In this issue:

Wildlife, Water, and Sustainable Living

Reflecting On Our Cooperation
OCCP Action Team News
Partner & Conservation News
Workshops and Conferences
Funding Opportunities

Reflecting On Our Cooperation

In March, we celebrate:

  • World Wildlife Day on March 3. This year their focus is big cats. How can we make sure our Okanagan cougars and bobcats are around in the future?
  • UN World Water Day on March 22. "The theme for World Water Day 2018 is ‘Nature for Water’ – exploring nature-based solutions to the water challenges we face in the 21st century." Last month's OCCP newsletter was dedicated to exploring Wetland conservation.
  • Canada Water Week is timed to coincide with World Water Day. See the events and workshops in this newsletter for local opportunities to get involved.
  • Earth Hour on 24 March 2018. 8:30 - 9:30pm is your chance to have fun in the dark and celebrate the Earth! It is a chance to practice an intention to take action for conservation by turning all the lights and electrical devices off for an hour, and share your love of the Earth with your friends by hosting an electricity-free event.
  • The North Okanagan Naturalists Club also remind us in their March newsletter that 2018 is the Year of the Bird which coincides with the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act's ratification.

In honour of these celebrations, we invite you to think about protection of wildlife and water, and enhancing sustainable living in your neighbourhood, and consider how you can help to improve our Earth over the next year. OCCP supports work that provides information about historical environmental impacts to help local landowners and governments make informed decisions about how to best plan to keep our ecosystems healthy in our future.

OCCP's Statement of Cooperation commits OCCP Partners in their combined belief that:

"…the future of the Okanagan natural system is threatened.
We cannot take the future health of the Okanagan natural system for granted. The area’s economic wealth has long been based on its abundant natural resources. Today, however, population growth and associated human activities threaten the natural environment that has made it so special and attractive. Climate change and its effects such as Beetle infestations are having an impact the Okanagan environment. Several species residing in the Okanagan are listed as nationally threatened, endangered or vulnerable*, and Okanagan Chinook Salmon and Okanagan Sockeye Salmon have COSEWIC status. Over a third of all provincially red-listed species are found in the Okanagan...

* Confirmed - Long-billed curlews, flammulated owls, skinks, gopher snakes, painted turtles, grasshopper sparrows, swainson’s hawks, rattlesnakes, screech-owls, spadefoots, badgers, grizzly bears, racers, short-eared owls, rubber boas, spotted bats, townsend's big-eared bats, western toads, and Lewis's woodpeckers."

Large listing of the logos of OCCP partners

OCCP Action Team News

OCCP logoOCCP has contributed to a number of initiatives this month that improve information for all Okanagan residents on our wildlife and waterways, and encourage them to plan to keep nature protected and connected.


Over the past month:

  • we connected with the conservation network in the south at the South Okanagan-Similkameen Conservation Program's (SOSCP) Annual Meeting;
  • we developed and summarized recommendations for the Drought Planning Committee and the Water Source Protection and Wetland Committee of the Water Stewardship Council;
  • we wrote four grant applications for a wide variety of partner projects; 
  • we assisted in developing a situation analysis report through the interdepartmental team for the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association Biosphere Initiative;
  • we hosted a productive OCCP Steering Committee meeting where new opportunities to enhance collaboration across governments and organizations were discussed;
  • we worked with the District of Lake Country to develop a strategy to incorporate ecological corridors into their Official Community Plans;
  • we reviewed a workshop report from Conservation Northwest about their "Connecting the Backbone" workshop that we participated in November;
  • we presented at a Biodiversity in Agriculture Training workshop for the Environmental Farm Plan program;
  • and we worked with a number of teams on developing several lakeshore education and outreach resources for residents living around Okanagan Lake.

Our year-end reporting and reflections in March are always an exciting and inspiring time of visioning for the next year of action, projects, and collaboration. We look forward to helping our partners achieve their conservation goals over the coming year.

Partner & Conservation News

Two people, outdoors in a field, are working. Caption says, Summer Interns for Stewardship

Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship is looking to hire summer interns for the 2018 field season.  As a condition of funding, applicants must be currently attending post secondary school and returning to school in the fall of 2018. For the full job description and application, please see the posting here.

Management Plans for Kalamalka Lake Park

The Friends of Kalamalka Park would like to highlight the opportunity and importance to provide feedback to BC Parks on management planning for Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park in early March.

Another Chance to Be a Bee Ambassador in 2018!

UBC’s Border Free Bees research project has been awarded a Go Wild Community Grant, presented by TELUS to support the Kelowna Bee Ambassador Project.  The goal of the project is to sign up 200 new Bee Ambassadors across the city this spring.

