A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
There is a city council follow up meeting to the Standing Policy Committee on Planning, Development and Community Services meeting of Monday August 4. The City of Saskatoon meeting will be Monday August 28, 2017. The agenda will be to continue discussion regarding the Inquiry from former Councillor Lorje (April 25, 2016) – Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area [File No. CK. 4000-1 and PL. 4131-39-1 (BF 016-16)]
We need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity. We need to give each other space so that we may both give and receive such beautiful things as ideas, openness, dignity, joy, healing, and inclusion.
Max de Pree
The Richard St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area will be considered by City Council at its Regular Business meeting to commence at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, August 28, 2017. The public may attend this meeting of City Council and, if you wish to bring forward any points relevant to the discussion write a letter providing additional information, and/or requesting to speak at the Council meeting.
Drop off a letter addressed to His Worship the Mayor and Members of City Council. c/o City Clerk’s Office, City Hall. City of Saskatoon | 222 3rd Avenue North | Saskatoon, SK S7K 0J5 by 10:00 a.m. on Monday, August 28, 2017; or submit your intent to speak for up to five minutes by the online form.
For more information on the meeting, the agenda or how to Write a Letter check the City of Saskatoon’s website prior to Monday, August 28, 2017
By eating meat we share the responsibility of climate change, the destruction of our forests, and the poisoning of our air and water. The simple act of becoming a vegetarian will make a difference in the health of our planet.
“I am a part of all that I have seen.”~ Lord Alfred Tennyson
CHANCED it my eye fell aside on a mighty forest, where the boughs and roots opened and closed behind – thenceforth – discover “tongues in trees,” their mysterious whispers, the soul sentiment of the thousand shapes.
LIFE is a great gift, and as we reach years of discretion, we most of us naturally ask ourselves what should be the main object of our existence. LIFTING our searching gaze in to the measureless space beyond our earth, the glorious sun by day, and the moon and stars in the silence and mystery of night, are felt to influence material nature.
ENFANT de mon siècle, EACH existence hath its just and yet luxurious joy, whether it were a man before thee, or a flower, or a grain of sand, ~ without reference in short, to this or that particular form of existence? Water can cleanse, fire purify, yet the EARTH is mother to all.
ATTAIN to this; feel the presence of a mystery, which must have fixed thy spirit in awe and wonder, all places that the eye of Heaven visits are to the wise man ports and happy havens.”
NOURISHED by the great Mother, POETS rose before me and taught the world thy music, the song leading to NATURE’S gate.
“I learned early to regard the forest as a society of living things, the greatest of which is the tree. …
We stand in awe and wonder at the beauty of a single tree. Tall and graceful it stands, yet robust and sinewy with spreading arms decked with foliage that changes through the seasons, hour by hour, moment by moment as shadows pass or sunshine dapples the leaves. How much more deeply are we moved as we begin to appreciate the combined operations of the assembly of trees we call a forest.
The trees have offered their gifts to man. “~Richard St. Barbe Baker.
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias 42-52″ (105-130 cm) four feet standing.
Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area in the fog
Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and West Swale Wetlands , Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area Clean ups
“Man has lost his way in the jungle of chemistry and engineering and will have to retrace his steps, however painful this may be. He will have to discover where he went wrong and make his peace with nature. In so doing, 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
“Besides water, trees provide pure air. They are the great filtering machines for the human organism. They improve and transform the air in a way which is most favorable and most acceptable to the lungs of man.”~Richard St. Barbe Baker
Can you reallyscientifically forecast the weather with a groundhog???
Where is a groundhog when you need them?
Groundhog (Marmota monax), has a plethora of names. A groundhog can rightly be referred to as a woodchuck, or whistlepig, chuck, wood-shock, groundpig, whistler, thickwood badger, Canada marmot, monax, moonack, weenusk, digger and red monk and is a rodent of the squirrel family (Sciuridae) in a classification known as marmots. The groundhog is the largest squirrel found in its range, measuring in at 65 cm (16 to 26 in) long (which is inclusive of the 15 cm (6 in) tail) and weighing 2 to 4 kg (4 to 9 lb). In choice conditions, a groundhog may be as large as 80 cm (30 in) and 14 kg (31 lb). The groundhog can take to their burrow, climb a tree or swim away to flee from their predator. So how does a woodchuck compare to other common mammals in North America?
