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Agriculture This Week: explore nature & connect with people

It was a re-connection of a sort that all of us in the weekly newspaper business can use with our readers on a regular basis.
The road allowance tour was about connections too.

YORKTON - There are times when journalists can get overly-desk bound.

That it is a condition that seems even more likely to occur these days when the job is increasingly about posting articles to the web, promoting posts via social media, and of course often turning to a web browser to aid in story research.

But, the best place to learn things, especially about local things which are the bread and butter of community newspapers, is out mingling with people.

Recently I attended the launch of an effort to promote preserving the habitat, and to invite people to use and enjoy the public land by the Yellowhead Flyway Birding Trail Association (YFBTA).

The effort, a Road Allowance Project (AKA ‘Skip the Ditches’) seeks to mark road allowances on little used roads as a way of indicating the trees and shrubs along the road are indeed wildlife habitat which can be enjoyed by people.

Certainly on the short wagon ride to ‘officially’ install a sign – a photo op for the program launch – we saw a number of different birds; a Canada goose nesting on a round bale, a coot out for a swim in a slough, a green-winged teal taking flight, and a robin’s nest in a tree.

While I am not a birder, I at least understand the concept of enjoying a hobby of which I have a few too many myself.

And the idea that the road allowances should, for the most part be left as wild and natural as possible for wildlife to use and the public who own the lands to enjoy, is a rather common-sense approach to preserving nature.

While the wagon ride was actually rather relaxing, no computer keys to punch, or email to check on, it was also interesting and not for the few bird species I sort of knew among those seen or heard.

It was about the conversations.

It did not take long after my arrival to be asked if I thought the full house gallery at the most recent meeting of Yorkton Council had collectively said enough to convince Council not to sell the building that currently houses the Yorkton Public Library? It was a question which fostered some healthy discussion.

And there was talk of ticks – nasty critters that they are – and fancy pigeons and Oberhasli goats, and how through the years farmers have at times planted trees as a farm asset and at times cut them down as a farm nuisance. There isn’t likely a story to be written from any of the conversations but that doesn’t matter. It was a time where, as a journalist I simply mingled and chatted out among rural people. It was a re-connection of a sort that all of us in the weekly newspaper business can use with our readers on a regular basis.