Meewasin delivers educational programs to schools across Saskatoon and groups across Saskatchewan with a focus on invasive species, the importance of connections in ecosystems and biodiversity as a determinant of ecosystem health.

Meewasin educates students about the benefits of natural areas for humans, how wetlands filter our freshwater, and the amazing amount of biodiversity in the area. Students get a chance to visit the Meewasin Northeast Swale, or one of the many natural areas Saskatoon has to offer, and explore the site through interpretive hikes and citizen science projects.

Meewasin offers 3 types of formalized programs, which are: Grade 5 program at Beaver Creek, Grade 3 program at the Northeast Swale or Grade 2  program at the Saskatoon Natural Grasslands programs. Please see instructions at each location heading below on how to book these programs.

If you are looking to book a field trip or a in-class program please fill out this form. You can find more information about the options under the Field Trip and In-class Program heading.

Beaver Creek Conservation Area

Meewasin leads hands-on educational tours at Beaver Creek Conservation Area (BCCA) for grade 5 school groups.

Considered a microcosm of the Meewasin Valley, BCCA offers educational programs that provide visitors with opportunities to discover nature along a selection of nature trails winding through prairie, forest, sand dune, creek and river valley habitats. Every year, BCCA offers interpretive programs for thousands of Grade 5 students.

Bookings for the Grade 5 Programs at Beaver Creek take place annually in April/May. Check back at that time to find the formal booking process on this page. If you have any questions about the Grade 5 Education Programs in the meantime, please contact Beaver Creek Conservation Area at 306-374-2474. 

Meewasin Northeast Swale

Meewasin leads hands-on educational tours at the Northeast Swale for grade 3 school groups.

The Meewasin Northeast Swale contains considerable areas of native prairie grasslands and offers high quality biodiversity, proximity to urban areas, economic benefits for recreation and education and a natural filter for our air and water. The swale contains wetlands that provide a means of flood control for the surrounding community.

Bookings for the Grade 3 Programs at the Northeast Swale take place annually in April/May. Check back at that time to find the formal booking process on this page. If you have any questions about the Grade 3 Education Programs in the meantime, please contact Kenton Lysak at 306-665-6887.

Click here for a location map of the Meewasin Northeast Swale.

Saskatoon Natural Grasslands

Meewasin leads hands-on educational tours at Saskatoon Natural Grasslands for grade 2 school groups.

The Saskatoon Natural Grasslands (SNG) is a 34 acre (13.8 hectare) parcel of native Saskatchewan grassland persisting in a surprisingly natural condition.  It lies within the area known as Silverspring.  This fescue grassland is not just grass, but an ecosystem – a complex association of grasses, flowering and non-flowering plants, birds, animals and insects representing 10,000 years of natural history since the glaciers receded.

Bookings for the Grade 2 Programs at the Saskatoon Natural Grasslands take place annually in April/May. Check back at that time to find the formal booking process on this page. If you have any questions about the Grade 2 Education Programs in the meantime, please contact Kenton Lysak at 306-665-6887.

Thanks to education programs provided by the University of Saskatchewan Centre for Continuing and Distance Education, the Saskatoon Nature Society, the City of Saskatoon, the Greater Saskatoon Catholic School Division, the Saskatoon Public School Division, Meewasin  and others; and the stewardship by the Silverspring community, the SNG continues to provide habitat, aesthetic and recreational opportunities, soil protection and gene pool for future medical and agricultural research.

Related resources at Meewasin: SNG brochure (223 KB pdf), SNG Ecological Education Guide (29 MB pdf).

Dark Skies

Meewasin hosts an annual celebration of International Bat Week with our Dark Skies at the Creek event at Beaver Creek Conservation Area. Take part by joining Meewasin interpreters, astronomers and local naturalists and learn about the importance of dark skies, the amazing diversity of nocturnal animals, and how both are affected by global light pollution.

The Saskatoon Dark Sky Initiative is both a monitoring and educational program aimed at educating the public about the negative effects of light pollution on nocturnal wildlife within Saskatoon. The program was designed to engage public and students of all ages through in-class programming, Dark Skies at the Creek public awareness events, and citizen science projects aimed at collecting valuable information on local light pollution within the Meewasin river valley. Thanks to our partners the Saskatoon Nature Society, and the Royal Astronomical Society Saskatoon Centre for the ongoing support of Meewasin’s Dark Sky event.

With over 20% of the terrestrial surface of our planet experiencing light pollution in its many forms, we are now beginning to understand the importance of maintaining dark skies for human health, plant physiology and nocturnal wildlife populations. Many studies have identified the negative effects of light pollution on human health, correlating greater light pollution with disrupting sleep patterns, negatively affecting the regulation of a variety of hormones, and lessening memory retention.

