Conserving the Legacy

12 July 2022

Conserving the Legacy: Wildlife Conservation in Saskatchewan 1905-2005
by G. Wayne Pepper
Published by Nature Saskatchewan
Review by Toby A. Welch
$34.95 ISBN 9780921104360

Conserving the Legacy is a physically powerful book. Weighing in at just shy of a hefty one kilogram, it packs a wallop. It is a pleasure to hold. And that is all before you get past the beautiful cover image of a male sharp-tailed grouse sparring. Once inside, it is clear that a massive amount of time, effort, and planning went into this book. It contains a tremendous volume of information detailing how wildlife was maintained during the first century of our province’s history. 

In an era when anyone can toss a few random facts together, throw a dozen pages online for sale and call it a book, this piece of work stands out. It rings in at close to 400 awesome and comprehensive pages. The amount of research that went into this book is mind-blowing. Conserving the Legacy was clearly a labour of love for Pepper and it shows on every page. This is a book you can come back to often when looking for information on wildlife conservation. It never fails to inform you of something new. 

I can’t even guesstimate the legwork that went into tracking down the numerous pictures and graphs that are scattered throughout Conserving the Legacy. But it was time well spent as the images take the book up another notch and add another level of depth to an already prolific work.

I especially appreciated the list of abbreviations near the front of the book. Without it, I would’ve been clueless that the SCDC is the Saskatchewan Conservation Data Centre or that ESS is the Ecotourism Society of Saskatchewan, for example. The list is comprehensive, over 30 in total. 

The title led me to think that this book only dealt with the topic of wildlife conservation. While that is true, I’d never considered how many offshoot aspects there are when it comes to maintaining wildlife species. For example, this book touched on the effects of pesticides, climate change, snowmobiles, botulism, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, ecotourism, chemical pollution, and dozens more topics. Fascinating stuff! 

This may be a small thing for many readers but it is big for me. When consuming a book that is thick and heavy, I greatly appreciate it when you are able to fold the book open and it lays flat. Few things are more frustrating than having to fight with a book to stay open every time you flip a page. It’s a huge bonus to not have to struggle to read Conserving the Legacy

This book impressed me on so many levels, as you can probably tell. If you have even a shred of interest in Saskatchewan’s efforts to maintain wildlife, pick up a copy today. You won’t regret it!


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