The Trilling of a Frog

Save The Frogs Day April 29

“If we can discover the meaning in the trilling of a frog, perhaps we may understand why it is for us not merely noise but a song of poetry and emotion.” – Adrian Forsyth

In the plains and parkland region of Saskatchewan are several species of frogs which can be found around the wetlands, marshes, rivers, streams, and “prairie potholes.” The number of species observable increase during the cyclical years when Saskatchewan has a higher water table. Saskatchewan, experiences a temperate climate, which cycles between drought and high moisture years. Winnipeg locates at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. During the years when the Red River produces great floods through North Dakota, and Manitoba, those are also years when the water table is high in Saskatchewan and communities of Saskatchewan also experience flooding. Historically, there have been high water levels during the years 2011, 2009, 1997, 1996, 1979, 1974, and 1950.

Saskatchewan species of frogs include; Canadian Toad Anaxyrus hemiophrys, Great Plains Toad Bufo cognatus, Plains Spadefoot Toad Spea bombifrons, Boreal Chorus Frog Pseudacris maculata, Leopard Frog Rana pipiens, Wood Frog Rana sylvatica. Diane Secoy limits the The Plains spadefoot and Great Plains toad to the southwestern corner of Saskatchewan, the area formerly known as “Palliser’s Triangle.”

Biologists study the ecology, life history, osteology, and mating calls of the these amphibians. The evolutionary history is determined by examining the distributions, ecology, cranial osteology, and mating calls. In the field, colouration is noted, along with webbing between fingers, shape of the snout, size, distinctions of thighs, shape of vocal sac, shape of maxillary processes, for instance to determine geographic variations. The tadpoles are also examined for ventral fins, mating calls, colouration, tail, snout, teeth.
Frogs do have an olfactory sense, and can sense chemical changes in the air. The presence of amphibians in an ecosystem, is a good indicator of the health of the biome. Tadpoles can use the chemical scents as a method to be aware of predators or food. The particular marsh, or wetlands area where a tadpole was born possesses its own unique perfume or scent, to which the frog is also drawn towards in the final life cycle. At the top of the frog’s mouth is the jacobson’s organ, which is how a frog detects scent. A frog will open and close their mouths to activate their jacobson’s organ in an effort to locate food.

On studying amphibians, not only is it important to reflect upon where are frogs, and toads in winter-time, but also where are frogs and toads in the summer-time during droughty years?

When discovering a Saskatchewan amphibian could you tell a toad from a frog?

Do you know what is the life cycle of a frog (or of a toad) as if related by the creature itself?

So what can you do on “Save The Frogs Day April 29?” The most important thing, would be to Learn about the Frogs of Saskatchewan!

For more information on species at risk or to participate in Stewards of Saskatchewan program offered by Nature Saskatchewan “Humanity in Harmony with Nature” please call 1-800-667-HOOT (1-800-667-4668)

“There were frogs all right, thousands of them. Their voices beat the night, they boomed and barked and croaked and rattled. They sang to the stars, to the waning moon, to the waving grasses. They bellowed long songs and challenges.” – John Steinbeck

BIBLIOGRAPHY:
Canadian Biodiversity Species. Amphibians and Reptiles: Frogs and Toads (Anura)

frog smell.

Frogwatch. Saskatchewan. Learn about the Frogs of Saskatchewan!

Secoy, Diane Amphibians Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan. Canadian Plains Research Centre. University of Regina.2006

Species at Risk Public Registry. Northern Leopard Frog Western Boreal / Prairie populations Government of Canada.

For more information:

Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, SK, CA north of Cedar Villa Road, within city limits, in the furthest south west area of the city.
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
Facebook: StBarbeBaker
Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Facebook: South West OLRA
If you wish to support the afforestation area with your donation, write a cheque please to the “Meewasin Valley Authority Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund” (MVA RSBBAA trust fund) and mail it to Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area c/o Meewasin Valley Authority, 402 Third Ave S, Saskatoon SK S7K 3G5. Thank you kindly!
Twitter: St Barbe Baker

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Man of Trees winter trail network

How can we encourage more people to get outside, get active and get together over the winter months in Saskatoon?~Eric Westberg COS

In 2015, members of the Fatlanders FatTire Brigade (FFTB) discover the Richard St. Barbe Baker afforestation area and start to use existing trails for winter recreational snow biking. Through January to March 2016 the (FFTB) groom trails using showshoes to gauge the effectiveness of this method of making trails. The FFTB is quite enthusiastic, and wish to pursue a formal trail network in this flat land area. Several bicycle enthusiasts prefer these trails over and above the technical trails in existence along the riverbank.

