World Wildlife Day

World Wildlife Day is March 3! What an opportunity!

What are you most interested in today? Maybe birds? More than one kind of bird, and identifying them! That would be fantastic to be on a bird scavenger hunt. So instead of staying at home with your “Where’s Waldo?” puzzles, come into the forest, and find birds, bird nests, and bird tracks.

Look in the bushy areas, and the swampy areas. Come out to the woods and immerse yourself in the sights, smells, and sounds of nature, and take away an experience that will stay with you for a lifetime of memories!

Download the winter bird checklist pamphlet and see how many of the birds in the listing you can see in the forest, and at the bird feeders! That is the scavenger hunt for today. If you email your Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area Bird sighting list to us or let us know your e-Bird user name, or iNaturalist user name for your afforestation area sightings, and you can be entered and be eligible for the prize draw taking place at the end of the month!

World Wildlife Day celebrates more than birds. Let us know the squirrels, or other animals, scat, footprints or animal signs you may see in the afforestation areas via email to be entered and be eligible for the prize draw taking place at the end of the month! Good Luck!

Richard St. Barbe Baker was the first person to be honoured with a lifetime membership in the World Wildlife Federation. Baker created and protected so many habitats worldwide in his tree planting endeavours.

“A simple act of kindness and compassion towards a single animal may not mean anything to all creatures, but will mean everything to one.”
― Paul Oxton

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′
Addresses:
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

YouTubePlaylist
Pinterest richardstbarbeb
Blogger: FriendsAfforestation
Tumblr friendsafforestation.tumblr.com
Facebook 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
Reddit: FriendsAfforestation
Twitter: St Barbe Baker Charity Twitter:FriendsAreas
Mix: 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 using the e-mail friendsafforestation AT gmail.com, 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! Canada Helps

United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration

“To be standing together in a frosty field, looking up into the sky, marvelling at birds and revelling in the natural world around us, was a simple miracle. And I wondered why we were so rarely able to appreciate it.”

Lynn Thomson

“No matter how few possessions you own or how little money you have, loving wildlife and nature will make you rich beyond measure.”
― Paul Oxton

A forest is a forest

 

“Trees do not seem to be aware, as dogs and monkeys are aware.  They do not have brains.  But they are sentient in their way; they gauge what’s going on as much as they need to, and they conduct their affairs as adroitly as any military strategist.  Why be “aware” when you can simulate all that awareness brings?  They surely don’t thinks, as animals do.  But they orchestrate their fellow creatures nonetheless.  A forest is a forest because it has trees in it, not because it may have sloths and toucans or squirrels or chimpanzees.  The trees are the prime players and the animals are the dependents.” ~Tudge, Colin. Page xv

“We must at least talk about the rights of trees. We must manage our forests sustainably and respectfully, and allow some trees to grow old with dignity, and to die a natural death.” Peter Wohlleben, a German forester and author, a kind of tree whisperer.

 

Bibliography.

Read more Tudge, Colin.  The Tree.  A Natural History of What Trees Are, How They Live, and Why They Matter.  Crown Publishers.  New York.  ISBN 13:978-1-4000-5036-9  ISBN 10:1-4000-5036-7  2006.

 

Read more: Do Trees Talk to Each Other? https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/the-whispering-trees-180968084/#0tof3RLaXxD0CsYu.99  Richard Grant  Smithsonian Magazine

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

P4G Saskatoon North Partnership for Growth The P4G consists of the Cities of Saskatoon, Warman, and Martensville, the Town of Osler and the Rural Municipality of Corman Park; planning for areas around the afforestation area and West Swale outside of Saskatoon city limits

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′
Addresses:
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

Pinterest richardstbarbeb

Facebook Group Page: Users of the George Genereux Urban Regional Park

Facebook: StBarbeBaker

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

Facebook: South West OLRA

Twitter: StBarbeBaker

You Tube Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area

You Tube George Genereux Urban Regional Park

Please help protect / enhance your afforestation areas, please contact the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. (e-mail)

Support the afforestation areas with your donation or membership ($20.00/year).  Please donate by paypal using the e-mail friendsafforestation AT gmail.com, 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!

QR Code FOR PAYPAL DONATIONS to the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc.
Paypal

Payment Options
Membership : $20.00 CAD – yearly
Membership with donation : $50.00 CAD
Membership with donation : $100.00 CAD

1./ Learn.

2./ Experience

3./ Do Something: ***

 

“St. Barbe’s unique capacity to pass on his enthusiasm to others. . . Many foresters all over the world found their vocations as a result of hearing ‘The Man of the Trees’ speak. I certainly did, but his impact has been much wider than that. Through his global lecture tours, St. Barbe has made millions of people aware of the importance of trees and forests to our planet.” Allan Grainger

“The science of forestry arose from the recognition of a universal need. It embodies the spirit of service to mankind in attempting to provide a means of supplying forever a necessity of life and, in addition, ministering to man’s aesthetic tastes and recreational interests. Besides, the spiritual side of human nature needs the refreshing inspiration which comes from trees and woodlands. If a nation saves its trees, the trees will save the nation. And nations as well as tribes may be brought together in this great movement, based on the ideal of beautifying the world by the cultivation of one of God’s loveliest creatures – the tree.” ~ Richard St. Barbe Baker.

 

 

“I believed that God has lent us the Earth. It belongs as much to those who come after us as to us, and it ill behooves us by anything we do or neglect, to deprive them of benefits which are in our power to bequeath.” Richard St. Barbe Baker

 

 

Is spring here yet?

