Tiffany Joseph Teaching Hike

  • Supplemental information from ‘briarpatch magazine’ [July/ Aug Vol 49 No 4], link provided below

from:  Decolonizing Ecology
by Jade Delisle Jul 2, 2020

Restoring WSÁNEĆ protocols

ŚW̱,XELOSELWET ŦE NE SNÁ, whose English name is Tiffany Joseph, lives part time in the village of STOLȻEȽ (Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, Washington) in the rain-shadowed homelands of W̱SÁNEĆ. ŚW̱,XELOSELWET means “camera lady” – living up to her name, Tiffany studied independent filmmaking, and makes films to help her communities preserve and share their knowledge. 

Tiffany has been working in SṈIDȻEȽ, which is the village where the first W̱SÁNEĆ person came from the sky. “His name was SȽEMEW̱ and he came down with the rain. We call rain SȽEMEW̱, so we as W̱SÁNEĆ people are descendants of the rain.” The village is filled with cedars, Douglas firs, grand firs, and the June plums that are the first to flower in the spring, and in the middle of it all are the remnants of the abandoned cement factory that was built on the territory without permission, and a trail that used to be a road.  At the end of the trail you can see SX̱OX̱IYEM, which means “deep still water,” a place that the many marine ecologists who have come to assess the impact of the cement factory call Willis Point. “Whatever runs off into the inlet stays there for a really long time,” Tiffany explains.

“We’ve dealt with contaminated soil, and are often removing large cement chunks, abandoned car parts, mattress springs, and other household items from the sites.”

Along with other youth and community members, Tiffany works on the SṈIDȻEȽ Resiliency Project, removing invasive plants such as blackberry and English ivy from the garden that was formerly a limestone quarry for cement production. “We’ve dealt with contaminated soil, and are often removing large cement chunks, abandoned car parts, mattress springs, and other household items from the sites,” she says. Environmental restoration helps reduce runoff into the inlet, and a collaboration with the SeaChange Marine Conservation project saw large pebbles and sand placed along the shoreline to mitigate erosion. But the obstacles are less about the difficulty of removing contaminated soil and invasive plants and instead more about changing colonial mindsets. 

“In 2015, I was asked to lead ‘ethnobotanical walks,’” she recalls. “I cringed, because I didn’t want to talk about how all these plants were ‘used.’ It felt out of alignment with the teachings I’d been given, that any knowledge of our culture is best learned from our family, and when it’s not available through our family, then we must reach out to Elders in our nations,” she tells me. “The learning is done through observing, listening, and following, and it would take time and mentorship.” 

The walks she led through the village “eventually became more and more rooted in our W̱SÁNEĆ worldview and history of plants, land, water, sky, and animals as ‘beings’ and our relatives,” she explains. “In our protocols we talk to plants, sing to them, pray to them, and ask permission to harvest them, so I teach people to do the same. I also take time to see how the land relates to the water. In SṈIDȻEȽ, there’s lots of Oregon grape within the forest, and near the shore is a lot of shell midden. Oregon grape is a W̱SÁNEĆ medicine for shellfish poisoning, so if W̱SÁNEĆ people can ever harvest shellfish again in SṈIDȻEȽ, it’s good to have the medicine close by.”

“In our protocols we talk to plants, sing to them, pray to them, and ask permission to harvest them, so I teach people to do the same.”

“What I haven’t had the privilege to do with my own two hands, I try to record in order to share with my community, or for future generations,” she notes. She gives the example of the community’s marine life garden project. Community members build gardens on the beaches to reseed clams and to teach W̱SÁNEĆ children knowledge and skills about “this way of life that our grandparents’ generation and older lived,” says Tiffany. Last year, she interviewed the Elders, knowledge carriers, and clam gardeners for a video to share with the W̱SÁNEĆ people and Parks Canada. The results of the gardens are easy to see. “The clams that were in these beaches before the project started were black, and now many have turned white,” she notes.

In contrast to stereotypes of Indigenous Peoples as hunter-gatherers, oral histories and research prove that Indigenous Peoples in the Pacific Northwest have been farming clams for over 1,000 years – constructing stone terraces and stacking sediments in the tidal column to perfect clam-growing conditions and harvesting selectively to feed large numbers of people without decimating the clam population.  Even so, the myth that Indigenous Peoples were solely foragers, not farmers, was leveraged by colonial governments to justify stripping Indigenous nations of their land base.

for the full article:


CoCoRaHS Canada


What is CoCoRaHS Canada?

• NON-PROFIT, Grassroots, volunteer network of weather observers of all ages and background measuring and mapping precipitation (rain, and snow) in their communities.

• We use low-cost measurement tools and stress education and training to create a network that provides high quality data to a variety of users

• Our Web page provides the ability for our observers to see their observations mapped out in “real time”, as well as providing a wealth of information for our data users.

Go to:



Oldriška [Oluna] and Adolf Ceska’s mycological survey of Observatory Hill

started in the fall of 2004, and it is unique in North America by its length and intensity of surveying.

Observatory Hill (Nature Areas Atlas: ).

Oluna’s work is well known in the North American mycological circles, more than in the local general public area.

Go to The Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team (GOERT) for links to Macrofungi of Observatory Hill:

Get close to nature this fall. Join CRD Regional Parks interpreters for free and low-cost guided walks, hikes and drop-in events. Outings and events are designed for nature lovers at all seasons of life, and run rain or shine, every season of the year.