The American beaver (Castor canadensis) happens to be the largest rodent in North America weighing in at 11 to 32 kg (24 to 71 lb). The body from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail is 74 to 90 cm (29 to 35 inches) with the large flat tail adding another 20 to 35 cm (8 to 14) inches in length. Both Groundhogs and Beavers to get away from enemies and predators. The beaver’s entrance to the lodge or beaver dam is deep underwater as a defence against predators. The groundhog burrow opens up at the edge of a forest, near a tree or building.
Muskrats (Ondatra zibethicus), are about 41 to 64 cm (16 to 25 inches) in length, weighing in at .7 to 2 Kg (1.5 to 4 lbs). Muskrats love marshlands, and will make burrows or lodges out of cattails. In the water, they are distinguishable from the beaver as the muskrat tail will propel the rodent through the water by spinning around and around. The beaver’s tail lies flat behind them when swimming, or lowers in the water. The beaver’s tail is useful to sound a warning by lifting it up and slapping it down on the water surface making as large a noise and as big a splash as possible.
The badger’s name comes from the French word “becheur” which means digger.
Like the groundhog’s Latin name Marmota monax; Marmota meaning Mountain rodent, and monax meaning digger. Groundhogs do hibernate, but the American Badger (Taxidea taxus) enters into a torpor or deep sleep for perhaps up to three weeks. The American Badger is low to the ground measuring about 60 to 75 cm (24 to 30 inches) long with a weight of 7 kg (15 pounds). Badgers are belong to the family, Mustelidae and are mainly carnivorous. Badgers are not classified as rodents, but groundhogs, beavers, muskrats, and porcupines are rodents. And although one groundhog nickname is “thickwood badger”, the groundhog does not belong to the family Mustelidae, which only hosts the Muskrat, weasel, otter, ferret, and wolverine. Both groundhogs and badgers dig burrows, and have special adaptations for digging.
Porcupines (Erethizon dorsatum), are another commons North American rodent. the name from two Latin words porcus meaning pig, and spina, quill is very suitable. How does a porcupine compare in size to a groundhog? Well the porcupine has a round body 60 to 90 cm (2.0 to 3.0 ft), and the tail would add an extra 4.5 to 30 cm (5.7 to 11.8 in) in length. The stocky porcupine weighs in at 3.5 to 18 kg (7.7 to 39.7 lb though typically they are seen around 9 kg (20 lb). Porcupines don’t burrow like badgers, muskrats and groundhogs nor do they build burrows and dams like muskrats and beavers. Porcupines live in coniferous and mixed forests creating dens in hollow trees. Muskrats may be seen at dawn or dusk, and porcupines are mainly nocturnal, sleeping during the day up in trees. Where the badger is carnivorous, the groundhog, beaver and porcupine are herbivores. The muskrat is an omivore, mostly eating plants and cattails, but will eat aquatic animals to supplement their diet. The porcupine and beaver will eat tree bark, twigs, roots and stems along with other vegetation, the groundhog, also called a woodchuck, does not chuck wood, or eat trees.
Where a group of beavers is called a “colony”, and several badgers together are called a “cette” not a herd, or flock. Now then, a group of muskrats could be called a “colony, horde, pack, plaque or swarm.” Very appropriately a group of porcupines is called a “prickle”! There have been some discussions about what a group of groundhogs is called whether it is a “madness of marmots” or a” college of groundhogs”.
Using these essential elements as a foundation to find a groundhog, take your first steps to locate this most excellent weather forecaster. Groundhogs are usually found in areas where forest opens up into a field, road or marsh. So a groundhog has different habitats, eating habits, size and lifestyle from other large mammal rodents in Saskatchewan. Have you spied a groundhog in Saskatchewan? What about a groundhog in Saskatoon?
How Can a Groundhog Forecast the weather, Scientifically?
How can the groundhog be a “meteorologist” and predict the weather? Is it possible, or is it just a myth? Do not resist delving deep into this myth, it just may be grounded in truth and meteorological science!!!
Groundhog day is February 2, and it is rather an excellent bit of folklore about predicting spring. During the winter months, if the day is sunny the weather will be cold and brisk. It is during a sunny day when the groundhog may indeed see his shadow, and the stark chilliness of the day, may indeed entice the groundhog to turn tail and return to the warmth of his burrow. On the flip side of the coin, in the winter, if the day is cloudy, the weather is warmer from the cloud cover trapping in the heat from the earth. Therefore, on a cloudy day, the groundhog cannot see their shadow as there is no sun to create a shadow, the day is much warmer, and the groundhog may spend some time outside of his burrow suggesting that an early spring is around the corner.
