A beaver sits in the South Saskatchewan River Meewasin

The Diefenbaker Canada Centre Beaver Pond is a Happening Spot for Wildlife

There are places throughout the Meewasin Valley that are prime destinations to do some wildlife spotting. Beaver Creek Conservation Area is always marvelous. Chief Whitecap Park is loaded with a variety of birds year round. And the Northeast Swale almost always has deer lurking about, particularly at dusk and dawn.

The beaver pond behind the Diefenbaker Centre University of Saskatchewan MeewasinBut there’s one spot that a lot of people don’t consider checking out. For years, the beaver pond behind the Diefenbaker Canada Centre on the University of Saskatchewan campus, aka Devil’s Dip, has provided a home for the country’s most famous rodents. But this fall, they aren’t the only Meewasin Valley residents who have been seen in the area.

As always when looking for wildlife, there are basic rules that need to be kept in mind.

    • Be realistic. There are no guarantees in wildlife spotting and the animals you’re looking for may not be around.
    • Be respectful. This goes for the land, the other people around you, and especially the wildlife. It also means packing your trash out and not picking up “souvenirs” from the environment. Take a pic, don’t pick.
    • Be sensible. Keep a safe distance away from any and all wildlife.

A beaver enjoys a snack on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River Meewasin

Beavers on the Job

Calling beavers industrious is an incredible understatement. Their work damming off a drainage ditch leading from the University of Saskatchewan down to the South Saskatchewan River created the pond they now call home. And their aggressive tree collection methods have led to robust tree wrapping programs from the university and Meewasin.

That doesn’t change the fact that they are incredibly fascinating as well as highly beneficial for the local wetland ecology. Beavers can be spotted swimming, collecting trees, and taking naps in a sunny spot at this pond. They’ll be disappearing for the winter quite soon, so make a point to stop by before the snow flies if you’re walking the Meewasin Trail.

Muskrat and Mink and Porcupines, Oh My!

Beavers aren’t the only adorable, furry rodents who like the water and need a place to stay for the winter. And it looks like one of them has moved into the Beaver Pond! It’s reputedly common for muskrat to join beavers in their lodges and winter with them. At least one muskrat has recently been viewed in the pond a few times, so that’s likely the case.

Not all of the Meewasin Valley’s top rodents want to get in the water with the beavers. A massive porcupine was recently documented in the vicinity. Again, people know they’re around but it’s always fun to see one waddling down the trail. Just keep your distance as they don’t generally enjoy company on their strolls.

A mink pops up in the South Saskatchewan River MeewasinA surprising and rare visitor was also spotted at the pond by Mike Digout, a local wildlife expert and photographer who spends a lot of time there. He saw a mink hanging out in the pond with the muskrat and beavers. There are minks in the Meewasin Valley, but sightings are few and far between, to say the least.

While this might seem obvious, it’s always worth mentioning there is also an abundance of migrating birds hanging out around the river at this time of year. Naturally, there’s an absurd number of Canadian Geese but they’re not the only ones on the move. Keep your eyes peeled. You never know what you’ll see.

Sandhill Cranes, Great Blue Herons, and Even Whooping Cranes Stop by Beaver Creek

A view of River Landing in Meewasin Valley Saskatoon

Meewasin Announces the Valley-Wide Monitoring Framework

Maintaining the Meewasin Valley is a full-time job for a lot of people.

Managing the resources of the Valley sometimes feels like an insurmountable task. The Valley currently spans 67 square km, which is the equivalent of 13,400 football fields! As such, effectively monitoring it and managing its resources is a challenge, one that Meewasin has been happily doing for more than 40 years.

But what is the Meewasin Valley-wide Monitoring Framework?

Glad you asked! Meewasin is in the first stages of building what we’re calling the Valley-wide Monitoring Framework. Rolls right off the tongue, right? During this five-year process, Meewasin is creating a network of like-minded environmental citizens and groups to work together to help watch over the Valley and monitor its important resources.

A scenic view of the Meewasin Valley SaskatoonAll of this information will help Meewasin in a number of ways. Most obviously, it gives us an ongoing narrative about what’s happening in different parts of the Valley. It will also help us plan for the future. Meewasin takes the long view of most strategies but anything related to the environment needs an especially long horizon, and we need a lot of information to make it happen.

The early stages of the Valley-wide Monitoring Framework are mostly internal to Meewasin itself. But the later stages are where we head outside and really get to work. Conservation groups, traditional knowledge-keepers, partner institutions, and stakeholders will all be involved.

That’s where you come in.

A big part of this project being successful will come down to the citizens of Saskatoon who frequent the Meewasin Valley. You being part of this Valley-wide Monitoring Framework is going to be the base of the whole operation. Without you, it simply won’t work.

Meewasin has only started building the Framework and the actual implementation of it is down the road, however we have many activities such as bio-blitz events and volunteering opportunities that will feed into this work.

To learn more about the Valley-wide Monitoring Framework, please check out the following.

Meewasin Valley-wide Monitoring Framework

Meewasin Valley-wide Monitoring Framework News Release

People walking down a trail in Meewasin Valley Saskatoon

TRAIL CLOSURE

The trail from Gordie Howe Bridge to the Sanitorium Site remains closed for repairs and improvements. Please watch our website and social media for further details and re-opening dates.

Trail closures in the Meewasin Valley Saskatoon

Sheep get ready to graze at Beaver Creek Meewasin

Sheep Grazing Demonstrations are BACK this Fall!

Click to see our Calendar for a full list of dates/times/locations.

Register here to join us in the Northeast Swale.

Register here to join us at the Beaver Creek Conservation Area.

Join us in watching and exploring targeted sheep grazing for conservation through free demonstrations!

Meewasin has been a provincial and national leader in using targeted conservation grazing with small ruminants, including sheep, to manage conservation lands in urban and semi-urban landscapes for over 17 years!

 

Sheep grazing at Beaver Creek MeewasinAnd this year, the sheep are baaah-ck!

Shepherd Jared Epp and his flock will be working with Meewasin for a total of 15 days from early September to mid-October at both the Northeast Swale and the Beaver Creek Conservation Area, offering FREE demonstrations to the public two times per day. These demonstrations are made possible with partial funding from the RBC Tech for Nature Fund!

These Demos are completely FREE! (Donations are welcome!)​​

Register and choose a FREE ticket or a ticket by Donation.

Tickets to register at either the Northeast Swale or Beaver Creek are online now, and you can join us through the Fall Season on selected dates. But hurry! These spots will fill up fast. 

Dates & Locations are up on our calendar.

The RBC Tech for Nature Fund

Meewasin wouldn’t be able to provide these efforts if it wasn’t for the financial support from the Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Habitat Stewardship program.

A huge thank you this year to the RBC Tech for Nature Fund for supporting this special and important project.

Jared Epp with his herding dog at Beaver Creek MeewasinMeet Shepherd Jared Epp, his sheep, and his dogs

Meewasin’s conservation grazing program encourages the public to participate in grazing demonstrations as provided by Shepherd Jared Epp and his dogs.

Jared works with the Meewasin Resource Management team, educating children and adults on grazing ecology, the relationship between predator and prey, the grazing history of the prairies, the species targeted for grazing, and how to get the sheep to eat them.

 

Click to see our Calendar for a full list of dates/times/locations.

Register here to join us in the Northeast Swale.

Register here to join us at the Beaver Creek Conservation Area.