Archives for 2022

Jun
7
Rare Plant Rescue- First field trip of the season!

My first 10 days of fieldwork for the Rare Plant Rescue program have been humbling in ways I would have never anticipated.

I expected the wide open vistas, the living skies, and the rolling hills. What caught me by surprise was the sheer determination of our wildlife in the face of hardship. I underestimated the biodiversity that continues to thrive in the often unseen coulees, native pastures, and seemingly sparse fields that stretch across our province.

Despite the hawks soaring overhead, and the many rattlesnakes among the grass, I saw a juvenile Horned Lark successfully hide herself behind a little bit of sage and sedge. Despite the abundant coyotes and elusive cougars, my partner and I were visited by two young white-tailed deer. They were so inquisitive that they visited us 3 more times over the course of an afternoon, getting braver and closer each time.

 

Top: Western Kingbird, bottom left: juvenile Horned Lark, bottom right: Horned Lark nest. Photo credits: T. Dubbin-McCrea

 

The rare plants we seek represent an integral part of this system, as well as a glimpse of the future for all of the wildlife we encounter. Habitat loss impacts fragile ecosystems disproportionately, and our grasslands are some of the most fragile. Some of these plants and their seeds can remain dormant for years waiting for the right conditions, and in many cases this makes them difficult to study and protect. So we rely on the perseverance of our amazing landowners to protect these often overlooked areas. The collaborative approach that I see championed by Nature Saskatchewan wouldn't be possible without the farmers and ranchers who take an interest in preserving these magnificent habitats. Their efforts are needed and appreciated now more than ever.

Discovering Saskatchewan for me means exploring valleys filled with wild chokecherry blooms, their fragrance hanging in the warm spring air. Or turning your attention to the songs of all the migratory birds that fly so far for the legacy of new life. It demands a keen eye for the hundreds of wildflowers, grasses, trees and shrubs that dot the land. I find myself constantly in awe at the variety and biodiversity that one can find upon learning to slow down and look a little closer.

In short, I find myself constantly in awe of Saskatchewan.

 

Top left: Penstemon nitidus, top right: Astragalus bisulactus (silver-leafed milkvetch), bottom left: Large reflexed rock cress, bottom right: Large nest in wild chokecherry. 

 

 

 

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