So can this really be a way to forecast if spring will be coming soon, (because the groundhog did not see his shadow)? Or can it foretell if spring will be yet another 6 weeks away because the groundhog did in fact see his shadow?
Don’t take my word for it, this is what meterologist Nick Walker has to say about winter cloudy and sunny days; “Cloud cover on a winter night means you can expect warmer weather, because clouds prevent heat radiation that would lower the temperature on a clear night.” r So to further explain the difference between a cloudy day and a sunny day in the winter time. “If there are no fronts or precipitation nearby, the daily temperature cycle is primarily controlled by the radiation budget. This is a comparison between the incoming radiation from the sun (sunlight) and the terrestrial radiation given off by the earth’s surface (felt as heat.)”
Walker further expounds that “sunshine is only one thing that affects temperature, and in winter, it is far from being the main thing. … The cold air at Earth’s surface is very dense and heavy, so it’s hard for clouds to form in that cold sinking air. So sometimes in winter, skies are very clear and temperatures are very cold. Also, winter is the time of year that the angle of the sun, especially in the northern U.S. and Canada, is so low in the sky that there’s never enough direct sunlight to warm the Earth very much even at midday with clear skies. And if there’s snow on the ground, the snow reflects a lot of the sun’s energy away, preventing the ground from absorbing it. So temperatures end up cooler than if the ground were bare. Even if the ground absorbs some of the sun’s energy, the heat radiates back up into space with no clouds to keep it near the ground. So when you look outside and see sunshine, you cannot assume it’s going to be a warm day.”
Speaking of weather fronts and clouds, another interesting fact about how no shadow may forecast an early spring is that when there is “a low layer of uniform, dark grey cloud,” then the groundhog would not see their shadow. Furthermore, this solid mass of cloud blankets the sky, then “when it gives precipitation, it is in the form of continuous rain or snow. The cloud may be more than 15,000 feet thick. It is generally associated with warm fronts.”Pilot Friend
So there you have it, resistance is futile. This is how the groundhog myth or folklore actually works scientifically to predict the weather. The Groundhog Day story that if a groundhog sees his shadow, there will be 6 more weeks of winter is actually based in science due to the effects of a clear sky with no clouds. And the folklore which exists on Groundhog day that if the groundhog does not see his shadow would mean that February 2 is a warmer day, and the cloud cover may have formed in conjunction with an incoming warm front.
“Besides water, trees provide pure air. They are the great filtering machines for the human organism. They improve and transform the air in a way which is most favorable and most acceptable to the lungs of man.”…~Richard St. Barbe Baker
This generation may either be the last to exist in any semblance of a civilised world or that it will be the first to have the vision, the bearing and the greatness to say, ‘I will have nothing to do with this destruction of life, I will play no part in this devastation of the land, I am determined to live and work for peaceful construction for I am morally responsible for the world of today and the generations of tomorrow.’ Richard St. Barbe Baker
Bert Wellman, City Planner Saskatoon
A Green City
Herbert Edgar. Wellman, FCIP (d) (July 2, 1930 Asquith, SK – October 19, 2014 Saskatoon, SK). Bert was born in Saskatchewan, spending just a portion of his youth here. His parents returned to England when Bert was just 11 years old where Wellman grew up with a brother and sister in Weymouth, Dorset, United Kingdom. Bert graduated from the University of London, with a BA Honours degree in geography. From there, he entered the City of Saskatoon Engineering Department in 1952. In 1963, Wellman was the City Planner and then Director of Planning and Development until 1987, Wellman worked as Director until he became Director of Special Projects which he worked at until he retired. In Stonebridge, Wellman Crescent and Wellman Lane are named in his honour recognizing his 36 years with the City of Saskatoon.
Wellman worked with eight City of Saskatoon mayors during his career with the city of Saskatoon.
1949 – 1953 J.S. Mills
1954 – 1958 J.D. McAskill
1958 – 1963 S.L. Buckwold
1964 – P.C. Klaehn
1965 – 1966 E.J. Cole
1967 – 1971 S.L. Buckwold
1972 – 1976 H.S. Sears
1976 – 1988 Clifford E. Wright
Between 1955, and 1988, the city of Saskatoon changed in physical size increasing from a city of just 8,144.1 acres by 326.55% to a city of 34,7383.6 acres.
Some of the neighbourhoods which were annexed into the city of Saskatoon over this window of time were;
Confederation Suburban Centre
East College Park
River Heights 2
Hudson Bay Industrial
Silverwood Suburban Centre
University Heights Suburban Centre
In 1954, the new City Hall started construction.Sutherland merged with the city in 1956. The University Hospital opens in 1956 along with the new City Hall at its current location. In 1957, the city expands north, and the City annexes lands to include the University of Saskatchewan grounds in 1959. This same year Aden Bowman Collegiate Institute opens followed by Mount Royal Collegiate the next year.
