Archives for 2018

Jun
4
Itís Good to be Back in the Field!

The RPR crew headed out to kick off a fantastic field season looking for Saskatchewan’s rare plants, this time a dynamic duo team of Ashley and myself (Emily)! We started the summer off once again on the hunt for the elusive Slender Mouse-ear-cress (SMEC). This biennial plant in the mustard family has proven difficult for us to find in past years and seems to be continuing the trend. While we didn’t find our tricky target species this trip, we did see plenty of its many look-a-likes, including some great examples of Purple Rock Cress and Reflexed Rock cress, two species in the Arabis genus that look very similar to SMEC! Finding these guys boosted our confidence that if SMEC was out there our trained eyes would be sure to pick it out! In a few weeks’ time we will be once again looking for SMEC and we have our fingers crossed that we will be able to finally pin it down in our searches.

 

Purple Rock Cress, a SMEC lookalike. Photo credit: Ashley Vass

 

 

 

Lance-leaved Lungwort, a provincially rare species. Photo credit: Emily Putz

 

 

One of the best parts of being on the RPR crew is that we get to see the entire sequence of blooming plants while we are out working, starting with the early bloomers that most people miss in a season. The colours of choice for spring seem to yellow and blue and we were treated to a sea of these colours in every hue. While dodging some picturesque and breathtaking thundershowers, we were treated to the last of the blooming crocuses, Smooth Blue Beardtongue, Early Blue Violets and Nuttall’s Yellow Violets, carpets of Golden Bean, and my favourite, the lovely and rare Lance-leaved Lungwort. We were also lucky enough to be serenaded while we worked by a number of bird species at risk, including Sprague’s pipits, Baird’s sparrows, Chestnut- collared Longspurs, and Long-billed Curlews!

 

 

A late blooming Prairie Crocus. Photo credit: Emily Putz

 

 

Photo credit: Emily Putz

 

 

We finished off our week down in Grassland National Park’s East Block assisting with planting sage plugs. In an attempt to enhance existing Silver Sagebrush cover and increase habitat for Greater Sage Grouse. The goal was to plant 4000 seedlings by the end of the week; we are happy to report they reached their target! It was a great way to end the week and very relaxing to be out in the prairie planting these little guys. Our hard work was also definitely rewarded, as on the last day while driving to field site we were greeted by two Sage Grouse; which was quite a treat, as neither of us had seen one before! It was a nice cap to end our fantastic week and reinforced in our minds how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful and diverse province!

 

 

The RPR crew this year, Ashley Vass and Emily Putz

 

 

Hear from us again soon!

Emily Putz

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