FFTB submits proposal to the City of Saskatoon (COS) Open Spaces Consultants for discussion of a “Man of Trees“ winter trail network. It is noticed by the FFTB that the City of Saskatoon initiates a Winter City Strategies Initiative for the City of Saskatoon. The City of Saskatoon is currently in growing Winter City YXE and they are in the planning and development stage “to make winter in our city great!” Jeff Hehn, ambassador for the FFTB, brings to the city the FFTB proposal to embrace a winter strategy that could increase outdoor winter recreation.

The FFTB proposal suggests that the groomed winter trail network would encourage fat biking, cross-country skiing, skijourning, snow shoeing, horse back riding, winter hiking, and sliding snowshoeing recreational activities.

The “Man of the Trees” trail network, is stated to have the potential to improve winter tourism amenities for the City of Saskatoon in this proposal. An emerging recreational activity known as fat biking is on the rise. Fat bikes are specialized for winter biking and riding upon snow. Snowshoeing, cross country skiing, slide snowshoeing, skijoring, hiking, and horseback riding all benefit from the grooming of a winter trail network.

As part of this winter tail network, it is imperative that motorized vehicles do not have egress to the park, as vehicles undo the work done by those actively engaged in grooming the paths. The FFTB have been in this way: actively engaged as stewards of the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area while at the same time advocating for the winter trail network.

Further to the newly installed barriers, the FFTB continue to raise money for the “Meewasin Valley Authority Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area Trust Fund (MVA RSBBAA trust fund)” to fully support the erection of gates and barriers at any areas where vehicles may enter the afforestation area. With motorized vehicles, thus restricted, there is no doubt that it is very much easier to create trails to fat bicycle in the afforestation area, and keep them well groomed.

If you are ever out in the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, and wonder about the newly created trails they have been the passion of Jeff Hehn and the Fatbike Fatlanders Brigade.  Consider this, is the man of the trails network an an outlier in regards to the environment issues being an observation point that is distant from other environmental observations  Or is the man of the trails network a means to observe and appreciate the flora and fauna with a healthy respect for their habitat and provides a means of proceeding with respect through the afforestation area with the least amount of impact on the semi-wilderness wildlife habitat.

Meetings have resulted in a sharing of  information and an increase of awareness between the viewpoints of  these diverse stakeholders, who share the mutual goals and desires in regards to the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area to mitigate illegal trespass and the appreciation and respect of the afforestation area.

It is fantastic that the City of Saskatoon recognizes and supports two initiatives for the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area; the “strategic goal of quality of life” and the “strategic goal of environmental leadership.”

The City of Saskatoon is growing, expected to reach 250,000 by 2025 and 380,000 by 2035.  It is truly an honour to know that the City of Saskatoon takes the biodiversity of this ecological area seriously.  The various stakeholders have been in contact with the City along the way regarding both the environment as well as the FatLanders Fattire Brigade pitched the Winter Trail Network – a Winter City YXE proposal.  As the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is across Cedar Villa road from Chappell Marsh Conservation Area, it is fitting and fantastic that the herds of deer, waterfowl, small mammals and amphibians are considered alongside the wetlands, native and modified woodlands and grasslands when creating human plans and recreation activities in the home and habitat of the native wildlife.

Respect of the afforestation area coupled with a due consideration of the semi-wilderness wildlife habitat, means this generation and many future generations can also enjoy and take part in various recreational capacities the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area.  Without trails, humans just cannot interact with nature, however with too many trails and other forms of human intervention, nature just simply cannot interact with humans.  The wise deliberation on the ecological footprint is a wonderful recommendation at the outset of the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area human development process at a time when the human footprint in the afforestation area increases exponentially.  With forethought now as to wise and considerate placement of trails and human activities in a semi-wilderness wildlife habitat, it just may be that humans and nature can peacefully co-exist now and in the future.  Wouldn’t it be a fantastic experience as it is today, that in 2035 as well, when the city reaches a population of 380,000 grandchildren and great grandchildren can see waterfowl, deer, amphibians and other wildlife within the city limits at the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area without the only urban recourse of going to a zoo?  Don’t jump to the wrong conclusion here, zoos are fantastic, however, don’t you agree it is a treasure to have a preserved afforestation area affording a natural environment for human activities alongside the urban zoo.  Respect of the afforestation area coupled with a due consideration of the semi-wilderness wildlife habitat, means this generation and many future generations can also enjoy and take part in various recreational opportunities within a semi-wilderness wildlife habitat at the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area

…today it is the duty of every thinking being to live, and to serve not only his own day and generation, but also generations unborn by helping to restore and maintain the green glory of the forests of the earth.” ~ Richard St. Barbe Baker

Sidenote:
As Richard St. Barbe Baker had once the nick name “Man of the Trees” this trail network, is thus named by the FFTB. The multi-use trail network is of course open and available to those who are not men.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:
Giles, David. City of Saskatoon offering free winter activities Global News.


