A Green Burial Cemetery

There is a lot of local interest in finding land where we could establish a natural/green burial site in the Yellow Point and Cedar area.

This would satisfy a spiritual need for people who wanted their remains to to rest in the arms of a forest, and an ecological need by protecting an area of forest that might otherwise have been cut down.

To learn more, we invited Cathy Valentine from the Salt Spring Island Natural Cemetery to make an evening presentation, and help us to learn how we could remember a loved-one in a forest that would over time become a towering old-growth forest.

If you are interested, and if you know land that might be suitable, please contact Pamela Walker, 250-245-9155

YES Videos

Green Burial – Learning from Salt Spring

Conservation Communities: Can They Help Save Our Local Forests?

The Nanaimo Watershed – How Can We Protect and Restore It?

Invasive Plants on Vancouver Island – What Can We Do?

The Joy of Wild Salmon, with Alexandra Morton

The Mushrooms of British Columbia

Save the Cable Bay Trail Area – What’s Happening?

What’s Happening at Fairy Creek?

The Case for a Multi-Purpose Yellow Point Trail

Welcome to the Koksilah Watershed, with Heather Pritchard

Wild About Gardening: Creating a Landscape that Welcomes Wildlife, with Claudia Copley

Why Landscape Context Matters in Wetland Conservation, with Elke Cole

Cultivating a Relationship with Nature, with Jain Alcock White

Briony Penn, Author, Artist and Naturalist

How Can We Protect The Forest on Private Land?

Nature Books


Field Naturalists of Vancouver Island (FNVI)

Books and Field Guides

*GROUP FAVOURITE* Repeatedly recommended and raved about by members

*PRO PICK* Books popular for professional use (not great for beginners)

*GREAT FOR BEGINNERS* Suitable for novice naturalists

*EXPERT RECOMMENDATION* Books that have been recommended by professionals in that field 


  1. Vancouver Island Naturalism 
British Columbia Nature Guide by Erin McCloskey and Kennedy https://lonepinebooks.com/author-2/erin-mccloskey/

Cascadia Revealed: A Guide to the Plants, Animals & Geology of the Pacific Northwest Mountains by Daniel Mathews 


Field Guide to the Cascades and Olympics by Robert Cocuzzo and Rob Sandelin


In Nature’s Realm: Early Naturalists Explore Vancouver Island by Michael Layland 


Nature Guide to the Victoria Region by Ann Nightingale and Claudia Copley

A Year on the Wild Side: A West Coast Naturalist’s Almanac by Briony Penn 

*GROUP FAVOURITE* *LOCAL AUTHOR* https://www.touchwoodeditions.com/book/a-year-on-the-wild-side/ 

  1. Vancouver Island Terrestrial Flora 

Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America by Nancy J. Turner 


Catkin-Bearing Plants of British Columbia by T. Christopher Brayshaw 

Common Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest British Columbia, Washington & Oregon

by J. Duane Sept


Edible and Medicinal Flora of the West Coast British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest

by Collin Varner


Edible & Medicinal Plants of the Northwest by J. Duane Sept


A Field Guide to Alpine Flowers of the Pacific Northwest by Phillipa Hudson (pocket guide)

A Field Guide to Coastal Flowers of the Pacific Northwest by Phillipa Hudson (pocket guide)

A Field Guide to Edible Fruits and Berries of the Pacific Northwest by Richard J. Hebda (pocket guide) https://harbourpublishing.com/products/9781550176469 

A Field Guide to Foraging for Wild Greens and Flowers by Michelle Nelson (pocket guide) 

A Field Guide to Trees of the Pacific Northwest by Phillipa Hudson (pocket guide) 

The Flora and Fauna of Coastal British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest by Collin Varner


Flora of the Pacific Northwest by C. Leo Hitchcock and Arthur Cronquist 


Mosses, Lichens and Ferns of Northwest North America by Dale Vitt and Robin Bovey


