Monthly Archives: May 2016

Artist Residency Writing Workshop with Roger Mitchell

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Grasslands Weekend Writing Experience


Roger Mitchell

Roger Mitchell, award-winning poet and teacher, will be Prairie Wind & Silver Sage artist in residence July 14 to 24. Roger Mitchell is the author of eleven books of poetry and a work of nonfiction, Clear Pond, which won the John Ben Snow Foundation Prize. Other honors and awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Indiana Arts Commission, and the New York Foundation for the Arts, as well as the Akron Prize, the River Styx International Poetry Award, Ren Hen Press’s Ruskin Art Club Award, and others. A former director of the MFA program at Indiana University Bloomington and editor of The Minnesota Review for many years, Mitchell currently lives in the Adirondack Mountains of New York with his wife, the writer Dorian Gossy.

Grasslands Weekend Writing Experience
with Roger Mitchell
Friday July 15 to Sunday July 17, 2016

“It’s in the wildness of nature that we find most of our own self-definition. Part of that wildness is given us in our bodies, but a great deal more is given us in and through the remote parts of the earth. So, when we talk about saving the whales or the trees, we are talking about saving something that is or can be spiritually connected to us. I am not a tree or a whale, but I am a rooted thing and my capacity for submersion in what matters I have partly learned from the whale, to say nothing of my occasional “breeching.” I know that I am, if you will, part grassland, and I would let my eagerness to know more about that tell me how to help others see, hear, and feel what a grassland might mean to them if they would observe it closely and personally.

“My practice is based first of all on finding ways to encounter, in this case, the grassland alone, as someone trying to connect in a meaningful way with the thing being observed. Starting with our senses, we try to find words for what our senses are “telling” us. Then, with that grounding, we turn to our imaginations to understand what it has to give us. Finally, we have to face the issues of form. How can our experience be shaped as writers?

“The main thing in our contacts with nature, those that amaze and enlarge us, lies in how they make us aware of something that is larger and other than the physical universe. The grassland is made of grass, many very particular grasses, in fact, but it also spills over the horizon in our minds. It gives us the illusion when we stand in it that it is all there is, in that particular moment. It takes us away from the troubled, difficult sense of a self trapped in a wholly human world and reminds us we are part of a much larger drama. Life is larger than we probably have any way of ever knowing, but the strong reminders of that are everywhere around us, if we only look.  – Roger Mitchell

You are invited to join Roger Mitchell in experiencing the Grasslands and then in shaping your experience into written form. Approximately two weeks after the workshop you will be encouraged to return your grassland writing to Roger Mitchell  to be published as an online chapbook, which you may distribute as you choose.

Welcome evening: Community Words and Music. Open Mic at the Val Marie Hotel.
(Please note that the Community Words and Music Open Mic originally scheduled as part of this event has been cancelled. Check back for updates!)
Morning: writers’ gently guided research trip, Grasslands National Park, or explore on your own; Afternoon: first draft writing workshop, Val Marie
One-on-one consultations (please request when booking)

Pre-registration required
Fee: $65 includes Saturday lunch and breaks (all proceeds to the work of Prairie Wind & Silver Sage).
Open to writers of all genres and levels of experience
More information/register: phone 306 298-7782 or email

Information about weekend accommodation at Please book early!

During his residency Roger Mitchell will also offer drop-in Office Hours in Grasslands National Park and other locations. Please disturb the writer at work!

2016 Art Exhibitions On View

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2016 art exhibitions at Prairie Wind & Silver Sage are now on view until September 18. Plan to attend a  meet the Artists reception June 23, 7:30 p.m.

In the Cloakroom Gallery: Amazing Sky, photographs by Sherri Grant

Exhibition-2016-GrantSherri Grant, Winter Dance

Sherri Grant is first and foremost involved in agriculture, and she and her husband Lynn, along with Lynn’s brother Dean, operate the Grant Ranch near Val Marie, an 11,200-hectare spread with 1,600 head of cattle and harvesting both annual crops and forage. Grant Ranch celebrated 100 years in 2010. In the early 1990s, in a desire to show others the beauty and diversity in the prairies, Sherri Grant began taking photos of wildlife and flowers around Val Marie and soon had a photographic collection of over 70 species. This has evolved into her current passion for the mystery and magic of the night sky. Sherri continues to capture the beauty she sees in her area.

In the Museum Gallery, My Mother’s Apron, photo collage with mixed media by Madonna Hamel

Last Supper

Madonna Hamel, The Making of the Last Harvest Supper

Madonna Hamel, BA, BFA, studied performance and literature. Her performance pieces/monologues/collages have been published in literary journals such as Capilano Review, Room, Fireweed, and others. As a journalist she contributes to CBC radio and the Globe and Mail. Her radio documentaries have won awards, including the New York Festival of World’s Best Radio.  In Quebec she fronted the band Aunty Maddy and worked as a backup singer, touring professionally in the United States. She continues to write songs and is currently working on a book, Habits, Orders & Vows, about faith as inheritance. Her mother was born in Val Marie in 1930.

Canadian Burrowing Owls – Going, Going…?

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PCAP-HolroydIn Canada, the Burrowing Owl is endangered and its numbers are rapidly declining.  There are less than 1000 pairs left in Canada and the number of breeding pairs declined at about 22{8966a670093f83c9464b8ae52b3ce656760b4fe5b607ea593a95702f606c23fa} per year during the 1990’s even though over 700 landowners voluntarily protected over 37,000 hectares (93,000 acres) of grassland habitat that was used by nesting owls.

Join distinguished research scientist Dr. Geoff Holroyd at 7:30 p.m. on May 12, 2016 at Prairie Wind & Silver Sage, as he presents a summary of over 20 years of research in Canada, Texas and Mexico into the breeding biology, migration and dispersal of this species and recommends a conservation solution. The presentation is free of charge and everyone is welcome.

Dr Holroyd is emeritus research scientist with Environment Canada and an entertaining and engaging speaker.  His appearance is jointly sponsored by Prairie Wind & Silver Sage and the Saskatchewan Prairie Conservation Action Plan (SK PCAP), a prairie conservation organization representing 30 different partner stakeholder groups, including PWSS and other regional, provincial and federal groups, who are committed to conserving Saskatchewan’s grasslands.