Herptology; What is a herptologist?

What a question in the middle of winter, however as spring approaches ~ “Where are the frogs?” is a most excellent query!!!

“Stewards of Saskatchewan” is a voluntary program of the provincial group Nature Saskatchewan.  With this program, volunteer stewards collectively monitor population data on various at risk species.  One of these is the Northern Leopard Frog, (Lithobates pipiens or Rana pipiens) designated as Special Concern in Canada

Please report to the Stewards of Saskatchewan SOS survey, if you sight one of the species on their list.  Did you know that April is Frog month? Celebrate Frog Month with your family!  Find out how to become an amateur herpetologist this April!

Where might be one of the places in the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area where  a Northern Leopard Frog could be sighted?

The Chappell Marsh, the permanent wetlands of the West Swale contain water all the time.  But where are the temporary wetlands located?  This is exactly where the frogs are singing their merry songs.  This area for the lands east of  Chappell Marsh in the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is marked as a yellow oval on the attached map.  The Northern Leopard Frog, sings just to the west of the southwest off leash recreation area.

FrogMap
Northern Leopard Frog, Rana Pipiens Map

Just as farmers watch the weather; “In dry years, arable agriculture can fail over large parts of the province, whilst in wet years, flooding has caused widespread damage to rural and urban infrastructure.” “(Pomeroy, 2005)

So, too, do the frogs seem to watch the weather.  During dry years such as those experienced 2015, 2016, and 2017 there were no frogs heard at the Richard St. Barbe  Baker Afforestation Area.  However in 2013 and 2014 frogs were a delight to the years, especially as the Northern Leopard Frog is a species of Special Concern.  As the weather cycles in the province, it can be expected that another year of flooding may follow the very dry years experienced 2015, 2016, and 2017.  The newspapers report the flooding damaging crops, basements and highways however the glorious thing which is missed on the years of high water tables, is that the frogs come back!

There are definitely other areas, such as where the old grid road is being swallowed up by Chappell Marsh near the road turn off to Chappell Marsh Conservation Area.  The old grid road is partially submerged, making it the perfect habitat for frogs [and ducks] as well.

Now then, it would be a very intriguing for a herpetologist,  volunteer ‘Steward of Saskatchewan’ or conservation officer to engage in a project to walk with a GPS app which records altitude.  This project would scan the entirety of the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and ‘George Genereux’ Urban Regional park for altitude levels similar to the altitude of the meadow west of the South West Off Leash Recreation Area.  Other areas which provide a rich habitat for the Northern Leopard Frog could be identified in this method for the areas west of Chappell Marsh and in ‘George Genereux’ Urban Regional park.  In this way during years of flooding the Northern Leopard Frog could be surveyed and counted in identified Frog zones.  And accordingly in the years of drought, the environment could remain undisturbed awaiting their safe return.  🙂

Perhaps, just perhaps, this would be a way to ensure the Northern Leopard Frog’s survival.  An altitude test may just help to find the temporary wetlands conducive to the frog’s habitat, and could then be protected from development.  Either that, or developers would need wait until years of high water tables before developing land to determine the habitat for frogs.

Saskatchewan cycles through years of drought and high water tables.  The years 2013, and 2014, saw very,  very high rain levels, spring run off and flooding.  Chappell Marsh itself washed out a grid road, and water pumps were allocated to try to divert the flooding away from Saskatchewan Highway 7 west of the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, and CN Chappell Yards.  The cycle of very wet conditions was also seen historically over the years 2005, and 2006. (Garnet, 2012)

July 13, 2014, Emily Chan reported “In Saskatchewan, it’s estimated that a total of up to 3 million acres, including some farmland, have already flooded.”   “Highways closed and communities declared states of emergency …, ” reports the Canadian Press on June 30, 2014 due to a deluge of rain.