Northwest Foraging: The Classic Guide to Edible Plants of the Pacific Northwest by Doug Benoliel https://www.mountaineers.org/books/books/northwest-foraging-the-classic-guide-to-edible-plants-of-the-pacific-northwest 

Pacific Coast Foraging Guide: 40 Wild Foods from Beach, Field, and Forest by Jennifer Hahn

(pocket guide) https://www.mountaineers.org/books/books/pacific-coast-foraging-guide-40-wild-foods-from-beach-field-and-forest 

Pacific Northwest Foraging by Douglas Deur


Pacific Northwest Medicinal Plants: Identify, Harvest, and Use 120 Wild Herbs for Health and Wellness by Scott Kloos 


Pacific Northwest Plant Knowledge Cards by Strong Nation 

Pacific Northwest Wildflower Pocket Guide by Nathan Barnes and Jeremy Barnes (pocket guide) https://www.mountaineers.org/books/books/pacific-northwest-wildflowers-a-pocket-reference 

Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast by Pojar & Mackinnon 


Pondweeds and Bur-reeds and their Relatives of British Columbia by T. Christopher Brayshaw

Popular Wildflowers of Coastal British Columbia and Vancouver Island by Neil L. Jennings


Saanich Ethnobotany by Nancy J. Turner and Richard J. Hebda

Thompson Ethnobotany by Nancy J. Turner, Laurence C. Thompson, M. Terry Thompson, Annie Z. York (out-of-print but available as PDF) https://publications.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/product/thompson-ethnobotany-knowledge-and-usage-of-plants-by-the-thompson-indians-of-bc/  

Trees of the Northwest by J. Duane Sept


Trees and Shrubs of British Columbia by T. Christopher Brayshaw *PRO PICK*

Trees, Shrubs and Flowers to Know in Washington and British Columbia by Chess Lyons 

Trees and Shrubs of the Pacific Northwest by Mark Turner & Ellen Kuhlmann


Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest- Volume 1: Vascular Cryptogams, Gymnosperms, and Monocotyledons By C. Leo Hitchcock, Arthur Cronquist, Marion Ownbey and J. W. Thompson 

Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest- Volume 2: Salicaceae to Saxifragaceae

By C. Leo Hitchcock, Arthur Cronquist, Marion Ownbey and J. W. Thompson 

Wetland Plants of Oregon and Washington by B. Jennifer Guard

Wild Berries Of The Northwest by J. Duane Sept 


Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest by Mark Turner


Wild Flowers of Field and Slope: In the Pacific Northwest by Lewis J. Clark

Wild Flowers of the Sea Coast: In the Pacific Northwest by John G. Trelawny, Lewis J. Clark

Wild Flowers of Forest & Woodland: In the Pacific Northwest by John G. Trelawny, Lewis J. Clark https://harbourpublishing.com/products/9781550173062 

  1. Terrestrial Fauna 
  1. Terrestrial Wildlife of Vancouver Island (General)

Animal Tracks & Signs of the Northwest by J. Duane Sept 

The Flora and Fauna of Coastal British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest by Collin Varner


Scats and Tracks of the Pacific Coast by James Halfpenny


Wildlife of the Pacific Northwest by David Moskowitz


  1. Terrestrial Invertebrates of Vancouver Island 

Butterflies of British Columbia by Jon Shepard and Crispin Guppy


A Field Guide to Insects of the Pacific Northwest by Robert Cannings (pocket guide)

Insects of the Pacific Northwest by Judy and Peter Haggard

Pacific Northwest Insects: A Regional Insect Field Guide By Merrill A. Peterson

https://pacificnorthwestinsects.com/ *EXPERT RECOMMENDED*

Field Guide To The Spiders Of California And The Pacific Coast by Richard J. Adams


Introducing the Dragonflies of British Columbia and the Yukon by Robert A. Cannings

Land Snails of British Columbia by Robert G. Forsyth

The Systematics of Lasiopogon by Robert A. Cannings

  1. Terrestrial Mammals of Vancouver Island 

Carnivores of British Columbia by David F. Hatler, David W. Nagorsen and Alison M. Beal

