Birds of Old Man on His Back

Barn swallow nesting at OMB interpretive centre (Photo by Dr. Steve Zack)

Barn swallow nesting at OMB interpretive centre (Photo by Dr. Steve Zack)

I moved to southwestern Saskatchewan in 1969 when I married a farmer/rancher whose land adjoins the Old Man on His Back Prairie Heritage and Conservation Area (OMB) on the south side. As a newcomer to the prairie, I had lots of fun learning about...

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No sunflower seeds in the washrooms, please: What it's like to hold a conservation planning meeting in small-town SK

No sunflower seeds in the bathrooms, please (Photo by NCC)

The only photo I have from the day, which perfectly relates what it is like to hold a meeting in a small town Saskatchewan in the middle of winter. (Photo by NCC)

“So, what are you guys up to today?” It is about 8:15 a.m. on a Tuesday morning and I’m picking up the keys for the Lumsden River Park Centre at the town office. I arrived before the office was open so Chris, who apparently...

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Loggerhead shrike: A prairie jewel

Loggerhead shrike (Photo by Don and Karol Dabbs)

Loggerhead shrike (Photo by Don and Karol Dabbs)

A denizen of the native prairie landscape, the loggerhead shrike has captivated me for years with its beauty, behaviour and pizzazz. Even its Latin name, Lanius ludovicianus, rolls off the tongue with passion and grace. Of course, the romanticism...

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Kitchen table conservation: The importance of collaboration with landowners

Qu'Appelle River Valley, Saskatchewan (Photo by NCC)

Qu'Appelle River Valley, Saskatchewan (Photo by NCC)

It is surprising to some just how much conservation entails talking to people. It’s still important to identify species, assess the health of the landscapes we are managing, manage invasive species and all of the other tasks people expect,...

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Mopping up Mortlach with MEC

Volunteers Jeffrey Price and Dylan Gross roll wire and clear the fence line at NCC's Mortlach Conservation Volunteer event, Fall 2014. (Photo by NCC)

Volunteers Jeffrey Price and Dylan Gross (L-R) roll wire and clear the fence line at NCC's Mortlach Conservation Volunteer event in September 2014. (Photo by NCC)

The purchase of the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) property near Mortlach, Saskatchewan was partly funded by a donation from the Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC). As a member of MEC since the mid-1970s, I wanted to help "mop up" the Mortlach...

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Be the light you want to see in others: My internship with NCC

Michelle Dano (courtesy Michelle Dano)

Michelle Dano (courtesy Michelle Dano)

Volunteering is a unique, rewarding experience. Managing volunteers is perhaps even more rewarding. I started in my internship position as a Conservation Volunteers (CV) event leader without much knowledge of what goes into running a volunteer...

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A personal prairie legacy: The Tim K. Hodgson Prairie Stewardship Challenge Fund

Tim Hodgson at Horseshoe Dam (Photo courtesy of Tim Hodgson)

Tim Hodgson at Horseshoe Dam (Photo courtesy of Tim Hodgson)

Caring for land is personal. Over 10 years ago, I realized native wildlife habitat conservation was the most meaningful thing to which I could contribute my energy, expertise and time. It was 2003, and I was re-evaluating what I was achieving in...

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Land lines on Old Man on his Back

Evening sky at Old Man on His Back Ranch, SK (Photo by Branimir Gjetvaj)

Evening sky at Old Man on His Back Ranch, SK (Photo by Branimir Gjetvaj)

I was walking with fellow volunteers and Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) staff members when someone — I can’t remember who — shouted, “car!” It was an inspired bit of irony, because while my mind was immediately...

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The perfection of the morning at Old Man on His Back

Kailey Setter visits Old Man on his Back, Saskatchewan (Photo by NCC)

Kailey Setter visits Old Man on his Back, Saskatchewan (Photo by NCC)

There is a peace that finds you on the open prairie. In that vast openness, worry and stress diffuse into the air around you, and your body regains equilibrium. On this unexpectedly wild landscape filled with native grasses and endless sky, there...

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An ideal spot for bird viewing

American avocet (Photo by NCC)

American avocet (Photo by NCC)

The Chaplin-Old Wives-Reed Lake area in southwestern Saskatchewan has always been my ideal location for bird viewing, and especially for shorebirds — my favourite group of birds to watch! Abundant American avocets, sanderlings, sandpipers,...

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