Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 59.07
Liaison Erin Akins
Submission Date March 5, 2020
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Saskatchewan
EN-10: Community Partnerships

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.00 / 3.00 Matt Wolsfeld
Community Engagement Co-ordinator
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability :
Delta Dialogue Network

Does the institution provide financial or material support for the partnership? :
Yes

Which of the following best describes the partnership timeframe?:
Multi-year or ongoing

Which of the following best describes the partnership’s sustainability focus?:
The partnership simultaneously supports social equity and wellbeing, economic prosperity, and ecological health

Are underrepresented groups and/or vulnerable populations engaged as equal partners in strategic planning, decision-making, implementation and review? (Yes, No, or Not Sure):
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability, including website URL (if available) and information to support each affirmative response above:

The Delta Dialogue Network:
The Delta Dialogue Network (DDN) was started as a research partnership to bring together University of Saskatchewan researchers and key partners from three inland deltas: the Saskatchewan River Delta, Slave River Delta, and Peace-Athabasca Delta. The DDN’s goal is to understand and build upon good practices of how knowledge is shared within and across deltas so that it is accessible, meaningful, and useful to communities, decision-makers and scholars. While the DDN program structure has changed, SENS faculty continue to work on projects within the deltas. For example:

In the Saskatchewan River Delta, where USask researchers have a Memorandum of Understanding with Cumberland House First Nation, SENS projects include:
- The importance of sediment (and water) in the river system. SENS faculty members Drs. Tim Jardine, Graham Strickert, Bob Patrick, and Markus Brinkmann are looking beyond water to help improve hydrological models that predict flood and drought. This work is providing a more complete understanding of the delta ecosystem and also shedding light on how upstream hydroelectric dams and climate change impact life in the delta.
- The College of Education have partnered with Charleboise Community School in the creation of a Cree immersion language program. The health of the delta is tied to the health of the community, including the perseverance of the Cree language. By revitalizing Cree language within the community, this program will serve to increase cultural resilience in the face of environmental change.
- The recent installation of a weather station within the delta will provide local-scale data useful for improving forecasting and better understanding climate change in the region. This project was led by Dr. Bob Patrick of USask Department of Geography and Planning in conjunction with SENS faculty member Dr. Graham Strickert and local people from Cumberland House.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbtWrFyL0HI

Slave River Delta:
- In the Slave River Delta, SENS faculty member Dr. Karl-Erich Lindenschmidt is conducting research on winter hydrology and ice jam dynamics that will improve forecasting of river flow and related hazards such as flooding.
- SENS faculty member Dr. Paul Jones continues to work with governments and First Nations in the Northwest Territories and Alberta to establish a long term monitoring program for fish health in the Peace/Athabasca and Slave River deltas. The current focus is on establishment of a community based monitoring program that will improve sustainability of this resource, and the research aspect of the work is the determination of long term trends in fish health and the various environmental factors that could influence this. This work has also spread to other locations in the region, notably Cold Lake AB and the upper Peace River and also involves working with First Nations communities.
- http://www.usask.ca/research-groups/ddn/
- http://thestarphoenix.com/news/saskatchewan/young-innovators-students-wade-into-delta-water-issues


Name of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability (2nd partnership):
Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve MOU

Does the institution provide financial or material support for the partnership? (2nd partnership):
Yes

Which of the following best describes the partnership timeframe? (2nd partnership):
Multi-year or ongoing

Which of the following best describes the partnership’s sustainability focus? (2nd partnership):
The partnership simultaneously supports social equity and wellbeing, economic prosperity, and ecological health

Are underrepresented groups and/or vulnerable populations engaged as equal partners in strategic planning, decision-making, implementation and review? (2nd partnership) (Yes, No, or Not Sure):
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability, including website URL (if available) and information to support each affirmative response above (2nd partnership):

Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve:
In April 2012, the School of Environment and Sustainability and the Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve (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 formalized an already established partnership between our organizations, and the awarding of the UNESCO Chair in Biocultural Diversity, Sustainability, Reconciliation, and Renewal in 2018 (above) has further strengthened this partnership. A SENS course (ENVS 806) holds a field trip at RLBR annually, and SENS students and faculty have been conducting sustainability research in partnership with RLBR for the past few years. Current projects include:
- Promoting sustainable terrestrial ecosystems and species at risk
• Three SENS student projects will be carried out to support a project that involves the partnership of RLBR with Mistawasis Nêhiyawak and Muskeg Lake First Nations to help ensure that RLBR’s plants and animals are managed sustainably in Traditional Territory. Comparing historical data of the area’s plants and animals with current land-based assessments will help guide restoration of native prairie habitat to promote species at risk and bring back native plant species.
- Finding sustainable solutions for recycling plastics
• This project seeks to create new sustainable materials by combining recycled plastics with natural fibers (hemp and flax straw). By finding novel uses for what would otherwise be waste products, this work will improve sustainable use of both natural and human-made resources.
- Linking area schools
• This partnership brings together students from Hafford and Mistawasis schools to find common ground and common purpose to promote biocultural diversity, sustainability, and reconciliation.
- Connecting research to local communities
• This project is an effort to link SENS researchers with those most affected by the results of research. SENS faculty members such as Christy Morrissey, in conjunction with RLBR, are working to improve contact with landowners and farmers so that research efforts and results are both relevant and useful to the landowners and local community as a whole.


