In addition to these two divisions, there is additionally the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan which have set up provincial projects as well. So this means that you can actually use iNaturalist anywhere in the province and still be counted in. Here is a handy link to the Saskatoon and Area BioDiverCity Challenge
Arbor Week is now over. The last event was today Sunday April 29- a B.I.N.G.O. The prize winners were a couple, John and Jodi.
These water-proof binoculars provided 12X power magnification with a 42mm objective lens and roof prism providing 114 meters / 374 feet / 1000 Yards are also fog-proof making them excellent bird or animal watching binoculars winter or summer in any outdoor environment. For the citizen scientist, the prize package included binoculars, neck strap, lens cover, carrying bag, user instructions, cleaning cloth and a smartphone adapter. The smart phone adapter was compatible with all brands of smart phones making it an ideal choice to capture the amazing long distance organism for iNaturalist to help with global conservation efforts.
The Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas are proud supporters of environmental education, and promote the use of documenting wildlife with the free iNaturalist app, and via eBird. These binoculars promoted and further encouraged these ideals. John and Jodi sound like they have an amazing environment at their home where they encourage native flora, enticing many kinds of birds and animals and along with this great biodiversity of nature at home they also frequent the afforestation areas.
There is no doubt about it, the people who took part did take action towards global conservation efforts. It was Great to Be the Reason Nature Believes in Humanity. Thank you one and all for taking part for Saskatoon and Area!
The Saskatoon Nature Society came on board, and really pulled through! The City of Saskatoon entomologist, Sydney Worthy, was host at an insect workshop which helped the CNC and this workshop is still having ripple effects through the school system. The Saskatchewan Mycological Working Group were host to a Fungi and Lichen Workshop which likewise is having amazing spin-offs! Appreciation is extended to the Prairie Conservation Action Plan for hosting a City Nature Challenge presentation for the Native Prairie Speakers Series. For these and other City Nature Challenge virtual webinars and workshops, see YouTube. Thanks to the University of Saskatchewan environment and sustainability classes for their contributions. The classrooms of students from the Saskatoon Public School Board and the Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools were wonderful to see the student enthusiasm at both Brightwater at the afforestation areas, and around Saskatoon. Thanks to the Meewasin staff at Beaver Creek for helping out! Thank you to the Canadian Wildlife Federation WILD group for their assistance. Appreciations and rounds of applause to @lysandra, @MaryKrieger, @sarasims, Jacey Bell, Donovan Thiessen, andall the iNaturalist Observers and Identifiers. Thanks to the City of Saskatoon, Saskatoon Nature Society, SaskTel, SaskPower, SaskEnergy, Mosaic, EcoFriendly West were super to help with the logistics for the planning this event. Thanks to everyone in the area around Saskatoon. Check out “explore” on iNat or go to BioSmart. Hats off to Wild About Saskatoon, Cpaws and Nature Conservancy of Canada for helping to make the event happen, indeed. We wish to say thank you kindly to the Saskatoon Media Group for their radio announcements also, that was wonderful to get the word out! Thanks to everyone who shared the social media assets as well. It was wonderful to meet the organizing crew of the Canadian Wildlife Federation, California Academy of Sciences, Natural History Museum Los Angeles County. In the words of Richard St. Barbe Baker, Twihamwe or pull together echoes the Province of Saskatchewan Motto, Multis e gentibus vires (From Many Peoples Strength). This pulling together happened during the first ever Saskatoon City Nature Challenge and our statistics show we had the second highest results for the prairie provinces in Canada – imagine that! What a show of support for wildlife and conservation! If we have inadvertently missed any group or contributing organization, please email, and we apologize most humbly – it has been a most busy week. And, of course, thank you to all the individuals who are passionate about nature and who helped out just because they like to be out in nature, and taking observations, or helping with identifications, it was an amazing four day bio-blitz cram session.
Thank you to everyone who went outside in Nature between April 29 – May 2 for the #CNC2022! This was a great undertaking to join the International initiative to collect information about the wildlife flourishing in Saskatoon and area. It was the very first year for the City Nature Challenge Saskatoon and Area.
Send in your cool/unusual/rare sightings!
New finds! Species that haven’t been recorded in particular areas before. Important finds of rare/endangered/threatened species. Observations that have a great story that go along with them. Really cool photos. Fun finds!
