< SEN Weekly Bulletin

SEN Info Bulletin

December 4, 2012

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Action Alert

Opportunities/Call for Proposals



SEN 2013 Membership Renewals Are Due!

Thank you to SEN's Members! 'Tis the season, and SEN is looking to our member-groups and individual subscribers to renew their yearly membership. It is through your generous support that we are able to continue the valuable work that we do throughout Saskatchewan. We continue to strive to connect our member groups not only to grow Saskatchewan's environmental movement but also to ensure strong communication channels between the government and the public.

Member-groups should expect a letter of renewal in the mail over the next few weeks and we invite individual subscribership for just $10. We accept cheques by mail or you can pay membership via paypal on our website: http://econet.ca/

These fees help us continue to provide you with SEN's monthly e-bulletin and online events calendar and ensure our continued work on meaningful environmental projects such as: World Rivers Day, SEN's annual Environmental Film Festival, monthly environmental film and discussion nights, educational workshops and much more! Keep supporting us and ensure that Saskatchewan's leading Environmental Network Organization continues to stay strong.

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SEN Kicks off First in Series of Monthly Film Nights!

The Saskatchewan Eco Network is kicking off the first in a series of monthly environmental film nights! Stayed tuned, as each month we'll feature a different environmental film. Take this chance to come out to join in some thoughtful discussion and connect with others on important environmental issues of our time.

The first film we'll be featuring is: "Garbage! The Revolution Starts at Home" which follows the average urban family, the McDonalds, as they keep every scrap of garbage that they create for three months. Writer/Director Andrew Nisker and the McDonalds then take a journey to find out where it all goes and what it's doing to the world.

This event will be taking place at Root Down Cooperative Café (located at the Farmer's Market) at 7pm on December 10, 2012. Following the film, we'll be talking about how to reduce consumption in our everyday lives and around the holiday season. This event is free of charge so bring your friends and family. For more information go here or contact us at (306)652-1275 or info@econet.sk.ca.

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Student's Research May Improve Assessment of Uranium Toxicity

University of Saskatchewan researchers are trying to improve the way regulators and mine operators assess the risk of metal contamination from effluent discharged in uranium mining.

Metal accumulation affects not just the water, but also the sediment below. The key when assessing contamination risk is whether the metals are biologically available to be absorbed and used by organisms, says UofS toxicology PhD student Sarah Crawford.

While federal guidelines are in place to assess the risk metals in sediment pose to aquatic organisms, researchers say these guidelines need to be improved to evaluate true risk. Current guidelines use total concentration of metals in sediment to predict impact on aquatic ecosystems. This approach has been criticized because there is not always a cause and effect relationship between total concentrations and toxicity and it rarely pinpoints which metals are responsible for contamination at a particular site.

Crawford hopes her research will contribute to the development of more science-based and region-specific regulations and improve management of uranium concentrations downstream of mining operations in northern Saskatchewan. More.

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Cougar Re-Colonization of Cypress Hills

Cougar re-colonization in Cypress Hills began about 10 to 15 years ago, based on verified sightings from the early 2000s. But alarm bells didn't start to go off until a family of three cougars was accidentally trapped in snares in Alberta between April 2006 and March 2007. That's when Alberta government officials called biologist Mark Boyce, the Alberta Conservation Association Chair in Fisheries and Wildlife at the University of Alberta.

Boyce, who specializes in studies of large predators, mobilized a field team. Under graduate student Michelle Bacon's lead, the team tracked the cougars, which were then tranquilized and fitted with GPS radio collars. Using the radio collar data and corroborating information from snow tracking, scat analysis and wildlife cameras, Bacon found that Cypress Hills "boasts one of the highest densities of cougars ever reported" in North America. Lone cougars have a wide range and occasionally roam far beyond their usual territory, but the discovery that these cougars were breeding in the area meant the population, according to Bacon, "could prove to be an important stepping stone to further expansion eastward."

Meanwhile, dealing with these predators has become a sensitive subject in Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park and on the ranches and recreational properties surrounding it. Park staff are focusing on trail signage and education to raise awareness about cougar safety. In bordering areas, wildlife officials are working with landowners to stop practices that attract prey - and, subsequently, predators. More.

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Agreement Between Cameco & Areva Worries SK Northerners

A variety of news articles have been published in regards to recent talks about a "collaboration agreement" between uranium giants Cameco & Areva and the community of Pinehouse in Northern Saskatchewan. Some Pinehouse residents point to several clauses in the draft agreement that would force Pinehouse to support the companies to regulators, investors and the public.

The agreement would prohibit Pinehouse from criticizing the companies now or in the future, a measure that amounts to an indefinite "gag order," said Pinehouse resident Fred Peterson.

"I really don't like this. I hope we can get it stopped," Pederson said of the deal, which could be signed by the end of December. Peterson and other residents fear the so-called gag order will extend beyond their elected officials. One clause obliges leaders to "make reasonable efforts to ensure Pinehouse members do not say or do anything that interferes with or delays Cameco/Areva's mining."