“In 1960, the last steam-powered locomotive chuffed its way through Saskatoon. By the end of the decade, the electric trolley buses that had replaced the old streetcars were poised to also become things of the past…With the increasing number of automobiles, came an ever pressing need for more bridges and for a highway bypass system such as had been first proposed by Yorath in 1913. The original plan had been to build bridges on the north and south edges of the city, linked by the present-day Circle Drive. This project was shelved in favour of a down town re-vitalization plan that would see the southern leg of Circle Drive veer north along the old CNR right of way and cross into down town or what is not the Senator Sid Buckwold Bridge.”O’Brien
A green belt for the city starts with Bert Wellman, Saskatoon Planning Department, who walked around Saskatoon’s perimeter choosing high spots of land for scenic beauty. Together with City Planner Bill Graham they worked on parkways and planted trees for the 1960 Circle Drive Parkway at these sites. There was a vision for a green city. As natural as a hound dog takes to a scent, so to was Wellman, a natural at envisioning the future of Saskatoon.
Following the second World War, William Eadington Graham, began his urban planner career in 1946 as Director of Planning for Armagh County in Northern Ireland. He then signed on with the City of Saskatoon in 1953 as the first Director of Planning before moving on to become the Director of Planning for the City of Vancouver Bill Graham attended Durham University where he earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees with Distinction in architecture followed by urban planning. W.E. Graham park in Nutana, Saskatoon was so designated in his honour.
So, Wellman, and Graham, decided that in 1960 the following lands should be purchased;
1. Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area (City of Saskatoon Urban Regional Park) Parts Section 22 and SW 23 township 36 range 6 west of the third meridian. (East of the CN overpass on SK highway 7) SE 22 & SW 23-36-6 W3 under MVA conservation management.
2. Un-named City of Saskatoon Afforestation Area. Part south of CN Chappell yards SE section 23-36-6-W3 preserved as afforestation area in perpetuity, under MVA conservation management- west of SWOLRA and east of COC.
3. Part of NE 21-36-6 W3 (West of the CN overpass on SK Highway 7) was purchased by the City. (Formerly named George Genereux Urban Regional Park)
4. Land on the east of the river, south of the Diefenbaker park and west of the Saskatoon Golf Course were also afforested.
By 1963 Saskatchewan Technical Institute (Saskatchewan Institute of applied Science and Technology Kelsey Campus, and now named Sask Polytechnic)opens along with St. Paul’s Hospital and the Mendel Art Gallery. This year sees the very last passenger train through the Canadian National down town terminal.
In 1965, the Qu’Appelle, Long Lake and Saskatchewan (QLLS) railroad bridge (built 1890) acquired by the CNR was leased to the CPR at the time of demolition. This wood trestle bed fell to ice build up four times during its history before being replaced by a steel bridge.
The Idylwild Bridge [sic first spelling] sod-turning ceremony occurs in 1965, and the Idylwyld Freeway opens in 1966. “The construction of the Idylwyld Freeway and removal of the rail yards from downtown was probably the crowning achievement of Mayor Sid Buckwold’s ten years in office.” Senator Sid Buckwold Bridge is the new name for the Idywyld Bride as of 2001.
The CN train yards were moved from down town to land north of the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and named Chappell Yards.
1966 sees the Forest Nursery Station become the Forestry Park and Zoo replacing the Golden Gate Animal Park on 33rs Street.
In 1968, the Centennial Auditorium opens (now named TCU place Arts and Convention Centre). The Midtown Plaza and CN tower becomes operational in 1970 featuring a front facade in the style of the 1910 Canadian National Railway Station.
Over the decades 1970 to 1988, 15 schools open.
1972 sees drought resistant trees, Scotch Pine, Caragana, White Spruce planted in the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area. In total 355 acres of afforestation areas were planted that year. In 1973, 355 additional acres are planted. Originally 2,300 acres were envisioned. 1972, A. L. Ligtemoet, Assistant Parks Superintendent sets before council that these first 660 acres of afforestation areas be kept in perpetuity. This same year the Western Development Museum moves from its location on 11th Street to the current location at the Exhibition grounds.
The very last electric trolley car runs through Saskatoon in 1974.
1978 Oct 19 Name “Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area” brought forward to city council; Dec 28, 1978 proposed that the area become a park; Jan 2, 1979, this is recommended by council. On September 4, 1979. the Meewasin Valley Authority was established. The designated names for the afforestation areas were brought forward to City Council on October 19, 1978, and on December 28, 1978, it was proposed before council that the area become a park. Then, on January 2, 17979 the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, and the George Genereux Urban Regional Park receive their names.
1983 sees the opening of the 42nd Street Bridge, the north end of Circle Drive is completed from Yorath’s vision.
1985 Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is dedicated June 15.
The size of the city changed to accommodate the rise in population, in 1951 the city was 53,268 residents, and by 1986, the population grew to 177,641 growing 234% over 35 years.
City planners take into account factors such as Land use planning, Strategic urban planning, Regional planning, Heritage and conservation, Urban renewal, Master planning, Transportation planning, Economic development, Environmental planning, Urban design, and Infrastructure planning. The planner liasons with communities to develop wonderful urban spaces to live, work, and play in. Taking into account a complex overview of the city’s population, current infrastructure, and future needs, urban planners create visions making the best us of geographic land resources. A planner, alongside civic, education and community leaders build upon existing resources, and think analytically about what the various communities in the city are in need of to make them better place for the residents for both the short term and also for long term plans and goals.
“It can be awkward, going from a small city to a big city. And by the time we get done with the 30-year plans, we’re going to be a big city. We’re going to be half a million people,” said Allan Wallace, the city planner who followed in the footsteps of Bert Wellman. In his reminisced after his three decades on the job as director of planning and development at the City of Saskatoon Wallace stated that, “I think environmentally, we need to pull up our socks a little bit. We’re lagging behind in some respects. “Tank Lesley Anderson is the current Director of Planning and Development at City of Saskatoon with a Master’s Degree in Planning at Dalhousie University Richmond, BC., and her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology at the University of Calgary.
“The primary goal of the City of Saskatoon planners is to build an increasingly sustainable community over time, with an enhanced quality of life, consistent with the vision and core strategies of the City’s Strategic Plan.”Planning Bert Wellman committed to riverbank protection put it into words thus; “the bottom line was that I’ve never wanted to have any other profession or live anywhere else and I will fight for what I believe in.”CIP
“This generation may either be the last to exist in any semblance of a civilised world or that it will be the first to have the vision, the bearing and the greatness to say, ‘I will have nothing to do with this destruction of life, I will play no part in this devastation of the land, I am determined to live and work for peaceful construction for I am morally responsible for the world of today and the generations of tomorrow.” Richard St. Barbe Baker.
We forget that we owe our existence to the presence of Trees. As far as forest cover goes, we have never been in such a vulnerable position as we are today. The only answer is to plant more Trees – to Plant Trees for Our Lives.
A short tutorial about starting your very own Milkweed Monarch Butterfly Garden
How to have a successful Monarch pollinator Milkweed Patch.
Milkweeds are herbaceous perennials which grow about 1 meter (three feet) tall. The plants will bloom with clustered flowers over the summer growing season. Nature Saskatchewan says that five species of milkweed grow in Saskatchewan.
Low milkweed, (early milkweed, dwarf milkweed or oval-leafed milkweed) Asclepias ovalifolia grow 20 to 50 cm high ( to 20 inches), in sandy soil are common in moist mixed grasslands and along the edges of Aspen parklands and will tolerate sun and partial shade. Dwarf Milkweed blooms between May and June with a white, creamy color flower head.
Showy milkweed, Asclepias Speciosa found in mixed grasslands, with pink and white fragrant flower globular umbels. These plants grow to about 90 cm (35 inches)in height and feature large leaves. The plant is rhizomatous meaning that the roots send out shoots from the nodes creating colonies of these plants.
Silky milkweed, (common milkweed, tropical milkweed, blood flower, cotton bush, garden silkweed, redhead or Golden Butterflyweed) Asclepias curassavica a provincially rare plant reaching up to .6 to 1 m (2 to 3 ft) in height. The flower is purple or red corollas with yellow or orange corona lobes. This is a unique flower which blooms throughout the season June to October. This Milkweed is grown as an annual, and can be brought inside and used as an indoor house plant with bright lighting over the colder winter months. This plant is native to South America, grows in mixed grasslands and must be started indoors.
Whorled milkweed, (eastern whorled milkweed, horsetail milkweed) Asclepias verticillata another provincially rare plant that grows in mixed grasslands producing small greenish white flowers on an umbrel on the end of the plant stems. The leaves are linear and not broad, the plant thrives in dry soil, or clay/stony soil. The plant is very rare in Saskatchewan and when located it is most commonly found on hillsides in its native setting.