How to scientifically forecast the weather with a groundhog!

“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 really scientifically forecast the weather with a groundhog???

Step One:
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?

Groundhog - Marmota Monax Adapted from an image courtesy Cephas_CCxSA3-0
Groundhog – Marmota Monax Adapted from an image courtesy Cephas_CCxSA3-0

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.

American_Beaver Castor canadensis Adapted from image courtesy _Steve_CCxSA2-0
American_Beaver Castor canadensis Adapted from image courtesy Steve CCxSA2-0

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.

Muskrat Ondatra_zibethicus_Adapted from image courtesy AlexanderKlink_CCx4-0
Muskrat Ondatra_zibethicus_Adapted from image courtesy AlexanderKlink_CCx4-0

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.

American Badger (Taxidea taxus) adapted from Image courtesy ODFW_CCxSA2-0
American Badger (Taxidea taxus) adapted from Image courtesy ODFW_CCxSA2-0

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 omnivore, 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.

Porcupine, Erethizon_dorsatum_Adapted from image courtesy Danielle Langlois_CCx3-0
Porcupine, Erethizon_dorsatum_Adapted from image courtesy Danielle Langlois_CCx3-0

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”.

Groundhog or Woodchuck (Marmota Monax) Range shown in orange.  Adapted from Image courtesy -Anreyostr-CCx2-5_3-0.jpg
Groundhog or Woodchuck (Marmota Monax) Range shown in orange. Adapted from Image courtesy -Anreyostr-CCx2-5_3-0.jpg

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 meteorologist 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

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Alongie, Jenise. Badger FActs. Animal Facts Encyclopedia. 2011-2017
American Badger. Wikipedia.

Badger Wikipedia.

Bradford, Alina. Facts about Muskrats. Live Science Contributor. Jan. 28, 2017.

Groundhog. Wikipedia.

How to Predict the Weather Without a Forecast

Meteorology – Clouds Pilot Friend.

Muskrats – Water loving Rats. Pictures and facts.

Names of Animal Groups

North American Beaver Wikipedia.

Walker, Nick. Winter and Cold Weather Previously Asked Questions. 2007 Small Gate Media.

North American Porcupine Wikpedia.

Odd names for groups of animals flash cards. Quizlet.

Porcupine. Wikipedia.

 

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

P4G Saskatoon North Partnership for Growth The P4G consists of the Cities of Saskatoon, Warman, and Martensville, the Town of Osler and the Rural Municipality of Corman Park; planning for areas around the afforestation area and West Swale outside of Saskatoon city limits

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′
Addresses:
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

Pinterest richardstbarbeb

Facebook Group Page: Users of the George Genereux Urban Regional Park

Facebook: StBarbeBaker

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

Facebook: South West OLRA

Twitter: StBarbeBaker

You Tube Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area

You Tube George Genereux Urban Regional Park

Please help protect / enhance your afforestation areas, please contact the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. (e-mail)

Support the afforestation areas with your donation or membership ($20.00/year).  Please donate by paypal using the e-mail friendsafforestation AT gmail.com, 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!

QR Code FOR PAYPAL DONATIONS to the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc.
Paypal

Payment Options
Membership : $20.00 CAD – yearly
Membership with donation : $50.00 CAD
Membership with donation : $100.00 CAD

1./ Learn.

2./ Experience

3./ Do Something: ***

 

“St. Barbe’s unique capacity to pass on his enthusiasm to others. . . Many foresters all over the world found their vocations as a result of hearing ‘The Man of the Trees’ speak. I certainly did, but his impact has been much wider than that. Through his global lecture tours, St. Barbe has made millions of people aware of the importance of trees and forests to our planet.” Allan Grainger

“The science of forestry arose from the recognition of a universal need. It embodies the spirit of service to mankind in attempting to provide a means of supplying forever a necessity of life and, in addition, ministering to man’s aesthetic tastes and recreational interests. Besides, the spiritual side of human nature needs the refreshing inspiration which comes from trees and woodlands. If a nation saves its trees, the trees will save the nation. And nations as well as tribes may be brought together in this great movement, based on the ideal of beautifying the world by the cultivation of one of God’s loveliest creatures – the tree.” ~ Richard St. Barbe Baker.

“The science of forestry arose from the recognition of a universal need. It embodies the spirit of service to mankind in attempting to provide a means of supplying forever a necessity of life and, in addition, ministering to man’s aesthetic tastes and recreational interests. Besides, the spiritual side of human nature needs the refreshing inspiration which comes from trees and woodlands. If a nation saves its trees, the trees will save the nation. And nations as well as tribes may be brought together in this great movement, based on the ideal of beautifying the world by the cultivation of one of God’s loveliest creatures – the tree.” ~ Richard St. Barbe Baker.

“I believed that God has lent us the Earth. It belongs as much to those who come after us as to us, and it ill behooves us by anything we do or neglect, to deprive them of benefits which are in our power to bequeath.” Richard St. Barbe Baker

Wanted: Squirrels

Squirrel Appreciation Day

Your Squirrel Sightings Are Needed

American Red Squirrel Baby
American Red Squirrel Baby Courtesy Dan Leveille

Would you believe it, Monday January 21st, 2019 is Squirrel Appreciation Day! On the SciStarter web site there is a squirrel campaign! All you have to do is have an interest in nature, be able to identify a squirrel (Sciuridae), and report your sighting. The squirrel family includes ground squirrels, flying squirrels (Pteromyini or Petauristini), marmots (genus Marmota), prairie dogs (genus Cynomys), groundhogs (Marmota monax) and chipmunks (family Sciuridae.)   At the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area because of the diversity, woodland and grassland ecosystems, these furry little friends abound hoarding the Scots Pine Pine Cones, and snacking down on Colorado Blue Spruce cones. It is a squirrel haven! Help biologists by becoming a citizen scientist, and increase the data and information on the urban squirrel.

