Saving Plants from a Hwy!

Highway 28, north of Gibbons, has been scheduled to be widened this summer. This means an adjacent area with important native prairie plant species will be torn up and paved over. Luckily, the Edmonton Native Plant Group (ENPG) was aware of this special area scheduled to be developed and they quickly acted to save the condemned plants.

ENPG contacted EALT staff to see if any of our protected natural areas could benefit from receiving these transplants. We did in fact have the perfect place: Pipestone Creek Conservation Lands, where there are areas of tamed (non-native) grasses.

So what did we do?!

Rebecca, Steph, and Felysia went out to the area adjacent to the highway and began digging these native plants out and readying them for transplant. There were many kinds of native plants in this area, but we decided to focus on digging up three flowered avens, graceful cinquefoil, prairie crocus, pussytoes, sage, and golden bean.

Rebecca and Felysia with their shovels filled with native plants!

Rebecca and Felysia with their shovels filled with native plants!

While we were there digging these plants out, there were others gathering to help transplant as many of these plants as they could take. These people were gathering native plants for their own gardens, greenhouses and even a golf course. The three of us managed to fill the entire bed of Steph’s truck with native plants!

Steph's truck bed filled with plants.

Steph's truck bed filled with plants.

By the time we got back to the city, Steph had to douse all of these beautiful plants in the bed of her truck with water to keep them alive for planting the next day.

Plots we planted at our Pipestone Creek Property. How many species can you see?

The following day we headed out to Pipestone Creek to transplant the whole truck bed of native plants. The area chosen for transplanting was part of a gravel mine in the 1950’s. So you can imagine, it was not easy digging! Thankfully one of our trusty volunteers, Adrian came out to help us dig and plant the many trays of native species. Thank you Adrian!

Our digging was extremely difficult, we spent a lot of time digging the holes and making sure they were deep enough for the plants to survive in. We then watered them all with the 4 large water jugs we brought along.

Rebecca, Steph, and Felysia after the transplanting was finished!

Rebecca, Steph, and Felysia after the transplanting was finished!

We’re hoping to get some rain for these plants soon, so they’ll grow and adjust well to the new environment. We were also excited to see bees buzzing about – a sign these beautiful wild flowers will be pollinated and live here for the long-run.

On our way home, we spotted a pair of Ruddy Ducks and a Pelican further down the creek. Felysia was beyond excited as she had never seen a male Ruddy Duck, with its brilliant blue bill before! What an exhilarating end to a fulfilling day!

Male Ruddy  Duck with brilliant blue bill.

Male Ruddy  Duck with brilliant blue bill.