The City Nature Challenge is a global event that encourages people to explore and document nature in their local areas. Between April 28 – May 1, 2023, Saskatoon and the surrounding area participated in the challenge, and the results were impressive. Even in these very early spring months there were 831 observations, a whopping 246 species discovered, 116 identifiers, and 37 committed observers, the City Nature Challenge in Saskatoon was a success.
The challenge provided a platform for citizens to participate in citizen science, and document unique sightings. Kathlin in the Saskatoon area documented some exciting bird finds during this mass migration season, but her favourite was a Great Blue Heron eating a rodent. This sighting was pretty spectacular, and it was exciting to spot the heron through the reeds.
An American mink was another exciting visitor in the neighbourhood of Sutherland, Saskatoon. This semi-aquatic animal is an unusual sight in the city, and it was a great find for those who spotted it.
The challenge also helped document species that are at risk or vulnerable. The Horned Grebe is a species at risk in Canada due to habitat loss and degradation. Prairie Violet or crowfoot violet is vulnerable and thought to grow in only about 100 places in the entire province of Saskatchewan. The Gray Comma butterfly, listed as common on the Saskatoon Nature Society’s published checklist, was confirmed for the first time on iNaturalist.
Sara mentioned that the challenge also helped to document the presence of rare or hard-to-find species, such as the Togwotee Harvestman and the Whirligig beetle. The Hydrobius fuscipes, a species never before recorded in the Saskatoon area on iNaturalist, was observed three times during the challenge. Whirlgig beetles are hard to photograph, and this is a rare observation of one just chilling! It is also the very first research grade observation of the genus in the saskatoon area on iNaturalist.!
In addition to the unique sightings, the City Nature Challenge in Saskatoon also highlighted the importance of early detection and rapid response to invasive species. The Common Buckthorn was found, and this invasive species requires early detection and rapid response activities. It is a noxious weed, a hazard to other trees “a tree killer”, and a menace to oat crops.
Finally, the challenge also highlighted the vulnerability of some species to pollution and human activity. The American White Pelican is at the top of the aquatic food chain, making it vulnerable to biomagnification and bioaccumulation of pollutants. The Goldenrod Gall Fly, Lily Leaf Beetle, Common Grackle, Canada Wild Rye, and Green Ash are also at risk due to factors such as habitat loss, population reduction, and invasive species.
The success of the City Nature Challenge in Saskatoon and the surrounding area is a testament to the power of citizen science and community engagement. Through participation in events like this, citizens can make meaningful contributions to scientific research and help protect the natural world around them.
In addition to the unique sightings and discoveries made during the City Nature Challenge CNCYXE2023 Saskatoon and Area, we would like to express our appreciation for the many naturalists who came out and added to the conversation about biodiversity.
Their passion and dedication to nature were evident in the many observations they made, the insights they shared, and the enthusiasm they displayed. It is through their efforts that we were able to achieve such great success during this year’s challenge.
One of the great things about the City Nature Challenge is that it encourages people to get outside and explore the natural world around them. It is through this exploration that we gain a greater appreciation for the complexity and beauty of our local ecosystems.
We were fortunate to have many experienced naturalists, nature enthusiasts and biologists participate in this year’s challenge, and their expertise and insights were invaluable in helping us identify and understand the many species we observed.
But we were also thrilled to see so many new nature enthusiasts join the challenge, many of whom were able to discover and document species they had never seen before. This is exactly the kind of engagement we hope to inspire through events like the City Nature Challenge.
So to all of the naturalists – just starting out, and experienced- who participated in this year’s challenge, we extend our deepest appreciation and thanks. Your efforts have not only contributed to our understanding of local biodiversity but have also inspired a new generation of nature enthusiasts to get out and explore the natural world. We look forward to seeing what we can discover together in the years to come.
So if this all sounds exciting, please download the free iNaturalist app to your smart phone, explore the City Nature Challenge and Saskatoon on your computer at home and join in any time of the year! Find it! Snap it! Share it! Be the Voice for Nature. Stay tuned for summer and fall events and BioBlitzes.
For directions as to how to drive to “George Genereux” Urban Regional Park
For directions on how to drive to Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
For more information:
Blairmore Sector Plan Report; planning for the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, George Genereux Urban Regional Park and West Swale and areas around them inside of Saskatoon city limits
NEW P4G District Official Community Plan
Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada north of Cedar Villa Road, within city limits, in the furthest south west area of the city. 52° 06′ 106° 45′
Part SE 23-36-6 – Afforestation Area – 241 Township Road 362-A
Part SE 23-36-6 – SW Off-Leash Recreation Area (Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area ) – 355 Township Road 362-A
S ½ 22-36-6 Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area (West of SW OLRA) – 467 Township Road 362-A
NE 21-36-6 “George Genereux” Afforestation Area – 133 Range Road 3063
Wikimapia Map: type in Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Google Maps South West Off Leash area location pin at parking lot
Web page: https://stbarbebaker.wordpress.com
Where is the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area? with map
Where is the George Genereux Urban Regional Park (Afforestation Area)?with map
Tumblr friendsafforestation.tumblr.comFacebook Group Page: Users of the George Genereux Urban Regional Park
Facebook: StBarbeBaker Afforestation Area
Facebook for the non profit Charity Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. FriendsAreas
Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Facebook: South West OLRA
Twitter: St Barbe Baker Charity Twitter:FriendsAreas
Please help protect / enhance your afforestation areas, please contact the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. (e-mail / e-transfers )Support the afforestation areas with your donation or membership ($20.00/year). Please donate by paypal or by using e-transfers Please and thank you! Your donation and membership is greatly appreciated. Members e-mail your contact information to be kept up to date!
Donations can be made through Paypal, Canada Helps, Contact Donate A Car Canada, SARCAN Drop & Go 106100594 for the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc.
United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration
Use the UN Decade’s Visual Identity
Make it your own
Spread the word about the UN Decade
Let’s Bring Back Forests
Let’s Green Our Cities
“Be like a tree in pursuit of your cause. Stand firm, grip hard, thrust upward. Bend to the winds of heaven..”
Richard St. Barbe Baker