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