U of S students lead environmental initiative in our community

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - June 20, 2013 SASKATOON - About 30 volunteers led by students from the University of Saskatchewan School of Environment and Sustainability will spend two days doing an inventory of plant and animal species that will help guide ecological assessment for development in north Saskatoon.

"SENS students are strong believers in long-term sustainability of the ecological resources that surround us," said Anson Main, PhD student and SENSSA president. "We wanted to give back to the community by partnering with organizations addressing future urban needs of Saskatoon while actively managing the natural environment."
The School of Environment and Sustainability students' association (SENSSA) was awarded $4,000 by the Fulbright Canada-RBC Eco-Leadership Program to organize and plan their event. The 2013 EcoBlitz will take place on June 26 and 27 with volunteers taking inventory of the ecological inhabitants north of Saskatoon on Central Avenue.
"The support from Fulbright Canada will provide our students the opportunity to perform valuable work and contribute vital data that will directly inform local policy," said Toddi Steelman, SENS Executive Director and Fulbright alumna. "I commend the SENS students' association for leading this initiative to enhance our relationships with like-minded organizations and better serve the interest of our community partners."
Once part of the river system, the Small Swale has since disconnected and become its own entity as a rocky, marshy basin. Many diverse, indigenous plant and animal species take up residence there. A similar EcoBlitz in the nearby Northeast Swale, performed by Meewasin in 2011, identified 75 bird species, 11 mammal species and more than 150 plant varieties.
Once collected and organized, the data will be used by local engineering firm Stantec as part of an environmental impact assessment regarding new infrastructure in the area. More than 30 volunteers are participating, including representation from the City of Saskatoon and Meewasin.
For more information:
Lesley Porter
Communications Specialist, School of Environment and Sustainability
Mike Velonas
Manager of Planning and Conservation, Meewasin
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