In 2017, over 100 homes, businesses, schools, churches and other organizations joined with Border Free Bees to form a Nectar Trail in Kelowna's Mission neighbourhood. Now the program is expanding throughout the city.

In 2017, Border Free Bees formed a Nectar Trail in the Mission neighbourhood of Kelowna with over 100 homes, businesses, schools, churches and other organizations joining up.  But countless other people outside the neighbourhood wanted to be part of the movement to support bees and other wild pollinators. So Border Free Bees approached their original funder, Go Wild, a World Wildlife Federation initiative, to expand the program throughout the city.

Starting in mid-March, anyone within the Kelowna city limits can commit to being a Bee Ambassador. The first 200 Ambassadors will be guaranteed a free Bee Ambassador Package that will include a lawn sign, a bee ID booklet, and guidelines for planting and caring for pollinators. Border Free Bees will continue to provide packages beyond that number until we are out of funds to produce them.

The goal is to link our over 100 wonderful Nectar Trail Bee Ambassadors (who signed up in 2017) to 200 NEW Ambassadors across the city so we can create a network of flowery stepping-stones throughout our urban landscape. If you missed out last year because you didn’t live in the Mission neighbourhood, watch for your chance to sign on and make your home, business, school or organization a Bee Ambassador.

The goal is to link our over 100 wonderful Nectar Trail Bee Ambassadors (who signed up in 2017) to 200 NEW Ambassadors across the city so we can create a network of flowery stepping-stones throughout our urban landscape.

This program is open to anyone in the Kelowna city limits. You will be able to sign up between March 15 to  June 30, 2018.  The first 200 Ambassadors are guaranteed an Ambassador Package. We will continue to provide packages beyond that number until we are out of funds to produce them! Look for more information in the local media and on our website.

Flooding and Fire Planning in Cherryville

The 2017 Cherry Creek riparian restoration project at Hansen Park will now provide increased security to our common park assets including the Cherryville Elementary School water source. Additionally Toni, Serge and Craig recently placed large windfall cottonwood chunks beside that relief channel behind the stage, to confine potential high water flows. Most excessive floodwater will be retained in the cottonwood floodplain at the upstream end of the park and the developed portion of the park will be further secured by a diversion ditch.

At the 2018 Electoral Area Directors Forum Mike Macnabb, Paul Demonek and Hank Cameron had an hour long opportunity to meet with George Abbott and Chief Maureen Chapman. The purpose of the meeting was to participate in the Province of BC review process of the 2017 fire and flood season and to discuss local government strategies to help with future potential challenges. Regional Districts become involved in wildfires through the use of Regional Fire Departments, citizen evacuations, emergency operations, and media communications. Regional District Directors customarily speak for their local government organization as a local face and familiar information source.

Our local suggestion to the inquiry was an offer to share regional resources, community knowledge and skills with the BC wildfire service, including enhanced wildfire employment of fire wardens, First Nations, loggers, silviculture crews and rural residents. Dispersal of wildfire management structure would enable more rapid deployment of initial attack crews and would increase local involvement. Economical accommodations such as Davis Fire Camp at Sugar Lake would save taxpayer funds, otherwise dispersed on restaurant meals and distant motel rooms. Local camp accommodation would also enable firefighters to travel in the predawn hours and to start their fire suppression work at first daylight. The 2017 BC fire and flood review will travel to the Okanagan later this spring and submissions are welcome from all rural residents.

Online submissions can also be submitted covering the four main subject areas: planning and preparedness, prevention and mitigation, response, and recovery. Fuel management and hazard abatement in the woodland and residential interface stands are the highest proactive priorities for both private landowners and forest managers.
- report from Hank Cameron, RDNO Electoral Area E Director

Allan Brooks Nature Centre Volunteers Share Their Love for Nature

Volunteer Orientation Session
March 15, 10am
ABNC will host the first of several upcoming one-hour Volunteer Orientation Sessions March 15 as we get ready for the upcoming season, which kicks off on Sunday, April 15, 2018. Whether you're a returning volunteer or considering volunteering with ABNC for the first time, this one-hour overview will be of interest to you.

