Duck Mountain Provincial Park

Duck Mountain Provincial Park

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Interpretive Programs

Duck Mountain Provincial Park is a forest park lying on the prairie's doorstep.  Located 24 kilometres east of Kamsack on Highway #57, the park protects Saskatchewan's southern most extension of the boreal forest.  White spruce, aspen, and birch combine to create a northern feeling a stone's throw from fields of wheat.

The combination of its forests and its location on the eastern edge of the Duck Mountain Uplands gives the park a diversity of plant and animal life that is one of the richest in the province.  As an outdoor classroom, it offers opportunities to learn about boreal forest, black bears, and birds.

The park's education programs have been designed to feature the boreal nature of Duck Mountain Provincial Park.  They strive to reveal the diversity of plants and animals that are protected in this natural environment park.  Each program is designed for a particular grade level and ties in with a science curriculum core unit of study.  The programs seek to offer a first-hand nature experience that will open the doors to a lifetime of understanding.

The following information provides a guide to the learning opportunities available to visiting schools during the months of May and June.  During the remaining months of the year, groups are still welcome to visit the park.  If you would like more information on opportunities throughout the year contact the park directly.

The Basics of Boreal

The forests of Duck Mountain Provincial Park are a southern representation of the vast boreal forest that stretches across three-quarters of Canada.  A mixture of deciduous and coniferous trees, the boreal forest takes on its own unique character in Duck Mountain Provincial Park.

The suppression of wild fire and periods of logging in the last 100 years have resulted in a forest dominated by strands of trembling aspen over 90 years of age.  Becoming increasingly rare beyond provincial park boundaries, old-growth trembling aspen forests house one of the richest ecosystems in the park.  More species of plants grow in old growth aspen forests, including many species of lichens and mosses that only grow on the dead and fallen branches of mature aspen.  Aspen old growth also supports more bird species than other forest types in the park.

Grassland Ghosts

While predominantly forested, Duck Mountain Provincial Park harbours isolated pockets of native grassland.  In Little Boggy Creek Valley in the south-east corner of the park, prairie remnants are coloured in flowers and grasses that are becoming increasingly rare outside protected areas.  The hot, dry conditions on the south-facing slopes of the valley discourage the growth of trees and the prairie community thrives.  Controlled burning of this area keeps the aspen forests at bay and preserves an ecosystem that once dominated the prairie.

Biodiversity at its Best

The southern location of the park’s boreal forest, combined with its location on the western edge of the Duck Mountain Uplands, results in a richness of plant and animal life that can only be appreciated by a visit to the park.  Over 180 species of birds and 35 species of mammals make the park their home.

Such a wealth of life is possible because of the variety of very different settings or ecosystems found within the park.  In addition to old growth aspen forests and grassland remnants, there are forests of white spruce and balsam fir, calcareous fens, black spruce bogs, paper birch stands, and lake shorelines that extend for miles.

Boreal Neighbourhood

Suggested Grade Levels: 1 - 3
Duration: 1.5 hours
Location: Boreal Forest Trail
Curriculum Connections:
Grade 1 - Animals, Plants, Earth and Senses
Grade 2 - Habitats
Grade 3 - Animals, Plant Structures and Adaptations

Description:  students walk an easy one kilometre trail to learn about the animals that live in the park, the habitats they need to live in, and the signs they leave behind.

Beating the Bushes for Bears

Suggested Grade Levels: 1 - 6
Duration: 1.5 hours
Location: Pickerel Point - St.  Michael's Camp Trail
Curriculum Connections:
Grade 1 - Animals
Grade 2 - Habitats
Grade 3 - Animals
Grade 4 - Vertebrates and Invertebrates
Grade 5 - Communities and Ecosystems
Grade 6 - Ecosystems, Animal Adaptations
Duration: 1.5 - 2 hours

Description: Black Bears and boreal forest go hand in hand.  After a short introduction to the black bear and its ecology, students walk a forest trail to see first hand the type of habitat the black bear prefers, what it like to eat, and how it lives out its life in Duck Mountain Provincial Park.

