I hope everyone has had a relaxing holiday season and is looking forward to the new year. There are a few items coming up in 2020 that the Saskatoon Nature Society will be involved in and/or will be of interest to our membership, and that we can spread the word about to others in our communities.
An effort that will continue into 2020 is to increase awareness of the Swales, especially the Small Swale, and the impact the new Saskatoon Freeway will have on the natural area. We partnered with Meewasin in late August to early December to discover and document the species in the Swales; Valerie Martz and I are involved in meetings on the topic; and there will be a short video coming out in the new year to further spread awareness to the public. For more information you can go to the Endangered Grasslands Alliance website at https://endangeredgrasslandsalliance.ca/call-to-action/, as well as the Saskatoon Freeway website at https://saskatoonfreeway.org/. To assist in these efforts you can keep an eye out for any additional public outreach and open houses for the project, you can sign the petition (on the Endangered Grasslands Alliance website or at a monthly SNS meeting), and write a letter expressing your view on the project to our Mayor, Premier, and/or the Minister of the Environment (details and a sample letter can be found on the Endangered Grasslands website).
Most of you have likely heard of the City of Saskatoon’s Green Strategy that aims to “ensure all residents have access to a network of high quality, multifunctional, seamlessly integrated green spaces”. It recently progressed into its final phase, Phase 3 (Bloom), and will be presented to Council in early 2020. I think it’s important for citizens to voice their opinions on different aspects of this plan and express their support of this starting point to get our City on track to conserve the local nature, provide habitat corridors, and ultimately try to find a balance between ecological and human needs in the name of sustainability. More information on the Green Strategy can be found at https://www.saskatoon.ca/environmental-initiatives/climate-change/green-strategy.
The last initiative, that is very new to Saskatoon and still being developed, is the UWIN project. The Urban Wildlife Network will help to identify how wildlife moves in and through our City. It is mostly based on trail cameras to capture data but may incorporate other methods of documentation as well. The information collected can then help to determine movement patterns, create more awareness, and aid in urban development that is more conducive to living in harmony with local wildlife. The network website can be found at https://urbanwildlifeinfo.org/. Keep an eye out for updates in the coming year.
The Saskatoon Nature Society is getting noticed! I was on CBC radio this summer to talk about one of our wildflower field trips and lately we have had CTV join us several times to film and interview members and field trip leaders (including Robert Johanson and Renny Grilz) too! I find it very exciting that we are getting a lot more media attention; this helps us increase appreciation of the amazing nature we have in Saskatoon, and helps to educate our neighbours and communities on the value and importance of the conservation of these areas.
We have also expanded our membership to around 600 people in the last year! Let’s spread the love of local nature and bump it up to 700 in 2020!
Please let the Board know if you have ideas, initiatives, or events you think may be of interest to the Saskatoon Nature Society. Keep in mind that our main focus is on the education and conservation of the natural areas in and around Saskatoon.
Saskatoon Nature Society
Connecting People and Nature
Saskatoon Nature Society
Box 27013 Grosvenor Park
Saskatoon, SK S7H 5N9