Rare Plant Program
The NPSS Rare Plant Program is an ongoing program that encompasses many projects. Because rare plants are particularly vulnerable, the NPSS has initiated and participated in a variety of projects related to their conservation. Projects have ranged in scope from research-based to education and awareness oriented. Examples of past and current projects include:
Creation and Delivery of the Rare Plant Survey Techniques Course
This three days course, the first and only one of its kind in Canada, is comprised of classroom, lab and field exercises (including a day of surveys on a rare plant population). It is designed for professionals dealing with rare plants and is intended to demonstrate a range of accepted, standardized methodologies used to survey for rare plants. This course is based on the material in Environment Canada's "Occupancy Survey Guidelines for Prairie Plant Species at Risk".
Creation and Delivery of the Rare Plant Identification Workshop
This is a one day course to teach the general nature enthusiast how to look for rare plants, what some of the priority rare plants look like, and what to do when they find them. Participants not only receive instruction from a qualified botanist, they also get a take-home package of reference material to help them in their search for rare plants. Because of this workshop, participants have gone on to find new locations of rare plants across Saskatchewan including a new location of small-flowered sand verbena, a federally-endangered plant.
Participation in the Athabasca Endemic Plant Monitoring
This project, concluded in 2010, involved the NPSS working with provincial and federal researchers to determine the extent and abundance of many plant species endemic to the Athabasca Sand Dunes in northern Saskatchewan, one of the most northerly sand dune fields in the world. It is the first time ever that such comprehensive data has been collected in the area and the information collected will give researchers and managers a clearer picture of what exists in order to make better, more informed decisions regarding its management.
Grasslands National Park Rare Plant Survey
This project was undertaken by the NPSS and Parks Canada to conduct a vegetation inventory for an area in Grasslands National Park to determine what plant species (including rare plant species) occur there. The information will help park managers in their decisions regarding visitor access to the area.