Field Tour - Botanizing the Badlands
July 6, 2019
Botanizing the Badlands
Date and time: July 6, 2019 at 9 am
Cost: $10 (includes free museum tour). Registration not necessary - pay when you arrive.
Location: Avonlea Badlands, approximately 10 km from Avonlea, SK. Meet at the Avonlea Heritage Museum.
Description: The Avonlea Badlands are truly a remarkable and unique environment. This area represents some of the driest and most inhospitable land in the province but, in that Martian landscape, life abounds. Even on the sun-baked clay flats we will find diminutive but hardy wildflowers that have adapted to living here, such as Colorado Rubberweed (Hymenoxys richardsonii), Canescent Aster (Dieteria canescens), Bracted Vervain (Verbena bracteata) and Gumbo Evening Primrose (Oenothera caespitosa). But it’s not all desert; the badlands contain moister habitats in ravines where water and shade are more abundant. These areas host a completely different suite of species with lusher and larger wildflowers such as Gaillardia (Gaillardia aristata), Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) and Two-grooved Milkvetch (Astragalus bisulcatus). Due to the rarity of this type of landscape in the province, we also have a good chance of spotting rare plants. In the morning, local guides will lead you through hoodoos and points of interest and then return to Avonlea for lunch. In the afternoon we will head back out and continue to explore on our own. Our goal is to have a bioblitz of sorts by compiling a list of all the plant species that we find. This will be handed over to museum staff to use in educational and tourism materials to help bring awareness to this special place. If you plan to arrive the night before or stay for the weekend, Dunnet Regional Park (www.dunnetpark.ca) is an excellent option for camping, and the Claybank Brick Plant National Historic Site is nearby.