girl gone wild

Cold and Warmth

This week, Terra Informa presents a show live from the 2013 Cold & Warmth Winter Salon, hosted by the Latitude 53 art gallery. We’ve got crowds buzzing around like hot molecules, an interview about Edmonton’s Winter City Strategy, and a rap about the most magical temperature of all.

Cold and Warmth

Warm up with Terra Informa’s live show at the Latitude 53 Winter Salon, themed around Cold and Warmth.

Download this week’s episode.


How Now, Nature?

Courtesy of Wikipedia user: Bogdan

Courtesy of Wikipedia user: Bogdan

This week seems to be a lot about how we interact with, and understand nature. From the tenuous future of the Experimental Lakes Area, to a Stand Up For Science Rally, to learning how to make your dinner from an unlikely source…your local pond, Terra Informa is ready to get elbow deep and explore.

Download this week’s episode

Experimental Lakes Area Finds a New Owner

1968 was a watershed year for the study of  water management in Canada. It was in the spring of that year that the Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada set aside a sparsely inhabited region of Central Canada, containing 46 small, deep and pristine lakes for the scientific study of the causes, effects, and control of water eutrophication.

The area was given a mysterious, slightly disturbing name: The Experimental Lakes Area. But in the 46 years that the ELA has been in operation, the scientific community has insisted that the area is integral to our understanding of how to effectively protect our water ecosystems.

It makes sense then,  when a decision was made by the federal government to defund the project, that scientists from around the world condemned the decision.

Matt Hirji talked with David Schindler — the founding director of the ELA — and Maggie Xenopoulos a professor at Trent University on what’s at stake.

Stand Up for Science

On September 16th, thousands of scientists and supporters around Canada, from Vancouver to Halifax, took to the streets to defend public funding of basic research.

Their banner: Stand up for Science.

And they have a message for Canadians:  investing in good science and sharing the results makes good policy.

Chris Chang-Yen Phillips spoke to Dr. Katie Gibbs on the day of the protests. She’s one of the directors of Evidence for Democracy, a group of science experts, science communicators and citizens around the country behind the demonstrations.

Links: Evidence for Democracy , David Suzuki speaks out at Vancouver Rally (Georgia Straight)

Girl Gone Wild: Cooking Cattails

On this week’s edition of Girl Gone Wild, wildlife documentarian Jamie Pratt took Terra Informa’s Chris Chang-Yen Phillips out to cook up some cattails from her family’s backyard pond.

Links: Girl Gone Wild Documentaries, Cattails: A Survival Dinner (Eat the Weeds)

What’s Happening

The City of Edmonton’s Speaker Series presents a talk on solar energy. Learn about the present state and future development of solar energy in Canada. Get details on solar initiatives, rebates, training and certification programs. Happening Thursday, September 26th, 7 pm at MacEwan University.

The Banff Mountain Film Festival is headed up to Whitehorse on Friday. The film screening will feature wild, high adrenaline mountain sports films from skiing and snowboarding to kayaking and climbing. That goes down at the Yukon Arts Centre, 7:30 pm on Friday, Setember 27th.

Share the Road is hosting Ontario’s first Youth Bike Summit. 120 high school students and 80 adults will meet up in Toronto on October 6th & 7th to make Ontario a more bike-friendly place for young people. Following the summit, participants will receive ongoing mentoring and support from Share the Road as they engage in cycling advocacy in their communities. Overnight accommodations are available, as well as limited travel subsidies.

Nova Scotia’s Ecology Action Centre is hosting a bikeway planning and development workshop. Velo Quebec will help provide participants with an understanding of the key steps involved in bikeway development. Learn the basics of planning strategies, design, analysis, and safety. There will be two workshops, one for Sydney and one for Halifax, on October 7th and 10th respectively.

Cold and Warmth

This week, Terra Informa presented our show live at the Cold & Warmth Winter Salon, hosted by the Latitude 53 art gallery. We’ve got crowds buzzing around like hot molecules, an interview about Edmonton’s Winter City Strategy, and a rap about the most magical temperature of all.

Cold and Warmth

Warm up with Terra Informa’s live show at the Latitude 53 Winter Salon, themed around Cold and Warmth.

Download this week’s episode.

