Restoring the Future:  Native Plants in Our Changing Climate

Dr. Richard Hebda

The future holds many changes in our landscapes and their ecology.  How will our native plant species, their plant communities and our relationships to them change in response?

What can we do to preserve native plant biodiversity, and work with it to foster new landscapes rooted in the rich legacy of the past?

How can we help our native species to adapt to climate change?

Richard will review climate change in the Columbia Basin, and specifically, explore how our regional landscape may be altered.

With this understanding, he will explore ways by which we can mitigate adverse ecological changes in native ecosystems and even help reduce the impacts and degree of climate change.


Art Show Invitation Postcard 2You are cordially invited to the Reception for our art exhibit, called “Discover Art” Art Show & Fundraiser.  The Reception in this Friday Evening, June 3, from 6-8 PM, and it is at the Castlegar & District Public Library (1005 3rd Street).  This event is timed with Sunfest in Castlegar, and the Library will be open and having a book sale at the same time as the Reception!  See other Sunfest details at:

The Reception is family-friendly, with scrumptious desserts by Kim’s Creations, and is proudly sponsored by the Live in the Koots Team with Fair Realty!

This art exhibit is gorgeous, and the artists, including Googe Koochin, Tanya Pixie Johnson, Ladalove, Heather MacAskill, Mary Kate Woodward, Eva Johansson, Valerie Huff, and the kids in Barb Archibald’s Grade K/1 Class at Robson Community School have delivered a wide range of pieces, using watercolour, oil, acrylic, and aerosol paints, inks and pastels, silk screen and paper cutout, on paper, canvas, and wood!  Plus photographs, some up-close, some with pollinators, and all beautiful!!

If you can’t come to the Reception, please come see the show during its run at the Library from May 26 – June 16, 2016!  We’re getting all the works and a price list on own KNPS website (, so just in case you miss the show, you can check it out online and put in your order.  We would be happy to ship you your new camas artwork for the price of the piece plus shipping!  Prices range from $40 – $350.

Yes, the majority of the works are for sale!  Proceeds from the sale of the artwork will directly support the camas lilies in the new Camas Conservation Area in Millennium Park, Castlegar.  Please help us to protect, conserve, and restore the imperiled camas populations in the West Kootenay by buying original art.  Did I mention that the show is exquisite?!  Please bring cash or your debit card as the Library cannot accept credit.

I hope to see you all there!


Brenda Beckwith
President, Kootenay Native Plant Society



Hello folks!  Well, here we are in May already!  The saskatoon (Amelanchier alnifolia) blossoms around the southwestern slopes of Mt. Sentinel have come and gone, and the camas (Camassia quamash) is ready for its summer rest too.  El Niño has resulted in a floral eruption, both ornamental and native, this spring and the show continues.  May is the busiest month for the Kootenay Native Plant Society, hands-down (in the earth, that is!).

Here are some activities and events happening this month.  Hope to see you there!

“Communities Making Meadows” Spring Workshop

Sunday, May 15th
Mir Centre, Selkirk College, Castlegar, 10am-3pm

We continue on with our Communities Making Meadows project and are happy to announce the time and location for a Spring Workshop.  Are you part of an organization that would like to have more native plant stock, grown and made available locally?  Would you like to create habitat on your property and learn to be a good steward of native plants?  Communities Making Meadows is a capacity-building program that connects people with local ecosystems through the  selection and growing of native plant seedlings for meadow and riparian restoration. We will help you create a micro-nursery for native plants that can be planted out at a later time.

The Spring Workshop will be on Sunday, May 15, 10am-3pm, at the Mir Centre located at the Selkirk College campus in Castlegar. In the morning sessions you will learn how to establish a Monarch Waystation by planting showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) from seed and transplanting nectar plants such as Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) and Douglas’s aster (Symphiotrichum subspicatum). You also will learn how to work with softwood cuttings, using such species as shrubby penstemon (Penstemon fruticosus) and blue elderberry (Sambucus cerulea).  In the afternoon, we discuss the ethics of wild harvesting, learn about seed forecasting and gathering, and gain a better understanding of ecological processes through a guided walk on Selkirk College’s famous walking trails.

This workshop is offered for $15 per participant to cover the cost of materials and instruction by botanists and environmental educators, Valerie Huff and Brenda Beckwith.  The instructors bring over 20 years experience each in the propagation, management, and use of native plants in ecological restoration, habitat rehabilitation, and home gardens.

