Why Canada’s prairies are the world’s most endangered ecosystem

Old Man on His Back rolling prairie, Saskatchewan (Photo by Branimir Gjetvaj)

Old Man on His Back rolling prairie, Saskatchewan (Photo by Branimir Gjetvaj)

Ask any Canadian kid to name the world’s most endangered ecosystem, and chances are you’ll hear one of the following answers: 1) rainforests; 2) coral reefs; 3) leave me alone. Ignoring the last answer, there’s a good reason why...

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The perfection of the morning redux: Old Man on His Back Prairie and Heritage Conservation Area

Morning sun shines on the grassy plains at OMB (Photo by Gail F. Chin)

Getting up at 5 a.m. to catch the morning sun cast blinding rays across the grassy plains at Old Man on His Back (OMB), I stood in the receding darkness in awe of the sublime. There was no silence! The din of insects carried on. An occasional...

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Tin cans, a Mormon cricket and a UFO landing pad: One perspective on the Conservation Volunteers weekend at Old Man on His Back

Tin cans capping fence posts (Photo by Bill Armstrong)

I understand there are likely to be a couple more Land Line blogs about the recent Conservation Volunteers (CV) weekend at the (inhale) Old Man On His Back Prairie Heritage and Conservation Area (OMB) (exhale), so let me give you my take on the...

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A walk through the prairies with Jared Clarke (Podcast)

Aerial view of Fairy Hill South, Saskatchewan (Photo by Shaylee Booty Sebastian)

Aerial view of Fairy Hill South, Saskatchewan (Photo by Shaylee Booty Sebastian)

After work on April 25, I went out with Jared Clarke from The Prairie Naturalist radio show (CJTR community radio) to Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC's) Fairy Hill property. Our conversation starts after we’ve walked down the hill...

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Wild bees in the grasslands

A summer storm gathers over NCC’s Fort Ellice prairie (Photo by Marika Olynyk)

In 2015, I had the good fortune to spend a second summer conducting pollination research on beautiful grasslands in western Manitoba. As described in my previous post, I have been investigating landscape effects on pollination service in...

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Alberta's ranching evolution (Part Three)

Waldron, Southern Foothills, AB (Photo by Kyle Marquardt)

Waldron, Southern Foothills, AB (Photo by Kyle Marquardt)

For just over 130 years, the western rangelands of southern Alberta have been the cradle of the stock-raising industry. As long as the prairie grasses have been allowed to perpetuate themselves, the cow and the calf have been able to harvest a...

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Alberta's ranching evolution (Part Two)

A cattle herd just west of Fort MacLeod (Photo by Doug Madill)

A cattle herd just west of Fort MacLeod (Photo by Doug Madill)

(Continued from Part One.) Since it was the landscape of the rangelands that had originally attracted me to Alberta and western Canada, I have become increasingly fascinated with not only the buildings and artifacts associated with the ranching...

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Alberta's ranching evolution (Part One)

Boholomec Ranch, Crowsnest Pass (Photo by NCC)

Boholomec Ranch, Crowsnest Pass (Photo by NCC)

For me, there is something about the Canadian prairies. It’s not where I originally came from, but when I moved west to Saskatchewan and Alberta from Ontario some 36 years ago, they just took me in, and I knew I could not ever stop living...

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Paradise for daytrippers and stargazers

Star trails over Butala Homestead in OMB at dawn, SK (Photo by Alan Dyer)

Star trails over Butala Homestead in OMB at dawn, SK (Photo by Alan Dyer)

Imagine plains so vast and wide that the night sky is flooded with stars and the Milky Way as far as the eye can see. There is one Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) property renowned for its rolling grasslands and nightscape: Old Man on His Back...

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A winter hike at Fairy Hill

A winter hike in Fairy Hill. Thanks to whoever placed pink ribbons along the trail. New fencing marks one boundary of the property. Coming down the trail here my footing was sort of “under control.” (Photo by Bill Armstrong)

A winter hike in Fairy Hill. New fencing marks one boundary of the property. Coming down the trail here my footing was sort of “under control.” (Photo by Bill Armstrong)

I wouldn’t say I’m one of those Canadians who heartily embraces winter, but I do enjoy getting out of the city to do some winter photography; at least until my ears and fingers tell me it’s time to retreat into the warmth. Since...

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