Posts Tagged "ranching"

Saskatchewan grasslands: a place like no other

Posted by on 12. September 2014 in Blog / Journal, News & Events, Ranching | Comments Off on Saskatchewan grasslands: a place like no other

Saskatchewan grasslands: a place like no other

I will be presenting an illustrated talk at the Lifelong Learning Centre, University of Regina on Friday, October 31, 2014 (1:30 p.m.): Saskatchewan grasslands: a place like no other Saskatchewan grasslands are magical, wide open spaces that support an incredible diversity of life; from the iconic plains bison and pronghorn antelope, to rare and endangered species such as Black-footed Ferrets and Greater Sage Grouse. Grasslands are also home to ranchers who depend on healthy grasslands to sustain their livelihoods. With less than a quarter of Saskatchewan’s original grasslands still remaining, there is a growing sense of appreciation for the beauty and benefits that grasslands provide to rural communities. In this beautifully illustrated presentation, I will take the audience on a journey of discovery through our unique prairie landscapes. Date: Friday, October 31, 2014 Time: 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Location: Gallery Building Room 106, Centre for Continuing Education – Lifelong Learning Centre, 2155 College Avenue beside Darke Hall, University of Regina, Saskatchewan Course fee: $10 (includes coffee). To register for this non-credit course, visit the CCE web site     Non-credit courses at the Lifelong Learning Centre are designed to be taken for personal interest and to realize the joy of learning. They are creative and intellectual, with no formal education required. Realize the joy of learning at the Centre for Continuing Education and its Lifelong Learning Centre!  ...

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SENS Photo Contest winning entries

Posted by on 7. August 2014 in Blog / Journal, News & Events, Photography | 2 comments

SENS Photo Contest winning entries

Two of my images won “Best in the Category” prize in the 2014 School of Environment and Sustainability Photo Contest. Each year, SENS holds a photo contest to showcase the photography talents of school’s students and alumni. Category winners and the overall show winner are selected by popular vote.  I entered several images and won in two categories: Sustainable Community and The Urban Environmentt. Category winners and the overall winner are posted on the SENS Web site. Besides bragging rights that my images are winning entries in the “international” photo contest (SENS students come from the United States, Mexico and many countries around the world), I also received as small financial award. My images will be displayed in SENS hallways at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon. Here are the two winning entries and a short description that accompanied the images during the vote.   Category winner: Sustainable Community   Community Pasture Program, administered by the Canada’s federal government was designed to assist small- and medium-sized mixed farm operations. Each fall, PFRA pasture managers work with hired riders to sort out cattle for delivery to patrons at the end of the grazing season. These cowboys are crucial in maintaining a proper management of the pastures, for the benefit of pasture users as well as plants and animals that rely on a healthy prairie ecosystem. In October of 2013 I visited the Wolverine PFRA pasture near Lanigan, Saskatchewan to document the cowboy life, part of our cultural heritage and tradition that has a crucial role in sustainable management of our grasslands.   Category winner: The Urban Environment   Saskatoon city skyline reflecting in South Saskatchewan River at dusk. This is a panorama composite image created from 3 separate frames. I took this picture to mark the 2012 World Rivers Day.   P.S. You might be interested in seeing a few images from older posts celebrating the 2013 World Rivers Day and 2012 World Water Day....

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Future of native grasslands in doubt – interview with Trevor Herriot

Posted by on 11. February 2014 in Blog / Journal, Conservation, News & Events | Comments Off on Future of native grasslands in doubt – interview with Trevor Herriot