Send your photos of yourself, your friends or your family taking images in nature with iNaturalist! firstname.lastname@example.org
Of course, one can always use the iNaturalist app, or eBird to document nature and help conservation efforts even now that the City Nature Challenge is over.
Researchers, school groups, citizens and wildlife enthusiasts across the world did indeed tak part in this race against the clock to put nature on the map, submitting photos and observations of wildlife in their neighbourhoods and greenspaces through the free, easy to use iNaturalist smart phone app.
By observing local nature, everyone can support vital conservation research while connecting with nature and enjoying the outdoors.
Whether you are an expert, a seasoned #BioBlitz participant or getting involved for the first time, it couldn’t be easier to join in.
Simply download the iNaturalist app, take a photograph of nature in your local area – whether that’s a tree, plant or insect or animal – and upload. You don’t even have to know anything about the species you are observing. Teams of experts will be reviewing and updating the information that’s submitted, so you can log back in later and learn more about what you’ve spotted.
Help put the City of Saskatoon on the world nature scene! Using iNaturalist take photos of plants, animals, insects and mushrooms between April 29 – May 2, 2022! Saskatoon will compete for the title of the most Biodiverse City. We need your help.
Saskatoon and area will compete for the title of the most Biodiverse City. We need your help. The goals are to engage the public in the collection of biodiversity data, with three awards each year for the cities and areas that 1/ makes the most observations, 2/ find the most species, and 3/ engage the most people. We’re so excited to have this fun friendly competition with a chance to place Saskatoon and Area on the World Stage for the City Nature Challenge 2022! #CNCYXE
Get all your observations uploaded and work on identifying: May 3 – 8 • Results announced: May 9
This is the first year Saskatoon and Area has taken part in the City Nature Challenge Worldwide event. We need your help!
Our goal is to aim towards UN SDG 2 -Zero Hunger- when the time is right and if approved. Richard St. Barbe Baker promoted the concept of agro-forestry in Kenya, Africa before the concept or word was invented in contemporary times. In this way Baker supported the health and survival of the Kikuyu. In a similar vein, there may possibly and perchance be a future opportunity to do restoration work in the afforestation areas in support of agroforestry endeavours, pollinator gardens, and food forests.
Contributing to UN SDG 3 -Good Health and Well-being- currently the Legacy of Saskatoon’s Secret Forest package follows Richard St. Barbe Baker’s International Tree Foundation mission ‘to develop a tree sense in every citizen, and to encourage all to plant, protect and love their native trees.” By protecting trees, there is protection of the 132 hectares [326 acre] Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area in Saskatoon, and the 60 hectare [148 acre] George Genereux Urban Regional Park for health and wellness as people come out to an urban greenspace to reap the benefits of cycling, walking in nature which has multiple health benefits as extolled by the Canadian PaRx program, shinrin-yoku (“forest bathing” or “taking in the forest atmosphere”)
UN SDG 4 -Quality Education -is supported by an educational package in pdf format available for free download for the general public, teachers, classrooms worldwide to experience place based learning and immerse in the morphology of Richard St. Barbe Baker’s humanitarian efforts advocating for forests and trees worldwide.
UN SDG 5 -Gender Equality- is supported by encouraging everyone to take Baker’s Watu Wa Miti (Forest guardian) pledge to 1/ plant ten trees, seedlings or seeds each year 2/ take care of trees everywhere 3/ Do a good deed every day. By encouraging all to do a good deed every day, then environmental conservation, stewardship and guardianship creates a safe greenspace for all users. Illegal trespass is not encouraged to support gender equality for the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas and all efforts are being followed to mitigate all illegal trespass and to encourage legitimate users and the general public of Saskatoon who honour UN SDG 5.
UN SDG 6 -Clean Water and Sanitation- has seen a great partnership with members of the community to become as Watu Wa Miti and take care of trees everywhere. Richard St. Barbe Baker said “Men and trees, water and trees, man and water are inseparable. This is the trinity of life.” As the community has repeatedly come together to protect trees, in a partnership with the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas, the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup the West Swale Wetlands named Chappell Marsh are protected. The Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas have had a great partnership with the City of Saskatoon, Meewasin, SOS Trees, Montgomery Place community Association, Fatlanders Fatbike Brigade, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Saskatoon Baha‘i community, Len’s Hauling, the CISV, Children’s International Summer Village, and the Peace Bus programme and we are grateful to many more who have come out to restore the wetlands and greenspace environs for human visitors, the semi-wilderness habitat and the species at risk who make these areas their home. The afforestation areas situated in the West Swale is a watershed created by the Yorath Island Glacial Spillway connecting the North Saskatchewan River, and draining into the South Saskatchewan River, the locale of the City of Saskatoon’s drinking water.
