Outings & Events

What’s going on!

There are many ways to experience Shrub-Steppe.

Cowiche Canyon Conservancy creates a variety of opportunities for all ages to connect with the shrub-steppe. We work with  partners including other non-profit organizations, schools, and local, state, and federal agencies to engage the community with our work and build support for local conservation. 


Community events – live and virtual – aim to help our community engage with our shrub-steppe in educational and inspiring ways. Stay tuned here for updates about future events.


Winter Talks are hosted in collaboration with Yakima Valley College. Talks explore biology relevant to protecting, restoring, and living in our shrub-steppe ecosystem.  We are pleased to announce our 2023 series. Talks will be hosted via zoom. Registration details are coming soon.  Recordings of past talks can be found here.


Tuesday, January 17
7:00 pm

Conservation of Rare Plant Species in the Columbia Plateau

by Maya Kahn-Abrams


An exploration of the unique forces at play in the Columbia Plateau that shape the evolution of the plants that grow here. We will focus on the Wild Buckwheat’s (Eriogonum species) as a case study for these processes, and explore current efforts for the conservation of a rare and endangered species, Eriogonum codium, including the ongoing work between US Fish and Wildlife, the University of Washington, and the Cowiche Canyon Conservancy.


Speaker Bio

Maya Kahn-Abrams is currently a graduate student at the University of Washington in the School of Environmental and Forest Science studying Restoration Ecology. She graduated in 2019 from The Evergreen State College with a dual BA/BS in environmental microbiology and ecology and has worked extensively on the conservation of rare plants in Washington state through the Rare Plant Care and Conservation program at the University of Washington Botanic Gardens, and on shrub steppe restoration through the USDA-Agricultural Research Service. Through discovering plants, microbes and their roles within ecosystems and human survival, Maya has been guided on a journey of profound scientific and personal discovery, instilling a commitment to exploring how equitable societies can shape ecological resilience.

Talk will be hosted via zoom. To join:

Register here


Tuesday, February 28
7:00 pm

The River’s Liver: Exploring the Hidden World of the Hyporheic Zone

by Vanessa Garayburu-Caruso


Rivers are fundamental to global biogeochemical cycles. The area below the river is known as the hyporheic zone, which can act as the “river’s liver”. The hyporheic zone is home to a high diversity of very active microbes that can generate greenhouse gasses and help filter river water by removing contaminants. At Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Garayburu-Carusu seeks to understand mechanisms and drivers of hyporheic zone activity across multiple scales with the goal of integrating them into global scale models to predict the behavior of our changing planet.


Speaker Bio

Vanessa Garayburu-Caruso is a key contributor in Subsurface Biogeochemical Research multidisciplinary science and is involved in research associated to carbon chemistry and historical contingencies. She is also the chemistry team lead for Worldwide Hydrobiogeochemistry Observation Network for Dynamic River Systems (WHONDRS).

Garayburu-Caruso has extensive experience studying the biogeochemistry of groundwater/surface water interaction zones, particularly using geochemical analytical methods and instrumentation. She’s led and conducted numerous laboratory experiments and demonstrates skill in field work and utilizing field instrumentation.

Talk will be hosted via zoom. To join:

Register here


Tuesday, March 7
7:00 pm

In Search of Meadowlarks: How Farming Practices Can Support Birdlife

by John Marzluff


 A wildlife scientist and birder, John Marzluff has traveled our continent, from California to Costa Rica, to learn how humans and birds co-exist. Marzluff will share how farming practices and diet choices can support birdlife – like barn owls, yellowthroats, and meadowlarks – as well as larger biodiversity and sustainability goals.



John Marzluff is James W. Ridgeway Professor of Wildlife Science at the University of Washington.  His graduate (Northern Arizona University) and initial post-doctoral (University of Vermont) research focused on the social behavior and ecology of jays and ravens. His current research focuses on the interactions of ravens and wolves in Yellowstone. He teaches Ornithology, Governance and Conservation of Rare Species, Field Research in Yellowstone, and Natural and Cultural History of Costa Rica.

Marzluff has mentored over 40 graduate students and authored over 170 scientific papers on various aspects of bird behavior and wildlife management. He is a member of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Recovery Team for the critically endangered Mariana Crow, a former member of the Washington Biodiversity Council, a Fellow of the American Ornithologist’s Union, and a National Geographic Explorer.


Talk will be hosted via zoom. To join:

Register here


Our guided Community Walks, on a variety of natural themes, are a great way for families to engage with the shrub-steppe, learn about plants and other wildlife, and become more comfortable with CCC trails. 


What: Cowiche Canyon Geology Walk

When: Saturday, December 3, 2022, 10am to 12pm

Where: Cowiche Canyon West trailhead




Cowiche Canyon is a marvel of geological forces — from volcanoes to tectonic collisions, to erosion. Join Yakima Valley College’s Suki Smaglik to learn about them!


This interactive walk will leave from the West trailhead of Cowiche Canyon. We’ll walk about two miles total. Dress warm!