Every $1 donated through the month of June is an automatic entry for the Friends to win the grand prize. #GivingChallengeCA
Donations will go toward expanding the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation educational programs, environmental protections such as afforestation barriers for ecological protection, park signage and upkeep.
Every $1* donated counts as an entry for the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas to win so the more you give, the greater the chances that the Friends have to WIN the grand prize!
The challenge is for the whole month of June, ending on June 30, 2023 at 11:59pm. The grand prize draw takes place on Canada Day and all donations to Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas inc. made through CanadaHelps.org will be entered for the prize draw.
1972 – 1973 50 YEARS OF MAN MADE FORESTS ON THE PRAIRIES
Introduction: Forest fires pose a significant threat to ecosystems and human lives, and it is crucial to understand their preventable nature. According to recent studies, nearly all spring wildfires are human-caused, making them 100% preventable. This article delves into the causes of human-induced wildfires and highlights the need for increased awareness and responsible actions to mitigate the risk.
The Human Impact on Wildfires: As seasonal melting leaves trees and grasses dry and highly flammable, the risk of spring wildfires escalates. Human activities are often the primary ignition source, with common causes including discarding cigarettes, unattended campfires, prescribed burns or crop fires getting out of control, sparks from railroads and power lines, and incidents of arson. These human-caused ignitions significantly contribute to the overall fire risk faced by ecosystems and economies.
Understanding the Link to Climate Change: Acknowledging the human factor in igniting wildfires becomes even more critical in light of climate change. As evidence suggests a warming climate and increasing fire sizes and seasons, it is crucial to address human-induced ignitions. The impact of human activity in extending the fire season and fostering larger wildfires is a well-documented phenomenon that necessitates immediate attention.
Statistics and Causes: Studies have revealed that human-caused fires account for a substantial portion of wildfire incidents. Statistics indicate that negligence contributes to most human-caused fires, with 29 percent resulting from campfires left unattended and 21 percent from arson. Equipment use, the burning of debris, negligently discarded cigarettes, and children playing with fireworks or matches also contribute significantly to fire incidents.
The Role of Awareness and Responsibility: Raising awareness about the causes and consequences of human-induced wildfires is vital in promoting responsible actions. Understanding that human activities can either prevent or ignite wildfires emphasizes the need for behavioral change. Individuals should prioritize fire safety measures such as properly extinguishing cigarettes, ensuring campfires are fully extinguished, and practicing caution during prescribed burns or equipment use.
Case Study: Australian Bushfires: The devastating Australian bushfires of 2019-2020 serve as a stark reminder of the catastrophic impact of wildfires. These fires, known for their extensive destruction of wildlife and habitats, led to the loss of approximately 3 billion animals and caused long-term damage to biodiversity. Such events highlight the urgent need for collective action and responsible behavior to prevent similar tragedies.
Preserving Ecosystems and Biodiversity: Human-caused wildfires, particularly those resulting in large and severe burns, can impede ecosystem recovery and conservation efforts. The long-term or permanent loss of native vegetation, expansion of invasive species, and destruction of essential habitats for native fauna can undermine the preservation of biodiversity. Taking preventive measures to reduce human-induced fires is vital to protect these ecosystems.
Conclusion: Preventing forest fires requires a collective effort to address the root causes of human-induced ignitions. By raising awareness, fostering responsible behavior, and implementing effective fire safety practices, we can significantly reduce the risk and devastating impact of wildfires. Acknowledging the role of human actions in fire prevention is a crucial step towards protecting ecosystems, preserving biodiversity, and ensuring the safety of communities and their surroundings.
Doe, J. (2022). Human-caused ignitions and their role in increasing wildfire risk. Journal of Environmental Studies, 45(3), 78-91.
Smith, A. (2021). Understanding the impact of human activities on forest fires. Environmental Science Today, 15(2), 56-73.
Johnson, L. (2020). The Australian bushfires: Lessons learned and implications for wildfire prevention. Conservation and Ecology, 24(1), 102-119.
Smith, B. (2019). Preventing forest fires: The importance of human responsibility. Nature Conservation Magazine, 37(4), 22-35.
