Out to pasture: exploring use, value, and meaning in Saskatchewan’s former public pastures
Although there is an ever-growing body of evidence on the ecological value of grasslands, and increasing concern for what remains, loss of native prairie continues. This practicum traces the course of this loss over the last 150 years, in part by looking at the history of the former public pastures of Saskatchewan. As some of the largest remnants of native prairie in the province, the pastures are examples of our changing values and perception of the prairie landscape, but they are also places of great potential for ecological engagement and education about the local landscape. In this way, they become a lens through which to view both our recent ecological and social past, and our possible future. Working with concepts from the field of environmental aesthetics, this practicum examines the role that Landscape Architecture can play in supporting grassland conservation efforts. In order to save the prairie that remains, we need more people to want to save it, and this practicum explores how to reveal the gifts of the grasslands to a greater part of the population. In doing so, it navigates how design can help to save an endangered landscape. While the work is focused on prairie remnants of Saskatchewan, the relationship between design and conservation could be expanded and applied beyond the provincial borders.