“From too much rain to not enough — and everyone baking in the heat — communities smashed weather records in July across Saskatchewan.”(Climenhaga, 2017)  Whereas, in direct contrast to the years of 2013 and 2014, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada reported that 2016 was the hottest year on record, replacing the record set in 2015. In 2017, “Saskatchewan farmers say drought conditions in some parts of the province are the worst they have seen in decades “(Bridges, 2017)  “Record-breaking temperatures and extremely low rainfalls across Western Canada are causing chaos for farmers and firefighters this summer as they grapple with the worst drought in more than a decade.” {Sikierska, 2015)  Drought also ravaged Saskatchewan over the years 2001 to 2002. (Garnet, 2012)

“Nowhere else  in Canada does the lack or excess of water cause such widespread concern, nor are there many Canadian environments subject to greater seasonal change in precipitation and surface-water storage.”(Pomeroy, 2005)
Drought years have been recorded as 1961, 1967, 1979, 1980, 1985, 1988, 2003, 2009.  Whereas, the flood years are reported  as 1965, 1977, 1986, 1991, 1993, 1999, 2005, 2010.  (Garnet, 2012)
“The trees and vegetation which cover the land surface of the Earth and delight the eye, are therefore performing vital tasks incumbent upon the vegetable world in nature. The glorious rich, colourful, quilted covering of vegetation is not there merely to feed and please us. Its presence is essential to Earth as an organism. It is the first condition to Earth as an organism. It is the first condition of all life; it is the ‘skin of the Earth, for without it there can be no water and, therefore, no life. ” Richard St. Barbe Baker.

Bibliography

2016 Annual Report of Agroclimate Conditions Across Canada Government of Canada Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Bridges, Alicia. Sask. farmers say drought conditions worst in decades. Farmers, ranchers face tough season due to hot, dry weather.  CBC News.

Chan, Emily.  Prairie farmers frustrated as flooding drowns crops.  Ctv News.  July 13, 2014

Climenhaga, Christy.   Regina experiences driest July in 130 years. July topped the charts for hot and dry weather in southern Saskatchewan. CBC News.  Aug. 1, 2017

Cross, Brian. Rising waters wash away land, farmers’ futures . The Western Producer. May 7, 2015

Flooding, highway closures as heavy rain pounds Prairies Canadian Press.  June 30, 2014.

Garnett, Ray and Madhav Khandekar.  From Drought to Wet Cycles The Changing Climate of the Canadian Prairies.  May 3, 2012.

Pomeroy, John, Dirk de Boer and Lawrence Martz.  Hydrology and Water Resources of Saskatchewan.  Centre for Hydrology Report #1.  Department of Geography, University of Saskatchewan February 2005.

Reeve warns flood water could flow over Hwy 11 in Lumsden area CBC News.  May 5, 2013

Saskatchewan flooding: 37 communities declare state of emergency CBC News.  June 30 2014

Sask. Flooding >Flood-battered roads crumbling around eastern Sask. Culverts, bridges, train tracks washed out over a wide area CBC News. July 2, 2014

Siekierska, Alicja.  Hot, dry and disastrous. Western Canada’s drought is taking a toll. Edmonton Journal.  July 25, 2015

Top ten weather stories for 2010: Story three. From Dry to Drenched on the Prairies.  Government of Canada.  Environment and Climate Change 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 Off Leash Recreation Area SW OLRA

Pinterest richardstbarbeb

Tagged Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area

Twitter: St Barbe Baker

Contact the Meewasin Valley Authority in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. The MVA has begun a Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund. If you wish to support the afforestation area with your donation, write a cheque to the “Meewasin Valley Authority Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund (MVA RSBBAA trust fund)”.  Post to MVA 402 Third Avenue South Saskatoon, SK S7K 3G5  Please and thank you!

Membership in the Saskatoon Nature Society  “supports nature conservation projects and [the society] is an active advocate for the preservation of plant and animal habitats”.

Please contemplate joining the SOS Elms coalition ~ an active group interested in forest management~ or make a donation to “Save our Saskatchewan” [SOS] Elms ~ leave a message to support the afforestation area  😉

1./ Learn.

2./ Experience

3./ Do Something: ***

 “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.” ~ Richard St. Barbe Baker

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Saskatoon Nature Society

Wildlife Montage. Red Winged Blackbird, White Tailed Deer Fawn, Garter Snake, JackRabbit, Mallard Ducklings, Black Crowned Night Heron
Wildlife Montage. Red Winged Blackbird, White Tailed Deer Fawn, Garter Snake, JackRabbit, Mallard Ducklings, Black Crowned Night Heron

The Saskatoon Nature Society, and the Stewards of the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation area are very proud that the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is included in the new edition of their book, “Nature and Viewing Sites In and Around Saskatoon”. The public awareness of the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, Saskatoon’s Best Kept Secret, is invaluable, and is currently the new direction forward being adopted by the Stewards of the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area.