You can read more here and here and listen to a CBC podcast interview here. The draft agreement is available here.

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New Festival by "Wild About Saskatoon" Happening in 2013

Wild About Saskatoon is a brand new collective of nature-minded individuals working to connect nature and culture in the City of Saskatoon. Saskatchewanians live in an urbanizing province and a rapidly urbanizing world. If current and future generations fail to connect with nature in their daily lives, they may fail to connect with it anywhere.

Wild About Saskatoon intends to impassion Saskatoon residents with the nature that surrounds them in the streets, gardens, parks and back alleys of the urban environment. This has culminated into a plan to host a festival to celebrate Nature in the City, timed to coincide with the blooming of the Saskatoon blossoms.

The festival will take place around the week of May 25 to May 31, 2013. Their goal is to have activities running throughout the week, led by many citizens and organizations, exposing as many cultures, age groups, and areas of the City as possible. The scope of your contributions is limited only by your imagination. The main thing is that you participate, have fun, and connect your event or activity to the cityscape of Saskatoon and to nature.

For more information contact Canadace Savage at candace.savage@sasktel.net or Candace Neufeld candace_neufeld@hotmail.com or go here for more details.

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Action Alert

Survey on the Status of Invasive Alien Species

Invasive alien species (IAS) have been widely recognized as a threat to biological diversity, naturally occurring ecological communities, agriculture, and human health--second only to habitat degradation and loss, and affecting nearly half of all species. An analysis in 2005 pegged the cost of global environmental losses and damages at nearly $120 billion per year.

While eradication of IAS is generally prohibitively expensive if not impossible, the most practical approach is strict preventive measures associated with controlling vectors and pathways for introduction. Early detection/monitoring/rapid response networks have to exist across the country, and for such efforts to be effective, they have to rely upon rapid and unrestricted access to the best available data and information. With current Internet-based technologies it is technically possible to transmit information rapidly and efficiently from source to end users, and from field collection to predicted invasion maps. Better connection and cooperation of data providers and data users will enable a more effective strategy for IAS in Canada.

You can help by filling out this survey questionnaire: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/IAS_CA_survey.

Survey will close on December 12.

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Opportunities/Call for Proposals

EcoFriendly Action Grants

EcoFriendly Sask is offering monthly grants of up to $500 to support local projects that will benefit the environment. We're interested in concrete, tangible actions from across the spectrum: from habitat restoration and recycling to planet-friendly urban design, gardening, wildlife and energy conservation. Additional information is available online at http://www.ecofriendlysask.ca/2012/04/ecofriendly-action-grants.html. Email questions or proposals to ecofriendlysask@gmail.com

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Call for Posters: Prairie Conservation and Endangered Species Conference

The deadline for the call for posters has been extended until December 21st at 11:59pm for the 10th Prairie Conservation and Endangered Species Conference. Details here. The 10th Prairie Conservation and Endangered Species Conference will be held in Red Deer, Alberta from February 19th to 22nd, 2013. A draft schedule is now available on the website. Have a look at it to see how the conference is unfolding.

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Prairie Conservation Award Nominations

The Prairie Conservation Awards are granted to a deserving recipient from each of the three Prairie Provinces once every three years, in recognition of significant long-term contributions to native habitat or species at risk conservation. Deadline for nominations is January 11th, 2012 and More information about the Prairie Conservation Awards can be found here.

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Young Professional Stewardship Grant

The Young Professional Stewardship Grant promotes future work to achieve success with prairie conservation and endangered species management. The Young Professional Stewardship Grant is for professional or aspiring conservationists between the ages of 18-30 who live and/or work in Alberta, Saskatchewan, or Manitoba. More information about the Young Professional Stewardship Grant can be found here.

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RCGS: Expedition Grants

The goal of the RCGS Expedition Program is to enhance the appreciation, understanding and knowledge of the physical, environmental and cultural geography of Canada by recognizing and encouraging the spirit of discovery and adventure through expeditions taking place largely within Canada.

RCGS expedition support is awarded to individuals and teams undertaking expeditions in Canada that complement the mandate of the RCGS to: "make Canada better known to Canadians and to the world"

There are a variety of expedition grants such as: Expedition of the Year (one only), Major Grants, Seed Grants, Women's Expedition Grant and Aboriginal Expedition Grant. For more details about each grant and to find out how to apply go here.

Deadlines for applications is January 21, 2013.

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GeoThermal Grants for Retrofits & New Construction

Did you know that there is a $3500 incentive for the installation of qualified GeoThermal units in both existing and new home construction? Details are available under the New Homes Programs tab at www.sunridgegroup.ca.

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Volvo, UNEP, UNESCO and World Scouts International Youth Award

Do you know of some amazing environmental youth groups between ages 13-16 who are worthy of recognition? Take this opportunity to nominate those the movers and shakers of the next generation and their projects to be recognized by the UN. Taking part is easy and it could be any activity from tree planting to a community wide project. If you know of groups who are active and that deserve international recognition for their efforts and achievements please ask them go here for more details and here to register.