Program Choices

Aquatic Explorers I (Grades 1-3)
Aquatic Explorers II (Grades 4-6)
Aquatic Explorers III (Grades 7-9)
Duration: 1-1.5 hours
Location: Boreal Forest Trail Boardwalk or Little Boggy Creek
Curriculum Connections:
Grade 1 - Animals
Grade 2 - Habitats
Grade 3 - Animals, Plant Structure and Adaptations
Grade 4 - Plant Diversity, Vertebrates and Invertebrates
Grade 5 - Communities & Ecosystems
Grade 6 - Ecosystems, Animal Adaptations
Grade 7 - Basics of Life
Grade 8 - Adaptation and Succession, Solutions
Grade 9 - Diversity of Life

Description:  Through a "critter dipping" exercise and other activities adequate to different grade levels, students will investigate an aquatic habitat and the importance of this environment for the biodiversity of Duck Mountain Provincial Park.

Forest Mosaic Mysteries

Suggested Grade Levels: 4-6
Duration: 1.5-2 hours
Location: Woodland Trail
Curriculum Connections:
Grade 4 - Plant Diversity, Vertebrates and Invertebrates
Grade 5 - Communities & Ecosystems, Plant Structure & Diversity
Grade 6 - Ecosystems

Description: Students experience the park's boreal forest, the tree characters that make it up, the flavour of the forest that they create, and the diverse array of plants and animals that make its shelter their home.

Old Growth - Saskatchewan Style

Suggested Grade Levels: 7 - 9
Duration: 1.5 - 2 hours
Location: Depends on road conditions
Curriculum Connections:
Grade 7 - The Land, The basics of Life
Grade 8 - Adaptation & Succession
Grade 9 - Saskatchewan The environment, Diversity of Life

Description: A simplified field study, this program takes the students to three types of aspen forest where they can make comparisons and contrasts in forest structure and plant and animal diversity.  The nature of old-growth aspen forests and their value will be revealed.

Grassland Ghosts of Duck Mountain Provincial Park

Suggested Grade Levels: 7 - 9
Duration: 1.5 - 2 hours
Location: Little Boggy Creek Valley
Grade 7 - The Land, The basics of Life
Grade 8 - Adaptation & Succession
Grade 9 - Saskatchewan The environment, Diversity of Life

Description: The students will travel to the grassland remnants of Little Boggy Creek Valley.  They will do a simplified field study to learn about types of plants found here, the danger facing the existence of this disappearing ecosystem, and park management strategies to maintain its health.

Planning Your Trip

The programs listed are provided by the Duck Mountain Provincial Park visitor Program staff.  Programs are booked on a first come first serve basis and it is recommended that you book early to ensure your preferred date and time.  Programs must be booked by completing the Program Registration Form.

Cost of program: there is a fee of $1.00 per student per program.  There are no fees for teachers or chaperones - fees for programs are due upon arrival.

Your Responsibilities

Group leaders are responsible for ensuring that groups arrive on time and are fully prepared to participate in scheduled activities.

Each Program can accommodate about 25 students.  Most of the programs work better for smaller groups.  If there are more than 25 students in one party, for example, we recommend dividing the group in two.

If your group must be divided, chaperons will need to supervise the group that is not with the interpreter.

Maintaining discipline is the responsibility of teachers and chaperons.  In the event that a group's behaviour is so disruptive that it interferes with the activity, the program will be terminated.

Adequate supervision means a ration of at least one chaperon per 15 students.  One adult for every six primary level children is desirable.

What to Wear/What to Bring

Bring clothing and footwear suitable for outdoor activity and:

  • Jackets for those unpredictable and inclement days
  • Insect repellent
  • Sun screen
  • Water bottles
  • Day pack and lunch (if applicable)
  • First aid kit
  • Outdoor study aids (magnifying lens, binoculars, etc.)