UN SDG 7 -Affordable and Clean Energy- is supported in following the example of Richard St. Barbe Baker who wrote many books, and spoke on radio programs about the importance of education and awareness. The heritage and environmental tours, and interpretive programming focuses on messages by both SK Energy and Sk Power for providing to our province much needed power and energy in a cold semi-arid climate (Köppen: BSk) near the humid continental climate (Dfb), with typically warm summers and long, cold winters. Energy conservation strategies are brought forward in the Friends interpretive and tour packages.
UN SDG 11- Sustainable Cities and Communities – ties well into the legacy of Richard St. Barbe Baker who travelled by steam boat between the two Great Wars led campaigns around the world including the reclamation projects for the world’s deserts and protection of virgin forests from destruction. The International Tree Foundation was established by Baker at its height in over 105 countries. Baker, one of the first students at the fledgling University of Saskatchewan, always wished to have a branch of the ITF here in Canada. Working in that vision, the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas, work with the City of Saskatoon, Meewasin, green groups and classrooms in Saskatoon and around the world to follow in Richard St. Barbe Baker’s footsteps so vital in this era of climate change, and in the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.
UN SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production- is so very vital to the protection of forests and trees, along with wetland habitats. There are certain items so easy to recycle which the flora and fauna of forest and wetlands cannot use sustainably. By following Baker’s Watu Wa Miti pledge “take care of trees everywhere” the legitimate users in the forest help to support a “Leave no Trace” greenspace ethic. Reduce, reuse, recycle takes action on waste reduction- and protects our forests and wetlands.
UN SDG 13 – Climate Action- is supported by this Green Survival initiative of the City of Saskatoon to plant and preserve 660 acres of afforestation areas in 1972. The early parks department initiative of 1972 did indeed follow Baker’s Watu Wa Miti pledge to 1/ plant ten trees, seedlings or seeds each year 2/ take care of trees everywhere 3/ Do a good deed every day. Richard St. Barbe Baker founded, assisted and inspired were responsible for planting at least 26 billion trees, internationally, during his lifetime. International groups founded from his inspiration, continue onwards planting trees! “When the trees go, the rain goes, the climate deteriorates, the water table sinks, the land erodes and desert conditions soon appear”.~Richard St. Barbe Baker
UN SDG 14 – Life below water- is supported by realizing and supporting the legacy of Richard St. Barbe Baker Baker said, “Trees above all are the beings which attract the waters of the Trees above all are the beings which attract the waters of the firmament, conserve them in their shade, govern the whole vegetable kingdom in its great economy of water, leading it gently into springs, streams and rivers and maintaining fertile potency in the soil of a region.“
UN SDG 15 – Life on Land- is honoured time and time again by the work, teachings, and legacy of Richard St. Barbe Baker. “The importance of forests cannot be underestimated. We depend on forests for our survival, from the air we breathe to the wood we use. Besides providing habitats for animals and livelihoods for humans, forests also offer watershed protection, prevent soil erosion and mitigate climate change. Yet, despite our dependence on forests, we are still allowing them to disappear.” (WWF, 2019) The World Wildlife Fund WWF, made St. Barbe the very first inaugural Honorary Life Member.
UN SDG 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions – was apparent in Baker’s holistic worldview as he met and learned the Kikuyu language in Kenya Africa, and implemented an agro-forestry campaign to provide food for a population facing extirpation from colonial slash and burn agricultural methods employed at the time of Baker’s Kenya posting as Assistant Conservator of Forests. From there Baker went on to create this working model of the International Tree Foundation, which inspired the formation of other World Green Groups. Ecologists, environmentalists, conservationists who knew Richard St. Barbe Baker were honoured and grateful to spoke to the legacy of Richard St. Barbe Baker during the heritage documentary.
UN SDG 17 – Partnerships for the Goals- has been discussed already in this article. Local groups adopting stewardship and guardianship roles for the afforestation areas as users of the greenspace are amazing in supporting the UN SDG goals as mentioned. International environmental groups, and persons locally and from around the world coming together to advocate for the example set by Baker, supports local and UN SDG goals is totally enlightening! The Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas have seen some remarkable examples of the provincial motto; multis e gentibus vires: from many peoples, strength. Richard St. Barbe Baker had a similar motto, Twihamwe or Twahamwe, a word from the Kikuyu of Kenya, Africa.
