Illustrated Lecture on Saskatchewan Grasslands

19 Sep

Saskatchewan grasslands are magical, wide open spaces that support an incredible diversity of life; from the iconic plains bison and pronghorn antelope, to rare and endangered species such as Black-footed Ferrets and Greater Sage Grouse. Grasslands are also home to ranchers who depend on healthy grasslands to sustain their livelihoods. With less than a quarter of Saskatchewan’s original grasslands still remaining, there is a growing sense of appreciation for the beauty and benefits that grasslands provide to rural communities. In this beautifully illustrated presentation, biologist and environmental photographer Branimir Gjetvaj will take us on a journey of discovery through our unique prairie landscapes.

Friday, October 31, 2014 at 1:30 p.m.

Gallery Building Room 106, Centre for Continuing Education – Lifelong Learning Centre, 2155 College Avenue beside Darke Hall, University of Regina, Saskatchewan

For more information and to register, visit

Article: PFRA Cowboys Adjusting

28 Jul

Still at Home on the Range: “It’s a risky way to make a living, but some career cowboys are finding ways to adjust after the Conservative government scrapped the Community Pastures Program in 2012″ says Andrea Hill for the Star-Phoenix.

Very Successful Prairie Pasture Tour

20 Jul
Thanks to Trevor Herriot for leading a stimulating and informative tour through a prairie pasture on July 9th where participants found moving numbers of birds and native grass and plant species. The participants located by their call more than thirty Chestnut Collared longspurs, two grasshopper sparrows, ten baird’s sparrows, and three spragues pipits. Many actually saw the baird’s sparrow and the endangered spragues pipit. We also saw a nest that we are still trying to identify.  Other sightings included common Nighthawks, upland sandpipers, many meadowlarks and savannah sparrows. Although there were too many grass and plant species to name, notably, there were prickly pear cactus in bloom.

In these times when their numbers are declining, some of them severely, it was a rare treat for the senses and the heart to be guests on the landscape these birds and plants call home.  Thanks again Trevor and other experts for sharing your knowledge.

- Simone Hengen
The nest we are trying to identify.
photo credit: Betty O’Byrne

Prairie Pasture Tour! POSTPONED to Wed July 9

25 Jun

***POSTPONING Wednesday’s tour–it was scheduled for Jul 2 but we are going to give the pasture time to dry a bit and do the tour on WEDNESDAY JULY 9 now.

Join award-winning naturalist and author, Trevor Herriot, on Wednesday July 2 WEDNESDAY JULY 9  for a tour of a community pasture near Regina. Limit of 25 so register early by emailing sahengen[at]!

Pasture Tour

All proceeds will support the work of Public Pastures: Public Interests (PPPI) to help protect public interest in our Crown grasslands

What will save the Sage Grouse?

9 May

A hunter’s voice in favour of good pasture management:

What I’m describing is for that last 4% of prairie to be held in the public trust and used for grazing, but also with a multifunction-arrangement in mind. For this we need to bring key parties to the table, including the provincial government, producers, industry, conservationists and hunters. Jointly we can develop a win-win solution that ensures continued public ownership and sustainable management of our pastures for the benefit of all Saskatchewan residents.

Joe Schmutz weighs in:

Halting the decline will not be simple, but options exist. Ranchers can adopt grazing practices to benefit sage grouse. Extraction of the oil and gas beneath the remaining sagebrush can be delayed.

Without collaboration and leadership, however, this bird will be on the path to extinction in Canada


Resources Page updated!

28 Apr

Our Resources page now contains maps of the pastures and links to provincial government documents on pasture transition. Also, check out the new video on the Videos page: a talk by Brant Kirychuk, Manager of Leasing and Sales, Lands Branch, Saskatchewan Agriculture, on March 19, 2014 on the pasture transition.


Earth Day News! Species at Risk Factsheet

25 Apr



REGINA, SK: Public Pastures – Public Interest is honouring Earth Day by publicly releasing a factsheet on Species at Risk on the PFRA pastures.
The pastures are home to over 30 officially designated Species at Risk – mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects and plants that are in danger of becoming extinct in Canada.

“Keeping the pasturelands public will help ensure that we can put provisions in place to maintain the habitat that preserves these species for future generations”, said Trevor Herriot, co-chair of PPPI.

The pastures also provide ecological benefits, such as carbon sequestration by the grasses and other plants, and filtering and purifying water.
And, the pastures are also important to people.

“In addition to cattle ranchers, residents of the province utilize and enjoy the use of the pastures”, said Lorne Scott, PPPI co- chair. “This includes hunters, photographers, First Nations, researchers and the general public on educational tours”.

“PFRA Community Pastures have been a significant asset to rural Saskatchewan for decades”, noted Herriot. “Detrimental effects to the pastures would mean that the way of life for the small ranchers, their families and communities is threatened. Privatizing the pastures could mean that First Nations people would not be able to access the lands for hunting and gathering that is their right on Crown lands,” noted Herriot. “In some ways the way of life for the ranchers and the people that practice an Indigenous traditional ways can also be considered at risk.”

“People and animals are part of an inter-related earth community. And the community pastures are a rare opportunity to protect wild species, ecosystems and local economies in a sustainable and healthy community.”

Further Information:
Public Pastures—Public Interest,, cell 306-515-0460
Trevor Herriot, , home 306-585-1674
Lorne Scott, , home 306-695-2047, cell 306-695-745


AGM Coverage

31 Mar

CTV news spent some time covering the PPPI AGM. Video:

Pasture Fees: Ranchers worried about financial pressures.

Sneak Preview: Friday’s Talk

27 Mar

The Leader-Post interviewed Branimir Gjetvaj, who will be presenting his prairie photos in a talk entitled “Saskatchewan Grasslands — a Vanishing Landscape” at the Royal Sask Museum on Friday night at 7 pm.  Article here.

“My goal is, as a photographer, as a visual artist, to show people what we have,” he said, “and then in my talk, show what are the threats and what could happen to those lands if we don’t tread smartly, if we don’t plan ahead, if we’re kind of just running for the quick profit, short-term goal and not seeing long-term.”


Patrons Making News

24 Mar

Two recent articles about the pasture patrons:

- Star-Phoenix coverage of the Brant Kirychuk talk advertised in a previous post: Patrons key to pasture transfers, says Ag manager

“This is a huge, complex undertaking,” said Brant Kirychuk of Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, who gave an update on the pastures during a recent talk at the University of Saskatchewan, as part of the Native Prairie Speaker Series. Kirychuk said patrons are key to the transition.

“They are the ones most affected. They are the ones that have to put the work in to develop the business model that works for them.” The first 10 pastures are being leased to patron organizations.

Kirychuk heard from a number of citizens concerned about how the organizations will be able to afford managing the land and maintaining a healthy ecosystem.


- Portage Online claims that Sask Pasture Patrons Envy Manitoba Community Pasture Setup

SCPPA [sic] Chair Ian McCreary says based on Manitoba’s program, Saskatchewan cattle producers are at a disadvantage.

“Patrons in Manitoba will be coming in with grazing costs around 85 cents a day and they won’t have to put money up front. They’ll have service similar to what they’ve experienced in the past and they’re pretty much ready to go,” he says. “That’s pretty attractive for our members and we feel some of those components that could be drawn out for Saskatchewan.”


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