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Saskatchewan’s Newest Nature Society forms at Moosomin

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On January 18, four members of the Indian Head Natural History Society (IHNHS) were invited to Moosomin to participate in the inaugural meeting of Saskatchewan's newest Nature Society, aptly named Gateway Nature. This newly minted group is ready to offer nature lovers in the South East part of the province with nature based learning tools and events. This inaugural meeting was well attended by Moosomin and area residents. 

The Gateway Nature group was initiated and chaired by local Moosomin resident Kendra Parrish, who is an avid nature lover and enthusiastic and supportive citizen scientist in that area. As chair of the newly formed group, she explained the reason for the name: “…nature enthusiasts from Moosomin, Rocanville, and Redvers met in Moosomin to create Gateway Nature. The name symbolizes our general geographical location near the Manitoba border (the gateway to Saskatchewan) and how we aim to be a gateway through which the public enters into a love of the natural world”.

Kendra helped facilitate the inaugural meeting and started off by asking those in attendance what they would like to see as the focus for their newly created nature society. This group is off to a great start with amazing ideas and a positive energy. They agreed to focus on the following areas/objectives: 

  • Engaging community members of all ages in directly observing nature

  • Gathering data on local wildlife for use by researchers

  • Building bonds of friendship and fun among nature enthusiasts

  • Promoting eco-friendly practices among local residents

  • Encouraging landowners to explore easement options

  • Teaching ourselves and our neighbours about nature through lectures, videos, and pamphlets

During the meeting, using these 6 objectives as a guideline, this enthusiastic group of people decided on a list of activities and events to do in the next 12 months. How amazing is that! Their list of activities include hosting several nature walks and species identification expeditions in the Moosomin, Rocanville & Redvers areas. They also plan on promoting pollinator-friendly practices through the distribution of ‘Bee Friendly’ signs as well as the growing and distribution of native plants for area residents. Other ideas they discussed included birdwatching contests, fundraising events as well as targeted lectures, including their first event which will be held on February 29th at the Moosomin library to hear Dr. Cory Sheffield, from the Royal SK Museum, talk about bee conservation.

This was an impressive meeting amongst an equally impressive group of talented people. Gateway Nature has formally registered and been accepted as a local chapter/branch of Nature Saskatchewan. The group will be run by the following individuals: Chair - Kendra Parrish; Vice-Chair - Lana Shaw; Secretary/Webmaster - Coral Wiebe; Treasurer - Jody Blyth.

We wish them all the best and we look forward to seeing all the good things that will be completed by this new group.


The roll of the IHNHS committee members (Lorne Scott, Laura Poppy, Bruce Neill & Dora Nichols) at the inaugural Gateway Nature meeting was to offer support and answer questions for this newly formed neighbouring Nature group. The IHNHS has been an active nature society and local chapter of Nature SK since the early 1970’s. Even more special, one of the group’s original members and founders, Dora Nichols, was able to attend the Moosomin meeting to offer support and wisdom. Dora has consecutively served as the secretary for the IHNHS since its beginning! That’s over 50 years of service to nature and her local society! Also of interest, two of the IHNHS members in attendance at the Jan 18 meeting also serve on the board of Nature Sask:  Lorne Scott (president) and Laura Poppy (Vice) wore two hats while attending the meeting in Moosomin. 

By Laura Poppy 

(on behalf of the Indian Head Natural History Society & Nature Saskatchewan)


Interested in being part of Gateway Nature? You can contact them here.



Badgers and Pastures: A Habitat Management Workshop

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Join Nature Saskatchewan and our partners Prairie Conservation Action Plan, Saskatchewan Stock Growers Foundation and Sodcap Inc. for Badgers and Pastures: A Habitat Management Workshop.  This workshop is geared towards landholders and managers with hands-on activities and case studies. Workshop also includes snacks, coffee and supper!


Two dates and locations to pick from:

Val Marie, SK - February 27

Eastend, SK - February 28


Please RSVP in advance by emailing or by call/text to 306-780-9833

Burns, Bees and Butcherbirds!

