Tuesday 25 August 2020

EcoSask News, August 25, 2020

White-lined Sphinx Moth

Upcoming Events
Outdoor Family Adventure, Aug. 29 (Regina) 
Families can rotate through a variety of outdoor experiences organized by Nature Regina in McKell Wascana Conservation Park from 10 am-2 pm, Aug. 29. The event is limited to 40 families and registration is required.

Household Hazardous Waste Day, Aug. 29 (Moose Jaw) 
The City of Moose Jaw is holding a household hazardous waste day from 9 am-3 pm, Aug. 29.

Wildlife Corridor, Aug. 31 (webinar) 
Find out about the work Nature Conservancy of Canada – Alberta is doing to protect the wildlife corridor in the Crowsnest Pass at noon, Aug. 31.

Looking Ahead 
Curbside Swap, Sept. 19 (Saskatoon) 
The City of Saskatoon is hosting a city-wide curbside swap on Sept. 19.

A full list of upcoming events (online and in person) can be found on the EcoFriendly Sask Calendar 

Local News 
Lumsden has received federal funding to install solar panels on 4 municipal facilities, putting 3 of them on track to reach 100% net-zero emissions.

The Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation hopes to turn the former Saskatoon police firing range into a multicultural interpretive centre focusing on the historical and future importance of areas like the Northeast Swale.

Life Outside Gear Exchange, opening in September in Saskatoon, will sell high-quality, gently used outdoor clothing and gear.

flowering tree

“I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues. And I am asking you, sir, at the top of my lungs. Oh please do not cut down another one.”

The City of Saskatoon’s Trees on City Property policy prevents the removal of city-owned trees unless they are dead, dying, or diseased. The Standing Policy Committee on Environment, Utilities and Corporate Services is proposing an amendment that would permit the removal of public trees that individual residents perceive to be a nuisance (e.g. too much shade, too few leaves, “ugly”). The amendment would also place a greater financial burden on the City. SOS Trees Coalition is asking people who view trees as a public asset and value Saskatoon’s urban forest to email their City Councillor expressing their concerns.

From Information to Action
“We can only have pandas and eagles (and clean air and water, for that matter) if we also have the complex and interconnected ecosystems that support them. And yes, those ecosystems include bugs…

Moths – easy to spot and endlessly fascinating.

One-eyed Sphinx moth

Routine gas flaring is wasteful, polluting, and under-measured.

Human beings cannot flourish and maintain health without healthy ecosystems to live within. That’ll be one of the biggest lessons of the twenty-first century, and I think COVID-19 points us in that direction.”

An Indigenous health care facility was built using rammed earth, and scientists have developed a method for 3-D printing greener buildings using local soil.

Solar panels are starting to die, leaving behind toxic trash – we need a recycling plan.

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).

Check out EcoFriendly Sask’s Nature Companion, a free nature app for Canada’s four western provinces

Sunday 23 August 2020

Saskatoon Youth Climate Committee

“working towards a safe, healthy future where we can all thrive” 

A group of students in Saskatoon want to ensure that young people have a voice in ongoing discussions around climate justice: “We have lots to contribute and a unique angle on the issues as they will affect our future. A personal connection with places such as the Northeast Swale makes them even more determined to fight to protect their community’s natural areas.

The Saskatoon Youth Climate Committee was established in 2019 as a way for young people to share their concerns about the environment and collaborate on different initiatives. In an online conversation, three young women – Warsha Mushtaq, Elisabeth Walker, and Lauren Wright – shared how they became involved.

For all three of them, a love of nature provided a strong foundation for environmental activism as is clear from their comments: “Nature was a huge part of how I grew up.” “I love being outside. I feel safe and connected.” “I was in Girl Guides of Canada for over 10 years and had positive interactions with nature and learned how to protect it.” Their perspective and love of nature was strengthened and rounded out through enrolling in outdoor education programs, integrating Indigenous learning during class walks at Saskatoon Natural Grasslands, and participating in the Caring for our Watersheds program.

This led all three students to care passionately about the environment and they started attending climate strikes. “There’s a lot of stigma around participating in climate strikes,” Lauren says. “People don’t take the time to find out why we’re there. We care a lot, are learning lots. We’re not just skipping out of school.”