Name of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability (3rd partnership):
Beardy's and Okemasis First Nation Environment and Sustainability Research Partnership

Does the institution provide financial or material support for the partnership? (3rd partnership):
Yes

Which of the following best describes the partnership timeframe? (3rd partnership):
Multi-year or ongoing

Which of the following best describes the partnership’s sustainability focus? (3rd partnership):
The partnership simultaneously supports social equity and wellbeing, economic prosperity, and ecological health

Are underrepresented groups and/or vulnerable populations engaged as equal partners in strategic planning, decision-making, implementation and review? (3rd partnership) (Yes, No, or Unknown):
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s formal community partnership to advance sustainability, including website URL (if available) and information to support each affirmative response above (3rd partnership):

Beardy's and Okemasis First Nation Partnership:
SENS is undertaking research with community members at Beardy’s and Okemasis First Nation (BOFN) that can help the community address a range of issues related to environment and sustainability, such as source water protection, flood assessment, and planning and readiness for climate change and associated hazards. Examples of recent ways in which SENS has worked directly with BOFN include:
- Each year, BOFN hosts SENS students from the Master of Water Security program as part of the course ENVR 806 (Field Skills in Water Security Research). SENS faculty member Dr. Andrew Ireson and BOFN Director of Lands Water Security Brian Seesequasis lead students on a tour of BOFN to learn about floods and droughts, drainage issues, water treatment and distribution issues, and first nation water governance.
- USask faculty members Dr. M.J. Barrett (SENS) and Dr. Marie Lovrod (Women’s and Gender Studies) worked in conjunction with Elders and community members at BOFN, and researchers from the University of Regina and First Nations University of Canada, on a project titled “(Re)Connecting Animal-Human relationships as a Doorway to Indigenous Wellness”. This work focused on revitalizing relationships with animals, deepening understandings of Indigenous relationships with animals, as well as development of a curriculum/wellness model for supporting and revitalizing those relationships.
- SENS completed a project relating to inclusion of Indigenous knowledge and values during fire evacuation as a means of increasing sustainability of local knowledge and improving readiness during natural disasters.


A brief description of the institution’s other community partnerships to advance sustainability:

UNESCO (Co)Chair in Biocultural Diversity, Sustainability, Reconciliation, and Renewal:
In 2018, SENS faculty members Dr. Maureen Reed and Dr. Jim Robson were awarded a prestigious UNESCO Chair in Biocultural Diversity, Sustainability, Reconciliation, and Renewal. Through the work of the Chair-holders, the program fosters relationships among indigenous and non-indigenous peoples, governments, researchers, and non-governmental organizations to find ways to work together and learn from one another to address sustainability and conservation challenges holistically. The launch of the program brought together Indigenous community and academic partners from Canada, Mexico, Argentina, and South Africa. Current work is aimed at developing strategies to improve engagement of Indigenous peoples, especially youth and women, in sustainability and conservation efforts.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdMZ00XGXXw
https://mailchi.mp/6c919bde1993/unesco-chair-newsletter-2019