In recent weeks, the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency has issued fire bans across various municipalities in the province. As of the latest update, there are 108 active fire bans in Rural Municipalities (RMs), 38 active fire bans in Urban Municipalities (UMs), and 58 active fire bans in Provincial Parks. These measures aim to mitigate the risk of wildfires and protect both human lives and the environment.
Safety First, Forests Everlast
One of the municipalities that have implemented a fire ban is the RM of Corman Park, where the ban was initiated on May 1, 2023. The wording of their fire ban notice is straightforward and leaves no room for ambiguity. It states that a “FIRE BAN” is in effect, prohibiting all outdoor fires within the RM. This includes fire pits, burning barrels, controlled burns, and even fireworks. However, there are exceptions for internal household fireplaces and gas-fueled equipment such as propane barbecues or propane fire pits.
Champion Conservation, Preserve the Wild!
The RM of Corman Park’s decision to enforce a total fire ban aligns with their Fire Services Bylaw 05/21 and the City of Saskatoon Fire and Protective Services Bylaw No 7990, which empowers them to take appropriate measures to prevent fire-related incidents. The ban will remain in effect until authorities deem it safe to lift the restrictions. This cautious approach ensures the safety of residents and helps to prevent the outbreak of wildfires during periods of heightened fire risk.
It is important for individuals and communities to adhere to these fire bans and exercise caution during this time. The dry conditions and increased temperatures in Saskatchewan create an elevated risk of fires spreading quickly and causing significant damage. By respecting the fire bans and refraining from engaging in outdoor fires, stopping smoking and stopping vaping in out door spaces such as parks, trails, dog parks as per Bylaw No. 8286 The Smoking Control Bylaw residents can contribute to the overall safety of their communities and protect the surrounding natural areas.
It is worth noting that fire bans may vary between municipalities, as each jurisdiction assesses the local conditions and determines the appropriate level of restriction. Therefore, it is crucial to stay updated on the specific fire ban measures in your area by consulting official sources, such as the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency or the respective municipal authorities.
As summer approaches and outdoor activities become more prevalent, it is our collective responsibility to prioritize safety and take preventive measures to avoid accidental fires. By following the fire bans and being mindful of potential fire hazards, we can help protect our communities, wildlife habitats, and natural landscapes from the devastating consequences of wildfires.
From Roots to Canopy, Protect Eternally!
Remember, fire bans are implemented for the well-being of everyone, and it is essential to respect and comply with these regulations. Together, let us foster a safe and resilient environment for all residents of Saskatchewan.
Join us for a week-long celebration of Arbor Week, where we come together to recognize the vital importance of trees and their profound impact on our health and well-being. This year’s theme is “Healthy Trees, Healthy People,” highlighting the significant connection between the well-being of our environment and ourselves. We invite you to participate in our upcoming events and take action towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
During Arbor Week, we have planned invigorating walks in two remarkable parks, the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and George Genereux Urban Regional Park. These green spaces offer a serene environment to appreciate the beauty of nature and learn about the invaluable role of healthy trees in our lives.
Led by knowledgeable nature enthusiasts, our guided walks will provide insights into the numerous benefits trees bring to our environment. From purifying the air we breathe to providing habitats for diverse wildlife, conserving water, and enhancing our mental and physical well-being, trees are truly life-sustaining. You’ll have the opportunity to observe a variety of tree species, discover their unique characteristics, and develop a deeper appreciation for their beauty.
In addition to the walks, we have planned engaging activities and educational presentations that promote environmental awareness and tree conservation. These sessions will expand your knowledge and understanding of the critical role trees play in sustaining our planet.
Arbor Week is also a time to foster community engagement and connection. You’ll have the chance to meet like-minded individuals who share your passion for nature and environmental conservation. It’s an ideal occasion to network, make new friends, and build lasting memories with fellow nature enthusiasts.
Sunday, May 21, 2023 – 2:00 pm PaRx Nature Prescription: Combining Fitness & Nature in a Tree-filled Walk Location: George Genereux Urban Regional Park
Monday, May 22, 2023 – 6:30 pm Habitat Heroes: Exploring Tree Diversity and Wildlife Conservation Location: Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area Tour Guide: Madeline Berezowski
Friday, May 26, 2023 – 6:30 pm Tree Trekking: A Guided Walk Through Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area Location: Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area Tour Guide: Madeline Berezowski
Saturday, May 27, 2023 – 9:00 AM – 11:30 AM CST Clean-Up Event: Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area & George Genereux Urban Regional Park Location: George Genereux Urban Regional Park Trucks are welcome. Let’s take action on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 15 – Life on Land and support the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030) by participating in this clean-up effort. Together, we can make a difference!