Hoofed Mammals of British Columbia by David Shackleton

Opossums, Shrews and Moles of British Columbia by David W. Nagorsen

Rodents Lagomorphs of British Columbia by David W. Nagorsen

  1. Reptiles and Amphibians of Vancouver Island 

Amphibians of the Pacific Northwest by Lawrence L. C. Jones, William P. Leonard and Deanna H. Olson https://uwapress.uw.edu/book/9780914516163/amphibians-of-the-pacific-northwest/ 

Amphibians of Oregon, Washington and British Columbia by Corkran and Thoms 

*GREAT FOR BEGINNERS* https://lonepinebooks.com/product/amphibians-of-oregon-washington-and-british-columbia-5/ 

Amphibians and Reptiles of British Columbia by Brent M. Matsuda, David M. Green and Patrick T. Gregory https://publications.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/product/amphibians-and-reptiles-of-british-columbia/ 

Peterson Field Guide to Western Reptiles & Amphibians by Robert C. Stebbins and Samuel M. McGinnis https://www.hmhco.com/shop/books/peterson-field-guide-to-western-reptiles-and-ampamp-amphibians-fourth-edition/9781328715500 

Reptiles of the Northwest by Alan St.John *GREAT FOR BEGINNERS*

  1. Birds of Vancouver Island 

The Birder’s Guide to Vancouver and the Lower Mainland by Nature Vancouver

Birds of British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest: A Complete Guide by Richard Cannings, Tom Aversa and Hal Opperman http://hgdistribution.com/book_details.php?isbn_upc=9781772031614 

Birds of the Pacific Northwest by John Shewey and Tim Blount


Birds of the Pacific Northwest Coast by Nancy Baron, John Acorn 


Birds of the Pacific Northwest by Todd Telander


Birds of the Pacific Northwest by Tom Aversa, Richard Cannings and Hal Opperman

The Birds of Vancouver Island’s West Coast by Adrian Dorst https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/publisher/pu3432515_3432517.html 

Common Birds of Southwestern British Columbia: Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island by J. Duane Sept http://www.hgdistribution.com/book_details.php?isbn_upc=9780973981995 

A Field Guide to Birds of the Pacific Northwest by Tony Greenfield and Penny Hall (pocket guide) https://harbourpublishing.com/products/9781550176056 

Must-See Birds of the Pacific Northwest by Sarah Swanson and Max Smith


National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds: Western Region 

Pacific Northwest Birds: Forest & Mountains by Gerrit Vyn (pocket guide) 


Pacific Northwest Birds: Lowlands & Coast by Gerrit Vyn (pocket guide)


Peterson Field Guide to Bird Sounds of Western North America by Nathan Pieplow


Peterson Field Guide to Birds of Western North America by Roger Tory Peterson https://www.hmhco.com/shop/books/peterson-field-guide-to-birds-of-western-north-america-fifth-edition/9781328762221 

The Sibley Guide to Birds North America by David Allen Sibley

The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America by David Allen Sibley 

*EXPERT RECOMMENDED* https://www.sibleyguides.com/about/the-sibley-field-guide-to-birds-of-western-north-america/  

Vancouver Island Birds Volume 1 by Mike Yip https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27218562-vancouver-island-birds-volume-1  

Vancouver Island Birds Volume 2 by Mike Yip


4) Vancouver Island Marine Life 

  1. General

A Field Guide to Marine Life of the Protected Waters of the Salish Sea

A Field Guide to Marine Life of the Outer Coasts of the Salish Sea and Beyond by Rick M. Harbo (pocket guide)  https://harbourpublishing.com/products/9781550178555 

The Great Bear Sea: Exploring the Marine Life of a Pacific Paradise by Ian McAllister and Nicholas Read https://www.orcabook.com/The-Great-Bear-Sea-P728.aspx 

Guide to the Western Seashore: Introductory Marinelife Guide to the Pacific Coast by Rick M. Harbo https://www.hancockhouse.com/products/guide-to-the-western-seashore 

Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest: A Photographic Encyclopedia of Invertebrates, Seaweeds and Selected Fishes by Andy Lamb *GROUP FAVOURITE*

The New Beachcomber’s Guide to the Pacific Northwest by J. Duane Sept

Pacific Reef and Shore: A Photo Guide to Northwest Marine Life by Rick M. Harbo

Seashore of the Pacific Northwest by Ian Sheldon *GREAT FOR BEGINNERS*

Seashore Life of the Northern Pacific Coast: An Illustrated Guide to Northern California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia by Eugene N. Kozloff

Tidepool & Reef: Marinelife Guide to the Pacific Northwest Coast by Rick M. Harbo

Tidepool Twitcher by Kelly Eaton (pocket guide)

Whelks to Whales: Coastal Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest by Rick M. Harbo 



  1. Marine Flora 

A Field Guide to Seaweeds of the Pacific Northwest By Bridgette Clarkston (pocket guide)

Pacific Seaweeds By Bridgette Clarkston, Louis Druehl *GROUP FAVOURITE*

The Science and Spirit of Seaweed: Discovering Food, Medicine and Purpose in the Kelp Forests of the Pacific Northwest by Amanda Swinimer

  1. Marine Invertebrates

Bivalve Seashells Of Western North America by Eugene Victor Coan *PRO PICK*


Brittle Stars, Sea Urchins and Feather Stars of BC, Southeast Alaska and Puget Sound by Philip Lambert

A Field Guide to Crabs of the Pacific Northwest by Gregory C. Jensen (pocket guide)

A Field Guide To Nudibranchs Of The Pacific Northwest Rick M. Harbo (pocket guide)

A Field Guide to Seashells and Shellfish of the Pacific Northwest by Rick M. Harbo (pocket guide) https://harbourpublishing.com/products/9781550174175

A Field Guide to Sea Stars of the Pacific Northwest by Neil McDaniel (pocket guide)

Razor Clams: Buried Treasure of the Pacific Northwest By David Berger

Super Suckers: The Giant Pacific Octopus and Other Cephalopods of the Pacific Coast by James A. Cosgrove https://harbourpublishing.com/products/9781550174663 

Sea Stars of BC, Southeast Alaska and Puget Sound by Philip Lambert

Shells Shellfish Of The Pacific Northwest by Rick M. Harbo 

Sea Cucumbers of BC, Southeast Alaska and Puget Sound by Philip Lambert

  1. Fishes

Coastal Fishes of the Pacific Northwest by Andy Lamb and Phil Edgell

https://harbourpublishing.com/products/9781550174717 *

A Field Guide to Common Fishes of the Pacific Northwest by Andy Lamb, Bernard P. Hanby

And Phil Edgell (pocket guide) https://harbourpublishing.com/collections/field-guide-brochures/products/9781550177121

Field Identification of Coastal Juvenile Salmonids by C. Groot, G.F. Hartman, Phil Edgell, W.R. Pollard https://harbourpublishing.com/collections/nature/products/9781550171679 

Inland Fishes of Washington by Richard S. Wydoski and Richard R. Whitney

Pacific Salmon Life Histories by Cornelis Groot and Leo Margolis https://www.ubcpress.ca/pacific-salmon-life-histories 

Peterson Field Guide to Freshwater Fishes by Lawrence M. Page, Brooks M. Burr, Eugene C. Beckham, Justin Sipiorski, Joseph Tomelleri and John P. Sherrod


Sharks of the Pacific Northwest: Including Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Alaska by

Alessandro De Maddalena, Antonella Preti, Tarik Polansky

Sharks of the Pacific Northwest : Including Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Alaska

Sharks, Skates, Rays and Chimeras of British Columbia by Gordon McFarlane and Jackie King

  1. Marine Mammals 

The Breath of a Whale: The Science and Spirit of Pacific Ocean Giants By Leigh Calvez


Field Guide to Marine Mammals of the Pacific Coast by Sarah G. Allen, Joe Mortenson and Sophie Webb https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520265455/field-guide-to-marine-mammals-of-the-pacific-coast 

