A two-year pilot program is being delivered jointly by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and the R.M. of Stuartburn.

Norm Gregoire works with the Tall Grass Prairie Stewardship Credit Pilot Program.

“The purpose of the program is to acknowledge this really important role that our community members, our locals, have played in maintaining and protecting the really rare habitat and the species that are found here for future generations,” he explains.

Barn swallows prefer to live in grasslands, wetlands and agricultural lands that sustain an abundance of insect prey for this aerial insectivore. They have adapted to the changing prairie landscapes by switching from nesting in caves, crevices and hollows to nesting in man-made structures such as under eaves of buildings, especially favoring older agricultural buildings. (Photo Credit: Gerald Deboer, NatureConservancy.ca )

The elusive western prairie white-fringed orchid is an endangered species found in one of the rarest ecosystems in North America — the tall grass prairie. The orchid is named after its geographic location, as well as its physical appearance. The flower spike, which can be up to 88 centimetres high, consists of between four to 30 creamy white flowers, each with a fringed lower petal. - www.natureconservancy.ca

This program is all about working together with landowners, listening to each other and learning from each other, Gregoire adds.

“We respect that it's the landowners land and it’s up to them to decide what they want to do with it,” he says. “So, they have the ability to make these sometimes very minor tweaks to a land management strategy and it can really be beneficial to the community member, to their land, to these at-risk species and just native species in general.”

The Poweshiek skipperling is a small grassland butterfly species whose historic range includes southern Manitoba and the Midwestern USA. Today, there are only two small, isolated locations where the butterfly can still be found: the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve in Manitoba and a second site near Flint, Michigan. - www.assiniboinepark.ca

Gregoire works with 28 species at risk, which means they are at risk of becoming extinct or extirpated in our area.

“So, this ranges from bird life to ones that folks might be more familiar with,” he says. “That would be like Snapping Turtles or Leopard Frogs and Barn Swallows and then some other species that folks may not be as familiar with, like the Poweshiek skipperling butterfly or the Western Prairie fringed orchid, which are two species that you can find nowhere else in Canada, but the Tall Grass Prairie natural area here in Manitoba.”

By participating in the program, you will receive annual payments that are directly tied to positive outcomes for the habitat on your property. Learn more about the program by contacting Norm Gregoire at sarcommunityliaison@gmail.com

In Manitoba, the snapping turtle can be found in the southern third of the province. For the rest of Canada, these reptiles can be found from Nova Scotia to Saskatchewan. Although they are quite common in eastern Canada, they are quite rare in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. You can find this species in aquatic biomes. - www.allturtles.com