Additionally, biologists are seeking information on white squirrels. If you have seen a rare white squirrel, scientists are particularly keen to learn more about their habitat and ecology. Find out more about White Squirrel Mapping project.

Researchers are also studying the colour morphing of grey squirrels to black and why this is happening. This species is mainly found along the east coast of North America, however they have been found world wide. Keep you eyes open, and see if this squirrel’s range has extended into the prairies, and if these little squirrels scamper up and down the trees at the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area. Squirrel Mapper will provide more information.

Out of the 262 species of squirrels found in Canada, there are several species of rodents (rodentia; gnawing mammals) in Saskatchewan, and of these, there are the Richardson’s ground squirrel (Urocitellus richardsonii), which may be seen in as colonies on the prairie grasslands. The Franklin’s ground squirrels also known as bush gophers are solitary mammals who enjoy the habitat of the parklands. The Franklin’s ground squirrel (Poliocitellus franklinii) once extremely abundant in the prairies, is seeing a decline in population due to a loss of environment. Additionally in Saskatchewan we spot the thirteen-lined ground squirrel (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus), also nick named the striped gopher. The Northern Pocket Gopher, (Thomomys talpoides) loves the prairie grasslands feasting on clover, dandelion, and goldenrod and will avoid rocky and wet clay-like soil for their underground burrows.

The Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger) has also made appearance in our province over the last 40 years. These are the largest species of tree squirrels which live in North America. The Fox Squirrel is an omnivore, which means it eats the typical nuts, seeds and berries, but will also forage on insects, caterpillars, and young birds These fox squirrels love the elm, balsam poplar, and green ash which are afforested at the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, and these little rodents will spend the summer gathering food, burying it in the soil in caches for the winter moths. Be careful not to confuse the more common American red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) with the fox squirrel. The American Red squirrel is smaller and has the characteristic reddish fur with a white venter (underbelly). The Red Squirrel loves to feast on seeds and nuts, loving mature forests with especially the spruce, Scotch pine, which is abundantly afforested in the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, however Red squirrels also have a taste for berries, flowers, insects, smaller mammals, young birds and eggs.

The Northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus) has a range which will make sighting in Saskatoon possible, and they happen to love mixed conifereous forests, however you will have to be keen, as they are nocturnal (active at night).

The Groundhog (Marmota monax), or woodchuck’s range, is throughout north eastern United States, carrying over through Canada, which makes sighting one of these very possible. Also called the Canada Marmot or Thickwood badger, loves to feast on Alfalfa, and lives alongside forest clearings. They are able to climb trees for safety.

So next time you are out walking and enjoying the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, take along your camera, and try to spot one of the many species of squirrels in Saskatchewan, and report your sightings!

American red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus)
American red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) Courtesy D. Gordon E. Robertson

Truly, squirrels, indeed, would agree with Richard St. Barbe Baker, “You can gauge a country’s wealth, its real wealth, by its tree cover.”

Please comment on your squirrel sightings on this web page, or send in your photographs! Do you have a squirrel story to tell?

Send in your squirrel photos to the SWOLRA or the Richard St. Barbe Baker facebook pages! Facebook: StBarbeBaker Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area Facebook: South West OLRA

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Banks, Shelley. Fox Squirrel in Regina, Saskatchewan. Prarie Nature~ Saskatchewan Birds, Nature, Scenery. February 15, 2013.

Natural Neighbours Selected Mammals of Saskatchewan ISBN 9780889771239. 2001. University of Regina Press.

Ferron, Jean. Squirrel. Canadian Encyclopedia. Feb 7, 2006.

Schowalter, Tim. Rodents Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan. Canadian Plains Research Centre. University of Regina. 2006.

University of Regina. Canadian Plains Research Center Title Selected Mammals of Saskatchewan. Volume 1 of Discover Saskatchewan series: Natural neighbours Volume 1 of Natural neighbours. Editor Saskatchewan Environment and Resource Management. author of text accompanying photos Saskatchewan Environment and Resource Management. Edition illustrated
Publisher University of Regina Press, 2001. ISBN 0889771235, 9780889771239.

Wikipedia: Richardson Ground Squirrel | Eastern Gray Squirrel | Flying Squirrel | Chipmunk | Prairie Dog | Ground Squirrel | Tree Squirrel | Fox Squirrel | Franklin’s Ground Squirrel | Northern Flying Squirrel | Thirteen-lined ground squirrel

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

P4G Saskatoon North Partnership for Growth The P4G consists of the Cities of Saskatoon, Warman, and Martensville, the Town of Osler and the Rural Municipality of Corman Park; planning for areas around the afforestation area and West Swale outside of Saskatoon city limits

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′
Addresses:
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

Pinterest richardstbarbeb

Facebook Group Page: Users of the George Genereux Urban Regional Park

Facebook: StBarbeBaker

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

Facebook: South West OLRA

Twitter: StBarbeBaker

Please help protect / enhance your afforestation areas, please contact the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. (e-mail)

Support the afforestation areas with your donation or membership ($20.00/year).  Please donate by paypal using the e-mail friendsafforestation AT gmail.com, 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!

