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.

Meet our 2016 Summer Students!!

Hi, I'm Samantha Davis and I'm one of the new interns at the Okanagan-Similkameen Stewardship Society for the summer 2016 season. 

I grew up at Apex Mountain Resort, where I spent my time skiing, hiking and horseback riding. Observing how quickly my mountainous, natural playground could be destroyed by development, logging and climate change, I developed a strong interest in helping the environment. I am currently completing my 5th year of Earth and Environmental Science at UBCO in Kelowna.


I am looking forward to being in my home town this summer with this great opportunity to learn about the flora and fauna of the valley, and to be a part of important conservation work with the OSS!
Sam on the Athabasca Glacier


Hi!  I’m Jill Bisaro.  I am one of the new interns at the Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society this summer. 

I grew up in the small town of Fruitvale in the west Kootenays, where I spent a lot of time in the outdoors hiking and camping. My love for the outdoors drove me to complete a Recreation, Fish and Wildlife diploma at Selkirk College in Castlegar, where much of my time was spent getting to know the backcountry of the Kootenays.  That program fostered in me a love for work in the field, and I hope to bring that into my future job one day. 

Currently, I am finishing up my degree at the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George, where I am majoring in Wildlife and Fisheries.  Once I graduate I am interested in becoming a Wildlife Field Research Biologist. Working for the OSSS is a great opportunity for working towards my future goals.  I am excited to work for such a great organization this summer, and to get to know the Okanagan!

Jill in her native habitat

Then and now

Habitat enhancement and restoration projects are important in improving natural areas for wildlife throughout our region.  In the Okanagan valley, where 87% of wetlands and riparian areas have been lost to channelization and development, restoring these areas is important.  Buffers around wetlands and along rivers and streams work like sponges, cleaning and filtering water and providing other "services" like flood control, cooling water for fish and so on.

Enhancing and restoring natural areas often takes years, but sometimes the results are visible much quicker than that.


The Kambo pond in Osoyoos was created in a depression in an Osoyoos orchard.  This depression was a frost pocket that was causing loss in cherries.  Water in the pond helps to regulate temperature and reduces late frosts while also providing important habitat for amphibians and waterfowl.

This depression in Vernon was excavated and a clay liner used to assist in water retention.  Now the pond holds water longer and is breeding habitat for amphibians and waterfowl.


The Okanagan Crush Pad site is looking AMAZING after just two short months.  This buffer along Eneas Creek in Summerland's Garnet Valley will provide valuable wildlife habitat adjacent to a site where we are planning to excavate ponds and side channel habitat.

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.

Thank you to our partners and funders

Thank you to our partners and funders