Karsten Liber, left, signs an MOU on behalf of SENS with the Aden Bowman Earthkeepers.

Saskatoon Public School Board

SENS recognizes the essential role that youth play in moving sustainability forward, both here in Saskatoon and around the world. To facilitate student engagement with youth, we established a partnership with the Saskatoon Public School Board in October 2010 with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding and a pledge to work together on community projects that focus on sustainability.

SENS students have worked with the Aden Bowman Earthkeepers program on several sustainability initiatives since the partnership was established. These included the creation of Green Energy Park brochures for the City of Saskatoon, assistance with Aden Bowman’s Youth Sustainability Conference and participation in the City of Saskatoon’s Kinsmen Park redesign consultation process. The Earthkeepers program is a Grade 10 integrated program offered by Aden Bowman that focuses on issues of environment and sustainability. Students engage in learning activities over the course of a semester.

Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve

The Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve (RLBR) is located in central Saskatchewan and is one of a handful of reserves in Canada designated by UNESCO as an area with worldwide ecological significance. Biosphere reserves address the challenging issues of how to maintain the health of natural systems while meeting the needs of communities and are learning places for testing and demonstrating integrated management and protection of land, water and biodiversity.

In April 2012, SENS and RLBR signed a Memorandum of Understanding which allows our school and the biosphere reserve to expand the scope of research and education projects relating to the environment and sustainability sectors. This memorandum formalised an already established partnership between our organizations. SENS students and faculty have been conducting research at the reserve for the past few years, and one course (ENVS 801) holds a field trip there annually.

A key feature of the MOU is the continued offering of the field trip to RLBR for three days of hands-on training on field research methods in different ecosystems like rivers, wetlands and grasslands. Students also talk to local farmers, ranchers and other community representatives about their concerns and ideas on how to preserve this land for future generations and – at the same time – make a living in today’s economic challenges.