The Meewasin Conservation Award is given annually to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the conservation of the resources of the Meewasin Valley.
Criteria for the award are as follows:
- Has demonstrated a persistent commitment to the conservation of heritage resources.
- Has been active in community organizations and in work aimed at conserving these resouces in the Meewasin Valley over a significant period of time.
- Has shown leadership and inititative in spreading knowledge of resources and promoting a conservation ethic in the community.
- That the recipient fulfills at least one of the two categories: Education of conservation, Advocacy towards conservation.
MAUREEN DUWORS, 1985
EWEN COXWORTH, 1986
MARY GILLILAND, 1987
STAN ROWE, 1988
JIM SLIMMON, 1989
ANN COXWORTH, 1990
PAT ADAMS, 1991
FRANK ROY, 1992
GORDON SILVERSIDES, 1993
JIM WEDGEWOOD, 1994
JUDITH BENSON, 1995
MARY HOUSTON, 1996
JUDY MONTGOMERY, 1997
LYNN OLIPHANT, 1998
BERNIE GOLLOP, 1999
GARTH NELSON, 2000
Melanie Elliott, 2001Melanie works for Environment, Science and Technology - Community Programming in the Extension Division at the University of Saskatchewan.
Melanie Elliott, 2001
Melanie works for Environment, Science and Technology - Community Programming in the Extension Division at the University of Saskatchewan. In the past decade she has volunteered to conservation organizations including the Saskatoon Zoo Society, Nature Saskatchewan, Canadian Wildlife Service, Saskatoon Nature Society, Friends of the Environment and Meewasin where she is presently on the Education Advisory Committee, Saskatoon Natural Grasslands Project Coordination Committee and a member of the Meewasin Trail Ambassadors.
From 1993 to 2001 Melanie has developed and delivered the U of S Extension Division Ecology Camp for Kids in which over 1,500 children have participated. From these programs evolved environmental workshops on bird and bat conservation, waste wetlands and grasslands. The wetland program was developed with Ducks Unlimited Canada and is available to all grades at no cost. The grassland program was developed for all grades but is specifically delivered to Grade 2 students in Saskatoon. Melanie is a frequent speaker at education conferences. She has led educational tours to Churchill, Manitoba, Point Pelee, Ontario, Florida, Costa Rica, Hawaii, and Australia. She recently returned from polar bear watching in Churchill.
Her passion for and expertise in conservation and the environment is widely recognized. She and her programs have won four awards to date:
- 1995 Active Living Go for Green, Elaine Burke Award
- 1997 Federal Environmental Citizenship - Action 21 Award
- 1999 YWCA Woman of Distinction in Environment, Science, and Technology
- 2001 Canadian Association of University Continuing Education, International Program Award for ClubSEE Education Tours and Camps (with Peter Jonker).
Melanie's commitment to conservation and the education of such, along with her current work with the two newly opened schools in Silverspring that border the Saskatoon Natural Grasslands, make the nomination very timely.
Anna Leighton, 2002Anna was born in the U.S.A. and acquired Canadian citizenship in 1995. She is a University of Saskatchewan graduate with a Master of Science majoring in biology.
Anna Leighton, 2002
Anna was born in the U.S.A. and acquired Canadian citizenship in 1995. She is a University of Saskatchewan graduate with a Master of Science majoring in biology.
Over the past fifteen years Anna has worked as a Field Botanist for the public and private sector, researching and teaching. She has published numerous articles on aspects of the flora and fauna of Saskatchewan focusing on the native plants and butterflies of Saskatchewan, and First Nations use of flora. Most recently together with Bonnie Lawrence she researched and designed Celebrate the Lily, an informative colorful brochure on the Saskatchewan Wild Lily.
In the past decade Anna has volunteered to many conservation organizations including the Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan, the Wapawekka Hills Advisory Committee, Prince Albert National Park Science Liaison Committee, and the Board of Directors of S.O.S. Elms Saskatoon. Recent projects that Anna has volunteered to include: Co-editor of Nature Saskatchewan’s Blue Jay, compiler of Saskatchewan Butterflies report, Editor Native Plant News, and researcher with Western Red Lily Project, Saskatoon. She has volunteered to lead butterfly, plant, grass, tree, and shrub identification workshops. She has made presentations and lectures on such topics as: “Western Red Lily”, “Buffalo-berry Indian Ice Cream”, “Plant Use by Saskatchewan Native Peoples”, and “Moosehide Tanning”.