Feeling dreary about winter? City of Saskatoon trying to change that
New strategy designed to improve winter life, economy, accessibility, culture
CBC news January 2017

Things to do in Winter in Saskatoon. Tourism Saskatoon

WinterCityYXE: Saskatoon’s Winter City Strategy City of Saskatoon

Winte City Strategy Breakfast March 15, 2017

For more information:

Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, SK, CA north of Cedar Villa Road, within city limits, in the furthest south west area of the city.
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
Facebook: StBarbeBaker
Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Facebook: South West OLRA
Off leash dog park Valley Road Saskatoon!
If you wish to support the afforestation area with your donation, write a cheque please to the “Meewasin Valley Authority Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund” (MVA RSBBAA trust fund) and mail it to Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area c/o Meewasin Valley Authority, 402 Third Ave S, Saskatoon SK S7K 3G5. Thank you kindly!
Twitter: St Barbe Baker
Pinterest richardstbarbeb

Join In – it is not meaningless!

“All Canadians are invited to join in supporting and implementing this strategy for the benefit of the Loggerhead Shrike Prairie subspecies, and Canadian society as a whole” ~ Environment Canada

“I believe in oneness of mankind and of all living things and in the interdependence of each and all. I believe that unless we play fair to the Earth, we cannot exist physically on this planet.”~Richard St. Barbe Baker.

It is not at all meaningless to speak about the Prairie Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus excubitorides). This unique small passerine bird is listed as threatened / critically endangered as the population has been steadily decreasing since the 1960s.

The Loggerhead shrikes love scattered shrubby growth, and will nest in Caragana, Manitoba Maple, and thorny vegetation such as Buffaloberry shrubbery. The Shrike breed along shelterbelts and riparian areas of the prairies. In this south west sector of the city of Saskatoon, botanists have confirmed that this species is documented for this region wherever there may be wetlands combined with open areas and tall shrubbery.

In order to thrive, and be resilient, the Shrike requires an open grasslands area to forage with elevated perches or lookout points about 4 meters high upon which to sit to facilitate their hunting activities.

The Loggerhead Shrike is quite unique in its dietary habits, as it does not confine itself to seeds, berries insect grub and larvae, but as a carnivorous bird, will capture amphibians, lizards, small mammals such as mice, and small birds. Due its small size, it impales its prey on barbed wire or the thorns of the Buffaloberry bush, which grows around the Chappell Marsh and West Swale wetlands. Though, the main food are grasshoppers, beetles, and rodents. It is only when these are hard to find, that the Loggerhead Shrike will forage for other animals.

How to identify the Loggerhead Shrike:
The wings are coloured black, with a white patch, and the head is quite unique with a mask across the eyes similar to a raccoon. The main colour of the Shrike is grey, with a white or pale breast. Shrikes are about 9 inches in length, and weigh in at 45-60 grams. The Loggerhead Shrike migrate here in March and April leaving after the breeding season from September to November. These birds will migrate nocturnally.

Outlook for the Shrike
Though it is truly unknown what has caused the numbers of the Loggerhead Shrike to plummet, ornithologists hope that by studying the birds and their habitat, the cause for their decline can be ascertained. Currently listed as a threatened species by Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada,  COSEWIC. it is a mandate to place the environment of the Loggerhead Shrike safe from destruction by conversion or development which may alter their prey populations. Scientists have also decided to place the Prairie Loggerhead Shrike as Schedule 1, Threatened under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). It is also interesting to note that the International Union for the Conservation of Nature declared temperate grasslands the world’s most endangered ecosystem. * “Grasslands can also showcase how people and nature can coexist,” said Dan Kraus, a Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) scientist, “Among the last places on Earth to shelter grasslands at a meaningful scale are the grasslands of North America’s Great Plain…Endangerment comes down to risk — the risk of losing a species, habitat or ecosystem for future generations. *

In the south west sector of the city of Saskatoon, it is a relief that remnant native grassland remains. Additionally, the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area affords wetland plant communities. The West Swale which passes through the large open wetlands and Chappell Marsh features many small scattered wetland areas, with more than adequate habitat and foraging for aquatic fauna, with belts of native and modified grasslands.

The Loggerhead Shirke, Lanius ludovicianus excubitorides during its breeding seasons, ie a “breeding Bird is characterized by: territorial behaviour; calling to competing male, mate or young; singing; courtship displays; carrying food or nest materials etc., and; presence of nest or young found incidentally. Between May 1 – Aug 15, the Loggerhead Shrike is protected 50 meters from low disturbance activity such as walking, and is protected for 250 meters from medium disturbances such as driving, and 400 m from roads, drilling, and other such high disturbance activity according to the Ministry of the Environment for Saskatchewan.

