Renewable Energy in Remote and Indigenous Communities Symposium and Workshop 2017

(From left): Tribal Chief Felix Thomas (Saskatoon Tribal Council) moderates a panel during the Renewable Energy in Remote and Indigenous Communities Symposium on September 5. Panelists: Graham McTavish (Stantec), Clay Koplin (Cordova Electric Cooperative), Ranjith Narayanasamy (SaskPower).

On September 5th and 6th, 2017, SENS and Saskatchewan Polytechnique brought together international experts, government, industry, First Nations and community members to share best practices and challenges for implementing renewable energy in remote, rural, Indigenous and Northern communities.

Delta Days 2016

Watch the Delta Days Video

From 2013 - 2015, SENS hosted an annual 'Delta Day' event each February as a celebration of life and research in northern inland river deltas. In April 2016, the event was broadened in scope to a multi-day event bringing together community members (land users, elders, students, leaders, etc.), decision-makers, university researchers and other partners from three deltas in Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba and the Northwest Territories. The event built on connections already established through the Delta Dialogue Network - a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) funded partnership of communities, individuals and organizations to share ideas to identify and solve problems of long-term environmental change in river deltas. 

The first two days of the workshop were held at Wanuskewin Heritage Park, while the third day was at the University of Saskatchewan. There was a combination of different activities throughout the three days, including presentations, breakout group discussions, mapping exercises, film screenings, and a public panel presentation. Youth involvement was also an important part of this workshop. Youth participants from all three deltas attended the main workshop, but also took part in a number of youth-centered activities. They participated in art activities, traditional games, a tour of the Aquatic Research Facility and University, otolith dating, and finger weaving. 

One of the outcomes of the Delta Days workshop was the creation of a Travelling Display. This interactive, multi-media art exhibit travelled throughout western Canada to raise awareness about the health of Canadian inland deltas and the people who live there.

Delta Days Travelling Display By the Numbers: 

  • 3 inland river deltas represented: Slave River Delta, Peace-Athabasca Delta, Saskatchewan River Delta.
  • 60 community members travelled to Saskatoon for U of S Delta Days in April 2016.
  • 5 communities were visited by the exhibit: Cumberland House, Sask.; Fort Chipewyan, Alta.; Fort Smith, N.W.T.; Fort Resolution, N.W.T.; Yellowknife, N.W.T.
  • 4,526: Number of kilometres the display travelled throughout northern and western Canada.
  • 10 partners and collaborators: Peace-Athabasca Delta Ecological Monitoring Program, Slave River and Delta Partnership, Government of Northwest Territories, Charlebois Community School, Parks Canada, Ducks Unlimited, Aurora Research Institute, Opaskwayak Cree Nation, School of Environment and Sustainability and the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Saskatchewan.

Sustainable Energy Options for Saskatchewan Conference 2016

(from left to right): Panelists Brenda Wallace, Nathan Ziegler, Jose Etcheverry and Keane Gruending (moderator) discuss Renewable Cities.

SENS hosted the Sustainable Energy Options for Saskatchewan Conference on May 27, 2017 at the U of S. The event brought together one hundred stakeholders and leaders from experts in the provincial utility, union representatives, First Nations, industry, engineering consulting firms, environmental groups, and researchers to discuss the options for transitioning to a sustainable electricity system in Saskatchewan. There was a strong desire among participants for new and innovative configurations, both institutional and technological, for the electricity system of the future. This could involve consideration for new ownership opportunities for communities, higher levels of distributed generation, and a general openness to new innovations on the horizon. There are of course challenges with such a transition, but the imperative to respond to the concerns of climate change and rising GHG emissions could not be greater.

Urban Transportation and Design Conference 2014

SENS Executive Director Toddi Steelman speaks to attendees at the Urban Transportation Conference.

In January 2014, SENS hosted an urban transportation conference jointly with the City of Saskatoon and the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Saskatchewan. The full day event included guest speakers covering topics such as Saskatoon's urban growth strategy, greenhouse gas emission reduction strategies and planning and development. The conference was divided into two panel sessions and followed by roundtable discussions to break down issues and come up with solutions. Attendees included elementary, high school and university students, planners, engineers, academics, and NGO and municipal representatives.

Fullbright Ecoblitz 2013

On June 26 and 27, 2013, a group of students and faculty from the University of Saskatchewan, along with volunteers from the City of Saskatoon and Meewasin Valley Authority, set out to collect ecological data from the Northeast Swale in Saskatoon. The Ecoblitz event was led by our students' association, SENSSA.

Such data collection is critical to understand how sites function and for more fully understanding the consequences if development in the Northeast Swale is proposed. Long‐term monitoring of ecological resources is typically not prioritized in many urban environmental areas. The Ecoblitz documented areas of priority and concern and allows for understanding of present site resources, habitat for highly diverse avian communities, rare plant and invasive species ranges, wetland aquatic insect communities and measures of water quality. By compiling a data set beyond the basic species inventory of the Northeast Swale, we hope to actively assist organizations such as the Meewasin Valley Authority in the creation of management plans for future conservation of such key natural areas in the City of Saskatoon.

Shifting Sands Public Outreach Workshop 2009

George Poitras, Mikisew Cree First Nations Government and Industry Relations, fields a question during the forum.

In 2009, SENS held a public forum in Saskatoon to engage the community around the topic of oil sands development in northwestern Saskatchewan. Topics included lessons learnt from the Alberta experience, the issues of greatest concern for people living in the region and around the province, and what sort of interdisciplinary research program could address the concerns.

From the report:

Residents of Saskatchewan have a golden opportunity to consider whether and how to plan for the sustainability of the province's northwestern region in the face of rapid environmental, economic, and social changes brought on by present and proposed resource development, including the possibility of largescale oil sands extraction. Saskatchewan's neighbour to the west, Alberta, has gained impressive wealth due to its oil sands developments, but the province has also experienced some undesirable environmental and social changes. Because oil sands development in Saskatchewan has not yet proceeded to full production, residents still have time to plan ahead. 

SENS would like to acknowledge and thank the primary sponsor of this event, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC); the participants who came from near and far to provide thoughtful ideas and debate; and the many people and organizations who provided technical, logistical and financial support for the workshop.