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CHEP: Good Food Box Cooridnator

CHEP Good Food works with children, families and communities to improve access to good food. The good food box is a long standing program that connects people with neighbours and farmers around good food. CHEP is currently seeking a full time coordinator for the goof food box enterprise. This could be a job share with two people with complementary skills. The coordinator will oversee the entire operations of the program.

Qualifications for this position are: program and financial management experience of three years, experience working in partnerships and community development, knowledge of produce production and purchasing, experience working with volunteers and the ability to organize work teams, excellent organizational and communication skills and a contagious passion for good food.

Deadline for applications is December 12 and can be sent via email to director@chep.org

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Coming Events


Internet Marketing: Utilizing Social Media

December 12, 8:30am-12:00pm

So you know the basic functions of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube - now what? How do you utilize these tools to reach your audience effectively? Through personal success stories & insights, this workshop will teach you how to join the Symphony of Social Media. This workshop will take place at the University of Regina. More information and to register go here.

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Nature Regina - Christmas Bird Count

December 27th, All Day

For many years, Nature Regina's members have participated in the annual Christmas Bird Count. This year, Nature Regina is hoping to increase the number of participants. Nature Regina is encouraging as many members as possible to participate by taking part of the day to record counts of birds at their bird feeders. You don't need to leave home to help! For more details go here or contact Dale Hjertaas at (306)584-2835.

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SES Environmental Book Club

December 11, 7:00pm

The Saskatchewan Environmental Society has started an environmental book club. The next book they'll be discussing is "Less is More: Embracing Simplicity for a Healthy Planet, a Caring Economy and Lasting Happiness at 7 pm on December 11th in The Commons at The Two Twenty. Just in time for the holidays! For more information go here.

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SNS - Saskatoon and Area Christmas Bird Counts

December 15 & 26, All Day

1. CLARK'S CROSSING - Saturday, Dec. 15th. This count circle includes the north end of Saskatoon (Silverwood Heights), Martensville, Warman, Osler, and part of the Strawberry Hills. For more information go here and contact Michael Williams (242-5383) as soon as possible.

2. SASKATOON - Wednesday, Dec. 26th. Plan now to take part in the 58th annual Saskatoon Boxing Day Bird Count. All you have to do is sign up by calling the count coordinator before December 22 and set aside a few hours in the morning or afternoon or all day if you wish on December 26. For more information go here and contact Michael Williams (242-5383).

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Travelling 11,000km to Fight Climate Change

January 15th, 7pm

Worried about climate change? Join the Saskatchewan Environmental Society and The Sasktoon Public Library on Tuesday January 15, 2013 at 7:00pm at the Francis Morrison Library in downtown Saskatoon. Learn about the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and what happened during the most recent negotiations in Qatar in November/December 2012 from guest speaker, Megan Van Buskirk who attended the conference. For more information go here.

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Invasive Plant Species Webinar

December 19, Anywhere in SK, 12:00pm-1:00pm

Join the NPSS and Ministry of Agriculture Regional Forage Specialists Nadia Mori, John Hauer and Linda Hunt from noon-1 pm on December 19th for this invasive plant species webinar! Regional Forage Specialists will discuss how to identify leafy spurge, absinth and common tansy and potential control options for each plant. This webinar will allow participants to see and hear the presentation, as well as ask questions directly to the presenters. for more details go here and pre-register here.

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Foraging Into The Future 7

December 12 & 13, Swift Current

This is the 7th Foraging into the Future! The conference will be held at the Sky Centre, Living Sky Casino in Swift Current, SK on December 12 & 13, 2012. The theme this year is "Times are Good... Let's Make it Count!". The conference will include a tradeshow, several industry experts, producer panels, and many networking opportunities. More information and details for registration go here.

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SNS-Pike Lake Christmas Bird Counts

January 4, 2013

Join SNS the 30th Annual Bird Count in the Pike Lake area. SNS is now looking for volunteers to provide extra eyes and ears, to help us find those few extra species to make this a record year. Usually, we depart Saskatoon around 8:00 a.m. and return around 4:30 p.m. If you enjoy being outdoors, learning about the birds and the local area, this is a great outing to join.

To volunteer, contact Beverly Schmidt or Murray Morgan by email at bevnmurray@gmail.com and include the names and number of participants, your email address, and contact phone numbers (home, work, and/or cell). Or call or text them after Dec. 14 at 306-321-7498.

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SNS - Regional Christmas Bird Counts

The Saskatoon Nature Society is organizing a variety of Regional Christmas Bird counts and may appeal to those who like to travel farther afield (or even overnight).

Gardiner Dam: Monday, December 17

Harris: Wednesday, December 19

Biggar: Thursday, December 27

Contact Guy Wapple (249-3280) to confirm dates and volunteer.

Qu'Appelle Valley Dam: Sunday, December 16th An all day trip to Elbow and the Douglas Park area, leaving Saskatoon at 7:00 a.m. Contact: Michael Williams (242-5383)

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More events at the SEN Event Calendar: http://events.econet.ca.