Green milkweed, (Green antelopehorn) Asclepias viridis, Asclepias viridis Walter,Asclepias viridiflora reaches a height of 20 – 60 centimeters (8 – 24 inches), however has been listed at 120 cm (47 inches). The numerous small flowers are pale green or a greenish yellow (and sometimes purple) clustered in round umbels (globes) at the top of the stem around June and July. Leaves are unique, being very thick, wavy and waxy. These plants enjoy dry hillsides, and a sandy soil in mixed grassland areas.
Buy your seeds from a nursery or department store, but check if the seeds have been pre-treated with an insecticide. An insecticide, will kill the butterfly caterpillar, defeating the purpose of planting the Milkweed plants. However, just planting the seeds in the soil, will not necessarily guarantee a crop of milkweed plants. And, furthermore, if you want larger plants to pop into your city lot garden, which the butterflies can use this season, it may be best to start them indoors this winter. The best time to start is now between the middle of January, and the middle of February, as the seeds, should be vernalized – subjected to cold by placing them into the refrigerator for 3-6 weeks set onto a moist paper towel, and protected in a plastic bag or plastic container. Wet the paper towel with non-chlorinated water if at all possible. “Cold stratification” can also be done by placing peat or a peat/clay mix into a planting pot or growing tray, and moistening this substrate before planting your seeds under about 0.6 cm (1/4 inch) of soil. Then pop this planting pot into the refrigerator or in a dark place hovering at a temperature around 5°C (41 degrees Fahrenheit) for 3-6 weeks but no longer than about 3 months. This stratification process will ensure a higher germination rate for your seeds. To naturally stratify your seeds, plant them outdoors in the autumn.
Timing the cold incubation period, would result in removing them from the cold temperature 6 weeks before the last frost date. In Saskatchewan, gardeners look to the last week of May to be frost free on average. So this means that the 3 week to 3 month cold period should end by the middle of March to the middle of April, so your seeds should be prepared in the fridge about middle January to the middle of February.
After your seeds come out of the fridge, then they should be soaked in cool non-chlorinated water for about 6 hours ~ a process referred to as “shocking” seeds. Then plant the seeds under 0.3 to 0.6 cm (1/8 to 1/4 inches) of soil, which is light, and drains well. These plants send out long tap-roots, so use a deep pot to accomodate your plant. However just use a light scattering of soil over the seed, as the seed needs light and warmth to begin their germination. A warm sunny window providing a warm ambient temperature of about 21 Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit) will do nicely for an indoor green house setting, and remember to mist the soil to aid germination or cover the seed flats with a plastic cover to keep the soil from drying out. The seeds may not emerge for two to three weeks. Once your plants have emerged water the plants in the tray below the planting pot.
Take care to not get the soil too wet which would encourage mould and mildew “damping off” which will kill your seedlings. Thin out your seedlings will also help prevent damping off. Thinning the plants will also prevent weaker plants, and another hint is to set a small oscillating fan on your seed tray to encourage a stronger plant stem. Wait until there are four true leaves on the Milkweed plant seedlings, which will mean they are about 3 to 6 inches in height before moving the plants into your garden. When you transplant the Milkweed, look for a site in your city yard, which mimics their naturalized area in full sunlight. Give this some thought, as if there is no milkweed, there are no Monarchs. Most Asclepias species thrive in disturbed areas, which means along side a roadway, bike path, railway track, highway meridian, cultivated garden or beside park or vacant land. Hoe the land area when it is dry to make it smooth and lump free. Before inserting your new plants, wet the hole made in the ground which will receive the new seedlings, the moisture will help draw the tap root down into the soil with adequate moisture and help them get established. Another consideration in your choice of area is that a few of the 160 species of Milkweed plant contain a toxic substance, and it has been found that farm animals such as sheep, cattle, or horses may be affected if they eat a very large quantity of milkweed. So for your domestic use, do not buy the Whorled Milkweed, as it is the toxic variety. It is interesting to note that a Milkweed species in Africa is used as an herbal medicine, and in some countries as a food if boiled over and over again with a change of water. As with most poisonous plants, they are bitter, and animals such as your pets or livestock will avoid them if they free range. Farmers and ranchers have the worst experience if the Milkweed gets into the feed or if the livestock eat contaminated hay. It is wise to note that the broad leaf varieties have less toxicity than the narrow leaved (whorled) species. The city is an ideal location, as the Milkweed is not popular among farmers and ranchers as cows are not affected by the urban Milkweed garden. If collecting Milkweed stems to propagate the Milkweed by cutting, remember to wear gloves as it is the milky sap in the Milkweed stem which where the highest amounts of toxins.
