This week is Native Prairie Appreciation Week, with Saskatchewan residents asked to recognize how much the native grasslands give back to the province.

Saskatchewan's grasslands play an important part in the agricultural industry, providing feed for numerous cattle and other livestock.

Manager of the Saskatchewan Prairie Conservation Action Plan Carolyn Gaudet talks about the importance of protecting the province's grasslands.

"Native grasslands are among the most endangered and least protected ecosystems in the world. So in Saskatchewan, we have less than 20 per cent of our native prairie, and some estimates indicate that it might be as low as 9 to 13 per cent. So it's really important to protect what we have left and appreciate it."

Those native prairies also help out in a number of ways, with Gaudet listing a few.

"Some of the things that they can do for us are ecological goods and services. Examples of ecological goods and services are like carbon sequestration, water retention, like a native prairie, has very deep, extensive root systems that go several meters on the ground and so they can really hold the soil in place and prevent erosion during heavy rain events and things like that. They're also very good for water filtration."

People should learn just what prairies hold in order to know how to best help them in the future.

"For a more kind of local or urban setting, there's kind of a recent push to add native wildflowers to urban centres or to urban landscaping," said Gaudet. "So these species of flowers are beautiful, they're really good for pollinators, they're drought resistant and they're usually perennial, so they come back year after year, and so it's a good option for kind of our variable climate."

"Another thing that people can do is kind of get out and explore, and if you don't know where to look or don't know where to go, there's usually like a local nature society or a naturalist group that does tours that could bring people out and teach someone about birds or grasses or flowers and things like that and get them to experience native prairie."

She also recommends people help out and support the cattle industry.

"A lot of our remaining native prairie is privately owned by cattle producers and so that cattle provides that grazing disturbance that the grasslands kind of evolved with and need to thrive," said Gaudet. "So cattle kind of provide that disturbance that the bison used to and so by supporting the cattle industry, you can kind of ensure that there'll be cattle on the landscape and also that those native prairie remnants are taken care of."