(Clicking on underlined blue italics words within the text below will link to an image.)

About Our Property

Our property consists of 480 acres (192 ha) of marginal agricultural land, aspen forest and ponds. There are about 180 acres (71 ha) of alfalfa/hay fields and unused pastures. Approximately 150 acres (63 ha) are covered by an ungrazed forest of trembling aspen, balsam poplar and white birch with an understory of hazelnut and other wood land shrubs and plants. The remainder is made up of many wetlands, including a single pond that currently covers 140 acres (57 ha). These features combine to provide habitats for a wide variety of animals, birds, plants and insects.

The property is in the Tiger Hills Upland on the southern edge of the Boreal Transition Ecoregion of Saskatchewan. The terrain is a series of abrupt hills and depressions (knobs and kettles), typical of glacial hummocky moraines, surrounded by more level arable areas of land. A thin layer of organic top soil covers thick deposits of unsorted glacial till with pockets of gray loam, clay and gravel. Rocks and large boulders are abundant. The numerous lakes and ponds of the region are important staging and breeding areas for many waterfowl and shorebird species. There are also a number of rivers and streams that are part of the Carrot River Watershed.

We participate in Wildlife Tomorrow (Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation) and Stewards of Saskatchewan (Nature Saskatchewan) habitat conservation programs. Habitat loss in this area, and throughout the agricultural region of Saskatchewan, is a major threat to populations of wildlife, birds and native plant species. European settlers began arriving in the area about 1900 and started clearing land for agriculture. This practice continues to the present day and now about 80% of the land in the municipality is under some form of cultivation. Most forest remaining is used for grazing cattle and often it is overgrazed which eliminates the undergrowth and leaves behind old trees and a denuded forest floor invaded by grasses. To further increase croplands large numbers of wetlands have been drained or filled. This has resulted in significant habitat reductions for many animals and birds especially waterfowl, shorebirds and songbirds that use wetlands for nesting and rely on emergences of aquatic insects for food at critical times during their life cycles.

Research At Our Property

A rich diversity of native plants and animals is a corner stone of ecosystem health that provides stability from the impacts of human developments and extraordinary natural events. Our land lies near the southern edge of the Boreal Transition Ecoregion and has faunal and floral elements from the boreal forests, aspen parklands and grass lands. We are conducting surveys on the property to document the species inhabiting it. The data generated from these surveys are used to study community structure and function, supplement provincial taxonomic and biogeographical information and investigate impacts of land use, climate change and invasive species on the ecosystem. The property page links listed to the left provide numerous images of the flora and fauna plus lists of over 700 species recorded from the property or that could potentially be found based on their known provincial distributions and habitat requirements.

  • ~25 Mammals
  • ~170 Birds
  • 2 Fish
  • 1 Reptile
  • 3 Amphibians
  • 150+ Terrestrial Insects (Non-butterflies)
  • ~50 Butterflies
  • ~160 Aquatic Insects
  • 30+ Spiders
  • ~7 Leeches
  • ~10 Snails and Clams
  • ~100 Native and Introduced Plants
  • 20+ Lichens
  • 30+ Fungi
  • 10+ Bryophytes

Species at risk:

Our surveys have recorded three birds (barn swallow, horned grebe, common nighhawk), one mammal (little brown bat), an amphibian (tiger salamander) and a butterfly (monarch butterfly) listed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) as species of concern. Striped coral-root orchids also occur in good numbers. This species is considered provincially rare and vulnerable (SKCDC S2S3).

Native plant survey and seed collection:

As part of a plant survey conducted by Dr. R. St. Pierre, Prairie Elements, thirty-seven native plant seed samples were prepared and deposited in Canada's national seed bank (Plant Gene Resources of Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada).

Aquatic macroinvertebrate research:

Aquatic macroinvertebrates are regularly sampled from the various wetlands using dip nets, emergence traps and artificial substrates. Aerial sweep netting and UV light traps collect adult aquatic insects. Macrophotographs are also taken. Samples are processed in the lab to identify specimens to determine species richness and community structure of the various wetland types. To date 160 species have been identified including a freshwater sponge.

Wildlife monitoring:

White tailed deer, mule deer, moose, elk, coyotes, raccoons and other animals use the property throughout the year including to raise their young. Lynx, black bear and feral wild boar have also been recorded. The latter information has been forwarded to the Wildlife Ecology & Community Engagement Lab (WECE) Wild Hog Watch to add to their distribution information on this invasive species.

Bird survey:

Resident and nesting birds are being documented as are migrants and those birds that use the property for feeding during the year. Over seventy species are known to nest on the property.

Terrestrial insect study:

A number of microhabitats are sampled using sweep nets and other collection methods. Five meter grids have been set up for routine vegetation sweeps. UV light traps are operated to sample moths and other night flying insects. Specimens are taken to the lab for identification. Macrophotographs are also used. Forty-four species of butterflies and moths have been recorded to date. Of particular interest are the bumble bees and other native bees that inhabit the property. These bees play an important role in pollinating agricultural crops and native plants. Many species are being threatened by habitat loss, agricultural pesticides and climate change. Baseline surveys are the first step in assessing the impacts of these threats on bee populations.

Native legume biology and pathogen research:

Dr. R. St. Pierre, Prairie Elements, is using the property in his study of the biology and diseases of native legumes; American Licorice (Glycyrrhiza lepidota), Pale Vetchling (Lathyrus ochroleucus), Purple Vetch (Vicia americana), Lemon Scurfpea (Psoralea lanceolata), Purple Prairie Clover (Dalea purpurea) and Buffalo Bean (Thermopsis rhombifolia). Seeds are germinated and the young plants screened for resistance/susceptibility to the root-rot pathogen Aphanomyces euteiches, and to the leaf pathogen Colletotrichum lentis. Both cause significant diseases to lentil and pea crops in Saskatchewan especially during wet growing seasons. This study will help broaden our understanding of the basic biology of these two pathogens.

Lichen and fungi survey:

The many habitat types found on the property has enabled a diverse lichen community to develop. Representative specimens are collected and macrophotographs are used for species identifications. As lichens are good bioindicators this research may provide valuable baseline information related to pollution and climate change. Macrophotos are also used to document the mushrooms and other fungi found.