Because of Anna many have a better understanding of the need to conserve the resources of our natural environment. The 2002 Meewasin Conservation Award recognizes her for her continuing work in this area.
Peggy Sarjeant, 2003Peggy has taken leadership in encouraging public interest in the history of Saskatoon city and district for well over 30 years.
Peggy Sarjeant, 2003
Peggy has taken leadership in encouraging public interest in the history of Saskatoon city and district for well over 30 years. As a volunteer she has brought public attention for the need to preserve Saskatoon and district buildings, neighborhoods and sites of historic and aesthetic interest. She was a founding member of the Saskatoon Heritage Society and a past president. She was a founding member of the Friends of the Forestry Farm House and currently sits on the Board. She was a member of the Superintendent’s Residence Task Force Committee and currently serves on the Forestry Farm Park Advisory Committee.
Peggy has been involved in the development of many Saskatoon walking tours including: Woodlawn Cemetery, Forestry Farm Park, “On Safari” (a children’s walking tour of downtown Saskatoon), and Broadway Avenue. Tours of Broadway Avenue are an offshoot of a research project that the Heritage Society undertook in 1985 under the leadership of Peggy and Elaine DeCoursey. The tours were first offered in 1989 and have been offered every summer since then.
Peggy has previously been recognized for her heritage work by the City of Saskatoon (1986), by the Heritage Foundation of Canada with the Lieutenant-Governor’s Award (1992), and the Queen’s Jubilee Medal (2002).
Peggy is an advocate for remembering and understanding our past through conservation and documentation of our historic sites, monuments and buildings so that we and our children can live in a richer environment that allows us to better understand our future. Today, as President of the Saskatoon Heritage Society, Peggy continues to advocate for the need to conserve our heritage resources. Of particular interest are historic landscapes, especially the Forestry Farm Park which recently achieved the status of a National Historic Site with the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.
Stan Shadick, 2004Stan has taken leadership in encouraging public interest in conservation for well over 40 years.
Stan Shadick, 2004
Stan has taken leadership in encouraging public interest in conservation for well over 40 years. During this time, he has been a member of the Saskatoon Nature Society, president of the organization and a volunteer field trip director for most of the past 20 years. He has served as president of the Saskatchewan Natural History Society and later as its nature tour director. Stan has led 20 birding tours to Churchill, Manitoba, and areas of special interest in Saskatchewan and Canada. In the 1970s Stan represented the Nature Society on the advisory committee that provided input into Raymond Moriyama’s Master Plan for the Meewasin Valley Authority.
Over the past 30 years Stan has presented briefs on behalf of the Nature Society on several conservation issues including the establishment of Grasslands National Park and the protection of the Redberry Lake Bird Sanctuary. He acted as secretary to Nature Saskatchewan’s Endangered Species and Spaces Committee that sponsors research into the protection of Saskatchewan’s endangered wildlife. He also served on the Environmental Advisory Committee to the City of Saskatoon.
Stan’s written work includes several “Nature Notes” in the Saskatoon Sun. He was the editor of “Saskatoon Field Notes” for several years. He authored the Beaver Creek chapter in the Nature Society’s “Guide to Wildlife Viewing Areas Around Saskatoon”. He also served as one of the editors and authors of the recently published: “Birds of Saskatoon and Area”.
Stan is an Astronomy Lecturer at the University of Saskatchewan. He writes a monthly astronomy column in the Saskatoon Sun and is the author of the “Skywatcher’s Calendar 2005”, distributed through bookstores across Canada, northern USA and Great Britain, which this past summer was awarded the silver medal for the Most Original Calendar in the World Calendar Competition in Chicago.
Claire Bullaro, 2005Following her arrival to Saskatoon in 1971, Claire volunteered in community associations, Home & School Association, and Scouts committees.
Claire Bullaro, 2005
Following her arrival to Saskatoon in 1971, Claire volunteered in community associations, Home & School Association, and Scouts committees. She sat on numerous church committees and was an executive member of the Canadian Federation of University Women ; and University of Saskatchewan Women Saskatoon. Since 1983, she has been a member of the Community Experiences Resources and Tours group, originally representing the Saskatoon Zoo and now representing Friends of the Forestry Farm House. She has been on the Board of the Saskatoon Zoo Society since 1981. She was on one of the early committees to save the Silverspring Prairie (Saskatoon Natural Grasslands), the Meewasin Foundation, and is currently a member of the Saskatoon Nature Society, the Saskatoon Heritage Society and is Chair of the Forestry Farm Superintendent’s Residence Task Force.
