Thanks to a donation of approximately $600,000 to the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, a program conducting vital environmental research in the province will have steady annual funding for the foreseeable future.
Coming from the estate of petroleum engineer and conservationist Robert Durie, who passed away in November 2018, the money will be used to set up a trust fund for Troutreach Saskatchewan, which supports academic research on everything from aquatic insects and beetles to lake sturgeon and salamanders.
In a letter announcing the establishment of the Durie Legacy Fund in February, Troutreach director Iain Mitchell said the funds will also help support the program’s multiple sustainability projects, which range from stream restoration to the monitoring of macroinvertebrates, a crucial part of the food chain supporting various sportfish species in the province.
The SWF has assisted Troutreach on an administrative level since its inception 12 years ago, says the federation’s executive director, Darrell Crabbe. He says the SWF will continue in that role, adding he has high hopes for how the trust money will generate even more funding. “We can use the Durie Legacy Fund to help us access other funding tools,” Crabbe says. “It will give us the capacity to leverage other funding sources and to really increase the amount of research we’re able to do.”
Along with providing financial support for academic research, Troutreach also conducts hands-on workshops and field exercises for school groups. “They bring classes out and do field work with them, such as pond-dipping activities,” says James Villeneuve, the SWF’s fisheries project coordinator. “They look at the insects they find and help identify them.” And it’s those kinds of exercises, it’s hoped, that will help inspire the province’s fisheries ecologists of tomorrow.
Learn more about the SWF’s programs and positions at www.swf.sk.ca.