QR Code FOR PAYPAL DONATIONS to the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc.
Paypal

Payment Options
Membership : $20.00 CAD – yearly
Membership with donation : $50.00 CAD
Membership with donation : $100.00 CAD

1./ Learn.

2./ Experience

3./ Do Something: ***

Richard St. Barbe Baker, “You can gauge a country’s wealth, its real wealth, by its tree cover.”

Saskatoon: World Tourism Day

If you have not visited already, please come to Saskatoon for

World Tourism Day
27 September 2018

City of Saskatoon, SK, CA
City of Saskatoon, SK, CA

September 27, an amazing autumn day with the spectacular colour of golden leaves gracing the river bank, after reveling in a glorious summer season with balmy temperatures from Easter through to October.  Yet check out what Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada has to offer as a fantastic #WinterCityYXE. Any time of year is fantastic to visit the city of Saskatoon.

Mayor of Saskatoon, Charlie Clark writes “The has named Saskatoon #18 out of the top 52 places in the world to visit for 2018. The only Canadian City on the list. Highlighting the opening of the . Welcome World! Come for the art, stay for the people.”

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall commented “Congratulations Saskatoon on being the only Canadian destination to rank in the 52 places to visit around the world. With the newly opened adding to our downtown experience, truly is a great place to see.”

“Did you know that Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada [#YXE] was the only Canadian destination to make it on the New York times list “52 places to visit around the world” [ 52 places to Go in 2018 ~ A starter kit for exploring the world. ]

Check out the Saskatoon section of the New York Times facebook page for more spectacular Saskatoon sights!

 

Seth Sherwood, New York Times, writes of Saskatoon; “Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque and other heavyweight 20th-century artists now have a home in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, thanks to the new Remai Modern museum. ”

Do indeed, when arriving in Saskatoon, check out the Remai Modern museum, and relax along the South Saskatchewan River Valley with its amazing beaches especially those at Sutherland Beach, Chief Whitecap Park [Chief Whitecap Waterway], Fred Heal Canoe Launch [Map] and Poplar Bluffs Conservation Area.

While visiting Saskatoon [YXE] don’t forget to check out the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, and the George Genereux Urban Regional Park, for a walk amidst the trees and snap a photograph of a deer, squirrel, Black-crowned NightHeron or bunny rabbit [for example] on your saunter.

Does this not just evoke the four Rs?  Everyone is familiar with the three R’s ~ Reading, ‘Riting and ‘Rithmetic 😉  In Saskatoon experience the four R’s ~reflection, rest, relaxation and renewal.

 

Come for the masterpieces, stay for the trees!

Bibliography

WinterCityYXE: Saskatoon’s Winter City Strategy City of Saskatoon Business & Development Planning Community Plans & Strategies

Events and Attractions City of Saskatoon

Feeling dreary about winter? City of Saskatoon trying to change thatNew strategy designed to improve winter life, economy, accessibility, culture CBC News Jan 24, 2017

Remai Modern museum

Saskatoon Winter City Strategy Update. January 10, 2017

Saskatooning Life in the City of Bridges
Tourism Saskatoon ExploreYXE

Visitors. Meewasin Valley Authority

Yard Bridget Taking the chill off: Proposed Saskatoon budget includes temporary warming huts City to follow in Edmonton’s footsteps, inject $350k into Winter City Strategy CNC News Oct 17, 2017

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

P4G Saskatoon North Partnership for Growth The P4G consists of the Cities of Saskatoon, Warman, and Martensville, the Town of Osler and the Rural Municipality of Corman Park; planning for areas around the afforestation area and West Swale outside of Saskatoon city limits

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′
Addresses:
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

Pinterest richardstbarbeb

Facebook Group Page: Users of the George Genereux Urban Regional Park

Facebook: StBarbeBaker

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

Facebook: South West OLRA

Twitter: StBarbeBaker

Please help protect / enhance your afforestation areas, please contact the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. (e-mail)

Support the afforestation areas with your donation or membership ($20.00/year).  Please donate by paypal using the e-mail friendsafforestation AT gmail.com, 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!

QR Code FOR PAYPAL DONATIONS to the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc.
Paypal

Payment Options
Membership : $20.00 CAD – yearly
Membership with donation : $50.00 CAD
Membership with donation : $100.00 CAD

1./ Learn.

2./ Experience

3./ Do Something: ***

 

“I believe with Ruskin, that I must be just to the Earth beneath my feet, to the neighbour by my side and to the Light that comes from above and within that this wonderful world of ours may be a little more beautiful and happy form my having lived in it. “Richard St. Barbe Baker.

Chaque fois que je fais les courses, je vote résolument “Oui aux aliments en vrac!” et “Oui aux produits biologiques!” Pour mes enfants, je rêve d’un avenir plus sain et sans déchet: je suis heureuse d’y investir mon argent chaque semaine.”
― Bea Johnson

 

Happy Groundhog Day!

Woodchuck Day!

February 2 is Woodchuck Day!

Groundhog, Marmota monax, woodchuck, or whistlepig Adapted from image courtesy EIC
Groundhog, Marmota monax, woodchuck, or whistlepig Adapted from image courtesy EIC

According to standard legend, if it is cloudy when a woodchuck emerges from its burrow on February 2, and the woodchuck spies no shadow then the spring season will be arriving very soon, before the vernal equinox; if it is sunny on February 2, the woodchuck will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its den, and winter weather will persist for six more weeks.