It is interesting to note how the City of Saskatoon’s citizens and residents regards conservation expectations or indifference to wildlife species such as the Prairie Loggerhead Shrike and their habitat. As Environment Canada states, “Success in the recovery of this species depends on the commitment and cooperation of many different constituencies that will be involved in implementing the directions set out in this strategy and will not be achieved by Environment Canada, Parks Canada Agency, or any other jurisdiction alone. All Canadians are invited to join in supporting and implementing this strategy for the benefit of the Loggerhead Shrike Prairie subspecies, and Canadian society as a whole.*

1./ Learn.

2./ Experience

3./ Do Something: ***

The elected and appointed officials are:

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau,, P.C., M.P., Prime Minister of Canada, Ottawa

The Honourable Catherine McKenna Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Her Honour the Honourable Vaughn Solomon Schofield, S.O.M., S.V.M., Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan

Honorable Sheri Benson, Member of Parliament Constituency:Saskatoon West Email:Sheri.Benson@parl.gc.ca

The Honourable Brad Wall, Premier of Saskatchewan. Email premier@gov.sk.ca

Cabinet Minister
The Honourable Scott Moe, Minister of the Environment

Ms. Jennifer Campeau. Saskatchewan Party Saskatoon Fairview ~ representing the regions for the West Swale and Afforestation areas. Members of the Legislative Assembly. casaskatoonfairview@shaw.ca

His Worship Mayor Charlie Clark

Saskatoon City Councillors. Ward 2 – Councillor Hilary Gough and Ward 3 – Councillor Ann Iwanchuk

Shaping Saskatoon Email communications Division

“Man has lost his way in the jungle of chemistry and engineering and will have to retrace his steps, however painful this may be. In doing so, perhaps he may be able to recapture the rhythm of life and the love of the simple things of life, which will be an ever-unfolding joy to him.” ~Richard St. Barbe Baker

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Background Information ~ Status of Birds in Canada. Environment Canada. Government of Canada.

Bird ~ Status of Birds in Canada ~ Environment Canada. Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus)

Eastern Loggerhead Shrike Wildlife Preservation Canada.

Hinterland Who’s Who. Loggerhead Shrike

Loggerhead Shrike Wikipedia.

Loggerhead Shrike Life History, All About Birds. Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Loggerhead Shrike on a Fence. Sonoran Images.

Loggerhead Shrike American Bird Conservancy

Loggerhead Shrike. Birdweb

Loggherad Shrike Audubon

Loggerhead Shrike Jeteliot

Loggerhead Shrike Prairie Subspecies
Loggerhead Shrike Avian 101

Saskatchewan Activity Restriction Guidelines for Sensitive Species. September 2015-1 Ministry of Environment. Government of Saskatchewan.

Species at Risk Public Registry.

Loggerhead Shrike What Bird

Recovery Strategy for the Loggerhead Shrike. Prairie Subspecies. (Lanius ludovicianus excubitorides), in Canada. Species at Risk Registry. Recovery Planning
Environment and Climate Change Canada

Environment Canada. 2015. Recovery Strategy for the Loggerhead Shrike Prairie subspecies (Lanius ludovicianus excubitorides), in Canada. Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series. Environment Canada, Ottawa. iv + 23 pp.

Shrike Neil D. Murray

Species Profile (Loggerhead Shrike Prairie subspecies) – Species at Risk

Thwarted Shrike Attack Birders Journey

For more information:

Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, SK, CA north of Cedar Villa Road, within city limits, in the furthest south west area of the city.
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

Facebook: StBarbeBaker

Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area

Facebook: South West Off Leash Recreation Area SW OLRA

Pinterest richardstbarbeb

If you wish to support the afforestation area with your donation, write a cheque please to the “Meewasin Valley Authority Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund” (MVA RSBBAA trust fund) and mail it to Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area c/o Meewasin Valley Authority, 402 Third Ave S, Saskatoon SK S7K 3G5. Thank you kindly!
Twitter: St Barbe Baker

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1./ Learn.

2./ Experience

3./ Do Something: ***

“Kind people have been expressing superlatives on my work. But I can assure you that anything which I have been able to achieve has been team work. We have a motto in the Men of the Trees. TWAHAMWE. It is an African word meaning ‘pull together’ and I pass this on to all those concerned with conservation in this country. I would like to call you to silence for a moment with the words of Mathew Arnold:

“Calm soul of all things, make it mine,
To feel amidst the City ‘s jar
That there abides a peace of thine
Men did not make and cannot mar. ”
~Richard St. Barbe Baker