Winter Salon Photo Gallery

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The Most Magical Temperature of All

A year ago, Chris Chang-Yen Phillips was driving down an icy freeway with his mom when a dashboard light flashed on. That little light led him down a rabbit hole towards discovering the most important temperature for life on Earth: 4 Degrees Celsius. That’s because we rely on water to do something almost no other chemical can do at 4 degrees. Instead of getting gradually denser as it cools like most other molecules, it gets densest at that temperature, then starts expanding again. Girl Gone Wild wildlife documentary creator Jamie Pratt joins Chris on stage to explain why it does this, and why you’d better not mess with the benthic zone.

Molecular Movement

Understanding temperature means understanding the movement of molecules. Terra Informer Jessica Kozlowski enlisted Kathryn, Chris, and the crowd to demonstrate what it might sound like when hot fast moving molecules and the cold slow moving molecules in air collide. This formation of average temperature is some seriously above average fun!

Winter City Strategy

The subject of hot and cold is very polarizing. Especially in Edmonton. We call our selves a winter city, and like to boast about how cold it gets here.  But are we a winter city, or a whimp-er city?  Now that it’s warming up, these pothole streets are a good reminder that we can’t seem to adapt our physical infrastructure to cold. And remember that giant snow storm a few week ago? Could traffic snarls, and damage to people, roads, cars been avoided if people didn’t still feel they have to go out? Maybe our economy is not well adapted to cold either.  So what can history teach us about how to adapt to our surroundings? City of Edmonton archivist Elizabeth Walker joined Kathryn Lennon on stage to give us a historical perspective on how people lived with winter in Edmonton.

What’s Happening

Cold Frames Workshop in Toronto
In Toronto, learn how to keep your plants warmer longer using the paradoxically named Cold Frames. Evergreen Brick Works presents the first edition of its Urban Agriculture Workshop series. Learn to design and build cold frames and raised beds for your garden. Keep food growing longer into the fall and even through the winter! This takes place Tuesday, April 2nd at Evergreen Brick Works. And they are asking for a 20$ donation.

Summit Series Lecture in Edmonton
In Edmonton, the Canadian Mountain Studies Initiative presents the latest installment of its Summit Series. The lecture will bring together three speakers—each from a different disciplinary home—to share their research on mountain environments and cultures. You’ll hear about invasive plants and their surprising effect on bumble bees in the Colorado Rockies. Learn about your body’s adaptations to high altitude. And explore the poetry and natural history of a Rocky Mountains park. It all happens Friday, April 5th at the University of Alberta.

Over-Wintering Birds Day in Johnson’s Crossing, Yukon
In the Yukon, we’ve got an event about a flock of amazing over-wintering birds. Join Adam Skrutkowski on the banks of the Teslin River where you’ll see the hardy swans that overwinter at Johson’s Crossing. Adam will share his photos taken over the past months, and you’ll learn how these birds survive the cold weather. Bring a picnic lunch—but not for sharing with the birds. That’s happening the morning of Sunday, April 7th in Johnson’s Crossing.

Cold and Warmth: Terra Informa live at Latitude 53 Winter Salon

Cold & Warmth

Terra Informa has some sizzling stories to share on stage this Thursday, March 28.

Hey Edmontonians! Come in from the cold and warm up with Terra Informa this Thursday, March 28th. We’re performing live as part of Latitude 53’s Winter Salon series. This third and final Winter Salon for the year will feature performances and art around the ideas of cold and warmth from Terra Informa, Anthony Goertz, Body Habitat (Lily Gael & Lisa Wells), and Anya. You might remember Anthony Goertz from the poem he read on last fall’s CJSR Fundrive show.

Our portion of the evening will include live interviews with Girl Gone Wild‘s Jamie Pratt and Elizabeth Walker, a City Archivist involved in planning Edmonton’s Winter City Strategy. Jamie is another frequent guest on Terra Informa, and a big fan of bison, snails, and sturgeon.

Cold & Warmth
Thursday, 28 March 2013, 7–9 pm
Location: McCauley School – 9538 107 Avenue

Latitude 53 has put up a handy Facebook event if you’re warming up the idea. If you can’t make it out on Thursday, we won’t leave you out in the cold. Next week’s broadcast will feature excerpts from the performance.

Updrafts and Uprisings

Updrafts and Uprisings

Northern Saw-Whet Owl photographed by Rick Leche

Download this week’s episode.

Girl Gone Wild: Owls

This week, Chris Chang-Yen Phillips is up in a tree with Jamie Pratt, creator of the Girl Gone Wild documentary series. They’re investigating – hoo else? — Alberta’s owl species. Listen in to hear owl calls, the dark symbolism of putting an owl on your barn door, and the shocking truth about Harry Potter’s pet owl Hedwig.