What? No, no, no! This is all wrong, it is groundhog day on February 2, and the groundhog is the one to watch to find out if the groundhog sees its shadow or not.

One problem, however the groundhog with botanical name Marmota monax, is also called a woodchuck , or whistlepig. Marmot has etymological origins meaning “a mountain of a mouse”, or “mountain rodent” a marmot or being a large ground dwelling rodent. Monax meaning digger.

“The world’s a puzzle; no need to make sense out of it.” – Socrates”

Groundhog, Marmota monax, woodchuck, or whistlepig Adapted from Cephas.
Groundhog, Marmota monax, woodchuck, or whistlepig Adapted from Cephas.

So the groundhog, or woodchuck can grow between 0.5 to 1 meter ( 1-1/2 to three feet ) in length, and weigh in at 2 to 6 kilograms ( 5 to 14 pounds). They can be found on the forest edge, feeding on grasses, dandelion, chickweed, and clovers through the summer, and hibernating in the winter. They are a large rodent, but still belong to the squirrel family.

At any rate, whether the groundhog or the woodchuck sees its shadow or not, at this time of the year, February 2, it is midway between the solstice and the equinox, the dark days of the year are behind us. There are two solstice each year; in summer (about June 21) it is the longest day of the year and in winter (around December 21) which is the shortest day of the year. The equinox also occurs twice a year around March 20 and September 23 when the length of day and night are nearly identical. So groundhog day marks the changeover between the darkest time of the year in December the shortest day to spring or Vernal Equinox in March when day and night are on even terms.

“How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
or how about:
Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam
possit materiari?”*

So however you say it; Happy Groundhog’s Day, Happy Woodchuck Day or “Felicem Diem Marmota monaxi”, have fun this February 2!

Carry on with some great weather watching as in the links below! And the range in North America places the groundhog through central and northern Saskatchewan, so keep your eyes open for the groundhog in Saskatoon. As a groundhog is a part of the Squirrel family (Sciuridae), that even helps out for Squirrel Appreciation Day, which can be every day, after hibernation, once you find one!!!

If Man is the most advanced creature in the animal kingdom and the tree is the highest development in the plant kingdom, surely the fruit of the tree, rather than the carcasses of inferior animals, is the natural diet for man.~Richard St. Barbe Baker

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Anecdata to share environmental data.

Be a weather detective.

Citizen Weather Observer Program. Russ Chadwick. Apr 24, 2014.

CoCoRahs Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network. How to measure precipitation.

Cooperative Observer Program. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA, National Weather Service

Equinox. Wikipedia.

Groundhog Wikipedia.

Groundhog Day Wikipedia.

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck Wikipedia.

I See Change: The Almanac Don’t Just Talk About The Weather… Document It.

The Local Environmental Observer LEO Network. The eyes, ears, and voice of our changing environment.

National Weather Service. Windchill calculator

NOAA, National Archives team up with citizen-scientists to reconstruct historical climate of the Arctic Wednesday, October 24, 2012

* No Title Maureen with Latin phrases on Evil Genius Chronicles.

Pressurenet

SatCam App Send in sky scenes to the Space Science and Engineering Centre SSEC, and receive a satellite image of the area in real time.

Solstice Wikipedia.

Yoder, Dan. Groundhog Day
Book Collection Nonfiction: Middle School Edition
Book Collection: Nonfiction
Edition illustrated
Publisher Stackpole Books, 2003
ISBN 0811700291, 9780811700290

Youth, Howard. Field Guide to the Natural World of Washington, Woodchuck (Groundhog) Marmota monax, Part 3
Field Guide to the Natural World of Washington, D.C.
Photographs by Robert E. Mumford, Jr.
Illustrated by Mark A. Klingler
Contributor Kirk Johnson
Edition illustrated
Publisher JHU Press, 2014
ISBN 1421412322, 9781421412320

Weather forecasting YouTube

“Not every puzzle is intended to be solved. Some are in place to test your limits. Others are, in fact, not puzzles at all…”  Vera Nazarian

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

Please help protect / enhance your afforestation areas, please contact the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. (e-mail)

Support the afforestation areas with your donation or membership ($20.00/year).  Please donate by paypal using the e-mail friendsafforestation AT gmail.com, 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!

QR Code FOR PAYPAL DONATIONS to the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc.
Paypal

Payment Options
Membership : $20.00 CAD – yearly
Membership with donation : $50.00 CAD
Membership with donation : $100.00 CAD

 

1./ Learn.

2./ Experience

3./ Do Something: ***

“…Man must resuscitate his planet with trees,

his heart with faith. So you simplified

survival’s creed. Your coniferous hope

sealed my discipleship. What Sahara

could resist your passion for verdancy?  Richard St. Barbe Baker

 

Where is a groundhog when you need them?

Can you really scientifically forecast the weather with a groundhog???

Step One:
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?

Groundhog - Marmota Monax Adapted from an image courtesy Cephas_CCxSA3-0
Groundhog – Marmota Monax Adapted from an image courtesy Cephas_CCxSA3-0

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.

American_Beaver Castor canadensis Adapted from image courtesy _Steve_CCxSA2-0
American_Beaver Castor canadensis Adapted from image courtesy Steve CCxSA2-0

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.

Muskrat Ondatra_zibethicus_Adapted from image courtesy AlexanderKlink_CCx4-0
Muskrat Ondatra_zibethicus_Adapted from image courtesy AlexanderKlink_CCx4-0

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.

