Beardy’s and Okemasis First Nation
The School of Environment and Sustainability (SENS) is undertaking research with community members at Beardy’s and Okemasis First Nation that can help the community address a range of issues related to environment and sustainability. To date, these include:
• Source water protection
• Flood assessment
• Clean drinking water
• Emergency planning
• Readiness for climate hazards
• Planning for climate change
• Learning how to bring traditional knowledge and cultural values into land and resource decision-making
• Building a safe and accessible repository for traditional and local knowledge
• Understanding the value of partnerships with other municipalities and organizations like Prince Albert Model Forest
• Assessing the value of programs such as Junior Resource Rangers
We are very fortunate to have Mr. Conrad Alfred Gamble from Beardy’s and Okemasis First Nation as an Indigenous Mentor. Mr. Gamble has been working with faculty and students at SENS since 2015, sharing his considerable knowledge of environment and sustainability issues at his First Nation, and helping us develop research that will benefit his community.
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.