Marine Mammals of British Columbia by John K.B. Ford 

Marine Mammals of the Pacific Northwest: including Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Southern Alaska by Pieter Folkens https://harbourpublishing.com/products/9781550172546 

Whales and Other Marine Mammals of Washington and Oregon *GREAT FOR BEGINNERS*

KiDS Books About the Pacific Northwest

1, 2, 3 Salish Sea: A Pacific Northwest Counting Book by Nikki McClure

A Is for Anemone: A First West Coast Alphabet by Roy Henry Vickers and Robert Budd

Aliens Among Us: Invasive Animals and Plants in British Columbia by Alex Van Tol 

Backyard Science & Discovery Workbook: Pacific Northwest by Robert Niese


Bear and Coyote by Mike Bowden and Kelsey Jules 

Beavers: Radical Rodents and Ecosystem Engineers by Frances Backhouse


Becca at Sea by Deirdre Baker

The Cedar Club Forest Detectives by Diane Swanson

The Central School Seashore Detectives by Diane Swanson

Cloudwalker by Robert Budd and Roy Henry Vickers

Curious EnCOUNTers: 1 to 13 Forest Friends by Ben Clanton and Jessixa Bagley

Curious Kids Nature Guide: Explore the Amazing Outdoors of the Pacific Northwest by Fiona Cohen and Marni Fylling


Eagle Boy: A Pacific Northwest Native Tale by Richard Lee Vaughan

Explore the Eelgrass Meadow with Sam and Crystal by Gloria Snively


Explore the Rocky Shore with Sam and Crystal by Gloria Snively


Explore the Salish Sea: A Nature Guide for Kids by Joseph K. Gaydos and Audrey DeLella Benedict https://sasquatchbooks.com/little-bigfoot/books/explore-the-salish-sea/ 

Explore the Wild Coast with Sam and Crystal by Gloria Snively


Find the Fish (first edition) by Jackie Hildering *LOCAL AUTHOR*

Find the Fish (second edition) by Jackie Hildering *LOCAL AUTHOR*

Fraser Bear: A Cub’s Life By Maggie de Vries

The Gibson Park Grassland Detectives by Diane Swanson

Gulf Islands Alphabet by Bronwyn Preece


Hello Humpback! By Robert Budd and Roy Henry Vickers

Hideaway Cove by Brenda Boreham and Laura Timmermans

High Tide, Low Tide: A Shoreline Activity Book by Gloria Snively


I Am the Elwha by Robert Elofson by Lori Peelen and Laura Timmermans

If You Want to Visit a Sea Garden by Kay Weisman and Roy Vickers

The Kingfisher Camp River Detectives by Diane Swanson

Learn & Colour the Northeast Pacific by Ricky Belanger


Little Red Riding Hood of the Pacific Northwest by Marcia Crews 

Look at That Bird! A Young Naturalist’s Guide to Pacific Northwest Birding by Karen DeWitz

Matching Game: Northwest Coast Native Animals by Strong Nations 

Northwest Animal Babies by Art Wolfe and Andrea Helman

Nuptse and Lhotse Go to the West Coast by Jocey Asnong


O Is for Orca: An Alphabet Book by Art Wolfe and Andrea Helman

Off-the-Grid Kid by Bronwyn Preece

One Eagle Soaring by Robert Budd and Roy Henry Vickers

Orca Chief by Robert Budd and Roy Henry Vickers

Orcas Everywhere: The Mystery and History of Killer Whales by Mark Leiren-Young 


The Orca Scientists by Kim Perez Valice


Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest by Gerald McDermott


Raven Squawk, Orca Squeak by Robert Budd and Roy Henry Vickers

S Is for Salmon: A Pacific Northwest Alphabet by Hannah Viano

Salmon Forest by David Suzuki and Sarah Ellis

A Salmon for Simon by Betty Waterton and Ann Blades

A Salmon’s Sky View by Carol McDougall


Sea Otters: A Survival Story by Isabelle Groc


Sea Star Wishes Poems from the Coast by Eric Ode and Erik Brooks

The Sixth Street Wetlands Detectives by Diane Swanson

Sockeye Silver, Saltchuck Blue by Robert Budd and Roy Henry Vickers

The Spirit of Springer:The Real-Life Rescue of an Orphaned Orca by Amanda Abler and Levi Hastings https://sasquatchbooks.com/little-bigfoot/books/the-spirit-of-springer/ 