More Info:

Idle No More

From round-dance flash mobs in front of the Prime Minister House, and West Edmonton Mall, road blockades, and rallies across the country, Idle No More has been called a movement, an awakening…..
It has been called the largest, most unified, and potentially most transformative Indigenous movement at least since the Oka resistance in 1990.

Terra Informa’s Chris Chang-Yen Phillips and Kathryn Lennon bring us some interviews from Idle No More in Edmonton, on December 21st, 2012.

Great Backyard Bird Count

Whether you live in the heart of the city, out in the country, or on the Arctic coast, birds bring a little sunshine into the winter months. Every February, bird watchers team up for one of North America’s largest bird counts, but this isn’t an event that’s limited to professionals. From seasoned experts to novices, Canadians are breaking out the binoculars to help scientists better understand where birds are found and how their distributions change with time. Dick Cannings is one of the organizers of the Great Backyard Bird Count. Back in February, Steve Andersen called Dick to ask him how it works.

Lake Sturgeon, Green Roofs and Environmental Poetry Part II

This week we feature two stories relating to bodies of water; Girl Gone Wild correspondent Jamie Pratt and Chris Chang-Yen Phillips take a journey in search of Lake Sturgeon and Jennifer Wickham shares her poem, “Engussi Wedzin Kwah” about the sacred waters in her traditional territories. Also, Rebecca Rooney speaks to urban ecologist Jason Aloisio about Green Roofs in a piece from our archives.

The subject of Jennifer Wickham's poem, the river Wedzin Kwah, in Wet'suwet'en Territories.

The subject of Jennifer Wickham’s poem, the river Wedzin Kwah, in Wet’suwet’en Territories. Photo credit to Jennifer Wickham.

Environmental Poetry with Jennifer Wickham and “Engussi Wedzin Kwah”

For our new Terra Informa segment on environmental poetry, Annie Banks spoke with Jennifer Wickham this month. Jennifer shared her poem “Engussi Wedzin Kwah”, about sacred waters on her traditional Wet’suwet’en territories, and also some of her thoughts on poetry, the role of a poet and what’s currently inspiring her writing and resistance. **Correction!** Jennifer’s book of poetry will be coming out in summer 2013.

Link: Unistoten Camp

Chris Chang-Yen Phillips and Jamie Pratt in a boat; photo credit Erik Bisanz.

Girl Gone Wild: Lake Sturgeon

Well every now and again Terra Informa correspondent Chris Chang-Yen Phillips takes a trip with our resident wildlife expert, Jamie Pratt. She’s the creator of the Girl Gone Wild wildlife documentary series, and this time we decided it was time to journey down Edmonton’s North Saskatchewan River in search of an ancient fish — the Lake Sturgeon.

Drayton Valley Western Review
North Saskatchewan River Guide
Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development

Green Roofs

Jason Aloisio is an urban ecologist, working at New York City’s Fordham University. He was recognized in 2011 for his work by the Ecological Society of America at their annual conference in Austin, Texas. From our archives, Terra Informa correspondent Rebecca Rooney ventures to Austin to catch up with him to ask about his research into green roofs.
Jason Aloisio’s green roofs presentation
Article in Nature News on Jason’s research

This week’s “What’s Happening”

Petro, Power and Politics Conference November 23-25, Edmonton
The Parkland Institute will be hosting their 16th annual conference next weekend in Edmonton. The Petro, Power and Politics conference is themed around the issues surrounding oil and gas development.
More information: Petro, Power, and Politics
An Inspired Future – Student Application now open! February 6, Toronto.
Are you a post-secondary student interested in environmental issues and corporate social responsibility? You’ll want to check out the student application to attend the upcoming An Inspired Future conference next February 6th in Toronto.
Film Screening in Vancouver: If a Tree Falls Wednesday November 21st, 4pm, UBC, Vancouver
The UBC Student Environment centre and Cinema Politica UBC are hosting a screening.
University of Guelph:
Dr. Evan Fraser releases a new website looking at the global food crisis.
More information: feeding nine billion
Online only: Upcoming Film Screenings in Montreal
6pm Thursday – McGill – BANANAS! sheds light on the case of pesticide use by Dole in Nicaragua.
7pm Monday November 26 – Concordia – David Fedele E-wasteland and the Lightbulb Conspiracy.
More information: Cinema Politica

Banff Springs Snail, PowerShift 2012, and Musician Richard Garvey

Banff Springs Snail

The Banff Springs Snail, Physella johnsoni

On this week’s show we start off small. On Girl Gone Wild this week, Jamie Pratt shares a slimy story on the Banff Hot Springs snail. Then we move to PowerShift, a big undertaking that will mobilize youth around climate justice. We end off with the music of the talented Richard Garvey.