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This FREE event will be held on Thursday March 21 at the Elks Hall in Milestone, SK. There will be a free locally catered supper at 6pm and following supper you will hear from some great presenters:
  • Prescribed fire as a management tool (Canadian Prairies Prescribed Fire Exchange)
  • Saskatchewan's Bees (Royal Saskatchewan Museum)
  • The Loggerhead Shrike (Nature Saskatchewan)
  • Habitat Management Agreements (Saskatchewan Stock Growers Foundation)
This event is FREE but pre-registration is required by March 14. To RSVP please call/text 306-780-9832 or email


Spring Migration Birdwatching Challenge from Gateway Nature

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The contest is open from April 1 to May 31 and the rules are simple:

Individual Challenge - Count as many species as you can during the challenge period and return your form to Gateway Nature by email or by dropping it off to the Moosomin Library. Spring Migration Challenge Entry Form

Classroom Challenge - Classrooms will compete as a group and tally all of the species they see during the challenge period and return their form to Gateway Nature by email or by dropping it off to the Moosomin Library. Spring Migration Classroom Form

Not sure what birds to look for? This video will help you.



Know your Butcherbird- Telling our Seasonal Shrikes Apart!

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As the sun starts to stay with us longer each day, and the spring weather starts to arrive, migration starts to begin to kick off another breeding season! This is an exciting time for birders, as they can spot species stopping by on their way up north and species showing up to scope out space for the breeding season. For two similar species, however, this period can bring brief range overlap that makes IDing very tricky.

The Northern Shrike (Lanius borealis) and the Loggerhead Shrike Prairie subspecies (Lanius ludovicianus excubitorides) both spend significant portions of their time in Southern Saskatchewan each year. The difference is that the Loggerhead Shrike is our summer shrike, they spend their breeding season here raising their young and their winters down in Texas and Mexico; the Northern Shrike is our winter shrike, they breed up across Northern Canada where the boreal forest meets the tundra and come spend their winter vacation down in balmy Southern Saskatchewan each year. During migration in the spring and autumn, there are a few weeks’ overlap as one species is arriving and the other is heading out. This wouldn’t be a problem, but both Shrike species look very similar and display similar behaviours (such as prey impalement!). So how do you tell who you are watching? Subtle differences help when you are playing the look-a-like game!

The Loggerhead Shrike starts arriving in April, with the males arriving first to stake out territories that will impress the gals. As the Males start to arrive you will hear more vocal territory calls and may see groups as they work out who gets what. Loggerhead Shrikes have crisp colouring; a grey back, a white belly and throat, black wings and tail with white markings, and a crisp defined black bandit mask extending right over their eyes past to their ears. Loggerhead Shrikes also have the sharp black beak that allows them to be such fierce hunters! “This species is also at-risk,” explains Emily Putz, coordinator of the Shrubs for Shrikes program, “with number declines continuing each year, they are listed as threatened, so we want as many people out there able to ID them and report sightings as possible. Every bit helps!”

Northern Shrikes, as denotes their name, have a bit frostier colouration. They share the sharp black bill and general grey/white/black colours, however their markings are less defined overall. Their mask extends through the eye instead of over it and narrows towards the bill. Above their bill, they often show a band of white extending above the eye. Their white belly can have a slight grey barring pattern that breaks up their shape. These shrikes will start arriving in September and will often be seen in the wintertime scouting out bird feeders to hunt and impale sparrows or hunt small rodents drawn by dropped seed. Both male and female Northern Shrikes are known to sing all winter long, unusual for a winter songbird, and the male sings with more frequency towards the end of winter. Though boreal species are often hard to track, numbers for Northern Shrikes appear stable.

“While having either shrike is sure to brighten your birdwatching season, if you think you have identified a Loggerhead Shrike, please let us know,” continues Emily Putz,” we would love to hear about it and discuss our Shrubs for Shrikes program. If you are unsure on your ID we can also always help you if you have a photo!” Nature Saskatchewan’s voluntary stewardship program, Shrubs for Shrikes, works directly with land stewards to conserve habitat for species-at-risk and monitor population numbers in Saskatchewan. Sightings are recorded to help determine the distribution of these species throughout the province, which can then be used towards efforts to help these species. Anyone can report their sightings of a Loggerhead Shrike, along with any other species-at-risk, as they are out this spring enjoying Saskatchewan’s natural beauty. 

If you would like to learn more about the Loggerhead Shrike, please join us this Thursday, March 21st, in Milestone SK for a free dinner and night of presentations, including one all about Shrikes! For more information about this dinner or our programs, please call Nature Saskatchewan’s toll-free line at 1-800-667-HOOT (4668), text (306) 780-9832, or email us at Private information is never shared without permission. Please also feel free to share photos, as we love to see them!


For further information, please contact Nature Saskatchewan:


Emily Putz

Habitat Stewardship Coordinator
Cell Phone: (306) 780-9832

Rebecca Magnus

Species at Risk Manager
Phone: (306) 780-9270