If you are interested in promoting any of our nature outings and events, please contact me for media images and to arrange interviews.

Laurie Sthamann | Communications Coordinator
Parks and Environmental Services | Capital Regional District
490 Atkins Ave, Victoria, BC V9B 2Z8
T: 250.360.3332 | C: 250.889.8030 | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

The link above will take you to this page for much more information.



Visit Canadian Geographic web site

and discover actions you can take to help Tod Creek Watershed.


Rocky Point Bird Observatory (RPBO)

“The following tool was developed by Rocky Point Bird Observatory to help natural systems restoration professionals and volunteers in the Pacific Northwest choose native plants for their gardens that also attract birds. Our goal in developing this tool was to provide a list of native plants to use in place of invasives with a goal to retaining whatever benefit birds were deriving from the invasive plant. The information in this system will be amended over time as more information becomes available.

Plants listed in this tool are ones that are native to the Pacific Northwest at large, they may not be native to your particular area. Care should be taken to ensure you choose a plant that is native to your area. Also, most invasives are better than natives at exploiting a range of habitat types make sure you check the growth requirements for the plant you select to ensure it will thrive in the habitat of the invasive you are replacing.”


The Invasive Species Council of BC (ISCBC)

is a registered charity and non-profit society that is making a difference in the lives of all British Columbians. ISCBC is a dynamic action-oriented organization, helping coordinate and unite a wide variety of concerned stakeholders in the struggle against invasive species in BC and spearheading behaviour change in gardeners, outdoor recreation enthusiasts, First Nations people and both resource industry and horticultural professionals.

Beavers in and around Prospect Lake

Once They Were Hats: In Search of the Mighty Beaver by Frances Backhouse 

“Beavers, those icons of industriousness, have been gnawing down trees, building dams, shaping the land, and creating unnamedcritical habitat in North America for at least a million years. Once one of the continent’s most ubiquitous mammals, they ranged from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the Rio Grande to the edge of the northern tundra. Wherever there was wood and water, there were beavers — 60 million (or more) — and wherever there were beavers, there were intricate natural communities that depended on their activities. Then the European fur traders arrived.

In Once They Were Hats, Frances Backhouse examines humanity’s 15,000-year relationship with Castor canadensis, and the beaver’s even older relationship with North American landscapes and ecosystems. From the waterlogged environs of the Beaver Capital of Canada to the wilderness cabin that controversial conservationist Grey Owl shared with pet beavers; from a bustling workshop where craftsmen make beaver-felt cowboy hats using century-old tools to a tidal marsh where an almost-lost link between beavers and salmon was recently found, Backhouse goes on a journey of discovery to find out what happened after we nearly wiped this essential animal off the map, and how we can learn to live with beavers now that they’re returning.”

Rural Saanich Local Area Plan (LAP)   [latest edition here: 2007]

Rural Saanich Local Action Plan Link


Saanich’s official community plan comprises the General Plan, twelve local area plans, action plans, and the development permit areas, justification and guidelines. Rural Saanich is the largest of the local areas encompassing almost half of the land area within Saanich. Located outside the urban containment boundary, the local area comprises rural acreages, small-scale farms, major parks, and institutional and government lands. These lands include a variety of green/blue spaces with high environmental, scenic, renewable resource, outdoor recreation, greenway, and/or social value.



 Evergreen is a national not-for-profit that inspires action to green cities.

With more than 85 percent of Canadians living in cities, our disconnection from nature has never been greater—causing real problems for the health of the environment, our communities and our economy.
Evergreen’s work is driven by our belief in the power of people to enact positive change and restore the natural health of their communities. Focusing on four program areas—Greenspace, Children, Food and CityWorks—we build partnerships with diverse groups and engage key influencers and the public to inspire local action and create sustainable cities.

Uncover our Creeks Programme:  News to follow, plus announcements.

For a direct look at the native plant list:



Invasive Species Alert List 

Invasive Species Council of B.C.

bullfrogDo you know what invasive species or plants are, and why we should care?flower_canada

You can make a lasting difference in your community and help prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species in BC.

History of the Council


The creation of the Invasive Species Council of British Columbia (formerly the Invasive Plant Council of British Columbia) stems from a call to action from the Fraser Basin Council on the issue of invasive plants in BC after a field trip to the Cariboo in 2001 brought the issue to the forefront. The Fraser Basin Council then led the development of the Invasive Plant Strategy for BC, a groundbreaking document published in 2003 that outlines an action plan to address the exponential increase in invasive plant populations throughout the province.


A new Invasive Species Strategy for BC is now being developed, building upon the original version, and will serve as a tool that will enhance the coordination of invasive species management across BC.

Over the course of 2011, workshops were held across the province to allow stakeholders to provide input and direction of the new Strategy. During the 2012 Public Forum and AGM, “Shutting Out Invaders”, attendees have the opportunity to review the final draft Strategy. All draft versions, regional workshop meeting summaries, and blog discussions are available online. Thank you to the technical writing team and all other contributors to this important initiative for BC!

The Council also began transitioning to become the Invasive Species Council of British Columbia during 2011, to expand from invasive plant management to include all invasive species impacting BC. This transition will continue into 2012 and beyond!



people of Łue Chok Tué

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