Native Plants Provide Restoration

In 2008, a small wild plant nursery was established by the Lillooet Naturalist Society and the Cayoose Creek Indian Band to provide native plants for a restoration project along the Fraser River.

More than 7,000 plants later, the nursery has bloomed into a potentially significant commercial and cultural enterprise for the Cayoose Creek band.

With help from IAF, that potential is being explored through the preparation of an economic business and marketing plan for commercializing the existing nursery and restoration services, and evaluating the potential of value-added products for market.

Along the way, the project has not only engaged elders and youth through training and mentoring activities, but is providing employment to the local community, encouraging healthy eating habits and fostering economic growth…all while restoring traditional lands to original ecosystems for the benefit of wildlife.

As if that weren’t enough, the nursery was also selected for the BC Landscape and Nursery Association’s 2011 Stewardship Award.

Cayoose Creek band member Karen Edwards has been working at the restoration site and nursery for the past four years, and is excited to see the benefits unfolding for her community.

“We’re providing an accessible site where all generations can come together and learn,” Edwards says. “This is helping to keep our traditions alive.”

While the work has primarily been focused in the St’at’imc traditional territories, members from surrounding bands and interested Lillooet community members are able to participate in workshops and volunteer activities. It is also anticipated that many of the skills and products developed could be adapted to similar landscapes within the Thompson/Okanagan region.

Funding: up to $62,912 provided through the Agri-Food Futures Fund, Emerging Sectors Initiative. (A0647 ES)