Future of native grasslands in doubt – interview with Trevor Herriot

Radio Canada International has posted an interview with the naturalist and Saskatchewan writer Trevor Herriot about the uncertain future of the native prairie grasslands found on former PFRA community pastures. One of my images of a stallion running through a prairie with sage brush was used as a page opener for the story posted on RCI web site.   During the interview, Trevor spoke eloquently about the state of native prairie in Saskatchewan and all the wildlife that depends on the remaining large tracts of grasslands found on the former Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA) community pastures. He also stressed the importance of a well-functioning pasture system for the small and medium-sized ranching operations and communities in rural Saskatchewan.  At the later part of the interview, Trevor advanced the idea of establishing a heritage rangeland on a set of three PFRA pastures in the extreme south-west corner of Saskatchewan. The tree pastures in question; Govenlock, Nashlyn and Battle Creek cover over 840 square kilometres of vast open prairie. This set of community pastures has been recognized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as an Important Bird Area for it’s significance to local and migrating bird populations. There is also a very important human heritage element at play – the great North American writer and naturalist Wallace Stegner’s family  homestead was located within the Battle Creek PFRA pasture. One of (many) Wallace Stegner’s legacies is a 2400 word letter that he wrote shortly after returning from a visit to southern Saskatchewan where he worked on the Wolf Willow, a childhood autobiography and a breathtaking account of life on the unbroken prairie of southwest Saskatchewan. The Wilderness Letter as it is now known, had an enormous influence in the movement to pass The Wilderness Act of 1964, a federal legislation that created the legal definition of wilderness in the USA. The Act created a formal mechanism to designate and protect millions of acres of wilderness on federal land in the USA. Unfortunately for Canadians, a similar legislation does not exist in our country. You can listen to the full 10 minute interview by clicking on the “Listen” button at the Radio Canada International web site. About the image: it was getting dark late in the day so I set the sensitivity to ISO 640, to alow for a slightly faster shutter speed. I panned the camera and followed the movement of the horse; that is why the sagebrush is slightly blurred. I selectively sharpened the horse a bit, to make it stand out from the surrounding...

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A tribute to the cowboys on PFRA community pastures

Posted by on 21. November 2013 in Blog / Journal, Conservation, Ranching | 3 comments

A tribute to the cowboys on PFRA community pastures

This photo essay is a tribute to the life of cowboys serving as managers and riders on the PFRA community pastures. A tribute to the hard-working people who have been looking after the federal community pastures in Prairie Provinces for over 75 years. Last October I visited the Wolverine Community Pasture north-east of Lanigan, one of the first five PFRA pastures to be transferred from federal control to the province of Saskatchewan. In turn, the pastures will be leased out to the current pasture users. The pasture patrons will pay a fee for the right to graze their herds on the public pastures, and get their cows bred by resident bulls. Each fall, PFRA pasture managers work with hired riders to sort out cattle for delivery to patrons at the end of the grazing season. These men (and sometimes women) manage the cattle according to a well-established grazing system, making sure that the cattle under their care are safe, healthy and well taken care off. These federal cowboys are crucial in maintaining a proper management of the pastures, for the benefit of pasture users as well as plants and animals that rely on a healthy prairie ecosystem. They make sure that the grazing resource is manager effectively, sustainably and not degraded from over-use. A healthy and well-managed pasture is also crucial for all the creatures and species at risk that rely and depend on these large tracts of native prairie that we still have left in the province. With a photography trip to the Wolverine pasture, my goal was to document the cowboy life, part of our cultural heritage and the tradition that is slowly disappearing from the western grasslands. Grasslands that are under constant threat from encroaching industrial and agricultural development. To ensure that these cowboys continue playing a role in a sustainable management of our community pastures, both federal and provincial governments have to invest enough funds to allow for smooth transition from federal to provincial oversight. We do not need to dedicate new money for this purpose – sufficient funds will be available from the patron user fees and oil and gas revenues coming from some the pastures. We need to keep sustainable management of the 1.8 million acres of former PFRA community pastures to support small to medium-sized cattle producers in rural Saskatchewan, while protecting prairie plant and animal species living on the rapidly shrinking natural prairie habitat we have left in Canada. On Thursday, November 21 at 7:30 pm Dr. Joe Schmutz from the University of Saskatchewan will give a presentation titled “Community Pastures: Why do grass and birds need cowboys?” Details after the link. If you would like to hear about the history of PFRA community pastures and learn about the importance of the contribution of our cowboys to sustaining the healthy prairie habitat and critters that rely on it, come to this free public presentation. If you wish to read more about the PFRA community pasture managers & riders and their contribution to the communities that rely on their work, check out the feature articles published in the Western Producer and Canadian Cowboy Country Magazine, or this blog post by a Saskatchewan writer Trevor Herriot. Cowboys sort cattle at Wolverine community pasture, Lanigan ‘Paws & boots’ at Wolverine PFRA community pasture, Lanigan...

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