Hammering willow stakes into the riverbank before the frost sets in allows this native species to establish itself. In the spring, these willow stakes will re-grow and with a few years of maintenance they will become hardy willow trees. This helps root the riverbank, protecting it from erosion and promoting native biodiversity.
Using mallets and workers’ gloves, we hammer pre-cut willow stakes into specific areas of the riverbed. All volunteers should wear rubber boots for this activity. As a note, be cautious on the uneven and slippery surface of the riverbank.
This is an opportunity to work alongside our resource management team, planting native species along the riverbank.
Meewasin installs and monitors wildlife friendly fencing around the Northeast Swale to allow movement of wildlife in and out of the area in a safe way.
In this activity, volunteers help Meewasin install vinyl tabs along the fences, which help delineate the wires to be visible enough for wildlife to see in all seasons. Enjoy working alongside the Meewasin Valley Authority Resource Management Staff who can tell us so much more about the valley we live in.
Wrapping the trunks of trees with fencing not only protects the trees from beaver chewing on them, it also modifies the habitat by decreasing the beaver’s food supply.
This is an easy way to protect selected trees without destroying Saskatoon’s wetland ecosystem. And it’s a fun job to do while exploring the river valley side by side with our resource management team.
Tree & Shrub Planting
Meewasin manages a number of conservation areas for the purpose of enhancing biodiversity. The more diverse the natural plant community, the healthier the environment.
Planting native vegetation includes trees, shrubs, and more. Meewasin celebrates the importance of trees and their benefit to our environment in a series of planting events with our horticultural team throughout the spring, summer, and fall. Want to help?
Invasive Species Removal
Invasive species can take over natural areas quite quickly, choking out the native vegetation while causing harm to wildlife by negatively impacting their sources of food and shelter. Meewasin controls exotic vegetation in several ways:
- removal by hand
- chemical control and spraying
- natural grazing and bug control
- with the use of tools such as handsaws and loppers
TYPES OF SPECIES WE CONTROL WITH VOLUNTEER SUPPORT:
- Cargana is an invasive species introduced from Siberia. It’s a midsize shrub that needs to be removed to increase the biodiversity of existing native tree stands in the area. Meewasin uses hand saws and loppers (clippers) to remove it. No electric or gas powered equipment will be used onsite.
- European Buckthorn is an aggressive invasive shrub species with large and brittle thorns. Great care must be taken to remove this species with the utilization of pruning loppers and handsaws. Long pants covering your ankles are necessary for this activity, as well as the avoidance of any clothes that can get caught on thorns easily (we recommend jeans, nylon, and synthetic fabrics).
- Nodding Thistle is an invasive plant species that at times can grow as high as a Christmas tree. As beautiful a flowering plant as they are, they seed like wildfire and have got to go. As a bonus, it’s wildly satisfying pulling them out of the ground
Growing plants from seed is not only easy, it’s economical and provides Meewasin with the opportunity to replant next year.
Once flowers start to wilt at the close of the season, most flowering seeds are ripe for the picking. Seed harvesting is done on dry, sunny days, when seedpods have changed from green to brown. Using clean, sharp gardening scissors, we cut the pods or seed heads from the plant and place them in a paper collection bag.
Bags are labeled, and then sent off to our horticultural team to be spread out on screens to dry, before being stored to ensure they will be at their best for planting next season.
Vegetative & wildlife Inventory (Research)
Learn to help identify and track the health of our valley in the winter months – wildlife tracking and Tree & Shrub identification, is integral to the health of our valley – and tracking through Citizen Science Apps can do a lot of good, for both the well-being of the valley, and the knowledge within our community! In the winter months join Meewasin team members out at the Beaver Creek Conservation Area to learn what to look for before heading out on the trail to explore on your own. This volunteer experience requires data entry into the iNaturalist and/or Merlin App – having your own, fully functional and charged smartphone that can access this App is required for this event.
Marketing & Public Programming
Assist with special events both on the trail, and at the Beaver Creek Conservation Area. Sometimes we require volunteers in specialized roles, such as providing interpretive assistance with group programming, site patrol, and volunteer drivers for errands and pick-ups. Furthermore volunteers who can provide photography or artistry of the River Valley, as well as social support for Meewasin are encouraged and supported. The administrative departments can also be in need of assistance with the dissemination of information (data entry, digitizing files).
Meewasin Clean-up Campaign Presented by Nutrien
Help us clean up our beautiful river valley! We’re offering free bags, gloves, and equipment courtesy of Clean Up Canada, Tim Hortons, Glad & Nutrien. During the sensitive Spring season (April 22nd – May 31st) we have extra incentives. Looras provides extra bins around the city for anyone who wants to help us on our mission. At the end of the clean-up we weigh these bins to see how much extra litter we’ve kept out of the river valley. Prizes, coupons, and volunteer recognition are offered to all participants. Apply you, your family, team, or organization for a Clean-up Campaign this year, and start your Spring off right! More information