Light pollution has been shown to negatively affect nocturnal wildlife and ecosystems as a whole by changing animal behaviours, disrupting seasonal movements, and altering the structure of ecosystems. Many native species residing in and around the City of Saskatoon depend on dark skies for their survival. Nocturnal species, such as the endangered common nighthawk and the big brown bat, rely on natural darkness for foraging and movement patterns. Northern leopard frogs and tiger salamanders, both given a status of Special Concern under the Species at Risk Act (SARA), depend upon dark skies for the their normal behaviours, such as the timing of their vocal calls during their reproductive seasons. Smaller aquatic macro-invertebrates that are a vital source of nutrition in wetland environments, depend on light-dark cycles to govern their feeding behaviors. Even small changes to the illumination of our natural areas can drastically affect their ecological health and the survivability of the species that encompass them.

Field Trip and In-class Programs

If you are looking to book a field trip or a in-class program please fill out this form.

One of Meewasin’s goals is to get students out in nature in hands-on, experiential learning experiences. We generally lead interpretive tours to most natural areas around the City of Saskatoon and provide in-class programming for a variety of topics, so we are pretty flexible in finding something that will work for your group. Here are the programs we are currently offering:

1) Meewasin Northeast Swale: Just on the outskirts of Saskatoon lies a unique ancient river ecosystem contains vital prairie-wetland habitats, full of native flora and fauna that call the swale their home. We invite students of all grades to explore the site through interpretive hikes and through stewardship by collecting valuable information through citizen science projects aimed at monitoring the health of the ecosystem. As roughly 50,000 people move into the area surrounding the swale, Meewasin is looking to monitor our impact on the site and the local species that use the site as their habitat. Students aid in collecting scientific information on the biodiversity of aquatic insects (pond dipping), larger animals (using binoculars), native plants abundance, or the water quality of the local wetlands. The cost does not include your transport.

2) Saskatoon Natural Grasslands: The Saskatoon Natural Grasslands is a 34 acre parcel of rare, native Saskatchewan grassland within the Silverspring area and persisting in a surprisingly natural condition. This fescue grassland is not just grass, but an ecosystem – a complex association of grasses, flowering and non-flowering plants, birds, animals and insects representing 10,000 years of natural history since the glaciers receded. Join Meewasin interpreters on an experiential hike through the past, present and future of conserving natural areas within urban environments. Students will learn about why the grasslands are an important ecosystem, how humans effect the environments around them, and what sustainable practices we can implement in our daily life to aid in conserving these important habitats. The cost does not include your transport.

3) Beaver Creek Conservation Area: Located 13km south of Saskatoon, this important conservation area provides valuable refuge for numerous native species and habitats, including endangered grassland birds, colourful wildflowers, rare short-grass prairie and an abundance of mammals. The site offers many opportunities for your class to discover nature via the hands-on activities in the interpretive centre and the three nature trails offer. Join the interpreters on an educational hike along the creek and into the many valleys that are sure to inspire your students. The cost does not include your transport.

4) Visit to a Natural Area: Choose a natural area within the Meewasin River Valley and we will lead your class on an interpretive adventure looking at the flora and fauna that encompass it. Depending on the site and season, the interpretive staff will provide interactive activities, unique learning experiences, and site-relevant information pertaining to your current curriculum outcomes. Examples include visiting Chappell Marsh for a wetland fieldtrip or Cranberry Flats to learn about the South Saskatchewan River Watershed on the Meewasin Trail. The cost does not include your transport.

In-class programs

Meewasin offers numerous in-class programs that focus on a variety of topics surrounding conservation, sustainable practices, and the natural world around us. All programs include a one hour interactive presentation and then a series of hands-on learning experiences that dive further into the topics. Teachers have the option of booking the one hour presentation or a half-day program, depending on their funding. The cost of the program is $75 for one hour and $135 for a half-day, with additional fees depending on the activity. Programs include:

  1. Connections in Ecosystems – The program focuses on the connections within ecosystems and how every living thing in a habitat is connected to each other. Scientists are discovering how important these connections are and how our future depends on finding and understanding these connections in nature. The presentation brings in new discoveries in the natural sciences, sustainable practices, food web dynamics, how energy moves within ecosystems, animal behaviours, and how humans influence the environment around them. Activities include building solitary bee boxes (additional $50) to help local pollinators, building bird boxes (additional $50) creating a Web of Life, or a visit by a critter.
  2. Top Ten Environmental Issues – Everyday we here about the sad truths regarding the environment and we are left asking what we can do to help. In this presentation we talk about what are the current environmental threats facing our natural world (i.e., climate change, habitat loss, invasive species, etc.) and what individuals can do to help create a better balance with nature through sustainable practices. Activities include brainstorming solutions, building a vermicomposter (additional $50), building bird boxes (additional $50), or a visit by a critter.
  3. Dark Skies – The Importance of Our Night Sky – This program focuses on how light pollution drastically effects nocturnal wildlife around the Saskatoon area and our natural world overall. The interpreter will guide the students through why darkness is important for all life, how nocturnal animals have adapted to their surroundings (including bats, insects, owls, and many others), and how light pollution puts an unwanted spotlight on the need for more adaptive conservation practices. Activities include a visit from a nocturnal creature, identifying nocturnal biofacts, building bat houses (additional $50), darkness/light games, and identifying stars/planets.
  4. Our Wondrous Wetlands – Wetlands serve as a vital habitat for thousands of species and yet they are rapidly disappearing. This program focuses on what species make up a wetland and what makes them unique, as well as why wetlands are disappearing from habitat loss. Activities include beak relay games, guess who identifying wetland creatures activity, predator/prey games, a visit from a wetland creature, and water experiments.

