Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas

Έγινε μέλος στις: Ιαν 11, 2020 Τελευταία δραστηριότητα στις: Οκτ 26, 2021

Global Conservationist's Roots and Shoots

So I am a member of the non profit charity group called Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. Our non-profit charity organization formed to protect, conserve and restore the ecosystems and biodiversity on a long-term basis at the two Saskatoon afforestation areas, [the 326 acre Richard St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area (RSBBAA) and the 147 acre George Genereux Urban Regional Park (GGURPP)]. RSBBAA has 17 acres of marshlands as well as 143 acres of woodlands re-naturalized by tree plantings. Some of the trees which were afforested were plantings of drought resistant trees recommended by the now defunct Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA); a balsam poplar hybrid sporting the balm of Gilead (Populus balsamifera), American Elm (Ulmus americana), Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii), Siberian Elm (Ulmus pumila), Scotch Pine or Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris), Willow (Salix spp) (Bebbs Willow identified among others out there), Manitoba Maple (Acer negundo), Green Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica), and the Siberian peashrub or caragana (Caragana arborescens).

The maples -if afforested - are not as plentiful as the other aforementioned species and Amur Maples (Acer ginnala) are only found in an area of George Genreux Urban Regional Park.

Perhaps there were buffaloberry afforested, though these are not listed on the 1972 archival list for the afforestation area as saplings chosen, that being said the PFRA did distribute buffaloberry it has been discovered. Buffaloberry is also native to this area of the province of Saskatchewan.

These two areas started as tree nurseries under the award winning Green Survival Program and were preserved in perpetuity by Saskatoon City Council. There is value in conserving natural areas and the ecosystem functions of wetlands and forested areas as City of Saskatoon and Saskatoon North Partnership for Growth (P4G) neighbourhoods develop in the south west area. Citizen science bio-blitzes help develop a baseline inventory towards estimating the natural capital asset value. Such green infrastructure provides a wide array of benefits towards climate change, to people and wildlife. Under direction from the City of Saskatoon and the Meewasin Valley Authority, citizen science bioblitzes are beneficial to learn about the ecosystem at the afforestation areas. Community volunteer bio-blitz actions on iNaturalist coordinate well with the ecological assessment and master plan being proposed for the area. Large community group citizen science bio-blitzes were planned and then post-poned when COVID-19 came along. We now encourage everyone to learn with us virtually, via pamphlet, or with small outdoor trips to learn iNaturalist and then if you wish to continue individually as you enjoy great forest walks that would be fantastic. Please email if you are interested in learning more about how to help out! Directions are on the webpages

Because there are two distinct land areas there are two iNaturalist projects:

Baker Area Eco-Quest BA EQ for Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area

Genereux Park Eco-Quest GP EQ for George Genereux Urban Regional Park

The MVA and the CoS have plans to conduct a professional ecological assessment as well to develop a baseline inventory of the flora and fauna in conjunction with community groups and classrooms as citizen scientists. After this is undertaken, then rehabilitation or restoration work can begin on degraded areas by means of perhaps permaculture three sisters community gardens laying the groundwork for food forests in addition to pollinator ribbons of native flower species. The two afforestation areas are; Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area (Baker Area Eco-Quest iNaturalist project) and George Genereux Urban Regional Park (Genereux Park Eco-Quest iNaturalist project).

The Red-Berried Elder (Sambucus racemosa) has a ranking of S2 Imperiled/Very rare. At high risk of extinction or extirpation due to a very restricted range, very few populations, steep declines, threats or other factors.

The Green Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) is also coming up on iNaturalist as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List, though SCDC says S4 Uncommon but not rare; some cause for long-term concern due to declines or other factors.

Northern Small Yellow Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium parviflorum var. makasin) It has an SK Conservation Data Centre ranking of S3 Vulnerable/Rare to uncommon. At moderate risk of extinction or extirpation due to a restricted range, relatively few populations, recent and widespread declines,threats, or other factors.

There is also an unusual tree - a cutleaf staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina 'Laciniata.') So that is a very beautiful tree, not a species at risk, unique, with an amazing leaf and was not afforested.

George Genereux Urban Regional Park has amazing Amur Maples (Acer ginnala) - they were gorgeous this fall with their their red leaves. Not many red leaves in SK over the autumn months, so it was a real treat! It is not believed from archival documentation that these were afforested, but there are coming in nicely for the afforestation area. Another unusual find for this greenspace is an observation of Russian Olive, Elaeagnus angustifolia. This tree also is mature, not native nor afforested as part of the 1972 Green Survival Tree Nursery Campaign. How a Russian Olive came to be in this park is a mystery, but it also, is singularly extraordinary. Now we find that Russian Olive is found to be invasive in British Columbia, and parts of Alberta, though it is still a nursery species. There is no invasive information for Saskatchewan which was found at first look.

In addition to plants identified above as species at risk, additionally there are fauna species at risk as well as several birds listed on e-Bird which are also species at risk. Altogether there number about 12 species at risk to date in the afforestation areas. The endangered species recorded to date on iNaturalist or on the eBird Chappell Marsh hot spot include Horned and Western Grebes, Bobolink, Bank Swallow, Red-necked Phalarope, Baird’s and Grasshopper Sparrow, Barred Tiger Salamander, Northern Yellow Lady’s Slipper, Red-berried Elder and nearby there has been spotted the Whooping Crane.

There are some beautiful mosses and fungi out in the afforestation areas if you are interested in those, and a plethora of dragonflies and damselflies.