You will learn about the range of volunteer opportunities available at ABNC and more specific information on upcoming training sessions, become aware of our 2018 Calendar of Events, and meet others looking to make a meaningful contribution to our community at ABNC this year. To sign up for March 15th or express your interest in other upcoming Orientation Sessions please email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Volunteer Opportunities
Interested to make a contribution to the Nature Centre? There are various ways for you to get involved. We'd love to hear from you. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Current opportunities include:

  • Workbee Crew
    In early April we will once again bring the Nature Centre back to life and order for our 2018 season. We are looking for numerous individuals willing to lend a hand on one or more occasions during the morning or afternoon of April 5, 6, 11, 12, and 13, 2018.
  • Exhibits and Displays Volunteers
    ABNC is looking for volunteers to help update displays in the Discovery and Habitat rooms this Spring! If you would be interested in helping to create and/ or install new materials please contact our Education Program Coordinator, Chantelle Adams at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 250-260-4227.
  • Buildings & Grounds Crew
    Would you like to help us build new trails and wheel-friendly seating in the Grassland Theatre, or assist with buildings and grounds maintenance? We are seeking individuals like you that have carpentry skills and time to lend a hand.

Workshops & Conferences

Kootenay Conservation Program (KCP) Winter Webinar Series

Paul L. Hansen Lentic and Lotic Riparian Assessment: A standardized approach
Monday, March 12, 10am-11am PST/11am-noon MST

Did you miss the lentic and lotic workshop in the Kootenays last summer? Did you attend and would like a refresher? Join Dr. Paul Hansen on Monday, March 12, 10am-11am PST/11am-noon MST to learn about a set of tools for collecting standardized site inventories and for assessing functional health of riparian and wetland sites. 

Since 1988, Dr. Hansen and his team have worked with a large number of North American organizations in a collaborative effort to create standardized forms for lotic and lentic wetland assessment. Learn about each of the seven forms, which have corresponding user manuals with discussions on proper application and explicit itemized instructions for their use. The information from this work is used extensively in riparian and wetland mitigation throughout North America and in parts of Europe.

This webinar will be co-hosted by KCP and the Columbia Basin Watershed Network (CBWN). Click here for registration details.

Toolkit for planning sustainable communities to be unveiled

Okanagan Basin Waterboard logo

The Water Board and Fraser Basin Council are co-hosting a free webinar to introduce a new online resource with more than 60 planning guides to help build climate resilient communities.

The “Getting to Know the Guides and Toolkits for Sustainable Land & Water Use Planning,” webinar, on March 13, 11 am – noon, will be of interest to local government and consulting planners, engineers, biologists, environmental consultants, conservationists and electeds. Register here.

Since early 2016, the Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB) has been working with various partners to identify planning guides and toolkits that provide legal mechanisms, policies, and best practices for climate change adaptation and sustainable land and water use. Now we are working to improve the uptake of these valuable and important documents. We're excited to announce that the OBWB and CivicInfo BC have joined forces and created a new online hub that brings more than 60 resources together into one searchable database.

Ecosystem Services: Protecting Nature Naturally

Grasslands Conservation Council of BC logoMarch 14, 3pm to 4pm
Grasslands Conservation Council of BC
Ecosystem Services are any beneficial natural process arising from healthy ecosystems, such as purification of water and air, pollination of plants and decomposition of waste.

Dave Zehnder, Farmland Advantage, will speak about how the Farmland Advantage project complements Ecosystem Services by helping farmers identify their farmland's natural values and developing recommendations and plans to preserve them. These plans can include actions such as water or stream setbacks, strategic fencing, reforestation, or rangeland enhancement. Register here.

Pollinator Stewardship Workshop

Pollinator Stewardship Workshop flyerCo-hosted by the Entomological Society of British Columbia, the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, Pollinator Partnership Canada and the British Columbia Ministry of Environment.

Tuesday, March 20th, 10:30am registration & coffee
Okanagan College, Penticton Campus
Cost $20 pre-registration by March 17th; $30 at the door. Register and pay online.

  • Refreshments and catered lunch included (vegetarian, vegan and other dietary options available)
  • Overview of pollinators, their importance, issues, and solutions,
  • focusing on native bees
  • Important native plants for pollinators in the Okanagan and how to manage
  • land to encourage native bees and other pollinators
  • Best management practices to encourage pollinators
  • Cost-saving benefits to land managers, scalability for large and small sites
  • Identification of common groups, monitoring, and public engagement
  • Bee nest structure building and management

Beginner Birding Workshop offered in Vernon

Birding for Beginners free workshop flier

April 14

Always want to learn about birds and don't know where to start? Can't tell a finch from a Sparrow? Join Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship and Matthias Bieber for a Birding for Beginners workshop in your community.

This workshop will start with an indoor presentation to provide a backgrounder on bird anatomy, how to get started with identifying birds including a summary of field guides and Apps as well as how to attract birds to your property with different feeders, feed, and nest boxes, followed by getting outside to put these new skills to use! For more information and to register, please click here.

Wetland Design Course from the Kootenay Conservation Program

May 14-July 26 (online)

Dr. Tom Biebighauser has been actively involved in wetland construction and restoration in the Kootenays and provides his expertise to many KCP Partners. This online course provides an opportunity to deepen that knowledge. Wetland Design is a graduate-level, online class taught by Dr. Tom Biebighauser through the University of Louisville Speed School of Engineering that shows how to design and build naturally appearing and functioning wetlands. The detailed lessons clearly explain the values of wetlands, how wetlands were drained, factors affecting site selection for restoration, construction techniques, and how non-functioning wetlands may be repaired. Assignments are completed independently and require working outdoors. Engineering, biology, hydrology, and landscape architecture students are welcome to register. The course has been developed and improved over a 5-year period by Dr. Tom Biebighauser, receiving numerous high reviews. Click here for more information.


Seedy Saturday, on a Sunday

Date: Sunday March 11th
Time: 10:00am - 3:00pm.
Location: Parkinson Recreation Center, 1800 Parkinson Way, Kelowna

2018 Xeriscape Classes, Kelowna Class

‘Introduction to the Seven Principles of Xeriscape’, presented as a one day class, contains practical information for people who want to make changes to an existing landscape or create a new landscape, as well as for those who are new to gardening in the Okanagan.

Date: Saturday April 7th,
Time: 10:00am to 2:00pm 
Location: at St Michael and All Angels Cathedral Hall 608 Sutherland Avenue, Kelowna Info:

Roots, Shoots & Boots, Garden Topic Lecture Series

Date: Wed. March 14
Time: 12:30-2:30pm
Presenter: Eva Antonjevic of OXA
Theme: Xeriscape and Fire Smart Plant Presentation
Location: Westbank Lions Community Centre 2466 Main Street, West Kelowna

2018 Okanagan Xeriscape Association Plant Sale

This popular event will be held in the unH20 Garden, Saturday May 5th from 9:00am to noon. Funds raised go to support the unH20 Garden. All plants will be water-wise and many of the plant varieties featured in the gardens will be available for purchase. Xeriscape experts and Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer questions. If you have extra xeriscape plants in your garden that you would like to donate or if you have empty square pots and trays to donate, please contact Alison, our Garden and Volunteer Coordinator, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Volunteering with OXA

We welcome OXA members to volunteer in the unH20 garden and at OXA events. If you indicated on your membership form that you are interested in helping, you will receive emails regarding volunteer opportunities. If you have questions about volunteering, please contact Alison at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Gardening with Nature column

This popular column in the Kelowna Capital News runs from March through to November. The column highlights xeriscape plants; garden conversion stories; tips and seasonal advice for home gardeners about planning, creating, and maintaining xeriscapes.  The column is also a good place to find information on garden-related events.

Sustainable Environment Network Society Event Announcements

Seedy Saturday

Flier for Seedy Saturday eventMarch 17th, 10 am – 3 pm, Vernon’s Rec Centre. Join us to celebrate seeds, gardening, bees, local food, and much more! Kids’ activities also provided. Buy a (used) gardening book. Sign one out from our on-site travelling library. Swap free seeds/plants and garden mags (bring envelopes + pen). Hear from local experts about Vermicomposting Worms, Bees and Pollinators, or Seed Starting and Seedling Care! Admission by donation ($2 suggested). Come and enjoy!

First People of the Land

Vernon Library, 1 – 3 pm, Sundays of March 4th and March 18th and Saturday, March 10th. Mollie Bono, a member of the Suknaqinx band, will tell the tale of her people, their deep connection to the land, and what it means to them. You are invited to attend these free talks!

Green Drinks:

Monday, March 12th, 5 – 7 pm, Marten Brew Pub, 2933a 30th Ave in Vernon. It’s open to everyone. Meet with NGOs, academia, and people in the field to share ideas, make contacts, and more! 

B.C.’s Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR):

It protects farm land from development, so that we always have food-growing land to keep costs down and generate local jobs. What are your thoughts? Try the survey!

Wanted – sewers with sewing machines!.

If you would like to show kids how to sew simple cloth shopping bags on April 25 and/or May 16 to coincide with reduction in plastic bag use in Vernon shops, please contact Joel (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) at Vernon Christian School. Let’s quickly become a Boomerang Bag city! Also, keep an eye out for when the Vernon Library sets a date for everyone tobring their machines and sew cloth shopping bags at the library! 