Mistiwasis Nêhiyawak:
- SENS is fortunate to have Mr. Anthony Johnston from Mistawasis Nêhiyawak First Nation (MNFN) as an Indigenous Mentor. Mr. Johnston has been working with faculty and students at SENS since 2017, and has contributed directly to the learning outcomes of SENS, participated in strategic planning initiatives, connected SENS to additional community and university partners, and directly mentored graduate students working with his Nation. Based on his on-going commitment to the research conducted by SENS faculty members Drs. Reed and Robson, Mr. Johnston became a designated partner to the UNESCO Chair when it was launched in 2018. In 2019, SENS introduced a new title for his position: Community Engagement Specialist – Indigenous Communities.
- Through Mr. Johnston’s efforts, MNFN has been working with SENS faculty to undertake regional assessments of water governance arrangments in mid-Saskatchewan as part of the Prairie Water program.
- Planned research with MNFN will address the role of youth in Indigenous-influenced environmental stewardship. By better understanding the motivations and obstacles that affect youth engagement in stewardship initiatives, this research will help create strategies to improve how Indigenous and non-Indigenous people work together to manage lands sustainably. This work, led by SENS faculty members Drs. Reed and Robson, in conjunction with Mr. Johnston, will also be conducted in a partner community in Oaxaca, Mexico, to provide North-South connections and an international perspective on youth engagement in Indigenous-influenced environmental stewardship.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic:
- SaskPolytech and SENS have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to explore opportunities for joint scholarship and research collaborations in the areas of Indigenous, northern, and remote communities and their development, together with their roles in renewable energy policies, processes, ownership and production. SENS is exploring the establishment of a new initiative to enhance training and research for renewable energy with a focus on addressing the barriers and opportunities for local level renewable development with industry and Indigenous partners. This initiative is now formalized and underway with our Renewable Energy in Remote and Indigenous Communities Flagship Program. SaskPolytech is a key partner in this program.

Hannin Creek (MWS Field School):
- The Master of Water Security field course spends time at the Hannin Creek Education Facility near Candle Lake, SK, which is a camp run by the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation and Saskatchewan Polytechnic. Students learn a variety of field techniques including stream and groundwater monitoring and hydro-meteorological observations.

Global Water Futures (GWF):
- GWF is a USask-led initiative and the world’s largest university-led freshwater research program. GWF launched six projects co-led with Indigenous partners as a unique approach to improving water security through western science and Indigenous knowledge. SENS faculty members Drs. Tim Jardine, Lalita Bharadwaj, Lori Bradford, and Graham Strickert will participate in these co-led projects across Canada to address urgent and growing water quality issues for Indigenous communities.

Sustainability Education Research Institute (SERI):
Run by the Sustainability Education Research Institute (SERI), the Digital Media Mobile Laboratory consists of 25 waterproof cameras, 6 iPads, and workshop curriculum available to educators, non-profits, and community organizations interested in encouraging youth to use digital media to explore place and sustainability issues that are important to them. Since 2013, the cameras have been used by multiple projects including Voices in Vision, the Northern Indigenous Media Art Project, and the Ecoquest Media Camp.
http://seri.usask.ca/collaborations/community-collaboration-opportunities.php

SERI also collaborated with SaskOutdoors (Saskatchewan Outdoor and Environmental Education Association), a Saskatchewan group that encourages educators and people who participate in outdoor recreation to practice and teach environmental responsibility, in hosting the 2019 EECOM Conference (Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication, 2019 theme: Action on Climate Change Through Education).

Community Legal Assitance Services For Saskatoon Inner City Inc. (CLASSIC):
CLASSIC (Community Legal Assitance Services For Saskatoon Inner City Inc.) provides free, professional and confidential legal services for low-income members of the Saskatoon community who otherwise cannot afford legal advice or representation. As a free student-run law clinic operating in Saskatoon, CLASSIC has been continuously providing service to the community since February 2007. CLASSIC also works with other community organizations through mutual referrals so that clients' legal and non-legal issues are appropriately addressed.

Student Wellness Initiative Toward Community Health (SWITCH):
SWITCH (Student Wellness Initiative Toward Community Health) is a registered charity and non-profit organization.
- We are student-initiated and student-led.
SWITCH was created by students in order to enrich educational experiences and to provide much needed services for Saskatoon’s core neighbourhoods. We have an active pool of volunteers from the University of Saskatchewan, University of Regina, and Saskatchewan Polytechnic. We are also beginning to see volunteers from other Saskatchewan educational institutions such as the First Nations University of Canada and Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies. What this also means is that our board of directors are students, primarily in the Health Sciences, professional colleges, or at the undergraduate level.
- We are interprofessional.
Our mentors and student volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines with unique experiences to share.
Our Outreach team is responsible for making each SWITCH shift run smoothly by preparing and serving food, assisting with educational programming, and providing childcare.
Our Clinical team is made up of many different health disciplines, collaborating together on each case to provide non-judgemental and client-centered care. The students volunteer alongside a doctor or nurse practitioner, cultural support worker, receptionist, and other healthcare mentors. In addition to traditional clinical services, we offer counselling, speech language pathology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, cultural supports, gynecology, pediatrics, pharmacy, and nutritional education.
- We are a clinic.
SWITCH operates through the Saskatoon Community Clinic, out of the Westside Community Clinic. The clinic is across Avenue P. from St. Paul’s Hospital in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. We operate Mondays and Wednesdays and Saturdays to provide free walk-in clinical and social services to residents of Saskatoon’s inner city, though all residents are welcome.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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