American Badger (Taxidea taxus) adapted from Image courtesy ODFW_CCxSA2-0
American Badger (Taxidea taxus) adapted from Image courtesy ODFW_CCxSA2-0

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.

Porcupine, Erethizon_dorsatum_Adapted from image courtesy Danielle Langlois_CCx3-0
Porcupine, Erethizon_dorsatum_Adapted from image courtesy Danielle Langlois_CCx3-0

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”.

Groundhog or Woodchuck (Marmota Monax) Range shown in orange.  Adapted from Image courtesy -Anreyostr-CCx2-5_3-0.jpg
Groundhog or Woodchuck (Marmota Monax) Range shown in orange. Adapted from Image courtesy -Anreyostr-CCx2-5_3-0.jpg

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.

Did the groundhog in your area look puzzled today?  How did your community fare, is there 6 more weeks of winter, or is spring on the way early this year?

“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

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Alongie, Jenise. Badger FActs. Animal Facts Encyclopedia. 2011-2017
American Badger. Wikipedia.

Badger Wikipedia.

Bradford, Alina. Facts about Muskrats. Live Science Contributor. Jan. 28, 2017.

Groundhog. Wikipedia.

How to Predict the Weather Without a Forecast

Meteorology – Clouds Pilot Friend.

Muskrats – Water loving Rats. Pictures and facts.

Names of Animal Groups

North American Beaver Wikipedia.

Walker, Nick. Winter and Cold Weather Previously Asked Questions. 2007 Small Gate Media.

North American Porcupine Wikpedia.

Odd names for groups of animals flash cards. Quizlet.

Porcupine. Wikipedia.

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

Please help protect / enhance your afforestation areas, please contact the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. (e-mail)

Support the afforestation areas with your donation or membership ($20.00/year).  Please donate by paypal using the e-mail friendsafforestation AT gmail.com, 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!

QR Code FOR PAYPAL DONATIONS to the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc.
Paypal

Payment Options
Membership : $20.00 CAD – yearly
Membership with donation : $50.00 CAD
Membership with donation : $100.00 CAD

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: ***

How to scientifically forecast the weather with a groundhog!

“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 really scientifically forecast the weather with a groundhog???

Step One:
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?

Groundhog - Marmota Monax Adapted from an image courtesy Cephas_CCxSA3-0
Groundhog – Marmota Monax Adapted from an image courtesy Cephas_CCxSA3-0

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.

American_Beaver Castor canadensis Adapted from image courtesy _Steve_CCxSA2-0
American_Beaver Castor canadensis Adapted from image courtesy Steve CCxSA2-0

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.

Muskrat Ondatra_zibethicus_Adapted from image courtesy AlexanderKlink_CCx4-0
Muskrat Ondatra_zibethicus_Adapted from image courtesy AlexanderKlink_CCx4-0

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.

American Badger (Taxidea taxus) adapted from Image courtesy ODFW_CCxSA2-0
American Badger (Taxidea taxus) adapted from Image courtesy ODFW_CCxSA2-0

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.

Porcupine, Erethizon_dorsatum_Adapted from image courtesy Danielle Langlois_CCx3-0
Porcupine, Erethizon_dorsatum_Adapted from image courtesy Danielle Langlois_CCx3-0

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”.

Groundhog or Woodchuck (Marmota Monax) Range shown in orange.  Adapted from Image courtesy -Anreyostr-CCx2-5_3-0.jpg
Groundhog or Woodchuck (Marmota Monax) Range shown in orange. Adapted from Image courtesy -Anreyostr-CCx2-5_3-0.jpg

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

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Alongie, Jenise. Badger FActs. Animal Facts Encyclopedia. 2011-2017
American Badger. Wikipedia.

Badger Wikipedia.

Bradford, Alina. Facts about Muskrats. Live Science Contributor. Jan. 28, 2017.

Groundhog. Wikipedia.

How to Predict the Weather Without a Forecast

Meteorology – Clouds Pilot Friend.

Muskrats – Water loving Rats. Pictures and facts.

Names of Animal Groups

North American Beaver Wikipedia.

Walker, Nick. Winter and Cold Weather Previously Asked Questions. 2007 Small Gate Media.

North American Porcupine Wikpedia.

Odd names for groups of animals flash cards. Quizlet.

Porcupine. Wikipedia.

For more information:

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′
Addresses:
Part SE 23-36-6 – Afforestation Area – 241 Township Road 362-A
Part SW 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

Pinterest richardstbarbeb

Facebook Group Page: Users of the George Genereux Urban Regional Park

Facebook: StBarbeBaker

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

Facebook: South West OLRA

Twitter: StBarbeBaker

Please help protect / enhance /commemorate your afforestation areas, please contact the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. (e-mail)

Support the afforestation areas with your donation or membership ($20.00/year).  Please donate by paypal using the e-mail friendsafforestation AT gmail.com, 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!

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Happy Woodchuck Day!

If Man is the most advanced creature in the animal kingdom and the tree is the highest development in the plant kingdom, surely the fruit of the tree, rather than the carcasses of inferior animals, is the natural diet for man.

Woodchuck Day!

February 2 is Woodchuck Day!

Groundhog, Marmota monax, woodchuck, or whistlepig Adapted from image courtesy EIC
Groundhog, Marmota monax, woodchuck, or whistlepig Adapted from image courtesy EIC

According to standard legend, if it is cloudy when a woodchuck emerges from its burrow on February 2, and the woodchuck spies no shadow then the spring season will be arriving very soon, before the vernal equinox; if it is sunny on February 2, the woodchuck will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its den, and winter weather will persist for six more weeks.

