The third week of June, running June 16 to 22, is Native Prairie Appreciation Week in Saskatchewan. 

Carolyn Gaudet, manager with Saskatchewan Prairie Conservation Action Plan (SK PCAP), said the week is held to raise awareness of and appreciation for the native prairie ecosystems. “Native grasslands are among the most endangered and least protected ecosystems in the world.” 

“There is less than 20 per cent of native prairie that remains in Saskatchewan,” added Gaudet, saying that some estimates run as low as 9 to 13 per cent.  

“It’s really important to protect and appreciate what we have left.” 

Gaudet pointed to the 70 species of native grass in the province, along with hundreds of species of native wildflowers, birds, and insects that rely on the grassland habitat.  

She also stressed the importance of the grasslands for grazing cattle, and in preventing soil erosion and preventing drought due to extensive root systems.  

“Carbon is sequestered by native prairie, and it’s stored in those roots, and they can also filter water.” 

One suggestion Gaudet has for Saskatchewan residents is planting a garden with native prairie wildflowers. “They require less water. If you get different species, they can bloom throughout the summer, and they’re really good for pollinators.” 

You can get a pack of wildflower seeds at the Moose Jaw Homegrown Farmers Market this Saturday at the SK PCAP booth.  

SK PCAP is currently asking people to vote for their favourite submissions to their Native Prairie Photo Contest on their Facebook page until Friday at 5 p.m.  

In addition, SK PCAP held two webinars earlier this week on lichens and prairie research at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. If you missed them, you can still watch them on SK PCAP’s YouTube page.