E-bird tracks an amazing number of waterfowl, species at risk, and birds which can be seen at the afforestation areas at the "Chappell marsh" hot spot. Chappell Marsh is a wetlands of the West Swale on the north and south sides of Cedar Villa Road (Township Road 362 A). Chappell Marsh wetlands is in the Chappell Marsh Conservation Area owned by Ducks Unlimited in the RM of Corman Park 344 to the south, and the north side of Chappell Marsh wetlands is in the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area. Just recently a new hot spot has been added to E-Bird for Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area woodlands. That being said, there are starting to be birds being classified in the afforestation area on iNaturalist. e-Bird link to the three afforestation hotspots--> Now there should be another for George Genereux park

So.... If you ever around and about the south west corner of the City of Saskatoon, drop around with your iNaturalist app loaded on your phone, and help us out with a few observations here or there ;-)

Thank you.


Directions are on the webpages to arrive at
George Genereux Urban Regional Park
Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
in the City of Saskatoon


THANK YOU for your help on iNaturalist from everyone with their identifications to verify species to "research grade", indeed. Greatly appreciated.

Attached is a short of list of helpful web information and I will keep my eyes open for other helpful web sites, books and resources to add as they come up.-Julia

Well now, there is another way of receiving help on iNaturalist. User Torgos23 has a list of helpful identifiers on iNaturalist on their profile page for verious organisms!

***North American iNaturalist Guides

***Helpful journals, guides, tips from iNat users

iNaturalist Journal of Mary Krieger

***iNaturalist Nathan Taylor "Links I Use a Lot"

***iNaturalist "What to photograph" When it comes to a plant which is unknown, which plant parts should be photographed to help to create an identification

***Getting Good Photos For Identification

***Saskatchewan Conservation Data Centre iNaturalist Project


*** Asteraceae An illustrated key to the Asteraceae of Alberta

*** Biota of North America Program BONAP USDA

***Book Plants of the Western Rangelands <<-- Note to self...I need to check this out.

***Colin's Virtual Herbarium (based out of Regina SK)

***Facebook Plant Identification

*** Facebook Saskatchewan Native Plants - Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan

***Fire Effects Information System

*** Flora of North America

***Integrated Taxonomic Information System ITIS

***Invasive Species Cards (features invasive plants including thistles, fish, bugs etc)

*** Key to the major groups and families of vascular plants in Alberta (illustrated)

***Lactuca in Manitoba - More Puzzles :) - an amazing way to tell apart the blue lettuce species of flowers

*** Minnesota Wildflowers

*** Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan resources

*** Nature Saskatchewan Resources

*** Saskatoon Nature Society Resources

***Saskatchewan Conservation Data Centre Species lists

*** Saskatchewan Prairie Conservation Action Plan PCAP resources

*** Sask Wildflowers

***Trees, insects and diseases of Canada's forests

*** University of Saskatchewan Virtual Herbarium of Plants at Risk -->If a genus contains a species at risk, the taxonomic key for the genus is given

*** USDA Plant Database

*** Vascular plants of Canada VASCAN

***Western Wild Flowers book online

***Xerces Society Native Thistles Conservation Guide

Graminoids (grasses):

Boreal Forest

Nature SK Book: Sedges (Carex) of Saskatchewan

Fungi (Mushrooms):
*** Boletes of California

***Facebook Fungus Identification also "Tips for Mushroom Identification" when picture taking ->

***Facebook Mushroom Identification Group

***Facebook Saskatchewan Mycological Working Group -->These folks offer a Beginner's Mushroom ID movie if you check out their announcement page.

***Main features for identifying a mushroom

***Mushroom Expert

***Saskatchewan Conservation Data Centre Species lists

*** Trial field key to the BOLETES in the Pacific Northwest

***Wisconsin State Herbarium -->Mycology collections portal

*** Web page Mushroom Observer is similar to Bug Guide, and one can submit their photos their for identification.

*** All you ever wanted to know about lichens ;-)
***Boreal Forest Lichens

*** Discover Life | All living things | Lichens USID

***Facebook Lichen Identification and Appreciation

*** Lichenland

***Non Vascular Lecture Series by Moss Geek

***Saskatchewan Conservation Data Centre Species lists

*** USDA About Lichens

*** Wisconsin State Herbarium Lichen Portal --> Lichen Portal

The Mosses of Saskatchewan Part 5 from Biodiversity SK

Mosses of the Prairies of West Central Canada by C.D. Bird.

Nature SK Book Ferns and Fern Allies of Saskatchewa


Vertebrate and Invertebrate Species:
***Saskatchewan Conservation Data Centre Species lists

***Saskatchewan Herptiles Guide on iNaturalist by SCDC

***Saskatchewan Mammals Guide on iNaturalist by SCDC

***For bones / skulls, check out the links from this page

Aves Birds :
***Ebird: by region or by hotspot

***MacCauley Library by Cornell Lab of Ornithology

***Saskatoon Nature Society Field Checklist of Saskatchewan Birds

Arthopods (Insects):

***Bug Guide

***"Calconey" Profile - Timothy Frey Curator has amazing Gall Resources
-->Recommended Gall Identification Resources for the eastern United States Getting started - great new resource from @megachile and @jeffdc
-->Daniel McCloskey @ddennism - Goldenrod Galls (2019)
-->Tips for Gall Hunting and Gall Correspondences
-->Tommi Nyman - Aspen gallers -

***Field/Photo ID for Flies

***from @kjudge for Othoptera [grasshoppers, locusts and crickets (katydids)] For a great resource on identifying Orthoptera, including dichotomous keys, see Vickery and Kevan 1985 Insects and Arachnids of Canada, Part 14:

***Saskatoon Nature Society Checklist of Checklist of Dragonflies and Damselflies in the Saskatoon Area and Checklist Saskatoon Area Butterflies

*** Xerces Society for invertebrate conservation

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