Archives for 2021

Sep
8
A Summer of Adventures for the Rare Plant Rescue Assistant

What a summer of adventures and learning experiences with Nature Saskatchewan! I got to visit areas of the province I have never been.

The summer started out by Leader looking for Slender Mouse-ear-cress. Sadly, I didn’t get to find that one, but I got the chance to meet amazing landowners and explore the beautiful prairies. This trip was my first experience with field work, so my feet were definitely sore by the end. Thankfully my feet have toughened up so I can handle the hiking better now. This was my first experience with transect work as well so I learned a lot! During our training before this trip we couldn’t do transect work because we got snowed out (in late May)! Lucky for me and the search crew, we had a great teacher Emily who got us all prepped and ready to search.

Later in June we searched for Dwarf Woolly-heads, sadly we did not find any this trip, but I got close to some cute cows and saw bird species at risk. This was the hottest trip of the summer, and we took breaks to be able to handle the heat. I learned many new plant species’ names. This summer has not helped to improve my posture; many of our target plants are very tiny so it requires slow and hunched walking.

 

Photo credit: Olivia Yurach. The search for Dwarf Woolly-heads and a close up

 

In July we went south to search for Dwarf Woolly-heads again and were lucky to find an occurrence in a new RM! This expanded the known location of this species. Until then, the species were only found in one RM, but that has expanded this summer. We also found the DWH (federally listed species) surrounded by a provincially rare plant, pincushion plant. Each morning of this trip the coyotes would sing at the same time, and they sounded so happy to see each other. While looking for the Dwarf Woolly-heads, we found hundreds of frogs, Morman Crickets (bigger than the frogs) and we even got to see a weasel. On this trip we also encountered many bird species at risk including a few Ferruginous Hawks, Common Nighthawks and Lark Buntings. On the last day of this trip the cows were very interested in our vehicle. From a distance they looked like they were just standing near it, but when we came back at the end of the day we discovered the entire vehicle was covered in lick marks!

 

 

Photo credit: Olivia Yurach. Baby bird in one of our transects (left), Caterpillar munching on a leaf (top right) and the sunrise before our car was licked by cows (bottom right)

 

Towards the end of August, we searched for Tiny Cryptantha and Small-flowered Sand-verbena. While searching for those species we encountered a lot of a provincially rare species called Dakota Stinking Goosefoot! As the name suggests, it does not smell good and unfortunately I set my jacket near a cluster of them. While searching, Rachel and I were greeted by a horse that was looking for some treats. The Tiny Cryptantha searches had tough terrain. We hiked steep hills and the mud was not our friend. While navigating to the start of a transect I was looking down at the GPS and walking quite quickly. All of a sudden I heard a distinct rattle noise and instantly backed up. When I looked up I saw a clear image of a rattlesnake coiled up with the tail shaking and its head pulled up looking at me. I had a slight heart attack while I backed away. On the next transect after the snake encounter we were fortunate to have a bird species at risk fly over us! Rachel counted over 30 common night hawks flying above us. It felt really special to see such a large number of an at-risk species flying together. This trip was a wonderful way to wrap up the season.

 

Photo credit: Olivia Yurach. Provincially rare - Dakota Stinking Goosefoot (left), a friend we met out in the field (right).

 

My summer was filled with fun adventures and amazing learning experiences. I am extremely grateful to have worked with such a wonderful group of people who care deeply about our province. I am excited to keep updated with Nature Saskatchewan through the fall and winter, they are always busy doing great work. A special thanks to my amazing boss Emily and all the landowners I got to chat with and visit. Your commitment to Nature Saskatchewan was clear and allowed me to have these amazing experiences!

 

 

Photo credit: Olivia Yurach.

 

 

 

 


 

Read more news »