What? No, no, no! This is all wrong, it is groundhog day on February 2, and the groundhog is the one to watch to find out if the groundhog sees its shadow or not.

One problem, however the groundhog with botanical name Marmota monax, is also called a woodchuck , or whistlepig. Marmot has etymological origins meaning “a mountain of a mouse”, or “mountain rodent” a marmot or being a large ground dwelling rodent. Monax meaning digger.

Groundhog, Marmota monax, woodchuck, or whistlepig Adapted from Cephas.
Groundhog, Marmota monax, woodchuck, or whistlepig Adapted from Cephas.

So the groundhog, or woodchuck can grow between 0.5 to 1 meter ( 1-1/2  to three feet ) in length, and weigh in at 2 to 6 kilograms ( 5 to 14 pounds). They can be found on the forest edge, feeding on grasses, dandelion, chickweed, and clovers through the summer, and hibernating in the winter. They are a large rodent, but still belong to the squirrel family.

At any rate, whether the groundhog or the woodchuck sees its shadow or not, at this time of the year, February 2, it is midway between the solstice and the equinox, the dark days of the year are behind us. There are two solstice each year; in summer (about June 21) it is the longest day of the year and in winter (around December 21) which is the shortest day of the year. The equinox also occurs twice a year around March 20 and September 23 when the length of day and night are nearly identical. So groundhog day marks the changeover between the darkest time of the year in December the shortest day to spring or Vernal Equinox in March when day and night are on even terms.

“How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
or how about:
Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam
possit materiari?”*

So however you say it; Happy Groundhog’s Day, Happy Woodchuck Day or “Felicem Diem Marmota monaxi”, have fun this February 2!

Carry on with some great weather watching as in the links below! And the range in North America places the groundhog through central and northern Saskatchewan, so keep your eyes open for the groundhog in Saskatoon. As a groundhog is a part of the Squirrel family (Sciuridae), that even helps out for Squirrel Appreciation Day, which can be every day, after hibernation, once you find one!!!

If Man is the most advanced creature in the animal kingdom and the tree is the highest development in the plant kingdom, surely the fruit of the tree, rather than the carcasses of inferior animals, is the natural diet for man.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Anecdata to share environmental data.

Be a weather detective.

Citizen Weather Observer Program. Russ Chadwick. Apr 24, 2014.

CoCoRahs Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network. How to measure precipitation.

Cooperative Observer Program. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA, National Weather Service

Equinox.</> Wikipedia.

Groundhog Wikipedia.

Groundhog Day Wikipedia.

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck Wikipedia.

I See Change: The Almanac Don’t Just Talk About The Weather… Document It.

The Local Environmental Observer LEO Network. The eyes, ears, and voice of our changing environment.

National Weather Service. Windchill calculator

NOAA, National Archives team up with citizen-scientists to reconstruct historical climate of the Arctic Wednesday, October 24, 2012

* No Title Maureen with Latin phrases on Evil Genius Chronicles.

Pressurenet

SatCam App Send in sky scenes to the Space Science and Engineering Centre SSEC, and receive a satellite image of the area in real time.

Solstice Wikipedia.

Yoder, Dan. Groundhog Day
Book Collection Nonfiction: Middle School Edition
Book Collection: Nonfiction
Edition illustrated
Publisher Stackpole Books, 2003
ISBN 0811700291, 9780811700290

Youth, Howard. Field Guide to the Natural World of Washington, Woodchuck (Groundhog) Marmota monax, Part 3
Field Guide to the Natural World of Washington, D.C.
Photographs by Robert E. Mumford, Jr.
Illustrated by Mark A. Klingler
Contributor Kirk Johnson
Edition illustrated
Publisher JHU Press, 2014
ISBN 1421412322, 9781421412320

Weather forecasting YouTube

For more information:

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′
Addresses:
Part SE 23-36-6 – Afforestation Area – 241 Township Road 362-A
Part SW 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

Pinterest richardstbarbeb

Facebook Group Page: Users of the George Genereux Urban Regional Park

Facebook: StBarbeBaker

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

Facebook: South West OLRA

Twitter: StBarbeBaker

Please help protect / enhance /commemorate your afforestation areas, please contact the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. (e-mail)

Support the afforestation areas with your donation or membership ($20.00/year).  Please donate by paypal using the e-mail friendsafforestation AT gmail.com, 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!

QR Code FOR PAYPAL DONATIONS to the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc.
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Payment Options
Membership : $20.00 CAD – year
Membership with donation : $20.00 CAD – monthly
Membership with donation : $50.00 CAD
Membership with donation : $100.00 CAD

Squirrel Appreciation Day

Richard St. Barbe Baker, “You can gauge a country’s wealth, its real wealth, by its tree cover.”

Squirrel Appreciation Day

Your Squirrel Sightings Are Needed

American Red Squirrel Baby
American Red Squirrel Baby Courtesy Dan Leveille

Would you believe it, today, Saturday January 21st is Squirrel Appreciation Day! On the SciStarter web site there is a squirrel campaign! All you have to do is have an interest in nature, be able to identify a squirrel (Sciuridae), and report your sighting. The squirrel family includes ground squirrels, flying squirrels (Pteromyini or Petauristini), marmots (genus Marmota), prairie dogs (genus Cynomys), groundhogs (Marmota monax) and chipmunks (family Sciuridae.)   At the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area because of the diversity, woodland and grassland ecosystems, these furry little friends abound hoarding the Scotch Pine Pine Cones, and snacking down on Colorado Blue Spruce cones. It is a squirrel haven! Help biologists by becoming a citizen scientist, and increase the data and information on the urban squirrel.

