World Water Day Forum – ‘Ice, Ice, Maybe’

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The Red Deer River Watershed Alliance, in partnership with the City of Red Deer, hosted our spring forum ‘Ice, Ice, Maybe?’ on March 22nd to mark World Water Day, an international day to celebrate the vital importance of freshwater.  

Close to 50 people gathered at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame for ‘Ice, Ice, Maybe?’ to learn more about winter sports in an era of climate change, and the possible impacts that increasingly warmer winters might have on the recreational activities that central Albertans love. From snowboarding to snowshoeing, ice skating to ice fishing, many of us can’t imagine a winter without a healthy dose of snow and cold (yes, even after experiencing this February’s brutal cold snap!). The reality is that with the changing climate, we may very likely see impacts on the levels of winter precipitation and cold days. As Katina Tam, Environmental Specialist with the City of Red Deer pointed out in her opening remarks to attendees, “the Alberta Climate Records indicates that right here in Red Deer, we are already experiencing 20 fewer winter days per year than we did in 1950.” What does this mean for us and our favourite winter sports as climate change continues to occur? To find out, we enlisted two experts to help us explore different aspects of the potential impacts of climate change in central Alberta.

James Gordon, Environmental Coordinator with Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, gave an overview of the history of outdoor hockey in Canada, and shared his personal story about his passion for the game of shinny, which was sparked during his childhood in Montreal. When completing his Master’s degree in Environmental Education, James focused his research on the topic of "Pond hockey dads and climate change: How Canadian fathers feel about the threat of losing the game they love” and shared his insights on his social science research on climate change and how it affects fathers across Canada on a deeply personal level. James also encouraged attendees to take personal action against climate change by making small changes in their own lives.

Dr. David Sauchyn, Director of the Prairie Adaptation Research Collaborative (PARC) and Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Regina, was our second featured speaker. Dr. Sauchyn’s presentation on “The Red Deer River in a Changing Climate” examined climate variability and hydrology of the past millennium in Canada’s western interior, and how knowledge of the past can inform scenarios of future climate and water supplies within the Red Deer River watershed. Dr. Sauchyn deftly wove these topics together to provide attendees with a compelling look at the impacts of climate and hydrology on the natural resources of the western prairies.

The evening’s events were complemented by exhibits from Kerry Wood Nature Centre and the Red Deer Tap Water Taste Test Challenge, courtesy of the City of Red Deer Water Treatment branch. The City of Red Deer’s Katina Tam was the recipient of the RDRWA’s 2019 Watershed Ambassador Award in recognition of her contributions to watershed and environmental stewardship, which was presented by Nancy Hackett, Manager of Environmental Services.

We capped off the evening by treating attendees to a screening of the award-winning film ‘Guilt Trip: A Climate Change Movie with a Skiing Problem’, which follows a group of elite skiers and climatologists as they journey to Greenland to explore uncharted territory and see the impacts of climate change first-hand.

Thank you to our everyone who took time on a beautiful Friday night to attend ‘Ice, Ice, Maybe?’! And a huge thank you once again to each of our sponsors for helping us to make this event FREE for all to attend! We appreciate your support!

Stay tuned for future details about our upcoming AGM, which will be held June 14th.

                                               

                                    

             

    

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