Lauren saw value in establishing a group to provide young people with a platform so that they could come together, discuss the interrelated pieces, and prevent the climate crisis from becoming worse than it already is. She sent letters to the outdoor school programs, reached out using social media, and set up a sign-up sheet at the climate strikes. Despite attending different schools and not being the same age, a common interest brought twenty young people, including Elisabeth and Lauren, together for the first meeting of the Saskatoon Youth Climate Committee.

The Committee members started attending City Council and municipal committee meetings and worked with teachers over the summer of 2019 on how to get other students involved. “We wanted to provide a support system to take the big, scary thing of activism and make it easier for people to get involved,” Lauren says. The goal is to be friends, share ideas, and collaborate. The Committee began holding bi-weekly meetings in the fall of 2019.

COVID-19 put a stop to the Committee’s in-person meetings so the students switched to online webinars as a way to stay in touch during the pandemic. Guest speakers have included city councillors and representatives of Climate Justice Saskatoon and the Saskatchewan Environmental Society. Social media is a huge part of their activities. Their website and YouTube channel host permanent resources, such as the webinars, while Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are used on a day-to-day basis.
YXE Youth Climate Committee takes a holistic approach to climate justice, recognizing its implications and impacts on issues such as climate change, biodiversity, and race. “We need to address issues holistically rather than linearly,” Warsha says. “There’s a feedback loop,” Warsha explains. “Extreme weather events such as fire and flood are damaging our natural spaces, just as natural elements such as trees are driving the climate.” The Committee hopes to have Indigenous activists participate in future webinars.

One of the Committee’s goals is to expand students’ awareness of municipal issues and demonstrate how they can act on climate issues on a municipal level. They want to make it easier for young people to get involved and to have a voice, for example through letter writing, as they recognize it can be intimidating for young people to approach City Council. “There are so many ways we can reach out, even if we can’t vote,” Lauren says. “We can make a difference if we come together and take that risk.”

The Committee is eager to recruit new members and Elisabeth, Warsha, and Lauren are at pains to point out that it isn’t all work and serious conversations. “We have fun, joke, become friends,” Elisabeth says. “It shouldn’t be overwhelming.

The young women were at pains to point out that you don’t have to have the perfect environmentally correct lifestyle to be an environmentalist. You may ride your bike but forget to bring a reusable mug; everything you do helps and is making a contribution. “Climate activism involves living with positive intentions but not feeling obligated to be perfect in your lifestyle,” Elisabeth says. “As long as you’re doing your best and are passionate, you can be an activist.”

Students in grades 5-12 who live in Saskatoon and area are encouraged to get in touch with the Saskatoon Youth Climate Committee. “Dip your toes in. See what you’d like to get involved in,” they urge.

Saskatoon Youth Climate Committee can be found on their website, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram

Tuesday 18 August 2020

EcoSask News, August 18, 2020

Monarch butterfly

Upcoming Events
Bird Tours, Aug./Sept. (Saskatoon) 
Stan Shadick is offering physically distanced bird tours with proceeds to Living Sky Wildlife Rehabilitation:
Shorebird driving tour - Aug. 1-Sept. 15
Pelican driving tour - Aug. 15-Sept. 15
Warbler walking tour - Aug. 20-Sept. 15

Let’s Talk Outdoors, Aug. 20 (online)
SaskOutdoors is launching a podcast on Aug. 20 – Let’s Talk Outdoors: Environmental Enjoyment and Education – with new episodes every third Thursday.

Climate Strike, Aug. 21 & ongoing (online) 
The YXE Youth Climate Committee is hosting a digital Fridays for Future Climate Strike on Fridays from 12-1 pm starting Aug. 21.

Flight of the Monarch, Aug. 22 (online)
Join Nature Saskatchewan in celebrating Flight of the Monarch Day on Aug. 22.

Mini Outdoor School Conference, Aug. 24 (online) 
The Early Childhood Education Council is offering a virtual mini outdoor school conference for its members from 1-2 pm, Aug. 24. Register by emailing saskecec@gmail.com.

SOS Trees Coalition AGM, Aug. 27 (Saskatoon) 
SOS Trees Coalition will hold their annual general meeting outdoors in Victoria Park close to the pagoda at 6:30 pm, Aug. 27.

Backyard Bioblitz, Aug. 24-30 (Saskatchewan) 
Nature Conservancy of Canada is inviting the public to contribute to online community science by searching for plants, animals, and insects in your backyard or local green space and tracking your observations with iNaturalist.

Looking Ahead 
Project WILD, Sept. 16, 23, 30 (online) 
SaskOutdoors is hosting a Project WILD training online from 7-9 pm, Sept. 16, 23, and 30.