Fencing off the area around the butterfly garden protects the seedlings from the wayward Jackrabbit hopping buy, or from the Milkweed being trampled underfoot. Once your Milkweed plant is established in the garden it become drought tolerant, much more so than the seedling which will need a green thumb. Try to establish a minimum of six Milkweed plants so that the caterpillars can be sustained. Do not panic, if your Milkweed plants lose their leaves from the shock of transplanting, they will likely recover.
To keep the ground around your Milkweed moist, use mulch around the stem, and keep the soil moist but do not over-water. The mulch will also prevent competition from weeds around your Milkweed butterfly garden. The plants will grow about 3 feet high, and should be spaced one to two feet apart, and no closer than 6 inches. Check your seed packet for further information. Fertilize the butterfly garden two to three times over the course of the growing season, or apply a time-release fertilizer.
The Monarch butterfly caterpillar will not be able to eat the Milkweed plant, until it has stalks, and leaves enough to eat, about 2 months after germination. To protect your plant in the garden from pests use only garlic or neem oil as a pesticide or spray with water containing ordinary dish detergent to take care of any aphid infestation. Import ladybugs to your butterfly garden to also milk your aphids.
Trim your plants after they grow to a height of 8-12 inches, to create a bushier plant with more leaves and stems for the caterpillars. So this means after about one month of growing, pinch the top of the stem which will force the plant to begin a new stem of growth. Once your plant is in your garden, and found by a Monarch Butterfly caterpillar, the plant will supply one caterpillar with more than 20 leaves so it can mature. To ensure that your plant is sturdy for the next year, cut the milkweed back about four inches above the soil, (above where the leaves come out), so it will return fuller and bushier next year. Try to plant a variety of Milkweed species as a back up, for your Monarch butterfly caterpillars, in case one species is slower growing when the Monarchs arrive. The Monarch butterfly will be able to detect your butterfly garden from 32 kilometers (20 miles) away via the smell of the plant. Buying a Milkweed species particular to Saskatchewan will enable it to survive the harshest of winters. If you are able to get a lush and vibrant butterfly garden of Milkweed established, you can purchase Monarch butterfly eggs or chrysalis to introduce the Monarch to your community neighbourhood.
So, educate yourself, consider your butterfly garden site carefully, and with a bit of knowledge, your newly found green thumb could go a long ways to saving Monarch Butterflies. The successful creation of a butterfly or pollinator garden may attract other butterflies, or perhaps even a hummingbird or two along the way.
We forget that we owe our existence to the presence of Trees. As far as forest cover goes, we have never been in such a vulnerable position as we are today. The only answer is to plant more Trees – to Plant Trees for Our Lives.
“Every prairie flower and shrub has special insect species that depends on it for the food
plant.”The Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan, Inc.
The Monarch butterfly owes its existence to the presence of the Milkweed.
The Mardon Skipper (Polites mardon) butterfly owes its existence to the Early Blue Violet (Viola adunca).
The Mardon Moth is interdependant upon the Soapweed (Yucca glauca) a species at risk. The the Five-spotted Bogus Yucca Moth and the Strecker’s Giant Skipper also rely on the Soapweed.
The Mormon Metalmark butterfly prairie population is a species at risk dependent upon the buckwheat host plant.
The Amblyscirtes simius, the simius roadside skipper, larvae feed on blue grama grass (Bouteloua gracilis). The adults butterfly rely on flower nectar, including Penstemon, Cirsium and Verbena.
Small Checkered-Skipper butterfly caterpillar relies upon the prairie flowers; Alkali mallow (Sida hederacea), scarlet globemallow (Sphaeralcea coccinea), and desert globemallow (S. ambigua); all of the mallow family (Malvaceae).
The interdependence of these butterflies upon their environment is as crucial as the Milkweed is to the Monarch Butterfly, and as Richard St. Barbe Baker explains, there is an acute interdependence which exists between the tree, nay the global forest and the survial of man.
Alberta Native Plant Council. Rare Vascular Plants of Alberta. Editor Linda Kershaw. Edition illustrated. Publisher University of Alberta, 2001. ISBN 0888643195, 9780888643193.
Trees worked for millions of years to make it possible for man to come on this planet.
