Posts Tagged "urban nature"

Jane Jacobs – a 100 years of progressive urban thought

Posted by on 4. May 2016 in Blog / Journal, News & Events | Comments Off on Jane Jacobs – a 100 years of progressive urban thought

Jane Jacobs – a 100 years of progressive urban thought

Jane Jacobs (May 4, 1916 – April 25, 2006) an American born journalist and activist, best known for her work on improving the quality of life in urban communities, was born on this day 100 years ago. Jacobs saw cities as ecosystems that had their own structure and dynamic that would change over time according to how they were used. She promoted city planning with higher population density (and criticized car-centric culture of suburban sprawl), advocated for support of local economies, and for mixed use of smaller, more nimble city blocks. In her influential and most cited book, The Death and Life of American Cities, Jacobs argued that urban development and renewal did not respect the rights and needs of most city inhabitants.     Jacobs carried her fight for community-based urban planning to Canada in mid 1960s. After moving to Toronto in 1968, she published six more books about city planning, economics, ethics governance and culture. Jacobs is credited, together with sociologist and historian Lewis Mumford, with inspiring the New Urbanist movement. I can personally relate to her ideas how people can build a solid foundation for their communities (see Jane Jacobs – Ten Big Ideas) especially by: Strengthening social capital – everyday activities and interactions among people that occur in neighbourhoods slowly build up a network of intertwined links between neighbours. This eventually provides a foundation for mutual trust, cooperation and resilience to stress in difficult times, Promoting citizen science – the people best equipped to understand the complexity of urban life (and its connection with the natural elements within city limits) are “ordinary, interested citizens”. With open eyes, and not limited by assumptions imposed by professional training and code of practice, city residents can more freely learn from what they see and encounter in their daily lives.     A strong believer that local residents should have input on how their neighbourhoods develop, Jacobs encouraged people to become familiar with the places they live in. I am proud to have participated in last three Jane’s Walks, citizen-led walking tours towards community-based city building inspired by the ideas and work of Ms. Jacobs. This year I will lead a nature photo walk to a beautiful prairie landscape on the northeast edge of Saskatoon (more info after the link). Hope you will be able to join us and continue Jane Jacobs’ legacy....

Read More

Jane’s Walk 2016 – nature photography at Northeast Swale

Posted by on 25. March 2016 in Blog / Journal, Workshops | Comments Off on Jane’s Walk 2016 – nature photography at Northeast Swale

Jane’s Walk 2016 – nature photography at Northeast Swale

I will lead a nature photography walk to Meewasin’s Northeast Swale. This guided photo walk is part of the 2016 Jane’s Walk festival taking place in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. We will focus out lenses on wild critters and details in nature found on a beautiful prairie landscape along the northeast edge of town. Date: Saturday, May 7, 2016 Time: 7 – 8 p.m. Jane’s Walk is a global movement of neighbour-led walking tours inspired by urbanist Jane Jacobs. The idea behind Jane’s Walk is quite simple: encourage people to walk, talk to their neighbours and build a community based on diversity. The Saskatoon festival will start on Friday May 6th and end on Sunday, May 8, 2016.     The nature photography field trip will take place immediately after the guided nature hike with Renny Grilz and Louise Jones (6 – 7 p.m. at the same location). Renny is a Resource Management Officer with the Meewasin. He is an ecologist with over 20 years of managing conservation areas for biodiversity across the Prairie provinces and specialized in native plants. Louise Jones is Chair of the Northeast Swale Watchers, a group of concerned citizens who came together in 2011 to monitor plans for development in and around the NE Swale. Come early and learn about things you will be photographing later during the golden evening light. What to bring: your camera, a macro lens (or a zoom lens that can focus close enough to photograph lichens on rocks), snacks, drinking water, insect repellent and a wind-proof jacket. Optional but recommended: a tripod that can be lowered close to the ground. We will be walking on rough terrain; please bring shoes with adequate ankle support. Event will be cancelled in case of a heavy rain. There is no cost to participate.     Location (updated directions): Meet at the Meewasin Northeast Swale on Lowe Road (Range Road 3050). Drive north on Central Ave (north of Attridge, intersection next to Dutch Growers) to Agra Road  where Central turns to gravel. Pass Fedoruk and turn right on Agra Road and drive to the intersection of Lowe Road, Agra Road and Fedoruk Road. Turn left onto Lowe Road. Look for an orange portapotie and parked vehicles. Northeast Swale is next to the slough on the east side of road before reaching the Sas­katchewan Wildlife Federation building (Range Road 3050 Saskatoon S7S 1N1). Location coordinates: 52°10’36.9″N 106°34’29.7″W (view on the Google Map) Alternate route: if Central Avenue is under construction: Drive north on Central Ave, turn right on Somers Road, turn left on Konohoski Road until the intersection with Fedoryk Drive.  Turn right on Fedoryk Drive and turn left onto Lowe Road; Northeast Swale is next to the slough on the east side of road before reaching the Sas­katchewan Wildlife Federation building (Range Road 3050 Saskatoon S7S 1N1).  ...