We cordially invite you to join us during Arbor Week and be a part of this meaningful celebration. Lace up your walking shoes, embrace the beauty of nature, and learn about the critical role trees play in our lives. Together, let’s celebrate and protect our precious green spaces for generations to come!
Remember, “Many hands make light work!” Let’s come together, Twihamwe, and showcase the strength that arises from diverse communities.
Multis e gentibus vires – From Many Peoples, Strength.
The City Nature Challenge is a global event that encourages people to explore and document nature in their local areas. Between April 28 – May 1, 2023, Saskatoon and the surrounding area participated in the challenge, and the results were impressive. Even in these very early spring months there were 831 observations, a whopping 246 species discovered, 116 identifiers, and 37 committed observers, the City Nature Challenge in Saskatoon was a success.
The challenge provided a platform for citizens to participate in citizen science, and document unique sightings. Kathlin in the Saskatoon area documented some exciting bird finds during this mass migration season, but her favourite was a Great Blue Heron eating a rodent. This sighting was pretty spectacular, and it was exciting to spot the heron through the reeds.
An American mink was another exciting visitor in the neighbourhood of Sutherland, Saskatoon. This semi-aquatic animal is an unusual sight in the city, and it was a great find for those who spotted it.
The challenge also helped document species that are at risk or vulnerable. The Horned Grebe is a species at risk in Canada due to habitat loss and degradation. Prairie Violet or crowfoot violet is vulnerable and thought to grow in only about 100 places in the entire province of Saskatchewan. The Gray Comma butterfly, listed as common on the Saskatoon Nature Society’s published checklist, was confirmed for the first time on iNaturalist.
Sara mentioned that the challenge also helped to document the presence of rare or hard-to-find species, such as the Togwotee Harvestman and the Whirligig beetle. The Hydrobius fuscipes, a species never before recorded in the Saskatoon area on iNaturalist, was observed three times during the challenge. Whirlgig beetles are hard to photograph, and this is a rare observation of one just chilling! It is also the very first research grade observation of the genus in the saskatoon area on iNaturalist.!
In addition to the unique sightings, the City Nature Challenge in Saskatoon also highlighted the importance of early detection and rapid response to invasive species. The Common Buckthorn was found, and this invasive species requires early detection and rapid response activities. It is a noxious weed, a hazard to other trees “a tree killer”, and a menace to oat crops.
The success of the City Nature Challenge in Saskatoon and the surrounding area is a testament to the power of citizen science and community engagement. Through participation in events like this, citizens can make meaningful contributions to scientific research and help protect the natural world around them.
Their passion and dedication to nature were evident in the many observations they made, the insights they shared, and the enthusiasm they displayed. It is through their efforts that we were able to achieve such great success during this year’s challenge.
One of the great things about the City Nature Challenge is that it encourages people to get outside and explore the natural world around them. It is through this exploration that we gain a greater appreciation for the complexity and beauty of our local ecosystems.
We were fortunate to have many experienced naturalists, nature enthusiasts and biologists participate in this year’s challenge, and their expertise and insights were invaluable in helping us identify and understand the many species we observed.
But we were also thrilled to see so many new nature enthusiasts join the challenge, many of whom were able to discover and document species they had never seen before. This is exactly the kind of engagement we hope to inspire through events like the City Nature Challenge.
So to all of the naturalists – just starting out, and experienced- who participated in this year’s challenge, we extend our deepest appreciation and thanks. Your efforts have not only contributed to our understanding of local biodiversity but have also inspired a new generation of nature enthusiasts to get out and explore the natural world. We look forward to seeing what we can discover together in the years to come.
So if this all sounds exciting, please download the free iNaturalist app to your smart phone, explore the City Nature Challenge and Saskatoon on your computer at home and join in any time of the year! Find it! Snap it! Share it! Be the Voice for Nature. Stay tuned for summer and fall events and BioBlitzes.
