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As we build awareness of the incredible tall-grass prairie in southeast Manitoba, the story is being shared through various channels.

Prairie Day promotes preservation

The Carillon News, written by Jura McIlraith, August 18, 2022


Folks of all ages and from many different Manitoba communities came together on Saturday near Tolstoi to celebrate the beauty of nature.

For kids or seasoned nature enthusiasts, the tours at this year’s Prairie Day celebrations offered entertaining education for all.

Guided walks with founder of Prairie Shore Botanicals Laura Reeves and retired professor from the Department of Entomology at the University of Manitoba Terry Galloway began in the morning. Rare flowers were spotted, edible plants were identified and parasites on the legs of grasshoppers were pointed out.

Presentations from guest speakers followed a lunch in Gardenton Park. Marilyn Latta from Nature Manitoba talked about the ways plants are able to move to new locations, and Terry Galloway led a discussion, answering the crowds’ questions about insects.

The area is known for its large sections of Tallgrass Prairie preserves, which now cover less than one percent of their historic habitat. Human interference and climate change have been contributing factors to its loss.

Many different species of plants, animals and insects have been negatively affected by this habitat loss. Efforts in the area to bring the Poweshiek skipperling and Dakota skipper butterflies back from the brink of extinction have been ongoing since 2018.

Recently, the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s Manitoba Tall Grass Prairie Preserve nearby in Stuartburn released captive bred butterflies into the surrounding prairie.

The release program for the Poweshiek skipperlings is in its fifth year, with a record 191 butterflies being released this year. This is the first time Dakota skippers have been released as part of the program. Sixteen skippers were let go.

Prairie Day served as a way to let Manitobans into the world of nature conservation and highlight the importance of the preservation of vital prairie habitat and species.