“The Saskatoon Nature Society, a charitable organization founded in 1955, brings together those interested in the natural world. Our objective is to promote the appreciation of nature and encourage a deeper knowledge of it through observation and sharing of experience.

Our society supports nature conservation projects and is an active advocate for the preservation of plant and animal habitats.The SNS is affiliated with Nature Saskatchewan and Nature Canada”SNS

A new direction has come forward for the Stewards of the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area; to tell the story of the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area at the citizen level. Getting the story out there looks to embrace the single key concept which came forward time and time again during the meeting from all users and all stakeholders; the need to respect the Afforestation Area. 


In this regards, the Saskatoon Nature Society was way ahead in letting Saskatoon know about the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area at the citizen level.  For this, the Stewards of the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area are deeply thankful and grateful.  It is good to know that the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, an afforestation area preserved in perpetuity in 1972, is no longer an outlier nor secret, but is well and truly considered a nature and viewing site of some regard in Saskatoon.  If you have never had the chance to view the new edition of their book, “Nature and Viewing Sites In and Around Saskatoon” please do check it out, indeed.

 As the Persian Seer of the Bahai said:
‘This is the hour for the coming together, the Sons of Men.
That the Earth will become indeed a Garden of Paradise.”

I believe that this generation will either be the last to exist in any semblance of a civilized world or it will be the first to have a vision, a daring and a greatness to say:

“I will have nothing to do with this destruction of life. I will play no part in this devastation of this land. I am destined to live and work for peaceful construction for I am morally responsible for the world of today and of the generations of tomorrow.

Let TAWAMHWE-pull together-be our motto and …I pray that I may be just to the Earth below my feet, to my neighbour by my side and to the light which comes from above and within, and this wonderful world of ours may be a little more beautiful and happy for my having lived in it. ~Richard St. Barbe Baker

“This generation may either be the last to exist in any semblance of a civilized 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

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

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Our Experience of the World

when the alchemy of Nature transmutes the sylvan landscape to one vivid and almost homogeneous mass of green;…in such surroundings the mind loses its perspective; time and space become trivial and unreal, and echoes of a forgotten prehistoric past beat insistently upon the enthralled consciousness.

Here at your fingertips is a literal book extravaganza! These books have the potential to be life changing, and it is a pleasure to draw attention to the value that these books bring to homes, schools, and communities as truly, “nothing else takes bookworms on such magical, extraordinary and exciting adventures”~WBD National book tokens.

Richard St. Barbe Baker, himself, was a notable author, writing books as a way to raise money in an effort to save forests and trees around the world. There is a personal warmth in all the books that Baker wrote, in his speeches, and public appearances and it is felt that we knew him in a sort of personal way, as if we had shaken hands with him, and heard his voice; and we always have a feeling that he is addressing us in our own person.

If you were to walk in nature, and write a book, what is your story, your most vivid memory of your natural world? Here is an introduction to other writers, authors, and publishers who also have written about biodiversity, wildlife, nature, and the province of Saskatchewan we have all grown to know and love.

“I believe in the Oneness of Mankind and all living things and the interdependence of each and all.”~ Richard St. Barbe Baker