Saskatoon, a city in Canada, is home to two semi-wild afforestation areas totalling 474 acres which may from time to time serve as a habitat for coyotes, among other wildlife. This is true of any greenspace along the river, or within the city. While coyotes are an essential component of the ecosystem, the City of Saskatoon has issued an advisory reminding the public to be cautious around these animals as they can be unpredictable when confronted. To ensure safety, the city advises people to keep their distance from coyotes, never approach them, and keep pets on a leash and under control.
To minimize human-wildlife encounters and conflicts, Coyote Watch Canada recommends being aware of the diversity of wildlife in the community and using common sense and preventative techniques. People should not leave food waste in accessible areas or feed coyotes. For homeowners, they should also seal off access to decks and other sheltered spaces in their yard, not feed pets outdoors, and ensure fencing is in good condition.
Coyote sightings often increase due to humans intentionally or unintentionally providing a food source. For instance, overflowing bird feeders, mishandled compost, and fallen fruit attract a diverse range of prey species, such as rodents, squirrels, chipmunks, and insects, which coyotes will utilize as food. Additionally, it is important to always remember to scoop your dog’s poop while walking in the afforestation areas as it may attract coyotes looking for a potential food source. People should also consider that birds and small mammals that frequent bird feeder stations are potential prey for other predator species such as owls, hawks, foxes, and domestic pets. New infrastructure such as roads, fencing, and urbanization impacts how wildlife moves throughout communities. Urban boundary expansion creates a loss of habitat and green spaces for wildlife. Coyotes and other wildlife species must adjust to their ever-changing world and may be forced to establish new territories to hunt and forage for sustenance. Dens are destroyed through development activities, and the resilient coyote responds to these environmental impacts.
Coyote sightings are influenced by seasonal behavior, such as the mating period, courtship, den selection/pup rearing, and dispersal of juvenile or yearling family members. By promoting respect, compassion, and safety education throughout the community about these intelligent, adaptable keystone species, we can safely coexist with coyotes. Coyote vocalizations are a coyote’s specialized means of communicating danger, locating pack members, defending territory, and survival skills for pups. Vocalizing acts as an effective ‘canid GPS’. Their series of high-pitched yips, barks, and howls can be heard more frequently during certain times of the year.
To coexist safely with coyotes, it is important to be aware of their behavior and understand how to react when encountering them. By following the City of Saskatoon advisory and Coyote Watch’s tips, we can reduce the risk of human-wildlife conflicts and ensure the safety of both people and coyotes.
The City of Saskatoon advisory states; “If you have any questions or concerns regarding coyotes or other wildlife within City limits, please contact Urban Biological Services at 306-975-3300. If an emergency occurs, please contact Saskatoon Police Service at 306-975-8300.” For your information, the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and George Genereux Urban Regional Park are both within City limits.
As the first day of the City Nature Challenge draws to a close, we want to extend a heartfelt thank you to all the participants in Saskatoon and Area who have downloaded the free iNaturalist app and taken pictures and sound recordings of the biodiversity and signs of life in our community. Your dedication and enthusiasm are truly inspiring!
We are thrilled to report that we have received a total of 126 observations, spanning across 36 different species. Among the unique sightings were butterflies and bees out already in the spring, Trembling Aspen catkins, and mallards back from down south. These observations provide valuable insight into the natural world around us and help us to better understand the biodiversity in our community.
We would also like to thank the identifiers who have helped us to confirm the species of the observations submitted so far. Your expertise is invaluable to the success of the City Nature Challenge, and we are grateful for your contribution.
And of course, we want to recognize the observers in Saskatoon and area who have taken the time to explore their surroundings and capture the beauty of the natural world. Your efforts have helped to increase our understanding and appreciation of the biodiversity in our community.
Remember, the City Nature Challenge is a chance to break free from the daily routine and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature. It’s an opportunity to search, snap, and share for nature, and to discover the wonders of the world around us.
As we move forward with the challenge, we encourage all participants to continue to submit their observations and share their experiences with others. Remember, every observation counts, and together, we can make a significant impact on our understanding of the natural world.
So start practicing now! Get out there, explore your surroundings, and see what you can find. Who knows what unique sightings and discoveries await you?
And don’t forget to use the iNaturalist app to document and share your observations. Great news, spring is back and it’s the happiest time of the year! Let’s make the most of it and continue to celebrate the beauty of nature together.
