The following six organizations and individuals (listed in alphabetical order) have been awarded one of the inaugural Nature Manitoba Native Habitat Grants:
Friends of the Living Prairie Museum
The grant will contribute to a multi-year project by the Friends to establish a native prairie seed propagation site at the Living Prairie Museum in Winnipeg.
The project will:
• conserve the genetics of local native forb populations found on fragmented and dwindling remnant prairie sites throughout Winnipeg;
• facilitate the cross-pollination of plants originating from these sites;
• provide locally-adapted native prairie forb seed for use in local prairie restoration, management and naturalization projects, and for use by local citizens for their own gardening and naturalization efforts; and
• provide a local site to educate and engage the public on prairie conservation and the activities at the Living Prairie Museum.
Surprisingly, much of the native prairie forb seed used in Manitoba comes from the United States or provinces to our west. This project will help develop a much-needed local seed source which will result in plants adapted to local growing conditions.
You can read more about the Friends of the Living Prairie Museum on their website at http://www.friendsoflivingprairie.org .
Gerhard E. Dekker Regenerative Education Center
The grant will help support the Center’s Seasons on the Prairie educational events series, at the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve near Tolstoi, Manitoba.
The outdoor educational series for families will:
• introduce children and families from southeastern Manitoba to the dynamic beauty of the prairie, its plants and animals, over the growing season;
• increase their ecological and botanical, literacy and foster an understanding and appreciation of the inter-relatedness of species;
• promote their awareness of the need to conserve and protect this critical and endangered habitat; and
• promote community connection and mental health through exposure to nature.
The Gerhard E. Dekker Regenerative Education Centre was established by a group of mothers volunteering to address the lack of nature-based educational activities for children and families in southeastern Manitoba; see more at https://www.gerhardcenter.org .
Manitoba Burrowing Owl Recovery Program
The grant will contribute to the organization’s program to re-establish the endangered Burrowing Owl population in southwestern Manitoba through:
• the reintroduction of owl pairs and young back into the wild in southwestern Manitoba;
• surveys to locate wild owls and assess land for suitability, and monitoring of current and recently-occupied nesting sites; and
• outreach and education through landowner engagement and school and community presentations.
Two Burrowing Owls - photo taken by Walter Potrebka
The Manitoba Burrowing Owl Recovery Program is a reintroduction, research, and educational organization that was established in 2010 to address the on-going decline of Burrowing Owls in southwestern Manitoba; for more information see http://www.mborp.ca/about-us.html .
Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) - Manitoba Region
The NCC will use the grant to help conserve native sandhills prairie habitat in southwestern Manitoba and to increase the connectivity of protected areas in the region.
Specifically, they will:
• secure the 63 ha Routledge Sandhills property in southwestern Manitoba to conserve its biodiversity;
• conduct a thorough biological inventory of the property; and
• develop a land management plan to improve habitat, in conjunction with the adjacent NCC-owned property.
You can read more about the NCC’s work in southwestern Manitoba on their website at https://www.natureconservancy.ca/en/where-we-work/manitoba/ .
Pranav Sadana, Dr. Craig K. R. Willis, Dept. of Biology, University of Winnipeg
Pranav is a Master’s student working under Dr. K. R. Craig Willis. He will use the grant to support his study of fall roosting habitat selection by endangered Little Brown Bats.
The objective of his study is to understand physiological and behavioural mechanisms used by Little Brown Bats in the fall to accumulate fat reserves for hibernation. “Understanding the habits and behaviours that help bats build these reserves is crucial for a range of conservation and management objectives from identifying ‘set-back distances’ around hibernacula that should be protected from industry and development, to prioritizing the types of habitats that should be preserved to help facilitate recovery of bat populations.”
Little Brown Bat - photo taken by Dr. Craig K. R. Willis
St. James Horticultural Society
The Society will use the grant to help establish a Pollinator Berm, a project which will transform a 4000 sq. ft. area of fill next to their St. James community garden into a tall grass prairie wildflower garden.
The project will support native pollinators by “providing host and nectar plants for three seasons, and plant species with diverse morphology to support a wide variety of pollinators”. It will also serve to help educate gardeners and community citizens as a “living lesson in biodiversity, habitat restoration and maintenance, and community”. The community garden is located on Silver Avenue, just east of Truro Creek and south of the airport, along the Yellow Ribbon Greenway Trail.
For more about the St. James Horticultural Society see their website at: