Bird sanctuary goes native
How can one both reduce water consumption and attract bird species to an area? The Bishop Wild Bird Sanctuary in Coldstream aims to do so by converting a large expanse of lawn into a native plant garden.
“The property already attracts many resident and migratory birds and the garden will create even more habitat for wildlife, including birds and beneficial insects and butterflies,” said resident caretaker, Aaron Deans. “If we can do this and also reduce our water use, what could be better?”
This weekend, volunteers will be able to learn about xeriscape gardening as Deans, along with 12 Master Gardeners, install more than 50 native species and 1,200 individual plants.
“Volunteers will get an opportunity to get hands-on practical knowledge from Master Gardeners so they can convert parts of their own yards into native plant species,” said Deans.
Longtime Coldstream resident and bird enthusiast Lydia Bishop left her property on Kalamalka Lake as a sanctuary in 1980. Over the years, many thousands of volunteer hours have transformed the Bishop property from the home of an amateur bird watcher to a first-class bird sanctuary.
Deans, a professional biologist, along with his wife, Laisha Rosnau, a novelist and poet and Vernon native, and their two young children became resident caretakers last spring.
The sanctuary provides education programs for local students.
“We focus on slowing children down, to let them have the time to sit quietly and observe, to connect with the natural world,” said Deans. “Research shows that unstructured time outside is necessary for a child’s development — that is probably true for adults as well.”
Deans encourages all those interested in xeriscape gardening to take part this weekend. The Xeriscape Planting and Native Plant Garden Party will take place Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 12408 Coldstream Creek Rd. Limited parking is available on the street.