About Us

Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society is a non-profit, local, charitable organization (Reg # 845398777 RR0001) that assists land owners, managers and community groups in voluntary conservation of important habitats on private lands and within communities of the Okanagan and Similkameen valleys. 

We work collaboratively, in partnership with many stakeholders, including private landowners, communities, schools, government, non-profits, industry and partners with shared visions in order to achieve our goals.  All work completed with OSS is done so confidentially and information is only shared with the expressed consent of the landowner.

Get to know your amphibian neighbours!

Pacific Chorus Frogs
Photo by Alexis Friesen
With spring being a bit earlier and warmer, our amphibian friends have been active a bit earlier than in most years. With so many wetlands being lost to development in our valley bottom, many Okanagan and Similkameen region salamanders and frogs are considered at risk. Want to get to know the frogs and salamanders that we share our valleys with?  Scroll through this slide show!

We're Hiring!

Think you have what it takes to be a Stewardship Technician with us?

We are hiring up to 3 summer interns through Canada Summer Jobs (pending approval).  View the job posting HERE and get your application in before April 25!

2015 Annual Report

The second full year that Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship has been in operation has been a great success with so many exciting projects.  

Read all about them in our 2015 Annual Report!

Creature Close-ups

Do you like wildlife trivia?  Follow us on Facebook for Creature Close-ups and test how well you know your wild neighbours!

16 Resolutions for Wildlife in 2016

With a new year beginning, in addition to making resolutions for health, why not make a few changes to improve lives of wildlife.  Here are 16 resolutions for 2016.

1. Stay informed.  Learn about native wildlife and habitats and sign up to receive our newsletter.  It comes by email just twice a year and won't waste paper or muddy up your inbox.  View past newsletters HERE and sign up to receive future ones by email at info@osstewardship.ca.

2. Create a habitat refuge or garden on your property. Plant a wildflower garden with native flowers, grasses, shrubs, and trees. Create brush piles as refuges for wildlife.
This may sound a bit intimidating, but even a small garden can create habitat for our native pollinators. If you don't have space, consider helping out with our community restoration initiatives.

3. Learn about invasive plants and do your part to stop their spread. Learn more about how to help at http://www.oasiss.ca/

4. Leave dead or dying trees standing on your property when it is safe to do so. Dead trees are very important habitat to a large number of animals including woodpeckers, owls and bats.

Bluebird using a bird box

5.Install nesting boxes. Nest boxes come in all shapes and sizes; little ones for bluebirds and big ones for western screech owls. Bat boxes can help attract bats to your property and control insect pests. Mason bee boxes help out some of our sweet little native pollinators. We have several types of nest boxes available to Wildlife Habitat Stewards.

6. Become a Wildlife Habitat Steward.  If you have a natural area on your property, like a creek, pond, forested area, grassland or rugged terrain, consider this program.  Participants receive assistance with habitat enhancement initiatives such as native plants, fencing, nest box installation and even pond construction projects as well as recognition for their efforts.

Frog using a froglog. Photo by Rich Mason
7. If you have a pool, consider adding frog logs. These are escape ramps that may help amphibians that fall in your pool get back out and on their way to a more appropriate pond.

8. Reduce energy use at home, at work and in your vehicle. You may qualify for a free energy saving kit from FortisBC or BCHydro, and be sure to check out their energy saving tips. This will help ensure a healthy planet for us and the wild things we share it with.

9. Watch for wildlife on our roads. If you see a turtle, snake, frog, badger or salamander crossing the road, and it is safe to do so, please help it across in the direction it was traveling. Turtles are very stubborn. If you take them back to the side of the road they started on they will try to cross the road again, and again, and again.

10. Purchase paper products made from post consumer recycled paper to help save our forests.

11. Keep your cats indoors, especially during nesting and fledging season.  Cats are the number one killer of birds in wildlife.

12. Be a citizen scientist.  Participate in Amphibian ID workshops and other community initiatives.  Learn how to accurately identify wildlife and how to report your findings so they may aid in the recovery of species at risk.  Follow our blog, facebook page and twitter account to learn about upcoming citizen science opportunities.

13. Bring your own shopping bags. No need to use all those plastic bags- bring your own reusable bags when shopping. As a bonus, you won't have a drawer full of crumbled up bags anymore!

14. Volunteer!  Consider volunteering for a community stewardship project.  Volunteering can include office work, planting trees, picking up garbage or helping stop the spread of invasive plants.

15. Get outside!  Go out and enjoy wildlife and natural areas.

16. Consider donating to a charitable organization like OSS that helps protect wildlife or its habitat.

Consider keeping at least one resolution for wildlife in 2016!  You won't regret it.

Stewards in Action: Radies Wetland Construction

In September, Wayne and Wendie Radies became OSS Wildlife Habitat Stewards and constructed a weltand on their Vernon property.

Originally, there was some water drainage, however, the area did not hold water.

After obtaining the necessary permits through the Water Act, we began construction under the instruction of renowned wetland restoration expert, Tom Biebighauser.

A group of wetland institute participants used this project as a learning experience.  The first step was to dig a test hole.

We used the clay in the soil to construct a compacted clay liner which would work as a seal to keep water above the surface.

Compaction of the clay liner ensured that there would be no seepage through the liner.

Once the liner was complete, we spread topsoil over the area to allow plants to become established.

Wetland Institute participants assisted with planting over 700 native plants and nearly 30 lbs of grass seed.

Watering of restoration plantings is critical in survival of plants.  Landowners Wayne and Wendie Radies installed irrigation to ensure adeqate watering of the restoration area.

The area has greened up quickly and local wildlife are already taking advantage of surface water and seed applied!  In addition to creating wetland habitat for waterfowl, it is our hope that this becomes a refuge for Great Basin Spadefoot.

Many thanks to all the partners in this project.  Excavation, native plants, planning and construction of this pond were made possible through funding from Wildlife Habitat Canada, Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, National Wetland Conservation Fund and Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk. Partner organizations included Okanagan Collaborative Conservation Program and the Wetland Institute.  

This project would not have been possible without the dedication of private landowners 
Wayne and Wendie Radies!

Thank you to volunteers!

Thank you to everyone who came out to the Ellis Basin last weekend and helped us plant native plants and move mulch. The mulch will help keep our plantings warm over the winter and help keep the roots of our plants cool and moist in the summer.

Thank you to our partners and funders

Thank you to our partners and funders