Archives for 2017

A Sandy Autumn Hike at the Fall Meet

Emily Putz, Habitat Stewardship Coordinator, Nature Saskatchewan

A weekend of beautiful crisp fall weather was the backdrop to this year’s fall member meet in Elbow, Saskatchewan. The weekend kicked off with everyone getting together with old friends, as well as hopefully making some new ones, to enjoy viewing other member’s photos of this summer. Photo presentations included Donna Bruce encouraging us to explore Big Gully, Sk; Bill MacKenzie sharing some great bird shots with us; Morley Maier showing us some truly amazing Barn Swallow shots; Ed Rodger sharing some wonderful photos from his trip to South America, and myself who gave our members a little update on what the SOS program staff were up to this summer. Members enjoyed this show to the beautiful background view overlooking Lake Diefenbaker through Elbow Harbour Golf Club and Resort’s surround windows, our venue for the weekend.

Saturday dawned nice and early with members loading the bus to head to Douglas Provincial Park’s sand dune trails to do some hiking. Here members were treated to finding some of Saskatchewan’s rarest plants, including Western Spiderwort and Annual Beaked Skeletonweed. Even though the season has long past for Western Spiderwort’s peak blooming, everyone wasted no time putting their ID skills to the test and finding quite a few plants. Members also enjoyed hiking out to the unique landscape that is Douglas Park’s active dune and saw many tracks within the sand including bobcat, moose, coyote and fox. We were also lucky enough to find some late blooming Prairie Sunflower and Common Skeletonweed, the last of the year!

The afternoon Saturday saw us loading the bus after a delicious lunch prepared for us by the Harbour Golf Club, to head to Gardiner Dam, the seventh largest earth filled dam in the world, for a private tour of the dam’s facilities. This was truly a unique experience as not many members of the public have been treated to seeing the inner workings of the dam. Those that went on this tour went down 50 feet below lake level to the spillway’s lower gallery before climbing all the way up to the walkway above the spillway’s gates. We continued the tour at one of the dam’s five large control structures, special thanks to Cam Leslie from the Water Security Agency for leading this wonderful tour.

Back at the hall, the Fall Business meeting started and after some discussion, resolution was passed for the eradication of feral boars escaped or released from game farms. After a short break the evening started, with a delicious banquet meal of roast beef catered by the Elbow Harbour Golf Club. During the banquet new members were recognized and welcomed and awards were presented to Harold Fisher (Cliff Shaw award), Rob Wilson (Fellows award), Brain Jeffery (Volunteer award), and Dr. Jon and Naiomi Gerrard (Conservation award). The evening concluded with our after dinner presenter, David Weiman, who spoke on his experiences on his trapping line, humane trapping of fur bearing animals, and what trapping means and its value in the present day. This talk was very interesting and a new topic for many members in the crowd, and was accompanied by a display on the different traps used and pelt examples from many species.

The meet was a great success, special thanks to our planning committee, our MCs and presenters, tour guides, and the wonderful venue and catering by the Elbow Golf Club. Have a great winter and we hope you’ll join us for our spring meet 2018 in the Big Muddy!


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