Claire’s interests have always been with both natural and built heritage. She sees it as important for the retention of our useable structures to keep in touch with our past and to inform and enrich our future. She believes in the conservation of nature to retain our lives. Claire has conducted hundreds of educational tours of the Saskatoon Zoo with an emphasis on teaching about endangered species and the human impact on our world. She views built heritage the same way. Once a building or neighborhood is gone, it is gone forever and all of the memories, events and history that went with it are no longer as real. In 1989 she received an award by Saskatchewan Parks, Recreation and Culture Department for her volunteer work with the Saskatoon Zoo Society.
Two major conservation projects that Claire has been involved include the preservation of the Forestry Farm House and the Sutherland Forest Nursery Station.
Peter Jonker, 2006Peter came to Saskatoon in 1989 and has immersed himself in numerous projects and activities that promote a greater understanding, appreciation and support of wildlife.
Peter Jonker, 2006
Peter came to Saskatoon in 1989 and has immersed himself in numerous projects and activities that promote a greater understanding, appreciation and support of wildlife. His formal education includes a Master of Science in Wildlife and recreation and a Certificate in Adult Continuing Education.
Peter has served as Program Director of Environment, Science and Technology Programs, Extension Division, University of Saskatchewan. In 1991, he started the Endangered Spaces adult education program that has since become the very popular ClubSEE (Science Education, Ethics) program. He has provided adult education courses, workshops and conferences on a full range of nature-based topics. Peter has authored or edited several publications including: The Song and The Silence, Sitting Wind (1988), Saskatchewan’s Endangered Spaces: An Introduction (1992); A Guide To Nature Viewing Sites In And Around Saskatoon (1992); The Churchill: A Canadian Heritage River (1995); The Sand Dunes of Lake Athabasca, Your Adventure in Learning (2001); Thanks to the Sun (2006). In addition he has recorded and produced two CDs of bird songs.
Peter has contributed his energy to many conservation organizations including the Saskatoon Nature Society; Meewasin Valley Authority; Canada Trust Friends of the Environment Foundation; Ecotourism Society of Saskatchewan; Canada-Wide Science Fair 2002; Project Wet; and A Summer Science Institute for Saskatchewan Teachers.
Peter has influenced many to “tread softly”. With his help, many have a better understanding that a community anywhere consists not only of its human participants but of a full diversity of its ecological participants (all resident life forms) who share a right to have their ongoing participation protected and promoted
Ken Marland, 2007Ken taught school for 30 years and was involved with Meewasin and its programs as an extension of his role as a teacher and community volunteer.
Ken Marland, 2007
Ken taught school for 30 years and was involved with Meewasin and its programs as an extension of his role as a teacher and community volunteer. He earned a Masters degree in Education and in the past was the recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for Innovative Teaching and the Governor General’s Award for Teaching Canadian History.
Over the years Ken and his students:
- Made presentations to City Council on the need for tertiary sewage treatment;
- Participated in the Trout Unlimited Canada Yellow Fish program Road Program distributing information and painting yellow fish on storm sewer grates reminding the public that what goes into the storm sewer goes directly into the river;
- Mounted a Save the Crocus campaign
- Initiated a bat rehabilitation program for bats that have been disturbed during winter hibernation;
- For six years worked with the City of Saskatoon and Meewasin providing stewardship to a plot of land at 8th Street and Lorne Avenue planting twenty mature trees, 400 shrubs, weeding, mulching, watering, and mapping artifact finds;
- Written and piloted a program for Partners FOR Sask River Basin called “Moopher’s Amazing Journey to the Sea”.
- Written and produced a CD “Songs of the Trees” donating $5,000 of the proceeds to Meewasin;
- Performed a song at Meewasin’s 2002 Plant-A-Tree Dedication written by Ken and his students based on a poem by Richard St. Barbe Baker OBE, Saskatchewan’s ‘ Man of the Trees’.
Ken Marland is an example of those educators who extended their programs to carry the Meewasin message that responsible stewardship of the natural environment needs to begin at an early age.
Sue Barrett, 2008Sue has been active in in Saskatoon heritage organizations for more than 30 years. Her interest in built heritage has led to public awareness of the rich heritage resources in the city, and ensures their preservation for future generations.
Sue Barrett, 2008
Since its creation in 1995 by the City of Saskatoon, Sue has served on the Marr Residence Management Board, and has been the chair for the past 10 years. The board manages all aspects of the historic Marr Residence property with the objectives of maintaining and enhancing the historical integrity of the site providing public access while developing heritage programming.
