About Us

Groovy Grassland Animation

Scroll over each animal below to see a brief write-up. For more information click on the animal to see its page in our area wildlife section.

 

For more information on grasslands and answers to questions that kids like you have asked, see details below.  Also check out the grassland section on our Links page. 

 

 Did you know that if you live in or around Calgary you are a member of a grassland community? Here are a few questions kids like you have asked about their home turf.

What are Grasslands? 
Why are the grasslands disappearing?
Want to know what kinds of plants and animals live on the grassland?
Why aren’t there very many trees on grasslands? 
Why should we protect grassland?
What can I do to help?


 What are Grasslands?

Grasslands are one of Alberta’s six bioregions.  Bioregions are geographical regions defined by similar biological components and landscapes.

Grasslands are so much more than what you see in your front yard, or at the park. They have hundreds of different plants, mammals, birds and insects. Grasslands can be found all over the world, but they are called different names in different places.  In North America, grasslands are known as “prairie”, in Asia they are “steppe”, in South America the “pampas" and in Africa, the “veldt.”

 Why are the grasslands disappearing?
The soil in grassland is dark brown. This makes it perfect for growing plants that we eat, like wheat or barley. This means most of the world’s grassland is being used to grow food, or for grazing animals like cows. This leaves no room for the plants and animals that would normally live there.

 Want to know what kinds of plants and animals live on the grassland?

Grasslands are home to many different plants, mammals, birds, and insects. Check out our Groovy Grassland Animation above to see who lives at the Cross Conservation Area.

Or for a complete list of Cross Conservation Area species visit our wildlife and plant lists.

    Why aren’t there very many trees on grasslands? 
Grasslands get more rain than a desert, but not enough for a forest to grow. Trees need lots of water in order to survive. Grasslands have two main seasons. When they grow, and when they don’t! In countries like Canada, the plants in the grassland don’t grow in the winter, because it is too cold. In warmer places, the plants grow when the weather is rainy, but not when the weather is really hot and dry.   

 Why should we protect grassland?

  1. The plants that naturally grow in these areas (ones that weren’t planted by people) are called native plants, and they protect the soil from erosion.  Erosion occurs when wind and water carry the dirt away, so nothing can grow.
  2. Native plants are more resistant to drought. In years when there is not much rain, the native plants will survive, and non native plants we have planted will die.
  3. The native grasses also provide places for animals and birds to live.
  4. They provide the food that all the creatures in a grassland ecosystem need to survive! If we take out all the native plants, the deer, mice, bears, butterflies and everything else that lives there will die.

 What can you do to help?
Exactly what you’re doing now!

  1. Learn more about grasslands, so you can tell other people how important they are.
  2. If you visit a grassland, like the Cross Conservation Area, stay on the trails, so you don’t squish the plants.
  3. Don’t take any flowers or plants home with you, and don’t leave any garbage behind.
  4. Try not to disturb wildlife; you can watch them from a distance.

 

By following these rules, the grasslands will still be around for people in the future!

area wildlife + plants

Cow Parsnip
Heracleum lanatum
Very large leaves that are compound, in threes (can be up to 30cm long).  Flowers are white, in umbrella shaped clusters.  Strong smelling plant.
Click on Area Plants
to find out more.
Click on Area Wildlife
to find out more.

Our Sponsors & Partners