George Genereux Park Clean-Up, Sept. 19 (Saskatoon) 
Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas are inviting volunteers to join them in removing garbage in George Genereux Urban Regional Park from 9 am-5 pm, Sept. 19. Volunteers with trucks, wheelbarrows, etc. are encouraged to bring it with them. Disposal bins will be on site in August and September if you want to help out at a different time.

A full list of upcoming events (online and in person) can be found on the EcoFriendly Sask Calendar

Woodland Skipper ?

Local News
Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas will deliver your recyclables to SARCAN and provide you with a charitable receipt. Call 306-380-5368 to arrange a pick-up.

The Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Saskatchewan has responded to over 3000 calls to their wildlife hotline this year. Your donations can help support the work of WRSOS and wildlife rehabilitators throughout Saskatchewan (Living Sky in Saskatoon, Salthaven West in Regina, Silverwood in southeast Saskatchewan to name just a few).

Meewasin Valley Authority’s functional study to help minimize the environmental impacts of the proposed Saskatoon Freeway recommends shifting the route by 200-300 metres to the north and a causeway to reduce impact on wetlands. Recent focus groups also expressed concerns and recommendations regarding environmental issues.

Parks Canada has installed EV charging stations in Prince Albert National Park, Batoche and Motherwell Homestead National Historic Sites. Grasslands National Park will have one soon.

Rusty Tussock Moth caterpillar

From Information to Action
The UK is testing the viability of noise cameras to cut down on noise pollution.

Lower speed limits – on the highway and in town – reduce greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

Having an impact: how to practice science that influences environmental policy and management.

Volunteers are plugging abandoned oil wells in Montana and returning the land to its pre-drilling condition.

The environmental footprint of paper vs electronic books – it depends how much you read.

Efforts to protect the nests of Western Painted Turtles have resulted in almost 200 hatchlings at Elizabeth Lake near Cranbrook.

A 22,000 sq. m. green roof on a university campus in Thailand mimics local rice terrace landscapes, collects rainwater, and grows up to 135,000 rice meals and vegetables each year.

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).

Check out EcoFriendly Sask's Nature Companion, a free nature app for Canada's four western provinces.

Sunday 16 August 2020

Nature & Environmental Programs for Saskatchewan Kids


We’ve pulled together a list of nature and environmental programs for kids from pre-school to high school throughout Saskatchewan, both as part of the school program and as extracurricular activities. 

Programming for many of these programs has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. While some have had to postpone or rearrange programs, others have added additional resources. Check with organizers for further information.

If you know of other nature programs for kids, email us and we'll add them to the list.

Tuesday 11 August 2020

EcoSask News, August 11, 2020

Purple Prairie Clover

Upcoming Events
Native Plant Gardens, Aug. 15 (Regina) 
Families can learn about native plants and participate in a flower scavenger hunt on a visit to several of Regina’s native plant gardens from 10 am-12 pm, Aug. 15. RSVP to Nature Regina to confirm participation.

WUQWATR AGM, Aug. 27 (online & Lumsden) 
WUQWATR is holding its annual general meeting at 3:30 pm, Aug. 27. Members are encouraged to participate virtually due to limited space for in-person attendance in Lumsden. RSVP to Kirsten Colvin at 306-946-6533 or info@wuqwatr.ca

50th Anniversary Picnic, Aug. 30 (Saskatoon) 
The Saskatchewan Environmental Society will be celebrating its 50th anniversary with a riverside picnic from 12:30-2 pm, Aug. 30. Registration is required as participation is limited to 30 people.

Looking Ahead
Standard Wilderness First Aid Recertification, Oct. 17 (Regina) 
SaskOutdoors is offering a standard wilderness first aid recertification course from 8 am-6 pm, Oct. 17, in Regina.

Wilderness First Aid, Oct. 23-25 (Lumsden) 
SaskOutdoors is offering a 20-hour basic wilderness first aid course in Lumsden from Oct. 23-25.

A full list of upcoming events (online and in person) can be found on the EcoFriendly Sask Calendar 

Local News
Saskatoon’s Compost Coaches are back in business answering inquiries and offering online workshops.

The City of Saskatoon is proposing an energy loan program and would like residents’ input on priorities and potential concerns. Respond to the public survey by Friday, Aug. 14.