Download this week’s show


Ontario’s Liberals Losing Touch

On September 19, Ontario Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller released the first volume of his 2011/2012 annual report to the Legislature. The report, entitled “Losing Touch,” criticizes members of the Liberal government for failing to respect the public’s right to be involved in environmental planning and policy. According to Ontario’s 1993 Environmental Rights Bill, the government is required to make environmental proposals and decisions available for public comment.

More on this story: Globe and Mail, The Star, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, York Region

Halkirk Wind Farm Nearly Done

Hold on to your hats, Albertans! The village of Halkirk will soon be home to the province’s largest wind farm. Owned and operated by Capital Power, the Halkirk Wind Project is nearing the end of construction and is scheduled to begin commercial operation by the end of this year. The facility will use 83 turbines to generate 150 megawatts of clean power. That’s enough to power 50,000 homes—weather permitting.

More on this story: Global Edmonton, Calgary Herald, Capital Power

Girl Gone Wild: Banff Springs Snail

From the time we’re little, most of us are told to be proud of what makes us unique – what sets us apart. But what if the thing that made you different was also the thing that made you vulnerable? On this week’s edition of Girl Gone Wild, Chris Chang-Yen Phillips brings us the story of the endangered Banff Springs Snail from wildlife documentary filmmaker Jamie Pratt.

More on this story: Parks Canada , CBC Calgary ,Girl Gone Wild Documentaries

 PowerShift 2012 – Building a Climate Justice Movement

Do you want to see a shift in the way we power our society, and who has power? A shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy? More power to the people? Want to learn skills and meet passionate youth from across the country? From October 26-29, youth from across Canada are invited to come together in Ottawa-Gatineau to mobilize around climate and environmental justice. Kathryn Lennon catches up with PowerShift Coordinator Tasha Peters to learn more.

More on this story: PowerShift Canada, Huffington Post

Musician Richard Garvey

The world of contemporary folk music defies clear definitions or explanations. From the birth of sub-sub-genres to use of non-traditional instruments, it has exploded into a borderless menagerie of noise and ideas. However, some would argue that you can’t improve on timeless inspiration. Richard Garvey is a born-and-raised Ontarian whose modest discography echoes a generation of youth that longs for environmental justice and social change.

More on this story: Richard, CBC Music

What’s Happening

2012 Grassroots Communities Mining Mini-grant Program

October 1 marks the deadline for the final round of applications for the 2012 Grassroots Communities Mining Mini-Grant Program. The mini-grants program supports communities across Canada and the United States that have been adversely affected by mining. The grants will go toward protecting the personal, as well as cultural and ecological well-being of impacted communities. To learn more, visit the Indigenous Environmental Network website at where you can find the application form and additional contact information.

IMPACT! Sustainability Champions Training!

On November 9 and 10, the IMPACT! Sustainability Champions Training program will be coming to Guelph, Ontario. The two day training program, brought to you by The Co-operators and Natural Step Canada, is designed to empower students and help them develop sustainability projects in their own communities. Attendees will have to opportunity hear feedback from peers and mentors by connecting with other sustainability champions. IMPACT! alumni are also welcome. Participation is limited and the application deadline is September 30, so visit to apply online.

Native Plants, Survival Celebration Camp and Wild About Bison

On this week’s show, we take a ramble through a garden with Edmonton’s Naturalization Group to learn about the importance of native plants species. Then we hear about the Survival Celebration Camp for Sustainable Earth, in Northern Saskatchewan. Finally, we bring you the surprising success story of bison conservation in a new segment called Girl Gone Wild. We’ll close off with a run-down of “What’s Happening” in environmental events across the country this week.

Download this week’s episode.