Sue is a long-term member and past president of the Saskatoon Heritage Society and past president of the Saskatoon Heritage Festival Board. She served eight years on the city’s Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee and was responsible for coordinating articles on built heritage for the Saskatoon Sun. She worked as a volunteer coordinator for the Doors Open Saskatoon events in 2006 and 2007, and is a current board member of the Friends of the Forestry Farm House. In 2004 she was honoured by the City of Saskatoon, receiving the Heritage Award in the category of Voluntary Public Service.
Volunteering within a strong heritage community has been a rewarding experience for Sue. She has enjoyed interacting with many others who are committed to working together in the area of heritage conservation in our city.
Michael Williams, 2009Michael wants to pass on to others what he has learned with the hope that he instills in them some of his enthusiasm for the natural world, the need for conservation, and the need for decision makers to make the right environmental choices.
Michael Williams, 2009
Saskatoon resident Michael Williams, a geological engineer, spent a career mapping and conducting mineral exploration from Labrador to the Yukon Territory. It was his love for the outdoors that had him choose a career as a field geologist. Throughout that time he developed a growing appreciation for the beauty and the value of the natural world.
Michael is a life member of the camera club. He was president in 1987/88. He has received several awards for nature photography. He has been a member of the Saskatoon Nature Society since 1984. He served as president 1992 and 1993. He has served on several committees including those connected with Meewasin: Silverspring Prairie Committee, Natural Areas Inventory Report, Valley Ecology Research Program, Meewasin Education and Conservation Advisory committees, and is currently on the Saskatoon Nature Society’s Field Trip Committee.
Michael has published many articles contributing to “Nature Notes” in the Saskatoon Sun, has been a contributing author to “Nature Viewing Sites in and Around Saskatoon” and has been a contributing author to “Birds of the Saskatoon Area.” He has conducted educational workshops on birding and has for many years volunteered to the Nature Society’s bird counts in and around Saskatoon.
Michael has been a member of Nature Saskatchewan since 1986, the Canadian Nature Federation since 1987 and the North American Butterfly Association since 2003. He represents the Saskatoon Archaeological Society on the Saskatoon Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee.
Sara Williams, 2010Sara was the inspiration behind the first “Gardenscape” event in Saskatoon.
Sara Williams, 2010
Sara was born in Washington, D.C., and earned a degree in English and History at the University of Michigan. It was there that she heard John F. Kennedy’s speech, “Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country." Before leaving to serve as a Peace Corps volunteer teacher in Tanzania in 1963, she heard Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” at the Lincoln Memorial. Both made lasting impressions. Since immigrating to Saskatoon in 1973, she has never wanted to leave. Earning her BSc and MSc in Agriculture with a major in Horticultural Extension, Sara was the Horticultural Specialist with the Extension Division of the University of Saskatchewan for many years. In that capacity and after her retirement she has given hundreds of workshops, written books, founded and chaired volunteer committees that have conserved and preserved the heritage resources of our Meewasin River Valley. Looking back Sara says that she hopes she has been “influential in increasing public awareness of more sustainable perennial plants in prairie gardens as well as the value of water-conserving xeriscape landscapes, that through the influence of her and others, gardeners are able to see alternative tools to the use of broad-spectrum chemical pesticides and that the stories of our early plant breeders will not be lost."
Founder of the Perennial Society and founder of the “Prairie Gardener” magazine, Sara has documented the horticultural history of the Sutherland Forest Nursery Station and written about Saskatchewan pioneer horticulturists including Les Kerr of the Sutherland Forestry Farm. She was instrumental in starting the perennial border at the Forestry Farm and has subsequently worked on other special gardens at the Forestry Farm. She has written many horticultural articles for the Saskatoon Sun. Her outreach work in horticultural education has been exceptional and in doing so has brought an appreciation of prairie horticultural history to the Saskatoon Public.
Greg Fenty, 2011Volunteering in many capacities as a naturalist, as a teacher and as a runner promoting the natural and cultural resources of the South Saskatchewan river valley, Greg is an excellent choice for Meewasin’s Conservation Award for 2011.