Strong Learners Memory Matching Cards: Indigenous Plants by Strong Nations

Strong Learners Memory Matching Cards: Marine by Strong Nations

Strong Learners Memory Matching and Life Cycle Cards: Salmon by Strong Nations

Sunshine and Pollen – The Life of Mason Bees by Monika Grunberg 


Tale of a Great White Fish by Maggie de Vries

Three Bears of the Pacific Northwest by Richard Vaughan and Marcia Crews with Jeremiah Trammell https://sasquatchbooks.com/little-bigfoot/books/three-bears-of-the-pacific-northwest-2/ 

To Live on an Island by Emma Bland Smith with Elizabeth Person

West Coast ABCs by Jocey Asnong https://rmbooks.com/book/west-coast-abcs/

West Coast 123s by Jocey Asnong https://rmbooks.com/book/west-coast-123s/ 

West Coast Wild Babies by Deborah Hodge and Karen Reczuch

West Coast Wild: A Nature Alphabet by Deborah Hodge and Karen Reczuch


The Whale Child by Chenoa T. Y. Egawa and Keith T. A. Egawa

Where Do I Sleep? A Pacific Northwest Lullaby by Jennifer Blomgren

Why Do I Sing? Animal Songs of the Pacific Northwest by Jennifer Blomgren and Andrea Gabriel https://sasquatchbooks.com/little-bigfoot/books/why-do-i-sing-2/ 

The Landowners’ Handbook

This is a big project that we have been working on for two years. Our goal is to complete and print a super-useful resourceful guide for all local land-owners and stewards of the land, to guide us as we manage the land and all the co-inhabitants with whom we share it.

This is our Table of Contents. We will gradually add links to pages as we complete them.

Welcome To YES
Did You Know?
From the Mountains to Rivers to Ocean
Nature’s Abundance
Our Ecological Wealth
A Tale of Two Crises
Nature’s Safety Net
Our Connection to Nature
Rhythms and Patterns of Nature
Protect and Preserve Your Forest
Ecological Restoration
Create a Garry Oak Meadow
Create a Wild Flower Meadow
Managing Invasive Plants
Making Development Changes 
Climate Stewardship
Water and Waste
Living by Water
Landscaping For Nature
Protect Your Home and Forest Against Fire
Childlike Wonder
Gardening for Birds
Bugs, Bees and Other Pollinators
Create a Hedgerow
Grow a Food Garden
Create a Food Forest
Foraging from Nature
Farming with Nature
Best Use of Yard Waste
How To Go Zero Waste
Reptiles and Amphibians
Fish and Sea Life
Sick and Injured Animals
Controlling Pets
Managing Invasive Animals
Other Benefits from Nature
Leaving a Legacy
Building Our Community
Resources, References

Nature’s Greetings Cards

The Salt Spring author, naturalist and artist Briony Penn has kindly allowed us to convert some of her beautiful illustrations into greetings cards, which we are selling as a fundraiser for YES. $6 each. Buy 3 or more $5 each. Add $5 for postage if you would like us to mail them to you.

We are not set up for an on-line shop, so please bear with us! The cards shown below are available by all five methods. Various other designs are also available if you visit the three outlets listed in method 1.

