size from tiny ones weighing less than 1.5 kg to giant ones over 3 metres long and the size of a female black bear.

2. The world’s longest beaver dam, found in Wood Buffalo National Park, is over 850 metres long and visible from space. Beavers prefer to build their dams out of wood, but they’ll make do with whatever is available. A dam in the Yukon is built almost entirely out of stones the size of soccer balls.

3. Beaver lodges are initially a solid mass of wood, small twigs, and sticks as well as mud and debris used to fill the gaps. Once it’s big enough, the beavers head underwater and chew their way up through the wood to create an entrance tunnel and living quarters – a feeding platform just above the water level and a larger room where they’ll raise their young and spend most of their time. The beavers then use their paws to plaster the interior walls with mud, leaving just a few holes for ventilation.

4. Beavers’ teeth never stop growing. It’s only by gnawing on wood that they can keep them to a manageable size.

5. Indigenous North Americans and early Europeans used beaver teeth as tools for carving. It’s believed that a beaver jaw with its teeth intact was used to carve the images and hieroglyphics on an 11,000-year-old religious idol found in Russia’s Ural Mountains.

6. Beaver tails are large and shaped like a paddle. They use them to steer while underwater, to balance themselves while on land, and to store fat for the winter. Beavers slap their tail on the water to warn of danger.

7. Beavers can swim at speeds of up to 8 kph and stay underwater for up to 20 minutes at a time. 

8. Beavers were hunted to extinction in the United Kingdom 300-400 years ago. They are now being re-introduced in parts of England and Scotland. Eurasian beavers are slightly larger than North American beavers with narrower heads and tails.

9. Ice melts more quickly on active beaver ponds, providing a refuge for early-migrating waterfowl. The cool water at the base of ponds formed by beaver dams is the perfect habitat for baby fish, such as salmon.

10. Beavers help protect against drought by raising the water level, stabilizing and increasing groundwater levels, and holding back water that would otherwise drain away. The cellulose at the bottom of the dams helps break down pesticides and herbicides from agriculture.


Conflict Management
Many cities and rural municipalities in Saskatchewan trap and kill beavers because they damage trees or cause flooding. This is an ineffective, short-term solution as other beavers will quickly repopulate the area and rebuild dams.

The Fur-Bearers offer free workshops in non-lethal co-existence methods that benefit the environment, the public, and beavers. The cities of Calgary and Airdrie have both taken advantage of their services.

Environmental Engineers
Many people believe that by working with beavers and not against them we can restore water to a dry land. Here are a few current initiatives:
Building Riparian Resilience through Beaver Restoration (New Mexico)
Putting Beavers to Work: Leave it to Beavers Watershed Stewardship (Alberta)
The Beaver Solution (State of Washington)

For More Information
Eager: The Surprising Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter, Ben Goldfarb (2018)
Once They Were Hats: In Search of the Mighty Beaver, Frances Backhouse (2015)
The Beaver Manifesto, Glynis Hood (2011)
Review of The Beaver Manifesto (EcoFriendly Sask, 2015)
The Beaver Believers (documentary)


Thursday, 4 April 2019

Let's Spring Clean our Community - Natural Areas Clean-Up Grants 2019

The snow has melted and laid bare the garbage along our waterways and trails and in our parks. It’s time to spring clean our community and we’re offering school and community groups throughout Saskatchewan the opportunity to raise some money for their activities in the process.

EcoFriendly Sask is offering a limited number of $500 grants to clubs and voluntary organizations for cleaning up a natural area in or around their community. Apply by sending us an email telling us about your group and your clean-up plans. We’ll let you know whether or not your grant application is approved.

Groups that are approved for a grant will be sent a cheque once we’ve received a photograph of your clean-up crew and the garbage you’ve collected.

Photo: Big Fat Tire Brigade, 2018 Clean-Up at the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area

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).