Eco-Friendly Home Tour

It’s scheduled for Saturday May 5 but mark your calendars NOW! for April 1 when tickets ($25 each) will be available at Vernon’s Bean Scene or you might miss out. Thank-you to CFUW Vernon for supporting 2 $1500 scholarships for local college students through this venture.

Everything Fermented

Flier for Everything Fermented event

Canada Water Week movie night

Okanagan Waterwise logo. One Valley, One Water.The OBWB’s Okanagan WaterWise is hosting a free, fun and engaging movie night to celebrate UN World Water Day and Canada Water Week on Wed. March 21, 6 - 8:30 p.m. at Rotary Centre for the Arts in Kelowna.

“Shared waters. Shared conversations. …Keeping the Okanagan River flowing” features a special Okanagan welcome from Krystal Lezard. There will be a screening of the award-winning A River Film. Breathtaking film footage profiles our Okanagan/Okanogan rivershed, a transboundary waterway that straddles the Canada-U.S. border, and explores the complex relationships between people, fish, upland species, the wider Columbia Basin, and how this is managed.The film will be followed by a Q&A with some of those featured in the film. Visit displays from local organizations working to protect our waters, and enjoy light refreshments. This is a free event but registration is required at

Regional District of Central Okanagan logo

Nature Detectives Spring Break Camps

Registration is underway for this year’s Nature Detectives Spring Break Camps at the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan in Mission Creek Regional Park (Springfield and Durnin Roads). Indoor and outdoor activities for children age five to seven will run from 9:00 am to 12 noon, March 20th to 22nd and again March 27th through 29th. All camp participants will engage in nature play, crafts and games that will bring out their inner naturalist as they make new friends!  Each morning during the camps they’ll take part in crafty nature activities, discover park trails and ponds and listen to stories about animals and our environment.

Please register in advance at the EECO. The cost is $75 per youngster for each three, half-day camp session. For more information visit the Regional District website or contact the EECO at 250-469-6140, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or drop into the Centre at 2363A Springfield Road in Mission Creek Regional Park.

Funding Opportunities

EEEC EcoAction Community Funding Program

Environment and Climate Change Canada's (ECCC) EcoAction Community Funding Program is now accepting applications for funding until March 21, 2018 for projects beginning summer 2018. Funding is available for new projects that engage Canadians and clearly demonstrate measurable, positive environmental results related to clean water or climate change.

Application Deadline: March 21

Habitat Stewardship Program (Species at Risk Stream)  and the Aboriginal Funds for Species At Risk Program (both Prevention Stream and Species at Risk Stream).

We are pleased to inform you that the 2018-2019 Call for Proposals is now open for the HSP (Species at Risk Stream), and AFSAR (both Prevention Stream and Species at Risk Stream).

Extended deadline: March 23 (Expressions of Interest due March 2)

Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation Acquisition Grants

Application Deadline: March 29

HCTF accepts proposals for projects that acquire land or interests in land to secure the value of these areas for conservation of fish and wildlife habitats and populations. The deadline for submitting an HCTF Acquisition Proposal is March 31, 2018 at 4:30 PM PST.

Environment and Climate Change Canada Environmental Damages Fund

Application Deadline: April 6

On February 1, 2018, Environment and Climate Change Canada announced new funding through the Environmental Damages Fund. $2.85 million in funding is available for the purposes of the conservation and protection of fish and fish habitat, or the restoration of fish habitat in the Columbia River or Kootenay River watersheds.

Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation Public Conservation Assistance Fund

Application Deadline: May 16

The Public Conservation Assistance Fund provides small grants to organizations and individuals who have a conservation project in mind but need financial help to make it happen. Projects must be of a conservation nature, with priority given to projects that focus on activities that maintain, conserve or restore native (indigenous) fish and wildlife species and their habitats. PCAF will fund eligible expenses up to $10,000 in any one year.


Kootenay Conservation Program Winter Webinar Series Recordings

If you missed the latest webinar in the 2018 KCP Winter Webinar Series, the recording has been made available on the KCP website.

Fish and Wildlife Mapping: Tools everyone should know about

ORIGINAL AIR DATE: Wednesday, February 28, 10am-11am PST/11am-noon MST

Do you want to be able to access fish and wildlife data for your projects? Or create maps with fish and wildlife locations? Join Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy Fish and Wildlife Information Specialist Albert Chirico, R.P.Bio. to learn about data standards and requirements for submitting fish and wildlife data, a demonstration of BC Government digital libraries (CLIR, EcoCat and SIWE) and spatial tools (Habitat Wizard, iMap), and a look into what the future holds.