Welcome to EcoWest News, a weekly round-up of news and resources that you can put to use in addressing environmental issues and protecting the wild in your community.

Across the West

Members of Saskatchewan Métis and First Nations are protesting “plans to clear cut a pristine and ecologically sensitive part of the Nisbet Forest.” [Protect Our Forest]

Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan are looking at soil health in a holistic way that encompasses the ecology of the crop production system and surrounding land to help growers be stewards of the soil. [USask]

The Calgary Pollinators project on iNaturalist is asking people to contribute photos of insects interacting with plants to develop a greater awareness of the pollinators that are present in Calgary and the plants that can be grown to support them. [iNaturalist]

Raincoast Conservation Foundation has purchased hunting rights for more than a quarter of the Great Bear Rainforest. They believe that wildlife-watching and ecotourism will generate a more sustainable economy. [My Modern Met]

Environmental activists and journalists are raising concerns regarding the lack of transparency and their failure to uphold their mandate of government bodies such as the Alberta Energy Regulator and the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans. [Alberta Wilderness Association, The Narwhal]

Around the World

A town in Colorado has appointed legal guardians for a creek and its watershed. They’ll be responsible for preparing annual reports about the ecosystems’ health and recommendations on improving water quality, wildlife habitats, and wetlands protection. [Inside Climate News]

Podcast host James Meadway says you can’t separate climate and the economy. For example, drought means fewer ships can use the Panama Canal, which drives up the cost of transporting goods and prices in the shops. [The Guardian]

An Indigenous ecologist suggests replacing “How do we get rid of this invasive plant?” with “What do culturally important local plant species need to flourish?” [Nature]

Making a Difference

The City of Vancouver sponsors a Zero Waste Ambassador Program to support waste diversion in multi-unit buildings. Activities range from putting up informative posters in the recycling room to organizing events and activities like free swaps or battery collections. [City of Vancouver]

We can reduce energy use in buildings by 38% by using less energy (closing off unused space, turning off lights and equipment), energy efficiency (building and lighting retrofits), and collaborative measures (changing building design, district heating/cooling systems). [Smart Cities Dive]


Equipment sharing collectives and farm equipment libraries are helping small farmers to ease costs. [Civil Eats]

Practical steps for planting more trees in your neighbourhood: identify where they’re needed, find out what permissions are required, obtain funding, and determine who will do the planting and the maintenance. [Strong Towns]

For Peat’s Sake – Protecting Northern Saskatchewan Muskegs is inviting artists in all media to share their vision of the muskeg for an exhibit planned for the month of March in La Ronge. [For Peat’s Sake]

The Art of Conservation: Celebrating 75 Years of Nature Saskatchewan will be on display from Jan. 4 to Mar. 27 at the Regina Performing Arts Centre. [Nature Sask]

Nature’s Wonders

Montana six-plume moths are tiny (wingspan of 11-16 mm), but their wings are amazingly intricate with rigid spines and flexible bristles similar to bird feathers. The moths are widespread and often seen in winter when they shelter under bark, in wood piles, or in buildings. The larvae feed on snowberry bushes. [Wikipedia, Montana Field Guide]

74 plants and 15 fungi were named for the first time in 2023. They include 2 trees that have up to 90% of their body mass buried in the Kalahari sands, orchids living on top of a volcano, cold-braving Antarctica lichens, and a plant covered in insect-trapping hairs that may or may not be carnivorous. [Kew]

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/apmckinlay/49708203516 and https://www.flickr.com/photos/apmckinlay/53461265806/

EcoFriendly West informs and encourages initiatives that support Western Canada’s natural environment through its online publication and the Nature Companion website/app. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or Mastodon, or subscribe by email.