Why Stewardship Matters- the importance of becoming a ‘Wildlife Habitat Steward’

You may ask yourself, what does Stewardship have to do with me?  The answer is - a lot.   Being a steward is defined as the responsible overseeing and protection of something considered worth caring for and preserving.  In the case of the Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society (OSSS), the thing worth caring for and preserving is the invaluable habitat that can be found all throughout the Okanagan and Similkameen valleys. 

The Okanagan has some of the rarest and most valuable wildlife habitats found in Canada and 1/3rd of those are found on private land owned by landowners like you.  There are many threats to these habitats including the innumerable invasive species found in the Okanagan, development, channelization of rivers and much more. 

Stewardship is a relatively new concept in the environmental world, and has proven to have valuable results.  One of our main goals as a Stewardship Society is to educate the public about simple ways they can conserve and even enhance the natural habitats around them.  As a summer Stewardship Intern with the OSSS I have had the opportunity to talk to many Okanagan locals at a variety of farmers markets throughout the region.  It’s there that we get a chance to tell them about environmental concerns in the area as well as discuss the opportunity they have to become a Wildlife Habitat Steward with us.  A Wildlife Habitat Steward with the OSSS is a landowner that has wildlife habitat on their property that they are interested in preserving.  This can include anything from a wetland to a grassland where wildlife species have been spotted. The process of signing on as a steward is simple and non-binding, and as a society we can assist you in enhancing and conserving the value of that habitat by pulling invasive species, planting native species, creating wetlands or ponds, or providing you with other conservation methods appropriate to your unique property!

Our educational display at Okanagan Farmers Markets

Throughout this summer I have had the opportunity to meet a variety of the Wildlife Habitat Stewards that have signed on with OSSS.  I have seen their passion for the conservation that is taking place on their property, and am grateful that I can part of an organization that cares so deeply about the important ecosystems and animals we have in this unique part of the province!

If you’re interested in becoming a Wildlife Habitat Steward with us, or want more information don’t hesitate to contact us at info@osstewardship.ca