Read More

SENS Photo Contest winning entries

Posted by on 7. August 2014 in Blog / Journal, News & Events, Photography | 2 comments

SENS Photo Contest winning entries

Two of my images won “Best in the Category” prize in the 2014 School of Environment and Sustainability Photo Contest. Each year, SENS holds a photo contest to showcase the photography talents of school’s students and alumni. Category winners and the overall show winner are selected by popular vote.  I entered several images and won in two categories: Sustainable Community and The Urban Environmentt. Category winners and the overall winner are posted on the SENS Web site. Besides bragging rights that my images are winning entries in the “international” photo contest (SENS students come from the United States, Mexico and many countries around the world), I also received as small financial award. My images will be displayed in SENS hallways at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon. Here are the two winning entries and a short description that accompanied the images during the vote.   Category winner: Sustainable Community   Community Pasture Program, administered by the Canada’s federal government was designed to assist small- and medium-sized mixed farm operations. Each fall, PFRA pasture managers work with hired riders to sort out cattle for delivery to patrons at the end of the grazing season. These cowboys are crucial in maintaining a proper management of the pastures, for the benefit of pasture users as well as plants and animals that rely on a healthy prairie ecosystem. In October of 2013 I visited the Wolverine PFRA pasture near Lanigan, Saskatchewan to document the cowboy life, part of our cultural heritage and tradition that has a crucial role in sustainable management of our grasslands.   Category winner: The Urban Environment   Saskatoon city skyline reflecting in South Saskatchewan River at dusk. This is a panorama composite image created from 3 separate frames. I took this picture to mark the 2012 World Rivers Day.   P.S. You might be interested in seeing a few images from older posts celebrating the 2013 World Rivers Day and 2012 World Water Day....

Read More

Wild about Saskatoon – NatureCity Festival in pictures

Posted by on 3. June 2014 in Blog / Journal | Comments Off on Wild about Saskatoon – NatureCity Festival in pictures

Wild about Saskatoon – NatureCity Festival in pictures

The second annual Wild about Saskatoon’s NatureCity Festival wrapped up last weekend. It was a great festival, with a splendid mix of indoor and outdoor activities for all ages. We were treated to riverboat cruises, adventure hikes, tours of urban agriculture plots, bee-keeping demonstration, bird-watching trips, visits by a burrowing and a great horned owl (assisted by their handlers), face painting for kids, art exhibits and music events. About 80 organizations and businesses were involved in coordinating the festival and media covered the events and put the urban nature in spotlight. I led a nature photography field trip to Northeast Swale (a natural prairie area on the outskirts of Saskatoon) at the beginning of the festival. I also volunteered to document the events through photography, edit material contributed by several fellow photographers and post it on the Wild about Saskatoon Facebook page. Many thanks to John Lahey-Wiggs, Karin Melberg Schwier, Candace Savage, Candace Neufeld, Fiji Robinson, Barbara Hanbridge, and David Geary for pitching in and documenting the events that I was not able to cover. Here is a small selection of events & faces that I captured during the 2014 NatureCity Festival. Hope that we will see YOU at the Festival in May of 2015.  ...

Read More

Wild about Saskatoon – 2014 NatureCity Festival field trip

Posted by on 23. May 2014 in Blog / Journal, News & Events | Comments Off on Wild about Saskatoon – 2014 NatureCity Festival field trip

Wild about Saskatoon – 2014 NatureCity Festival field trip

I will be leading a nature photography field trip to Saskatoon’s Northeast Swale on Sunday, May 25, 2014 from 4 to 6 p.m. We will explore a beautiful natural prairie landscape at the north edge of town and focus out lenses on wild critters and close-up details. This field trip is part of the Wild about Saskatoon NatureCity Festival and there is no charge to join. The nature photography field trip will take place immediately after the Prairie Birds, Flowers and Butterflies trip led by members of the Saskatoon Nature Society (2 – 4 p.m.). Come early and learn about things you will be photographing later in a warm afternoon light. Bring your camera, snacks and drinking water. Optional but recommended: tripod and a macro lens (or a zoom lens that can focus close enough to photograph lichens on rocks). We will be walking on rough terrain; please bring shoes with adequate ankle support. Event will be cancelled in case of heavy rain. How to get there: we will meet at the entrance to Northeast Swale on Lowe Road. Drive north on Central Ave, turn right on Agra Road, turn left onto Lowe Road –  NE Swale is next to the slough on the east side of road. Look for the NatureCity Festival sign. If you reach the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation building, you have gone too far. Follow this link to see a map showing the meeting place at Northeast Swale.   About the 2014 Saskatoon NatureCity Festival   Wild about Saskatoon’s second annual NatureCity Festival starts on Saturday, May 24 with a warm-up event at the Farmer’s Market at 10 a.m., and runs for a full week until Saturday, May 31 with a varied program of (mostly free) mini-adventures and urban nature events for all ages. In addition to the general calendar of events, the Festival also includes special programming designed for school groups, and two workshops for urban conservation practitioners. Saskatoon City Council has declared May 25 – 31 as the  NatureCity Festival Week. The Festival program includes riverboat runs, adventure hikes, forums of urban agriculture, bird-watching sessions, wetland dips (to look for small critters), face painting for kids, art exhibits and music events, and much, much more. About 80 organizations and businesses are involved in coordinating the events. There will be 3 special presentations at the Roxy Theatre (invited keynote speakers): Cam Collyer from the Evergreen Foundation (Toronto) will talk about how communities across the country are connecting kids with nature. Cam will be joined on stage by students from the Outdoor School and Earthkeepers Program, and there will be on-screen display of nature art from Georges Vanier Catholic Fine Arts School. Grant Pearsell, an internationally recognized leader in the urban biodiversity movement will come from Edmonton to talk about the efforts in cities around the world to protect plant and animal species in urban environments. Michelle Molnar, and Environmental Economist and Policy Analyst at the David Suzuki Foundation will come from Vancouver to talk about the economic value of urban wetlands and explore the benefits that wetlands provide to Saskatoon residents. The goal of the NatureCity Festival is to change how people who live in Saskatoon see their city, and especially, how they live in the city. On a lighter note, here are two videos created by Cole Anderson and Dani Henderson, grade 8 students from the EcoQuest Program at Buena Vista School in Saskatoon. They were assisted by Shauna Solloway and their teacher, Jana Miller. Make sure that the sound on your computer is turned on. Cole and Dani used a few of my...

Read More