Proponents of coal-fired carbon capture projects "are selling an unproven dream that in all likelihood will become a nightmare for unsuspecting investors

The Bobolink combines its musical voice with that of the Frenchman River. [audio]

Mourning Cloak butterfly

From Information to Action
Wilfred Buck “has helped inspire a new generation of Indigenous astronomy leaders—not just among elementary and high-school educators but also in university departments across North America.” There are plans to hold an international Indigenous star conference in Canada in 2021.

China Goes Green: Coercive Environmentalism for a Troubled Planet by Yifei Li and Judith Shapiro is “a nuanced account of what China has done so far, and what lessons the world can learn from the authoritarian tone of environmentalism in China.” [book review]

The cliff-face front grille on trucks was deliberately designed to create an angry, aggressive face that will intimidate pedestrians – and it’s deadly

Bioplastic - there are limits to its usefulness. [infographic]

A new lithium-ion battery storage facility in Alberta has been designed to store energy from a nearby wind farm and discharge it when needed.

Nature’s Wonders 
Communal latrines keep river otters “up to date on who is around, how they are feeling, and who’s ready to have babies.”

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). 

Check out EcoFriendly Sask’s Nature Companion, a free nature app for Canada’s four western provinces

Tuesday 4 August 2020

EcoSask News, August 4, 2020


Upcoming Events
Outdoor Adventures (Regina)
Nature Regina has begun rescheduling field trips, keeping it safe through masking, physically distancing, and hand sanitizing.

Outdoor Observations, Aug. 13 & 27 (Regina)
The Saskatchewan Science Centre’s day camps are back in operation. 3-12 year olds are invited to join them from 9 am-4 pm, Aug. 13, to learn about science outdoors. A second camp will be held from 9 am-4 pm, Aug. 27.

Looking Ahead
Net Zero Conference, Sept. 15-16 (online)
The Net Zero Conference & Expo, to be held online Sept. 15-16, bills itself as a hub for thought leaders and industry-shapers in climate, carbon, energy, water, waste, and transit.

Wilderness First Aid, Sept. 19-20 (Meadow Lake)
SaskOutdoors is offering a 20-hour basic wilderness first aid course on Sept. 19-20 in Meadow Lake Provincial Park.

Canoe Certification, Sept. 19-20 (Lumsden Beach)
SaskOutdoors is offering a Paddle Canada Lake Canoe Skills (flat water) Certification Course on Sept. 19-20 at Lumsden Beach.

Saskatoon Nature Society
Saskatoon Young Naturalists
Sept. 19, 9:30 am-1:30 pm – Sandhill Cranes Field Trip
Oct. 2, 7-10 pm (tentative date) – Northern Saw-whet Owl Field Trip
Space is limited; register early to avoid disappointment.

A full list of upcoming events (online and in person) can be found on the EcoFriendly Sask Calendar 

Purple Prairie Clover

Local News
National Farmers Union: “The question is not whether irrigation expansion is good or bad, but rather how best to responsibly expand irrigation and how best to spend billions of dollars so that farmers and all citizens receive maximum benefit.”

Saskatchewan Environmental Society says government should do its homework before committing a massive amount of money to an irrigation project that will put the environment at risk

Nature-based art therapy: an interview with Saskatoon’s Emily Hammer.

Meet the people saving Canada’s native grasslands.

From Information to Action
“There aren’t enough batteries to electrify all cars – focus on trucks and buses instead”

A safe street is not one where safety is determined by how fast someone can comfortably drive, but rather one where a person can comfortably walk, ride a bike, and cross the street using a wheelchair."

“The less government policy does, the more we, as citizens have to do on our own. With climate change, the burden of action has fallen, unevenly, to individuals. This, when simple mechanisms such as a price on carbon, better public transit, and the incentivizing of deep home retrofits and EV purchases would dramatically reduce consumer burden, and mental fatigue.”

Redesigning democracy for future generations: “Especially in wealthy nations, we treat it [the future] as a dumping ground for ecological degradation, technological risk and nuclear waste – as if there is nobody there.”

Conservation easements on private land could make all the difference in protecting endangered species.

Ruddy Turnstone (non-breeding) ?>

Nature’s Wonders
BirdNote – for bird lovers of all ages – short videos (under 2 minutes), photos, bird calls, and educational resources. Did you know that the Ruddy Turnstone really can turn stones?

“It is crucial that we learn to appreciate parasites . . . . Without them, there are no healthy ecosystems.”

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). 

Check out EcoFriendly Sask’s Nature Companion, a free nature app for Canada’s four western provinces