Experts to speak on biodiversity at Silver Hills Ranch

Speakers to talk on agriculture and the environment, while visitors can walk along the ranch’s riparian corridor.

Silver Hills Ranch is holding its annual biodiversity tour Sept. 6.

The tour is a way of bringing together people who have common interests in agriculture or the environment for good conversation, and a walk along the ranch’s riparian corridor.

Silver Hills Ranch is located on the edge of the Monashee Mountain range along the Upper Shuswap River, across from the community of Cherryville.

The location, which borders near the confluence of the Okanagan, Shuswap and Kootenay watersheds, provides a unique landscape that supports a wide variety of biodiversity.

“Silver Hills Ranch is making efforts to work with Mother Nature versus against her as we go about the business of raising commercial beef cattle,” said Silver Hills’ operator/owner Lee Hesketh, adding the ranch uses a holistic management style in looking after the land.

“The primary resources of the ranch are water, grass, and trees, and we realize that everything hinges on these resources’ success for the ranch to be successful.”

The tour will feature a number of experts in the field of agriculture/environment,  speaking on subjects such as agroforestry.

This year’s keynote speaker is George Powell, project development and communication services manager for the  B.C. Agroforestry Industry Development Initiative.

Powell will speak on a number of interests from the health benefits of birch wine and syrup and on growing your own Christmas trees.

Some of the other topics to be discussed will be wildlife management with Sgt. Darrell Ashworth, provincial predator conflict prevention and response coordinator with the Ministry of Environment; the fish passage to the upper Shuswap River with Elinor McGrath, Okanagan Nation Alliance fisheries department; and Helen Davis, speaking on western screech owl research in the Shuswap area, and an upcoming wildlife disease surveillance project in the area.

“Discussion and participation are encouraged by all attendees as this tour is about sharing knowledge while learning from other’s points of view in a hats off type of environment,” said Hesketh.

Those interested in attending can contact Hesketh at silverhillsranch@aol.com for more information.