Archives for 2021

Sep
22
The Rare Plant Rescue team had a great summer!

The last trip of the year, in the south of the divide, Ashley and Spencer found themselves searching for the elusive Tiny Cryptantha. Five quarter sections, ten days, and hot weather to boot. The duo traversed up and down hills, crawled through dense rose bushes and the odd thick patch of trees within the deep coulees. They both harnessed their inner mountain goats and scaled rocky cliffs sides and eroded banks all in an effort to find tiny crypt.

 

Photo credit: Ashley Mills

 

This trip contained a plethora of landscapes, and each quarter was full of fun surprises and some excellent opportunities for photos. The amount of wildlife we saw was utterly ridiculous, the winding river beds make great hiding places for hares, mule deer and snakes. We learned to always be on the lookout as you never knew what was going to come flying out of the brush if you got too close. Both adventurers came very close to multiple deer and we each took our turn with the quick jump scares that the hares give you when they rocket out of their hiding places.

 

As majestic and brave as spencer may be, this unusually large leopard frog gave him a good scare as it jumped out from the grass in front of him. (top right), a few other friends found during our travels (left and bottom right). Photo credit: Ashley Mills.

 

We learned a lot about what goes into the ranches out here and gained a ton of respect for the people who put in all that hard work year after year. One day a landowner’s son joined us for a chat and we learned more than we both thought possible about the region of Saskatchewan south of the divide.

Nothing could stop the dynamic duo from carrying out their mission. Well, nothing except muddy roads that is. In the end a ten-kilometer muddy road stopped the team from finishing the last quarter with still no sign of the rare Cryptantha. While the trip and the summer are now ending, both search members are grateful for the excellent opportunity. It has been an amazing summer learning, exploring, and expanding our networks of people. Saskatchewan is full of hidden gems and the main recommendation from the RPR crew is get outside and explore your backyard! You never know what you will find out there.

 

This small hoodoo was an interesting sight on the otherwise bare prairie (top). Photo credit: Ashley Mills.

 

Thanks to Nature Saskatchewan for the wonderful opportunity to be out in nature exploring and living the dream. Cheers to all who have tuned into our adventures this summer! It’s been real!

 

 

The aforementioned hoodoo was pocked with these little holes all over. Based on the circular leaf cutouts stuffed inside, they were likely used as nests by leaf cutter bees. Photo credit: Ashley Mills.

 

 

Narrow-leaved umbrellawort was another provincially rare plant (S3) that made a surprise appearance. Photo credit: Ashley Mills.

 

 

While tiny cryptantha may have evaded us, we found several clusters of eveningstar throughout this trip. This is a provincially rare plant (S3) whose blooms only open in the eveningtime. Photo credit: Ashley Mills.

 

 

We had the pleasure of seeing fields dotted with purple blazingstar blooms this trip (left); A white evening primrose found blooming out in a pasture (right)  Photo credit: Ashley Mills.

 

 

A keen eye for unique rocks, Ashley came across a bone fossil that may possibly be from a triceratops. A visit to the paleontologists at the Eastend Dinosaur museum informed us that the frenchman rivervally is ripe with triceratops fossils. Photo credit: Ashley Mills.

 

 

One of our search lines had us hike up one of the tallest hills in the area. It was like a tiny mountain. Incredibly windy at the top. We ended up finding a cluster of evening star (a rather stunning provincially rare plant) on this hill. Photo credit: Ashley Mills.

 

 

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