Outings & Events

What’s going on!

There are many ways to experience Shrub-Steppe.

Cowiche Canyon Conservancy holds a variety of events and activities to increase opportunities for kids and adults to learn about the unique natural environment of the shrub-steppe and connect people to these lands. We work with a variety of partners including other non-profit organizations, schools, and local, state, and federal agencies to engage the community with our work and build support for our conservation work. 


An art exhibit juried by Monica Miller, Executive Director of Gallery One Visual Arts Center, featuring artwork inspired by the shrub-steppe lands of Cowiche Canyon Conservancy.  


Celebrate our shrub-steppe! The Images of the Shrub-Steppe Art Exhibit displays over 50 works in mixed media that offer diverse perspectives of our local landscape.  The exhibit will be on display at the Boxx Gallery July 6 through August 24.

Exhibit opening:  July 6
Artists reception:  July 20

Special Events and Awards to be announced.

by artist Sara Cate


Our Community Walks are family friendly and educational. Get outside and join us! Below are upcoming walks in 2019:


When: Saturday, June 22, 2019, 9am – 11:30pm

Where: Snow Mountain Ranch


Wake your senses! A morning of walking followed by a writing exercise. The goal of this series is to use nature to inspire observation and reflection.


– We’re asking each participant to please bring a journal or notebook, a writing tool, and an open mind.
– Although most of our Community Walks are family-friendly, this one is tailored for adults, or for ages 18 and above.
– This is not a pet-friendly walk. To encourage focus, we suggest you leave the furry ones at home.


When: Thursday, June 27, 2019, 5:15 – 8pm

Where: Wilridge Winery


Experience two treasures of our community: Cowiche Canyon and Wilridge Winery. This guided walk begins and ends at Wilridge, a beautiful, biodynamic winery perched atop the north rim of Cowiche Canyon. The walk (about 2 miles total) will meander down to the canyon bottom through vineyards and a dramatic volcanic landscape. We’ll then return to Wilridge for a rewarding glass of wine!

Community Walks are open to all ages. Walkers should wear sturdy shoes and outdoor clothes and come prepared for any weather. Walks typically last 1.5 – 2 hours. Feel free to bring binoculars and cameras. Call (509) 248-5065 with questions or email info@cowichecanyon.org. Directions to all of our trailheads can be found on the Trails Page.


Our Winter Lecture Series explores scientific concepts and phenomena related to the shrub steppe.


When: Tuesday, January 15, 7pm

Where: Yakima Valley College


Terri Knoke, of the Washington Native Plant Society, will describe her own personal journey into the world of native plants, especially those of the shrub steppe of the Columbia Basin. She will relate how, at the age of sixty, she fell down the rabbit hole of botany and art and into the wonderland of native plants. The desert parsleys were her downfall, and in tribute to them she will relate stories about ten species of Lomatium that live here on Cowiche Canyon Conservancy lands. How are these plants connected to fish and grapefruits? Come find out at this presentation on the diverse and fascinating genera of native plants.


Terri Knoke is a retired chemical engineer who lives in Burbank, Washington.  She was first formally introduced to the study of wildflowers in 1998, attending a 4-day North Cascades Institute wildflower class.  In 2014 she was asked to illustrate a new species of Lomatium discovered by her uncle, Don Knoke, and thus started a new passion: botanical art. Terri recently received national recognition as “Best of Show” for a watercolor as part of the University of Colorado’s Museum of Natural History in 2017, and is currently part of a travelling nationwide exhibition. As a member of the Washington Native Plant Society she continues to promote wildflowers through her art and volunteer service.


When: Tuesday, February 26, 7 pm

Where: Yakima Valley College – Glenn Anthon Hall (Building 4, Room 215)

Like in many streams in the Yakima Basin, salmon and steelhead runs in Cowiche Creek disappeared when development blocked fish passage and diverted stream flows. In this talk, Alex Conley, Executive Director of the Yakima Basin Fish and Wildlife Recovery Board, will describe the partnerships that were built and the projects that have been completed to return salmon and steelhead to Cowiche Creek. It’s a great success story about restoring a creek and continuing to sustain the farms it runs through. He’ll also touch on the restoration work now happening in the watershed, and how climate change may affect streams like Cowiche Creek.

Alex is Executive Director of the Yakima Basin Fish and Wildlife Recovery Board. He spent his early years wandering the woods and backwaters of New England, and then got lost in Senegal in West Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer- and later trainer- doing agroforestry work in Wolof villages. He has an undergrad in biology and environmental studies from Williams College and a Masters from the University of Arizona in Renewable Natural Resource Management, where his research work focused on collaborative approaches to managing forest and grazing lands. For the last 16 years he has run small locally-based organizations focused on watershed management and salmon habitat restoration in eastern Oregon and Washington. He is happiest when trying to puzzle out how natural and human history, current land use, and policy come together to shape the landscapes we live in.


When: Tuesday, March 12, 7 pm

Where: Yakima Valley College – Deccio Higher Education Center, Building 8, Parker Room


Author Ben Goldfarb reveals that our modern idea of what a healthy landscape looks like and how it functions is wrong, distorted by the fur trade that once trapped out millions of beavers from North America’s lakes and rivers. The consequences of losing beavers were profound: streams eroded, wetlands dried up, and salmon lost vital habitat. Today, a growing coalition of “Beaver Believers”―including scientists, ranchers, and passionate citizens―recognizes that ecosystems with beavers are far healthier than those without them. Ben’s talk will cover the extraordinary ecology of this influential species; describe how beavers transform landscapes; and detail how these remarkable rodents can help us fight drought, wildfire, biodiversity loss, and climate change. 


Ben Goldfarb is an award-winning environmental journalist who covers wildlife management and conservation biology. His work has been featured in Science, Mother Jones, The Guardian, High Country News, Audubon Magazine, and many other publications. He holds a master of environmental management degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Ben is the author of Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter, named one of the 50 most notable nonfiction books of 2018 by the Washington Post.