Member Spotlight: Meewasin Valley Authority

Meewasin is a non-profit organization that exists to ensure a healthy and vibrant river valley, with a balance between human use and conservation, for the benefit of present and future generations, in Saskatoon & area. The organization recently achieved GreenStep Sustainable Tourism Silver Certification. Continue reading to learn more about their journey towards sustainability:

Tell us a bit about your business. What makes you different?

Meewasin is a nonprofit organization created by multiple collaborating land owners. Our mission is to conserve the cultural and natural resources of the Meewasin Valley, which is a part of the South

Saskatchewan River Basin and runs through Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Since 1979, we’ve worked tirelessly to secure a healthy and vibrant river valley for present and future generations. In the past few years, we’ve begun to offer tourism experiences, both as a means financially supporting our organization, and in an effort to connect guests with the environment, with culture, and with one another.

Why is sustainability important to you/your business?

Sustainability is part of Meewasin’s mandate. We are committed to ensuring a healthy, vibrant river valley for the benefit of present and future generations; in order to ensure the Meewasin Valley can be enjoyed by future generations, we must prioritize sustainability.

Further, our community cares deeply about the river valley. By stewarding the Valley, and by engaging the public in conversations about sustainability, we foster a sense of community. This is incredibly important to Meewasin, not only because education is part of our mandate, but also because we recognize the role that community plays in the quality of people’s lives.

Why did you join GreenStep Sustainable Tourism?

From the moment we piloted our first tourism experience, the goal has always been the same: to offer transformative and sustainable experiences that get people out in the Valley, learning about Meewasin and what we do, with proceeds directly supporting our work. Working with GreenStep made sense; we were already doing sustainable tourism anyways. By attaining third party certification, we’re showing our community that we do in fact practice what we preach. Economic, environmental, and social sustainability are imperative to Meewasin’s tourism programs, and in our minds, hold the key to ensuring they continue in perpetuity.

What sustainability related projects, policies or initiatives do you most want travelers to know about?

We’re proud of the fact that we manage our natural resources in a natural way: we plant native trees, shrubs, and other plants, and implement prescribed fire and targeted grazing; all of our programming features our work in some way or another, so people have a chance to learn about

Meewasin through our tourism offerings. But really, the list goes on; we partner with local food and beverage vendors and experts in conservation to deliver truly unique experiences. We encourage people to check us out online, but the best option is to come to the Valley and see for yourself.

What are some goals and/or actions you plan to take in the future to further increase the sustainability of your business?

Our tourism programming continually evolves, to reflect both lessons learned on our part, and changing external factors. A few things that we are working on include: expanding our messaging and programming for ever greater experiences and deeper learning; finding new ways to incorporate citizen science; continuing to transition away from disposables and towards reusable materials; and improving sustainable practices in our operations wherever possible.

To learn more about Meewasin – visit: https://meewasin.com/