We ask that you please pre-register by emailing us at  We will supply some snacks and beverages; please bring your own lunch. By signing up for this workshop you are committing to the monitoring and stewarding of native plants that you will start during the workshop and then take home.

This Communities Making Meadows workshop is supported by the Public Conservation Assistance Fund administered through the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, Columbia Basin Trust, and Columbia Power Corporation.


“Spring Wildflower Walks,” in partnership with the West Kootenay Naturalists.

We are offering three guided Spring Wildflower Walks in May and June.  We are happy to be working again with the West Kootenay Naturalists (WKNA) to make these walks available for you!  These interpretive walks, led by those intrepid botanists Valerie Huff and Brenda Beckwith, occur on Saturdays and begin at 9am.  The walks are listed below:

Date Location Difficulty Likely Wildflowers
May 14 Mt. Sentinel
above Brilliant
Challenging, steep sections arrowleaf balsamroot, camas, pink fairies, nodding microseris
June 4  Pulpit Rock Trail
near Nelson
Steep, bring poles! orange paintbrush, Nootka rose, yampah, old man’s whiskers
June 18 Record Ridge
just outside Rossland
Moderate bitterroot, lomatium, longhorn steer’s-head

You must register for the Spring Wildflower Walks ahead of time; please email us at  If you are not already a member of the West Kootenay Naturalists, you will be required to join for the day ($1.00) and sign a liability waiver.  Carpooling is encouraged.  Please check back with the KNPS website for trip details closer to the date of the walk.

For more information on the West Kootenay Naturalists, their activities and more of their walks, please see their website at:



Look for the KNPS booth at the 15th Annual Nelson Garden Festival on Mother’s Day Weekend, Saturday, May 7.  The event is 10am – 3pm and occurs in downtown Nelson on Baker and Kootenay streets.  See the West Kootenay EcoSociety webpage for more information:

We are participating in Critter Day at Beaver Creek Park in Trail on May 7, 1 – 5pm.  Valerie Huff will be there with a “Milkweed for Monarchs” display.  Come learn about the special relationship between milkweed plants and the imperiled monarch butterfly, and how you can help bring the monarchs back to the West Kootenay region!  This event is hosted by the Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP) and the Kootenay Conservation Program (KCP).  See:

On Saturday, May 28, you can find us at the 7th Annual Castlegar Garden and Nature Fest.  This event, co-sponsored by the Castlegar Garden Club and Castlegar Communities in Bloom, occurs at the Castlegar & District Recreation Centre from 10am – 3pm.


Interested in volunteering?

  • Assist with Communities Making Meadows Spring Workshop.
  • Critter Day, Nelson Garden Fest and Castlegar Garden Fest – assist with Information booths.
  • And a special call out for a dedicated citizen scientists to monitor milkweed in Trail and  Castlegar area for our Milkweed for Monarchs project.  The volunteer(s) will need their own vehicle and be able to commit to bi-weekly monitoring from May – August.  Training provided!

Check in with the KNPS website <> for more information on all our up-coming events and activities.

Contact us at:

The Kootenay Native Plant Society is a group of West Kootenay residents who work to promote knowledge, appreciation, conservation and restoration of native plants and natural habitats through education, research and on-the-ground activities.

Why native plants?

Native plants are those plants that have evolved in our local landscapes. Plants are a vital part of the interconnected web of organisms including animals, microbes and fungi.  They are part of what makes our region unique.

Unfortunately, native plants are declining at an alarming rate.  In British Columbia, more than one in four plants is considered to be at risk or of special concern (red or blue listed by the Conservation Data Centre). Many more are less abundant than in the past due to habitat loss and fragmentation.

Plants and animals have evolved together and depend upon each other for survival. For example, insect pollinators require plants for food, and they in turn become food for other animals, including bats and birds.  The loss of any organism can cascade through our ecosystems.

It is possible to support biodiversity at all levels by conserving and restoring natural habitats with native plants.

What you can do

  • Attend one of the Kootenay Native Plant Society events.  Join us for a spring flower hike, Camas Discovery Day, or one of our many presentations.
  • Grow native plants in our yards.  Learn more here:  Grow Wild
  • Book a school program for your class
  • Join a citizen science project, such as the Kootenay Camas Project or Bumble Bee Watch
  • Create habitat for native pollinators.
  • Learn about native plants.