Greg Fenty, 2011
Graduating from the University of Saskatchewan with a BEd and a BSc in geography and biology, Greg is presently the education director for the Zoo Society. He combines his expertise in teaching and his knowledge and passion for the environment and fitness with volunteerism. Over the past 20 years Greg has spoken to well over 150,000 students about ecology and the importance of conserving biodiversity, much of it in a volunteer capacity. He has been a volunteer on the board of directors of the Saskatoon Nature Society for more than fifteen years fulfilling the role of president during that time. He has been a volunteer project leader on Meewasin’s Saskatoon Natural Grasslands annually coordinating the interpretation display, and has been the Young Naturalists Co-ordinator for the Nature Society since 1995. He has volunteered in monitoring and mapping many different bird species over the years including the last five years at Meewasin’s Beaver Conservation Area MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity Species) program. He has volunteered at Meewasin’s Christmas Bird Counts, at Children’s Festivals, World Rivers Day, National Wildlife Week, Earth Day, Heritage Festivals and Reflections of Nature to name a few, bringing live animals to display, creek dipping, speaking and setting up displays. He is a past member of the Saskatoon Heritage Festival Organizing Committee, Meewasin’s Education Advisory Committee and Meewasin’s Conservation Advisory Committee. He is a past member of the Saskatchewan Eco-Net Steering Committee. He is an accredited Earth Day Coordinator.
Greg’s volunteer work in the fitness field has also been a great benefit to Meewasin and Saskatoon. He is past recreation director of the Saskatoon Canoe Club and in that capacity played a role in the establishment of Meewasin’s Poplar Bluffs Canoe Launch. For more than twenty years he has volunteered with the Saskatchewan Marathon focusing he event along the Meewasin Trail. For the past two years Meewasin has been the marathon’s charity of choice.
Louise Jones, 2012Louise is a volunteer with the Northeast Swalewatchers, and the Saskatchewan Environmental Society’s Water Issues Committee.
Louise Jones, 2012
Louise Jones graduated from the University of Saskatchewan receiving a Bachelor of Arts with High Honours in 1970. Throughout the 1980s and to the present she has worked as a consultant to governments, educational organizations and private companies on a variety of topics focusing on the natural and cultural environment. She has authored or co-authored over 25 publications and reports and co-authored with Tim Jones the book, The St. Victor Petroglyphs: Land of the Living Stone. From 1990 to 2002 she was the Project Leader for the Brightwater Science and Environmental Centre for the Saskatoon Public School Division.
Louise Jones is a long-term volunteer with Nature Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Environmental Society, Saskatoon Zoo Society, Saskatchewan Archaeological Society and the Saskatchewan Outdoor Environmental Education Association (SOEEA). She was the recipient of the SOEEA’s Bernie Melanson award in 2003, given in memory of an exceptional outdoor educator. The recipient is someone who has demonstrated a long term commitment to outdoor and environmental education; someone who has used innovative teaching techniques and has demonstrated an extensive knowledge of natural environments. This individual takes a holistic approach to outdoor education and has shown the effort to share his/her love of the outdoors unselfishly.
Recently Louise Jones has been a volunteer with the Prairie Ecovillage Development Corporation, a non profit organization promoting the development of sustainable neighborhoods.
Bert Weichel, 2013Bert has been actively volunteering in promoting environmental sustainability for the past three decades. He has served on the board of the Saskatchewan Environmental Society since the 1980s...
Bert Weichel, 2013
Since 1976, Bert has been a principal in the environmental consulting partnership Johnson and Weichel, working throughout the province for public agencies and NGOs in the areas of natural heritage protection, land and resource use management, as well as park and protected areas planning. In 1986, Bert obtained a Masters in Science (M.Sc.) in biogeography from the University of Saskatchewan, and continued his work including contributions to the conservation of natural areas in the Saskatoon vicinity, such as Wanuskewin, Silverspring Prairie, and the Northeast Swale. For the past 25 years, Bert has also been co-teaching environmental studies for the U of S department of Geography and Planning.
Bert has been actively volunteering in promoting environmental sustainability for the past three decades. He has served on the board of the Saskatchewan Environmental Society since the 1980s, often as president. He was a member of the Saskatchewan Round Table on Environment and Economy, as well as the Saskatchewan Environmental Assessment Review Commission. In 1991, Bert was a founding director of the Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council and chaired its board for much of its first 20 years. In 1998 he joined the board of the Saskatchewan Association for Resource Recovery Corp., and currently serves as its secretary treasurer.
Paul Hanley, 2014Beginning in 1989 as a freelance writer with a focus on environmental issues, Hanley’s column on the environment has run every week in the Star Phoenix for 25 years...