There are five ways you can buy the cards:

  1. Buy them at Yellow Point Farms on Yellow Point Road; Black Door Decor in Ladysmith; or Champagne Hill Botanicals, 2083 Furn Road, Cedar (call first).
  2. Call Carolyn 250-924-4478 and arrange to pick them up at 13561 Barney Road (off Yellow Point Road)
  3. Mail a cheque with written details of the cards you would like to the Yellow Point Ecological Society, 13561 Barney Road, Ladysmith V9G 1E9
  4. E-transfer the $$ with written details of the cards you would like to yellowpoint2020@gmail.com
  5. Send $$ to the YES PayPal account with written details of the cards you would like using the Buy Now button. (Ignore the word ‘membership’.)Buy Now Button

Community Planning for the Future We Want

By Guy Dauncey

Published in Take 5 Magazine, April 2022

Let’s start with a test: what does OCP stand for? Old Cobbler Pudding? Off-duty Celibates Party? No, it stands for Official Community Plan, the draft of which concerns everyone who lives in the Cowichan Valley outside of North Cowichan, Duncan, Lake Cowichan and Ladysmith.

A good OCP is an inspiring vision of a community’s future. A bad OCP is a book of waffle that make your brain weary and includes no commitments to act. We want the good one, not the other kind.

The CVRD planners have written the first draft of CVRD Bylaw 4373, which you can print and read. During April they are offering 14 opportunities to participate in on-line workshops, two for each of seven of the OCP’s eight Goals. You can sign in and register for a workshop here.

It opens with a Vision Statement: “Surrounded by thriving natural environments and farmlands, the Cowichan Valley is a collective of vibrant and distinct communities.” That’s pretty good. It continues: “Our connection to nature is at the heart of our identity … growth is incremental and managed … resilience to emerging trends will define our community’s future.”

So let’s dive in! Goal #1 is ‘Mitigate and Adapt to the Climate Crisis’, and the workshops are on Wednesdays April 13th and 27th, 6pm-7:30pm. Are the actions and policies proposed sufficient to reduce our climate pollution from transportation and natural gas by 40% by 2030, within 8 years? What more is needed? That’s for you to decide.

Goal #2 is ‘Manage Infrastructure Responsibly’, and the workshops are on Tuesdays April 5th and 19th, 6pm-7:30pm. This is about solid waste, recycling, sewage, energy, drinking water, and stormwater. It’s also about our aquifers and watersheds, and ecologically destructive logging practices that cause flooding, harm fish habitat, and wash forest topsoil into the ocean. Go to Cowichan Bay after a massive rainstorm and you’ll see what I mean, as the topsoil from forest clearcuts is washed down the Koksilah River, driving the sealions away and turning the ocean brown.

Goal #3 is ‘Make Distinct, Complete Communities’, which addresses – among other things – the affordable housing crisis. The text reads “Compared to the rest of BC, housing is generally more affordable for owners, but somewhat worse for renters,” which might be true if this was the 1980s. Are the policies sufficient to end the crisis? The workshops are on Wednesdays April 6th and 20th, 6pm-7:30pm

Goal #4 is Expand Mobility Options. This addresses the reality that 90% of our trips are by private vehicle, producing 79% of our dangerous greenhouse gases; that transit is minimal; that safe separated bike paths are few and far between; and that the CVRD has almost no jurisdiction in this area. The OCP also includes measures the CVRD can advocate for, however. How can we make it easier for people travel by bus and bike? The workshops are on Thursdays April 7th and 21st, 6pm-7:30pm.

Goal #5 is Protect and Restore Natural Assets – our forests and rivers, creeks and wetlands. What must we do to protect our watersheds, and the ecological integrity of the forest? How can we protect the frogs, the bees, and the native plants the birds depend on? The workshops are on Saturdays April 9th and 23rd, 10am–11:30am.

Goal #6 is Strengthen Local Food and Agricultural Systems. We all love our farmers, yet we import 95% of our food. What changes are needed so that they can grow much more local food? What would it take for farm workers to be able to live on the farms where they work? The workshops are on Saturdays April 9th and 23rd, 1pm-2:30pm.

Goal #7 is Enhance Regional Prosperity, which is about business, and the supposed need for more industrial land to build warehouses to store all the things we buy from Amazon. How can we make our economy green and circular, with zero waste? The workshops are on Tuesdays April 12th and 26th, 6pm-7:30pm.