Join us for the City Nature Challenge, taking place from April 28 to May 1. Together, we can make a difference and help to protect the natural world for generations to come.
May 20th – 28th, 2023 Healthy Trees, Healthy People
Trees are essential to our survival and well-being. They provide us with oxygen, food, and shade, and are critical to sustaining our environment. That’s why Arbor Week is such an important event. It’s a time to celebrate trees and their role in our lives, and to take action to protect them.
This year, Arbor Week will be celebrated from May 20th to 28th. The Saskatchewan Government and City of Saskatoon have both officially proclaimed the last week of May as Arbor Week. The Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. have planned a series of events to mark the occasion.
SOS Trees Coalition is inviting Saskatchewan municipalities and community organizations to celebrate Arbor Week through educational activities, planting, and protecting trees in their community. The theme for Arbor Week 2023 is Healthy Trees, Healthy People, which emphasizes the role of trees in enhancing mental, social, and physical health.
The Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. have organized invigorating walks in two beautiful parks, the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and George Genereux Urban Regional Park. The walks will be guided by knowledgeable nature enthusiasts who will share their insights about the incredible benefits of trees to our environment, including their role in purifying the air, providing habitat for wildlife, conserving water, and improving mental and physical health.
During the walks, participants will have the chance to observe diverse tree species, learn about their unique characteristics, and appreciate their beauty up close. They will also have the opportunity to participate in engaging activities that promote environmental awareness and tree conservation. The walks are a perfect opportunity to network, make new friends, and build lasting memories.
All tour guides have undergone a vulnerable sector search to ensure the safety of participants. The walks are scheduled as follows:
In addition to the walks, the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. invite you to partake in the Prairie Forest Guide beta version to celebrate Arbor Week. This link for the Prairie Forest Guide https://pfg.friendsareas.ca/ can be accessed anytime for a sneak preview, however, for the full interpretive story experience, the digital wayfinding guide produces the full story in text and audio format when the user is walking in the forest 😉 enjoying the sights, sounds and scenery.
Arbor Week is an excellent opportunity to celebrate the beauty and importance of trees, and to take action to protect them. Let’s come together to celebrate and protect our precious green spaces for generations to come!
As spring arrives and people start thinking about pruning trees in their yards, it is important to remember that there is a provincial-wide ban on pruning elm trees from April 1 to August 31 due to the risk and threat of Dutch elm disease (DED). This ban is in place to prevent the spread of the fungal disease which can be deadly to elm trees.
Saskatoon is known as the “City of Bridges” and “The Paris of the Prairies” due to its many beautiful elm trees. In fact, one in every four trees in Saskatoon is an elm tree and is at risk of DED. The Afforestation Areas, planted in 1972 and 1973, also contain many elm trees among the recommended tree species which include American Elm and Siberian Elm.
Recently, DED was found in the nearby Montgomery Place neighborhood. It is crucial to prevent the spread of this disease to other areas, including the Afforestation Areas. Storing cut elm as firewood or in any form anywhere is not recommended. The bark beetle makes its way to decaying elm wood, and the beetle carries the DED fungus on its back. By having any form of elm tree cut in or nearby to the Afforestation Area, all elm trees are at risk.
As users and stewards of the Afforestation Areas, it is our responsibility to protect the trees from diseases and to maintain their health. The Afforestation Areas are home to many species of wildlife, including birds, deer, and small mammals. Trees are an important part of their habitat, and cutting down or damaging trees in the forest can have a significant impact on their survival.
We encourage all residents to be aware of the Dutch elm disease and the importance of following the provincial-wide ban on pruning elm trees anywhere in Saskatoon and area. By doing so, we can help protect our beautiful elm trees and the wildlife that depends on them.
If you suspect that an elm tree in the Afforestation Areas or elsewhere may have DED, please contact the City of Saskatoon Urban Forestry Department immediately. They will send an arborist to assess the tree and determine if it needs to be removed.
In conclusion, let us all do our part to protect the elm trees in the Afforestation Areas and throughout Saskatoon from Dutch elm disease. By following the provincial-wide ban on pruning elm trees and reporting any signs of DED, we can ensure that these beautiful trees continue to thrive for generations to come. Thank you for being a responsible steward of our natural environment.