Jamie Pratt, filmmaker and creator of the "Girl Gone Wild" documentary series

Jamie Pratt, filmmaker and creator of the “Girl Gone Wild” documentary series

News Headlines

BC Publisher Proposes Kitimat Oil Refinery
BC newspaper publisher David Black is proposing what he calls a safer, greener twist on the Northern Gateway Pipeline story. The owner of over a hundred community papers and websites wants to build an oil refinery in Kitimat. Black says the $13 billion refinery would produce diesel, gasoline and kerosene for export to Asia.
Brazil court suspends construction of Amazon dam
A federal judge in Brazil has ordered a halt on construction of the massive Belo Monte hydroelectric dam. Local indigenous people occupied the construction site during June’s Rio+20 conference. Members of five local tribes being displaced by the project say the builders and the government have not lived up to their promises. The builders initially promised things building health facilities and schools, and roads for communities who used to get around by boat, whose river routes are already drying up. Judge Souza Prudente said construction on the dam must be suspended until the indigenous groups are properly consulted. The Norte Energia consortium building the dam will have an opportunity to appeal the judge’s decision.
Toronto gets a peek at new LRT cars at expo
If you’re visiting Toronto’s CNE summer expo this month, you’ll get a sneak peek at the new cars for the Eglinton LRT line. The provincial transit agency Metrolinx is showing off the prototype for the two of the cars from its new light rail vehicles. The Eglinton Avenue line will create a much faster east-west transit route through Toronto, but its future has been tossed up and down many times over the last year by local politicians. The CNE runs in Toronto until September 3rd.
More on this story: Toronto Star, Torontoist

Native Plants of Edmonton and Area

When you’re walking through a park in your city or in the backroads of your town, you probably pass all sorts of plants.  Do you know which plants are indigenous to the area and which are not?  Gail Fennell and Liz Deleeuw are stewards at the John Janzen Nature Centre and members of the Edmonton Naturalization Group, an informal group of people in the Edmonton area who like to grow native plants and promote their use in gardening and landscaping to a wider public. They take Terra Informa’s Morgana Folkmann for a walk through one of their demonstration gardens in Edmonton and explain the importance of their fight to maintain the native plant species of Edmonton and area.

More on this story: Edmonton Naturalization Group, and Alberta Native Plant Council

Survival Celebration Camp

Annie Banks recently spoke with Candyce Paul of the Committee for Future Generations about the Survival Celebration Camp for Sustainable Earth in Northern Saskatchewan. What was this gathering all about and what was achieved over this weekend in South Bay on Lac Île-à-la-Crosse? What are the issues at stake for northern communities, what are elders concerned about and what’s next for the Committee for Future Generations?

More on this story: Survival Celebration Camp for Sustainable Earth, The Meadow Lake Progress

Wild About Bison

There’s not much better than a well-done nature documentary. Just sitting back and letting Morgan Freeman tell you everything you need to know about penguins. Not many of them, though, are made independently by smart, funny young people. That’s why we’re starting a new segment called Girl Gone Wild, following the adventures of Edmonton filmmaker Jamie Pratt. She’s the creator of the Girl Gone Wild documentary series. For her first appearance on Terra Informa, our correspondent Chris Chang-Yen Phillips sat down with her in Edmonton’s river valley to ask about to the hairy star of the pilot episode: bison.

More on this story: Girl Gone Wild Documentaries, IUCN Red List, Parks Canada, PBS

 Whats Happening August 21

Friday and Saturday August 24 and 25, the Growing Green! Festival 2012, in Bridgewater, Nova  Scotia, on Mi’kmaq territories. This festival is dedicated to sustainability and features 2 days of events, including a free outdoor concert, street festival, outdoor movies, art show and a local food banquet.
See for more information.

And on the west coast, the Squamish Nation, Tanker Free BC and the
Wilderness Committee are co-hosting a concert in support of Coast
Salish First Nations fighting oil tankers in their waters. The event,
called “Save the Salish Sea”, will take place at Waterfront Park in
North Vancouver, unceded Coast Salish territories on Sunday September
2nd. The organizers of the event are looking for volunteers, so if you
want to take part in making this concert a reality, check out the
links on our website for how you can get involved.

Also, there is an event happening next weekend on Sunday Aug 26, in
Edmonton, Plains Cree and Blackfoot territories, called the Farming in
the City Guided Bus Tour.
Ever wonder where the tasty food sold at local farmer’s markets comes
from? Come along on a guided tour of local farms to find out more
about the produce, the soil and the farmers themselves.
The tours will be leaving from 11331 73 St Northwest, every 45
minutes, from 8:30am until 4:15pm. The tours are approx. 3 hours in
Tickets are $10 per person or $25 for a family. Check out the website
for links to where you can buy tickets and find out more!