When speaking of the trees planted in the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, and those wooded areas with native growth, which tree is the loftiest of them all?
American Elm Ulmus americana a deciduous tree 20-25 meter (66 – 82 feet) tall.Green Ash Fraxinux pennsyvica a deciduous tree 12 m (39 feet) tall.
Balsam Poplar (Black Poplar) Populus Balsamifera deciduous tree reaching on occasion 25 m tall however usually 10-15 meters (33 – 39 feet).
Trembling Aspen Populus tremuloides a native deciduous tree usually 20 meters tall, but can reach 30 meters (98 feet) in height.
Siberian Elm Ulmus pumila. A deciduous tree. 10-20 meters (33 – 66 feet) in height.
Scots pine Pinus sylvestris L. coniferous tree up to 35 meters (115 feet) in height, though an exception may reach higher than 45 meters (148 feet).
Blue spruce, (green spruce, white spruce, Colorado spruce, or Colorado blue spruce), Picea pungens is a columnar evergreen conifer which may grow 23 meters (75 feet) in its native habitat, however when planted it usually grows to about 15 meters (49 feet) tall.
At the moment the Balsam Poplar seems to be the tree reaching lofty heights at the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area. Though statistically, the Scots pine can extend higher in its reach, the Scots pine is a slower growing tree than the Balsam Poplar. With the canopy of the Balsam poplar, this tree also has an impressive, and grand stature in this urban regional park with its extraordinary canopy of leaves. Towering above the caragana, snowberry bushes, and roes, the Balsam Poplar is a grand sight with its yellow leaves in the autumn. The Balsam poplar attracts moose, deer,and other ungulates, and it is true that the Richard St. Barbe Baker has become a nurturing environment for White tail deer and Mule deer. Bees also hover to the Balsam poplar using the resin obtained from the buds to waterproof their hives. The eco-system at the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation area, is an amazing aspen parkland system set into the West Swale with picturesque wetlands. The planted trees of the afforestation area, and the geological features of the west Swale combine to prevent the surrounding city of Saskatoon and RM of Corman Park 344 land areas from excessive flooding during years and seasons with high water tables.
Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so you shall become. Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be; your ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil. ~ James Allen
Trees worked for millions of years to make it possible for man to come on this planet. Yet man, who owns his presence on this Earth to trees, has been cutting, burning, greedily and recklessly. He has turned the forest into desert, until today we are faced not only with a timber famine, but with a food famine. ~ Richard St. Barbe Baker.
Bend to the winds of heaven.
And learn tranquility
Uropygial ~ Uropygium Encompassing 2:2:2
Preening, or primping in relation to ornithology means, “to groom with the bill especially by re-arranging the barbs and barbules of the feathers and by distributing oil from the uropygial gland.” Source
And what a fancy word uropygial gland turns out to be. So to discover what that part of the bird might be: Uropygium is defined thusly; “the projecting terminal portion of a bird’s body, from which the tail feathers spring”.Source
Mallard primping and preening
Now turning to wikpedia it happens that “the uropygial gland, informally known as the preen gland or the oil gland, is a bilobate sebaceous gland possessed by the majority of birds,” which happens to be at the tail end of the bird. Voila!
Without the preening, the bird’s feather’s deteriorate, water-proofing is lost, an additional source of Vitamin D3 is absent, and the bird is more vulnerable to bird lice.
So this home-made cosmetic coming from their the uropygial gland works wonders for birds of all shapes and sizes is vital and necessary to their survival.
“Fashion is about two things: the evolution and the opposite.”
― Karl Lagerfeld
Try a walk in the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, Saskatoon, SK. While there, walk past the West Swale wetlands, and observe the birds primping or preening themselves with oil from the nifty little uropygial gland.
“Think about it — do you really want to live in a world of only two dimensions?”~ Vera Nazarian,
Did you know: In regards to the American Pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos, a couple facts numbered here:
“All species lay at least two eggs, and hatching success for undisturbed pairs can be as high as 95 percent, but because of competition between siblings or outright siblicide, usually all but one nestling dies within the first few weeks.”source
The “Two eggs are laid over a two-day period and then incubated by both adults for approximately 30 days”source
And, did you know, A couple of facts about the Mallard Anas platyrhynchos:
“The ducklings are lead to water as soon as their soft, downy feathers are dry and they first fly about 2 months after hatching. “source
“Mallard Ducks will grow to about two feet long and weigh around 2 -1/2 pounds.”source
Stand firm. Grip hard.
Thrust upward to the skies.
Bend to the winds of heaven.
And learn tranquility.