Additionally, biologists are seeking information on white squirrels. If you have seen a rare white squirrel, scientists are particularly keen to learn more about their habitat and ecology. Find out more about White Squirrel Mapping project.

Researchers are also studying the colour morphing of grey squirrels to black and why this is happening. This species is mainly found along the east coast of North America, however they have been found world wide. Keep you eyes open, and see if this squirrel’s range has extended into the prairies, and if these little squirrels scamper up and down the trees at the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area. Squirrel Mapper will provide more information.

Out of the 262 species of squirrels found in Canada, there are several species of rodents (rodentia; gnawing mammals) in Saskatchewan, and of these, there are the Richardson’s ground squirrel (Urocitellus richardsonii), which may be seen in as colonies on the prairie grasslands. The Franklin’s ground squirrels also known as bush gophers are solitary mammals who enjoy the habitat of the parklands. The Franklin’s ground squirrel (Poliocitellus franklinii) once extremely abundant in the prairies, is seeing a decline in population due to a loss of environment. Additionally in Saskatchewan we spot the thirteen-lined ground squirrel (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus), also nick named the striped gopher. The Northern Pocket Gopher, (Thomomys talpoides) loves the prairie grasslands feasting on clover, dandelion, and goldenrod and will avoid rocky and wet clay-like soil for their underground burrows.

The Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger) has also made appearance in our province over the last 40 years. These are the largest species of tree squirrels which live in North America. The Fox Squirrel is an omnivore, which means it eats the typical nuts, seeds and berries, but will also forage on insects, caterpillars, and young birds These fox squirrels love the elm, balsam poplar, and green ash which are afforested at the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, and these little rodents will spend the summer gathering food, burying it in the soil in caches for the winter moths.. Be careful not to confuse the more common American red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) with the fox squirrel. The American Red squirrel is smaller and has the characteristic reddish fur with a white venter (underbelly). The Red Squirrel loves to feast on seeds and nuts, loving mature forests with especially the spruce, Scotch pine, which is abundantly afforested in the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, however Red squirrels also have a taste for berries, flowers, insects, smaller mammals, young birds and eggs.

American Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus),
American Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus), Courtesy Cephus

The Northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus) has a range which will make sighting in Saskatoon possible, and they happen to love mixed conifereous forests, however you will have to be keen, as they are nocturnal (active at night).

The Groundhog (Marmota monax), or woodchuck’s range, is throughout north eastern United States, carrying over through Canada, which makes sighting one of these very possible. Also called the Canada Marmot or Thickwood badger, loves to feast on Alfalfa, and lives alongside forest clearings. They are able to climb trees for safety.

So next time you are out walking and enjoying the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, take along your camera, and try to spot one of the many species of squirrels in Saskatchewan, and report your sightings!

American red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus)
American red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) Courtesy D. Gordon E. Robertson

Truly, squirrels, indeed, would agree with Richard St. Barbe Baker, “You can gauge a country’s wealth, its real wealth, by its tree cover.”

Please comment on your squirrel sightings on this web page, or send in your photographs! Do you have a squirrel story to tell?

Send in your squirrel photos to the SWOLRA or the Richard St. Barbe Baker facebook pages! Facebook: StBarbeBaker Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area Facebook: South West OLRA

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Banks, Shelley. Fox Squirrel in Regina, Saskatchewan. Prarie Nature~ Saskatchewan Birds, Nature, Scenery. February 15, 2013.

Natural Neighbours Selected Mammals of Saskatchewan ISBN 9780889771239. 2001. University of Regina Press.

Ferron, Jean. Squirrel. Canadian Encyclopedia. Feb 7, 2006.

Schowalter, Tim. Rodents Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan. Canadian Plains Research Centre. University of Regina. 2006.

University of Regina. Canadian Plains Research Center Title Selected Mammals of Saskatchewan. Volume 1 of Discover Saskatchewan series: Natural neighbours Volume 1 of Natural neighbours. Editor Saskatchewan Environment and Resource Management. author of text accompanying photos Saskatchewan Environment and Resource Management. Edition illustrated
Publisher University of Regina Press, 2001. ISBN 0889771235, 9780889771239.

Wikipedia: Richardson Ground Squirrel | Eastern Gray Squirrel | Flying Squirrel | Chipmunk | Prairie Dog | Ground Squirrel | Tree Squirrel | Fox Squirrel | Franklin’s Ground Squirrel | Northern Flying Squirrel | Thirteen-lined ground squirrel

For more information:

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′
Addresses:
Part SE 23-36-6 – Afforestation Area – 241 Township Road 362-A
Part SW 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

Pinterest richardstbarbeb

Facebook Group Page: Users of the George Genereux Urban Regional Park

Facebook: StBarbeBaker

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

Facebook: South West OLRA

Twitter: StBarbeBaker

Please help protect / enhance /commemorate your afforestation areas, please contact the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. (e-mail)

Support the afforestation areas with your donation or membership ($20.00/year).  Please donate by paypal using the e-mail friendsafforestation AT gmail.com, 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!

QR Code FOR PAYPAL DONATIONS to the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc.
Paypal

Payment Options
Membership : $20.00 CAD – year
Membership with donation : $20.00 CAD – monthly
Membership with donation : $50.00 CAD
Membership with donation : $100.00 CAD
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