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Field trips

We are planning several field trips in Saskatchewan in relation with the 2015 CSEE meeting. Description of the different options are below. Sign-up will be available on the CSEE registration form in January.

A field tour of a live Canadian treasure: Plant Gene Resources of Canada

Plant Gene Resources of Canada (PGRC) was established in the 1970s by the Canadian government to fulfill national and international mandates to protect, preserve, and enhance the genetic diversity of Canadian plants of economic importance and their wild relatives. Over the past five decades of effort, PGRC, located in Saskatoon on the University of Saskatchewan campus, has acquired and maintained over 121,000 living accessions of more than 1000 plant species, including a diverse world-wide wheat germplasm collection of 11,300 accessions from over 70 countries. Continuous conservation efforts have been expanded into the protection of Canadian animal genetic resources. These genetic resources form a solid foundation of source materials for both crop and animal improvement for Canadian, and international, food security and are national assets supporting the Canadian agricultural industry and economy.

May 21st, 2015 (3-4pm) and May 25th, 2015 (9-10am)

The tour of the PGRC facility, led by Dr. Yong-Bi Fu, will provide a brief history of Canadian germplasm conservation efforts, a visit to the secure Canadian seed bank storage vaults, a first-hand view of the breadth of diversity within the collection, and more importantly, an appreciation of Canadian agricultural biodiversity. The tour will last about one hour. More information about PGRC can be found at the PGRC website (http://pgrc3.agr.ca/index_e.html). There is no cost associated with this activity. Maximum attendance is 25 per tour.

Grasslands and History: Wanuskewin Heritage Park

Wanuskewin Heritage Park on the edge of Saskatoon preserves a patch of native grassland and one of the most important archaeological sites on the Canadian Prairies. Walk across a grassland and valley that has seen more than 6000 years of human habitation and visit a medicine wheel, tipi rings, and bison kill sites.

We have arranged two half-day field trips to Wanuskewin for the afternoon of Thursday May 21st ($22), and the morning of Monday May 25th ($25). Each field trip will include a 1 hour guided tour of the site followed by an opportunity to explore further on your own. Thursday's tour "Kawi-ocihci (A Step Back in Time Walk)" will introduce you to the human history of the site. Monday's tour "Kimaskikinawaw (Medicine Walk) will introduce you to the park flora and the ethnobotanical uses of many of the species. For more information, please visit their website: http://www.wanuskewin.com.

Wagon and Horseback: Explore west Prince Albert National Park

Join a guided wagon and horseback trip to the wild west side of Prince Albert National Park! This field trip is being arranged with the Sturgeon River Ranch and Gord Vaadeland, our locally famous cowboy, conservationist, naturalist, musician and ‘Mantracker’ sidekick, who is sure to impress you with his knowledge of the land and ecosystem. The region is special not only as a protected tract of aspen parkland at the boreal forest fringe, but also as the home of Canada’s only free-ranging herd of plains bison remaining in its original range with a full array of native predators, including wolves. In addition to bison and wolves, you may also encounter elk, moose, deer, black bear and an abundance of birdlife. Lunch and a 2-hour countryside bus drive from the U of S campus will be provided for up to 40 participants.  Wagons and up to six saddled horses (to share time on if interested in riding) will carry us into the park, where we will learn about research on controlled burning to maintain grasslands and behavioral and population studies of wolves and bison.


Encountering a bison in the wild is the Saskatchewan is equivalent of seeing a lion on safari in Africa. (Parks Canada)

May 25th, 2015 (full day)

Cost is $135 per person including a boxed lunch. Prior to entering the park there will also be $8.30 separately collected as the park entrance fee, which will be waived if participants possess a valid National Parks pass in hand.  To learn more about Prince Albert National Park, please visit: http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/sk/princealbert/index.aspx; To learn about the Sturgeon River Ranch, please see: http://sturgeonriverranch.com/index.html, or access this recent write-up in the Globe and Mail: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/travel/activities-and-interests/so-you-wanna-be-a-cowboy/article20694871/