Partners FOR the Saskatchewan River Basin

Founded in 1993 by Meewasin, Partners FOR the Saskatchewan River Basin (PFSRB) promotes stewardship and sustainability of the Saskatchewan River Basin, an international watershed stretching over the three Prairie Provinces and a portion of Montana. More than 3 million people live within the basin which includes the North Saskatchewan, Red Deer, Oldman, Bow, Highwood, South Saskatchewan, Battle, Saskatchewan, St. Mary, and Carrot Rivers.

Their focus is the Basin itself, however programs are most often delivered to all areas of the Prairie Provinces. To date, PFSRB has delivered over 20 major educational and informational projects. Partners FOR the Saskatchewan River Basin continues to strive for excellence, maintaining that their primary client is the River.

PFSRB is governed by a Board of Directors with members from the three prairie provinces. For more information on PFSRB please visit their website.

Yellow Fish Road™

Since 1999, thousands of Canadian youth have participated in the Yellow Fish Road™ program, learning about their water supply. Painting the storm sewers with yellow fish and distributing the fish-shaped yellow brochures is a reminder of the importance of clean water and the proper disposal of hazardous waste. The program reinforces the concept that whatever goes into the storm sewer flows directly into the river.

Partners FOR the Saskatchewan River Basin, Meewasin Valley Authority, and the City of Saskatoon would like to thank all past participants in the Yellow Fish Road™ program. This program reminds us that what goes down our storm drains directly impacts our river and wetlands.

Please join us to spread the word that “Rain Only” should be going down storm drains.

Contact sbouchard@saskriverbasin.ca for more information on how your class or group can get involved. There is no cost to participate.

Learn more about safe disposal of household hazardous waste: saskwastereduction.ca or saskatoon.ca/hazardouswaste or call 306-975-2487.

You can paint a storm sewer with a yellow fish at your school OR in your community to remind people that what goes into your storm sewers goes directly into your river. Download the Yellow Fish Road™ poster information from this Yellow Fish Road™ poster information. Visit the Yellow Fish Road™ website (https://tucanada.org/yellow-fish-road/) and download the program guide. Distribute the Yellow Fish Road™ bookmark to homes in your community.  Learn more about how to protect your local waters. For more information contact Partners FOR the Saskatchewan River Basin at 306-665-6887. Get involved today.

Caring for Our Watersheds

The CARING FOR OUR WATERSHEDS program is an environmental educational competition that encourages creativity and rewards students for the solutions they identify. CARING FOR OUR WATERSHEDS partners with communities to create focused solutions to local watershed issues.

Each year Nutrien invites students to submit proposals that answer the question:
“WHAT CAN YOU DO TO IMPROVE YOUR WATERSHED?”

This program rewards the students and the schools who submit the most creative, thought-provoking, and innovative ideas. Implementation funding and community mentorship is available to turn the students’ ideas into realistic solutions! This program is open to all students in Grade 7-12 in Saskatchewan.

Partners FOR the Saskatchewan River Basin is the coordinator for this program in Saskatchewan. For more information on how you can get involved you can visit www.caringforourwatersheds.com or email Sue Bouchard at sbouchard@saskriverbasin.ca.

The Caring For Our Watersheds program is open to Grade 7-12 students in Saskatchewan. Now you can connect with the watershed group in your region to learn more about the Caring for our Watersheds program and access local resources!

2019 Caring for Our Watersheds

Thank you to all of the students, teachers, and volunteers who participated in the 2019 Caring for our Watersheds competition. In a verbal competition on May 4, 2019 at Prairieland Park, the Top Ten entries presented their project ideas on how to improve their local watershed.

Rafay Ahmed, Josh Bell, and Saabir Yousuf from Greystone Heights School took home first place with their plan to eliminate single-use plastics in their school. They are also organizing a riverbank cleanup for this spring. Each of the Top Ten contestants won a cash prize plus a matching cash prize for their school, with over $12,000 awarded in total. Along with the cash prizes, Nutrien Inc. has also provided $10,000 to help the students implement their ideas.