Goal #8 is Improve Governance and Implementation, which is how the goals and policies will be implemented and progress will be measured. There are no workshops for this.

If you read the draft OCP you’ll be better equipped to participate. If you have ideas for change, bring them with you. The OCP lays the foundation for our region’s zoning bylaws, local area plans, and development permit areas, so it matters. Ideally, it stands for Obtainable Community Progress. Let’s make it so! See www.planyourcowichan.ca .

Re-Wilding with Native Plants – A new Perspective For Yards

By Sabine Alstrom

Published in Take 5 Magazine, August 2021

As a nature lover who has enjoyed native plants for many years, I have noticed that the vast majority of gardens feature hardly any native flora in their designs.

Even more intriguing is the fact that this includes the gardens of people who genuinely care for our natural world and who understand the urgent need to preserve wildness.

The most likely reason is our conditioning from childhood onwards by the gardens around us, which focus on the decorative value of plants, never their ecological function. Nurseries strengthen this cultural mantra by promoting showy flowering species that are native to Asia, the Mediterranean, the tropics and so on.

And why not? I hear you say. After all, they are beautiful to look at. Plus, one might add, they garner respect and admiration from neighbours and visitors, enhancing our status. Regarding native plants, the cultural imperative seems to be: not in my backyard.

But here’s the big catch: introduced plants are not good at providing food for the native animals that drive our ecosystems. A full third of our wild bees are specialists, meaning their larvae, the next bee generation, can only feed on the pollen of certain native plant lineages. Over hundreds of thousands of years, they have evolved with these local plants in a win-win relationship. Bees get pollen, food for their larvae, from specific plant genera or even from a single species, while the plants ensure that their pollen is spread mostly in their own genus, guaranteeing seed production and propagation.

Now, picture a little newly emerged specialist bee, single-mindedly searching for the particular native flower it needs to rear its brood. If this mother bee can’t find those plants, it can’t fulfill the purpose of its short life: nest-building, egg laying and provisioning the babies with a pile of pollen food. When this little bee dies, so will future generations with it.

This scenario is happening around us millions of times, around the neighbourhood, the country and sadly, the world.

For the wild specialist bees, the most stunning introduced plants might as well be made of plastic. Our love affair with foreign plants is killing our bees by leaving them without food. To make things worse, many common introduced garden plants, like periwinkle, mountain bluet, yellow archangel and others, have become invasive inside and outside of gardens, forming smothering carpets that might otherwise be populated by native plants supporting ecosystem function.

Generalist bees, like mason bees, bumblebees or the non-native honey bee fare a little better, as they can make use of the pollen and nectar of some introduced plants. But along with most other insects, all are doomed by the pesticides and insecticides we liberally apply to our gardens for the sake of sterile prettiness and a perfect lawn.

Is it any wonder that an insect apocalypse is happening everywhere?

And yet, we don’t have to despair. There are some powerful positives that can fuel a turnaround:

We are lucky because the insects, although decimated are still around.

We control what grows in our gardens, and we can choose biodiversity over ecological destruction.

We can replace parts of our lifeless lawns and ornamentals with native plants, including shrubs and trees, that are the host plants for caterpillars, which are the indispensable food for baby birds. Introduced plants are essential useless at supporting the caterpillars of our native moths and butterflies.

We can opt against chemical poisons and for a natural variety of insect life, without which by the way, we humans would quickly be “toast”.

Oh, and did I mention that we have the most stunning native plants right here on the Island? They grow in my garden, but we hardly see them in nature anymore. When did you last notice such beauties as Woolly Sunflower, Farewell-to-Spring, Camas, Yellow Monkeyflower or Mountain Sneezeweed in the wild?

Let’s bring them back, and the wild bees, along with countless other insects, will find them. Let’s endow them wit the high status they truly deserve!

Sabine Alstrom lives in Duncan. For free help with your garden or more information, please contact her at sabinealmstrom@gmail.com.