Beyond Your Backyard - The History of Tatawaw

By Kimberly J. Epp

Join the Moose Jaw Nature Society on Friday, April 26th at 6:30 PM for our April meeting at St. Mark's Church on 80 High St. E. as we welcome Rich Pickering and Kayleigh Olson.

A historic photo of bison at the former Wild Animal Park. (Photo courtesy of Rich Pickering)

A historic photo of bison at the former Wild Animal Park. (Photo courtesy of Rich Pickering)

Rich Pickering will be speaking about the former Wild Animal Park's natural history, including the recent renaming of the park to Tatawaw, the BisonFest planned for August and a bioblitz to confirm flora and fauna species found on the site. This bioblitz is important in the preservation process of the park. If you're able to help out by collecting information on species this summer, contact Rich Pickering at r.pickering@shaw.ca.

The Burrowing Owl was a species found at Tatawaw, although it is unclear if any are still nesting there. They rely on the burrows abandoned by burrowing animals, specifically from badgers or Prairie Dogs. (Photo by Larry Tibbet)

The Burrowing Owl was a species found at Tatawaw, although it is unclear if any are still nesting there. They rely on the burrows abandoned by burrowing animals, specifically from badgers or Prairie Dogs. (Photo by Larry Tibbet)

Kayleigh Olson will be speaking about the parks cultural and indigenous history. She has done research on the park and spoken to several elders, and I'm sure we will all learn some interesting info about this area's history - both cultural and natural.

Porcupines, such as this sleepy dude, can also be found at the park. Look for chew marks high in the trees and up in bushes. They especially love the bark of cherry bushes and birch trees. Females give birth to a single porcupette in Spring. (Photo by Patti Kosteniuk)

Porcupines, such as this sleepy dude, can also be found at the park. Look for chew marks high in the trees and up in bushes. They especially love the bark of cherry bushes and birch trees. Females give birth to a single porcupette in Spring. (Photo by Patti Kosteniuk)

Kayleigh and Rich were both on the renaming committee. Find out the reason why the name Tatawaw was chosen, and what the name means to the Indigenous community, which basically means a welcome to all.

You can find plenty of Richardson's Ground Squirrels at Tatawaw. This juvenile looks like he requires a tiny microphone to sing about his prairie homeland. Ground squirrels, commonly known as gophers, are keystone prey to many predators which also roam the park such as coyotes and birds of prey. (Photo by Kimberly Epp)

You can find plenty of Richardson's Ground Squirrels at Tatawaw. This juvenile looks like he requires a tiny microphone to sing about his prairie homeland. Ground squirrels, commonly known as gophers, are keystone prey to many predators which also roam the park such as coyotes and birds of prey. (Photo by Kimberly Epp)

This will be an interactive slide-show talk with a hands-on display. Refreshments will be served. Everyone is welcome to attend. Contact Kim at 681-3198 for more information.

Mule Deer may also be found at the park. Two healthy yearlings still with their mother stop to get their photo taken. (Photo by Kimberly Epp)

Mule Deer may also be found at the park. Two healthy yearlings still with their mother stop to get their photo taken. (Photo by Kimberly Epp)

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Epp is an Environmental educator and writer and is also the President and field trip coordinator for the Moose Jaw Nature Society. She can be reached at kepp@shaw.ca.

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