What’s that stuff on my tree? A guide to Manitoba’s lichens

Lichen on tree (Photo courtesy of Manitoba Museum)

Lichen on tree (Photo courtesy of Manitoba Museum)

If you’re an observant person, you may have noticed colourful things growing on Manitoba’s trees and rocks. Although some of these organisms are mosses (especially near the base), they are more likely to be lichens. Bright orange...

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The importance of being a flower

Western red lily has one of the largest flowers in Manitoba. (Photo courtesy of Manitoba Museum)

Western red lily has one of the largest flowers in Manitoba. (Photo courtesy of Manitoba Museum)

Like many of you, I enjoy walking through my neighbourhood and smelling the sweet fragrances of the summer flowers. Unfortunately, like many things, flowers are ephemeral. When I see a flower, I am always reminded of the Robert Herrick poem urging...

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Anchoring the earth

Exhibit showing big bluestem on the left, June grass in the middle and white prairie-clover on the right. (Photo courtesy of Manitoba Museum)

Exhibit showing big bluestem on the left, June grass in the middle and white prairie-clover on the right. (Photo courtesy of Manitoba Museum)

One of the most impressive plant specimens at the Manitoba Museum is a huge, preserved clump of grass that shows the entire root system. I think the reason everybody likes this specimen is that it provides a perspective that no one has ever seen:...

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Christmas trees make a great cup of tea

White spruce with cones (Photo by Manitoba Museum)

White spruce with cones (Photo by Manitoba Museum)

Every day, the Google search engine is inundated with searches for the next superfood, health trend or nutritional qualities of certain foods. Sadly, very few people know that you can make a beverage high in vitamin C from...Christmas...

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What a difference a year makes

The summer-blooming showy goldenrod, being visited by a bee fly, was less abundant than the spring-blooming flowers. (Photo by Diana Robson)

The summer-blooming showy goldenrod, being visited by a bee fly, was less abundant than the spring-blooming flowers. (Photo by Diana Robson)

One of the first papers on pollination I tried to publish was rejected because it contained data from only one field season. I withdrew the paper, and did another year of research. Why is having two years of data so important, you may ask?...

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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)

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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Observing the pollinators of the prairie

Prairie crocus finishes flowering in early May (Photo by Diana Robson)

Prairie crocus finishes flowering in early May (Photo by Diana Robson)

Summer is in full bloom at the Yellow Quill Prairie Preserve, and once again, I’m studying pollinators at this Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) property, just south of Canadian Forces Base Shilo in Manitoba. Last year I made the mistake of...

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Pollinating the prairies

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

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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The mystery of the moving cow pie

This lovely little mushroom was growing in an old cow pie (Photo by Diana Bizecki Robson)

This lovely little mushroom was growing in an old cow pie (Photo by Diana Bizecki Robson)

Usually cow pies are extremely uninteresting features of a prairie landscape (and one to usually avoid) but this month something funny was happening with them at the Nature Conservancy of Canada's Yellow Quill Prairie that made me look twice. For...

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Getting down at the Yellow Quill Prairie

The Yellow Quill Prairie Preserve on a sunny day (Photo by Diana Bizecki Robson)

The Yellow Quill Prairie Preserve on a sunny day (Photo by Diana Bizecki Robson)

Last week I started my field season by getting down on my hands and knees to collect plants and pollinators at the Yellow Quill Prairie Preserve south of Brandon, which is owned and managed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada. While that may not...

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