Turning ideas into realistic solutions is the key to improving our local watersheds. Thank you to Nutrien Inc. for their sponsorship of this valuable program.

Click here for more information.

Final Place Award Student Name (s) Proposal Name School
1 $1,000 Rafay Ahmed, Josh Bell, and Saabir Yousuf No Plastic Is Fantastic Greystone Heights School, Saskatoon
2 $900 Shaun Vorster The Soda Tap! Montgomery School, Saskatoon
3 $800 Lauren Wright Bees For Our Watersheds Tommy Douglas Collegiate, Saskatoon
4 $700 Renée Lichtenwald and Odessa Schlosser Robbie’s River Rescue St. George School, Saskatoon
5 $600 Dishita Emayan and Cindy Li Plan Bee Greystone Heights School, Saskatoon
6 $500 Sabri Bhargava and Gabrielle Corbett-Mills The Garbage Gobbler Brunskill School, Saskatoon
7 $450 Rachel Grasby and Peytin Johnson Community Recycling Venture Heights School, Martensville
8 $400 Mary Elegino, Abrianna Primavera, and Ella Rutera Tainted Paint St. Kateri Tekakwitha School, Regina
9 $350 Dilsher Braich, Alex Huang, and Huy Nguyen Locomotion Buddies Colette Bourgonje School, Saskatoon
10 $300 Crystal Lennox Vertical Hanging Gardens Lord Asquith School, Asquith

 

Pelican Watch Contest

Saskatoon residents have special visitors each summer. April through October, pelicans gather by the weir to fish. These birds, once on the endangered species list, have been a beautiful sight on the South Saskatchewan River since the late 1970s. For Saskatoon residents, their arrival is a harbinger of spring.

Photo courtesy of Kirk Hunt
Photo courtesy of Kirk Hunt

The contest runs annually from March 1-31.

With the support of the Saskatoon Nature Society, Meewasin has been holding a Pelican Watch Contest since 1996. Each spring Saskatoon residents guess the arrival time of the first pelican to Saskatoon to land between the CPR Bridge and the Saskatoon Weir.  However, it is more than a contest. It is an opportunity to learn about the pelican.

The American White Pelican is one of the largest birds on the continent weighing 7 – 10 kg and having a wing span of up to 3 metres.  Breeding birds develop an orange horn on their bill that falls off after nesting season. The breeding birds seen at the weir have likely flown to Saskatoon from Redberry Lake, the site of the nearest colony.  The pelicans make the 160 km trip daily.  In late fall, our pelicans migrate to sites in California, Florida, Mexico and Guatemala.

2019 Pelican Watch

The first pelican to touch down between the CPR Bridge and the weir in 2019 did so, Wednesday, April 17 at 5:07 p.m. as observed by the official spotters from the Saskatoon Nature Society.

Thank you to all who participated, the Saskatoon media and all of the businesses that have supported the contest with prizes including: Don’s Photo Shop, White Pelican Bed and Breakfast, Wow Pizza, Wild Birds Unlimited Saskatoon, Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon Nature Society and Saskatoon public and catholic schools.

Congratulations to the 2019 Winners!

  • Nick Roman – Grand Prize Mountain Bicycle courtesy of Meewasin
  • Julia from St. Philip School – Classroom Pizza Party courtesy of Wow Pizza & Wildlife Watching Pack courtesy of Wild Birds Unlimited Saskatoon and Meewasin
  • Allan Knihniski – Binoculars courtesy of Don’s Photo Shop Saskatoon
  • Doug Stott – Bird Feeder and Bird Food Courtesy of Wild Birds Unlimited Saskatoon
  • Jessica Wyllie – Overnight Stay for Two at White Pelican Bed and Breakfast Saskatoon
  • Hayden from St. Augustine – Wildlife Watching Pack courtesy of Wild Birds Unlimited Saskatoon and Meewasin
  • Zharmel from St. Philip School – Wildlife Watching Pack courtesy of Wild Birds Unlimited Saskatoon and Meewasin
  • Caelan from St Philip School – Wildlife Watching Pack courtesy of Wild Birds Unlimited Saskatoon
  • and Meewasin
  • Dominic Crippen  – Wildlife Watching Pack courtesy of Wild Birds Unlimited Saskatoon and Meewasin
  • Tushit from St. Philip School – Wildlife Rehabilitation Society Membership and Prize Pack
  • Louise Friesen – Gift Cards from Pelican Market

Thank you to our 2019 sponsors!

     

                                  

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You can keep the Meewasin Valley healthy and vibrant!

Meewasin relies on donations to steward Saskatoon and area’s most treasured space, the Meewasin Valley. We could not provide the river experience we do without help from you, please consider supporting Meewasin through a one time, yearly or monthly donation.

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