“Kind people have been expressing superlatives on my work. But I can assure you that anything which I have been able to achieve has been team work. We have a motto in the Men of the Trees. TWAHAMWE. It is an African word meaning ‘pull together’ and I pass this on to all those concerned with conservation in this country. I would like to call you to silence for a moment with the words of Mathew Arnold:
“Calm soul of all things, make it mine, To feel amidst the City ‘s jar That there abides a peace of thine Men did not make and cannot mar. ”
It is the end of May 1, the third day of the Saskatoon City Nature Challenge April 29 to May 2. Thanks to everyone who has added observations on iNaturalist! Come out on Monday May 2, and make a difference!
A great Sunday, and a day that also promises great weather.
So it appears that we could be on the search for White-breasted Nuthatches, grouse and partridges, which would be keen for Sunday!
Sorry about the beavers post yesterday. They seem to be still under ice on any small creeks so that won’t work.
There have been other “birds of prey” sighted such as Cooper’s Hawk, Rough-legged Hawk, Peregrine Falcon and Sharp-Shinned Hawk which is pretty amazing!
Mosses are making a feature, as are those bracket or shelf fungi on the sides of trees. Sometimes these polypores on the trees are also called conks, and are an exciting find. Remember to peek at the rocks and trees you pass by for bright orange or green lichen!
Haven’t tried scooping any wetlands water yet! Has anyone ventured carefully close to the edge of a marsh to see if there is any larva or insects in the water?
Has anyone tried putting up a white sheet at night with a UV light to see if there are any moths attracted to the light? There are moths already this early in the spring!
There are some interesting insects out there if you smoosh around the leaves, or lift up a rock or small log. This might need a partner as the insects scurry away to get into cover again!
Well anyways, have a great Sunday, enjoy nature, and remember, International Dawn Chorus Day is the first Sunday of May! And it is sweet that iNaturalist loves to have the songs of songbirds recorded as a new feature! Take care out there. There is today and tomorrow yet to record nature for the City Nature Challenge. There is a bioblitz at Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area today at 2:00 pm with Little John’s installed nearby in the parking lot for your convenience and will remain until end of working day tomorrow. Tomorrow there is a bioblitz out at the new and improved George Genereux Urban Regional Park at 7:00 pm, come out of curiosity!
“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eye for an instant?”
Henry David Thoreau
What nature and biodiversity is around you today? As science teaches about various plants, and animals, wildlife and nature, awareness increases that Elephants exist in Africa, Kangaroos in Australia, Koala Bears in China. What insects thrive in Saskatoon? What songbirds remain in Saskatoon? Are there any animals that can be seen in Saskatoon? How many did you come up with?
“If our hopes of building a better and safer world are to become more than wishful thinking, we will need the engagement of volunteers more than ever.”
Join the #CityNatureChallenge from April 29–May 2! Document Saskatoon’s nature in the free @iNaturalist app by taking photos of wild plants and animals—and help contribute to the world’s largest citizen science event. More at FriendsAreas.ca
Celebrate National Volunteer Week which has a theme ‘Volunteering is Empathy in Action.’
“Plants and flowers taught me how to grow, by growing in secret and in silence.”
Michael Bassey Johnson.
So, at this virtual Zoom identification party, we will discover the exciting world of identifications using iNaturalist. Plants will be the focus, and if anyone has a plant related question, now would be the time to bring it forward. We are mainly focusing in on native or wild plants, and not cultivated plants for the garden or flower bed.
If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.
E. O. Wilson
The City Nature Challenge happens April 29 – May 2, and it is so exciting to have so many interested people in the CNCYXE2022! Thanks for downloading the iNaturalist app, doing some experimental observations, and looking outside in nature for wildlife. It can be any wild plant, insects, mushrooms, animal, fungi, or any other evidence of life (shells, scat, fur, tracks, feathers, nests) found in your neighborhood, home, backyard, or even through your windows. You might be surprised by how many insects thrive in the nooks and crannies around you. There are also some group meets planned as well to take advantage of.
Celebrate 50 years! Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and George Genereux Urban Regional park were planted to trees in 1972, 50 years ago. Come out and say Happy Birthday!