Paul Hanley, 2014
Paul Hanley has promoted environmental awareness in Saskatchewan for more than 40 years. His major communication activities have included:
- Support for the establishment of the organic farming and gardening movement in Saskatchewan through the Earthcare Group and the publication Earthcare: Ecological Agriculture in Saskatchewan. Hanley’s work in this area was recognized by the farming organization Organic Connections in 2006 when he received its Pioneer Organic Community Award.
- Producing more than 1500 articles and other publications on a broad range of environmental issues for local, provincial and international audiences.
- Hanley’s efforts to promote environmental awareness were recognized by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society in 2006 when he received a Canadian Environment Award.
- Serving on the Boards of 15 community, national and international organizations that are mainly concerned with environmental and social issues.
Beginning in 1989 as a freelance writer with a focus on environmental issues, Hanley’s column on the environment has run every week in the Star Phoenix for 25 years. With a readership as high as 20,000 it is widely used as an educational resource in elementary, high school and university classes.
Since Meewasin’s creation, Hanley has been a supporter; in 2005, he authored 25 Years in the Life of a River Valley (the story of Meewasin from 1979 to 2004); he coordinated the movement to develop interpretive signage on the Meewasin Trail, specifically to recognize Dr. Richard St. Barbe Baker. He has always advocated the need to conserve the ecosphere globally, beginning with the Meewasin Valley locally where as he puts it, “one can restore each day: body, mind and spirit.”
Dr. C. Stuart Houston, 2015Meewasin is honoured to have Dr. Houston as the recipient of the 31st Meewasin Conservation Award, an award his wife Mary Houston received in 1996.
Dr. C. Stuart Houston, 2015
In addition to a distinguished career in medicine and raising a family with his wife Mary, Dr. Houston has been involved in ornithology since his early teens. In high school in Yorkton, he learned the study of birds from Isabel Priestly, a trained botanist who wrote the nature column in the Yorkton Enterprise. A few years earlier while convalescing at home after a leg injury, and having been taught touch typing by his mother, young Stuart typed the stencils and mimeographed the Blue Jay, still a Saskatchewan nature magazine. During those early years, Ducks Unlimited recognized Stuart’s talents and arranged for an under-age bird banding permit. It was something that both he and a young Farley Mowat could take pride in later in life, as they were the only two “under-age bird banders” in North America.
Beginning as a bander of ducks for Ducks Unlimited in 1943, Dr. Houston today is recognized as one of the leading authorities on birds in Canada. He has published extensively, including 12 books, three of them the journals of officers with the first arctic exploring expedition. Besides raising four children, three of them also Medical Doctors, Stuart and Mary have banded more than 150,000 birds of 211 species. He has received many awards including the Doctor of Letters degree, the Saskatchewan Order of Merit, Fellow of the American Ornithologists Union and Officer of the Order of Canada.
Joanna Miller, 2016Joanna Miller was a leader in keeping Saskatoon's river valley for public access, and the ultimate creation of the Meewasin Valley Authority.
Joanna Miller, 2016
The late Joanna Miller is the 2016 recipient of the Meewasin Conservation Award. Known for her work with UNICEF and the Peace Movement, Joanna Miller is less well known for a piece of activism which has had a lasting impact on Saskatoon and has helped change the City of Saskatoon’s relationship with its South Saskatchewan River. That is, the creation of the Meewasin Valley Authority.
Born May 18, 1926 in Vancouver, Joanna Miller grew up on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. She moved to Vancouver for high school and on to the University of British Columbia where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in English. While at university, Joanna met her husband Len. They were wed in 1949, moving to Saskatoon in 1961 where Len became the chair of the philosophy department of the University of Saskatchewan.
Joanna had a passion to help other people and to make the world a better place. In 1974, the threat of private development along Saskatoon’s riverbank prompted concern by citizens. The Saskatchewan Environmental Society campaigned to protect the riverbank area between the weir and what is now Meewasin Park. Private citizens led by, Joanna Miller organized a petition. It all resulted in a public hearing with the City of Saskatoon where it was made clear that the public was unwilling to allow development along the river inhibiting public access to the river valley.
On September 23, 1974, Saskatoon City Council passed a motion asking the Government of Saskatchewan to enter into an agreement with Saskatoon similar to its agreement with Regina for Wascana Centre that would bring university, provincial and city lands under one management body. It took a few years and much planning; however, on September 4, 1979 the Meewasin Valley Authority Act passed by the Government of Saskatchewan came into effect. It all possible because of the activism and leadership of private citizens, represented today by Joanna Miller.