Places worth protecting: The Canadian prairies

Prairie Day event, Manitoba (Photo by NCC)

Prairie Day event, Manitoba (Photo by NCC)

So you’ve decided to conserve biodiversity. This decision may lead to many false starts, disappointments and re-negotiated deadlines, but ultimately and eventually, it will lead to land conservation! Now, how does the Nature Conservancy of...

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I always feel like something's watching me

The curious cows at the Yellow Quill Prairie Preserve. (Photo by Diana Robson)

I usually do field work by myself, but sometimes I get the feeling that I’m being watched. My main observers this year are the cows. The Yellow Quill Prairie Preserve, protected by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), is sustainably...

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Searching for worms in Ontario’s restored tall grass prairie

Ontario’s largest exotic earthworm, <i>Lumbricus terrestris</i>. (Photo by Heather Cray)

Looking across a beautiful stretch of native tall grass prairie in its full glory, the first thing that might strike you is, well, the grass; big bluestem, switchgrass, Indian grass, all of them might reach up to or above eye level. Then there are...

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Out of sight, out of mind

Greater sage-grouse (Photo by Gordon Sherman © Audubon Canyon Ranch)

Now and then, I look out my living room window and begin to search. I am not searching for anything in particular, it is simply by habit. I can spend 20, or even 30, minutes just gazing here and there at just about anything. Little brown birds...

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Uncovering the magic of winter wildlife

Meeting Lake 03, SK (Photo by NCC)

While attending college in Winnipeg, my classmate and I used to walk north from the campus at the corner of Shaftesbury and Grant streets to explore the different sections of Assiniboine Park. As the school year was between September and April,...

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The silence of the hillsides

Fort Ellice, Riding Mountain (Photo by NCC)

Fort Ellice, Riding Mountain (Photo by NCC)

For the past six months, I’ve worked as an assistant conservation biologist with the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) in Riding Mountain Natural Area in western Manitoba. I found that a summer in the area challenged me to reconsider how I...

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Discovering the natural wonders of Manitoba

Fort Ellice, Riding Mountain (Photo by NCC)

Fort Ellice, Riding Mountain (Photo by NCC)

I grew up in southwestern Manitoba, living only a few minutes from both the American and Saskatchewan borders, and I have remained in the province while completing my undergraduate and graduate degrees. In the past year, I spent a lot of time...

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Adapting to realities: From conservation science to sleeping outdoors

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 about a half hour out of Saskatoon when I realized I had forgotten to pack my tent. It was the middle of September and I was planning on camping at the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC’s) Old Man on His Back Prairie and...

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Celebrating Canadian species: Swift fox

Swift fox cub and its mum (Photo by Catriona Matheson, Cochrane Ecological Institute)

Cub and mum. (Photo by Catriona Matheson, Cochrane Ecological Institute)

My unsuccessful search for the elusive swift fox has spanned nearly a decade.It was 2008, the winter semester of my first year at Lakeland College in Vermilion, Alberta, when I first learned about the history of swift fox in Canada. The smallest...

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Pollinating the prairies

A parasitic fly pollinating a hairy golden aster (Photo by Diana Bizecki Robson)

It was with some sadness that I finished my last field work of the season at Yellow Quill Prairie. It will be many long, cold months before I get to go out again. However, I was eager to get back to the office to crunch some numbers and see how...

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