  • Saskatchewan wildlife federation book: Wonders of Wildlife – Lori Milligan An activity manual for teachers and youth leaders for expanding the awareness of nature to young conservationists. A guide book to get youth become more involved in the outdoors, which mitigates Vitamin N deficiency.
  • The Great Sand Hills: A Prairie Oasis Text by Rebecca L. Grambo Photography by Branimir Gjetvaj
  • Saskatchewan Breeding bird Atlas in the process of compilation as we write this. Citizen scientists and professional bird watchers between 2017-2022 will collaborate to map the distribution and relative abundance of breeding birds in Saskatchewan.
  • Saskatchewan nature books compilation from Eco-friendly Saskatchewan Updates
  • Nature Viewing Sites in and around Saskatoon (3rd edition) (includes the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area)
  • Trevor Herriot’s latest books
    • Towards a Prairie Atonement
    • The Road is How: A Prairie Pilgrimage through Nature, Desire, and Soul
    • Grass, Sky, Song: Promise and Peril in the World of Grassland Birds
  • Saskatchewan: The Luminous Landscape, Prairie Light, Prairie Skies by Courtney Milne and Old Man on His Back: Portrait of a Prairie Landscape, which he co-authored with writer Sharon Butala. Both Milne, and his wife Sherill Miller worked alongside environmental green groups raising awareness, and reclaiming our natural biodiversity.
  • The Great Saskatchewan Bucket List,Photographer’s Guide to Saskatchewan and Western Canadian Farm Trivia Challenge Saskatchewan published by Robin and Arlene Karpan
  • Lone Pine publishing nature books
  • Flora of Saskatchewan books and book reviews from Nature along with a number of other great Nature publications
    • Conifers and Catkin-Bearing Trees and Shrubs of Saskatchewan (July 2016)
    • Grasses of Saskatchewan (August 2014)
    • Sedges (Carex) of Saskatchewan (March 2012)
    • Lilies, Irises and Orchids of Saskatchewan (October 2011)
    • Ferns and Fern Allies of Saskatchewan (June 2011)
    • When the Ice Goes Out on Dore Lake
    • Dragonflies and Damselflies in the Hand
    • Grasses of Saskatchewan
    • Getting to Know Saskatchewan Lichens
    • Great Sand Hills: A Prairie Oasis
    • On the Living Edge: Your Handbook for Waterfront Living
    • Prairie Phoenix: The Red Lily in Saskatchewan
    • Birds of the Saskatoon Area
    • Atlas of Saskatchewan Birds
    • Robert David Symons, Countryman – The Life of a Cultural Giant
    • A Country Boy by R.D. Symons – A Prairie Classic
    • Birds of the Rosetown-Biggar District
  • Environment Canada publications relating to biodiversity ecosystems, migratory birds, species at risk, wildlife habitat and nature
    Saskatchewan wild and other Saskatchewan books. Listing from Saskmade
  • Saskatchewan Conservation Data Centre Publications Biodiversity
  • Biodiversity Handbook [online]featuring for the prairies:
    • Mixedwood Forest Society ”
      A campaign to protect mixed forest, wetland, and river landscapes—and the unique species
      they contain—in the Swan River & Porcupine Hills regions of western Manitoba.”
    • Saskatchewan Prairie Conservation Action Plan
      “A project to increase conservation of native prairie and at-risk species within the Prairie Ecozone
      in Saskatchewan”
  • Saskatchewan books Prairies North listing

So today, March 5, 2017 is World Book Day. How can we, the shepherds of the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area celebrate the authors, illustrators and books today? On this 20th anniversary of this United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Book Day celebrate, come together, and explore the pleasures of exploring nature, biodiversity, wildlife, the ecosystem to open your eyes and senses next time you are out in the afforestation area. If you are a primary school teacher or home school educator check out these fabulous activities and another 20 ideas.

Another marvelous concept would be to support a green group with a purchase of one of the books they have published as a fund-raising initiative as listed above. However, don’t stay inside too long. Don’t become Vitamin N deficient, or acquire Nature Deficit Syndrome. A most excellent way to be healthy, enjoy nature and its excellent bio-diversity would be to obtain one, two or more nature field guides as listed above,  and set out on an explore!

Help create the Saskatchewan Breeding bird Atlas with your bird watching skills. Take out a field guide, and discover what wild plants and flowers are blooming this spring. Wander among the tall prairie grasslands and identify butterflies, trees, prairie grasses and sedges along the way with the help of a guide book or two. Reading can really help you open your eyes as to what you are seeing around you on your walks.

Please advise if there are any other most excellent books on the environment, nature, wildlife, flora and fauna which should be included to celebrate World Book Day this Sunday March 5, 2017. If we get reading now, while the snow whitens the ground, by the time the crocus pop up on April 16, 2017, oh, what amazing flora and fauna you may come to recognize by the time the Easter pasque flower shows its head.

“Mid-summer … when the alchemy of Nature transmutes the sylvan landscape to one vivid and almost homogeneous mass of green; when the senses are well-nigh intoxicated with the surging seas of moist verdure and the subtly indefinable odours of the soil and the vegetation. In such surroundings the mind loses its perspective; time and space become trivial and unreal, and echoes of a forgotten prehistoric past beat insistently upon the enthralled consciousness.”~H. P. Lovecraft

“There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

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
Pinterest richardstbarbeb

1./ Learn.

2./ Experience

3./ Do Something: ***