Native Prairie Appreciation Week a chance to enjoy the province’s unspoiled ecosystems
Great diversity of untouched plants and wildlife to explore across the province
With the amount of native prairie in Saskatchewan slowly decreasing from year to year, the opportunity to enjoy the views and scenes of unspoiled prairie is gradually diminishing.
This is where Indigenous Grasslands Appreciation Week June 13-19 comes in: providing a chance to appreciate the unique ecosystems and their crucial role in preserving the province’s biodiversity.
The Saskatchewan Prairie Conservation Action Plan (SK PCAP) is helping a lot in this regard, working in coordination with the 33 different environmental organizations across the province to provide advice and collaboration while building awareness.
“This is the only week in North America dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the diversity and value of native grasslands, and it’s perfect for our province given the amount of grassland we have here.” , said Carolyn Gaudet, provincial director of PCAP.
Interestingly enough, it is estimated that only 13% of these grasslands are intact native grasslands, making it one of the most threatened ecosystems in the world.
Fortunately, the conservation of these lands is at the center of many organizations, with the aim of offering everyone the chance to see what the province looked like before it was colonized.
“People can still go to provincial parks and national parks, there are quite a few that still have native grasslands on them,” Gaudet said. “Then there are nonprofits that have native grasslands open to the public. The Nature Conservancy has properties within 40 minutes of Regina and Prince Albert, or you have the Meewasin Valley Authority which has quite a few native grasslands … it’s easy to find if you know where to look.
And what you will find is truly special.
Gaudet estimates that 70 different species of native grasses can be found in the province and that more than 200 species of birds live directly in the prairies or fly over during migration. That doesn’t even take into account the hundreds of wildlife that inhabit the open grasslands.
“This time of year is also perfect for wildflowers, if people follow our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/SKPCAP) we are posting a lot about it this week with pictures of it. must be sought, “said Gaudet.
In addition to their diversity and beauty, native grasslands also have practical advantages. Their extensive root systems prevent erosion during heavy rains as we saw last week, water is filtered through wetlands and their grasslands are the foundation of the sustainable livestock lifestyle, providing feed to the cattle and eventually to us.
“Our government recognizes the importance of native grasslands as part of a diverse ecosystem,” Agriculture Minister David Marit said in the press release announcing Native Grassland Appreciation Week. “Saskatchewan producers are stewards of the land and our ranching sector plays an important role in the conservation and management of rangelands around the province. The sustainable practices of our ranchers promote the ecological health of the native grassland ecosystem.
For more information on the province’s native grasslands – in addition to voting for your favorite native grassland photos as part of their week-long contest – be sure to visit their Facebook page at www.facebook .com / SKPCAP.