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. 


Community events – live and virtual – aim to help our community engage with our shrub-steppe in healthy, educational, and inspiring ways.


Are you one of nature’s storytellers? Do you have a story to tell about the land, water, or wildlife around you? Share your words with the community! We’re looking for original writing about or relating to the natural world, especially the wild things that live and breathe in our special place on earth, in Central Washington. Stories can involve nature as characters, narrators, heroes, tricksters, or something totally different. It’s up to you!


We’re accepting works of prose and poetry, in English and Spanish, from the following age groups: Youth (6 to 12), Teen (13 to 18), & Adult (19 to infinity).


Check out full submission guidelines here.



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

More walks will be announced soon!


What: Beaver Walk
When: February 5, 10am to 12p
Where: Cowiche Canyon East Trailhead


Join William Meyer, biologist with the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, for a walk and talk about one of nature’s most effective and intelligent engineers, beaver! Learn about how beavers live, eat, think, and improve ecological health.


William is one of the creators of the Yakima Basin Beaver Project, which was managed by WDFW for five years and is now managed by the Yakama Nation.


Participants need to pre-register for this event. You can register here.



Winter Talks explore biology relevant to protecting, restoring, and living in our shrub-steppe ecosystem.

Stay tuned for updates on our 2022 series.


What: ‘The Odd Life of an Underground Owl: Tracking Imperiled Western Burrowing Owls’
When: Tuesday, January 18, 7:00 to 8:30pm
Where: Online (Zoom): You need to REGISTER HERE


Dr. Courtney Conway will dig into the unique underground lives of the Western burrowing owl. In addition to sharing data describing the species’ population declines over the past 60 years, Conway will share what we do and don’t know about the life history of an imperiled bird. Conway’s recent research, which involves attaching tracking devices to over 300 owls, reveals previously unknown behavior and migratory patterns that could prove valuable in making conservation decisions to protect the owl’s breeding and wintering sites.


Speaker Bio
Courtney Conway is Professor of Wildlife Sciences with the University of Idaho and the Director of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Idaho Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit. His research focuses on wildlife management, conservation biology, behavioral ecology, and life history evolution. He has won numerous awards for teaching as well as research and service excellence


What: ‘Who’s Afraid of the … Light?: A Natural History of Darkness’

When: Tuesday, February 8, 7:00 to 8:30pm

Where: Zoom/Online: Register here.


Humans have been using light to ward off darkness for thousands of years. In our modern world of cheap electricity and LEDs, light is ubiquitous and true darkness is hard to find. Astronomers have battled the spread of light pollution for over a century, yet emerging research shows that too much artificial light at night does more than just erase the stars. Natural darkness is also important for nocturnal ecosystems and our own health. In this presentation, Zach will discuss the causes of light pollution, how scientists are measuring its impact on the natural world, and what we can do about it.


Speaker Bio

Zach Schierl grew up under the dark skies of Flagstaff, AZ, the world’s first International Dark Sky City. He currently teaches astronomy and geology at Yakima Valley College and previously worked as an Education Specialist and Park Ranger for the National Park Service, developing and leading astronomy and dark sky stewardship programs around the west. Zach has a B.A. in Geology and Astronomy from Whitman College, and an M.S. in Geology from Western Washington University.


What: ‘Better Living with Fire: Building Community and Landscape Resilience to Wildfire’

When: TBD

Where: Online (Zoom): Registration info to come.


Wildfire increasingly impacts our lives in the Yakima Valley and central Washington. While fire has always been a part of the ecosystem in this part of the world, there are increasingly smoky summers, increasing impacts from burn severity, and increased pressure to change how we manage forest, fires, and communities in the face of a changing climate. While we cannot and should not eliminate fire from our land, we can work to have better fire outcomes. Ryan Anderson, with the Washington Resource Conservation and Development Council, will provide an overview of “how we got here” and what are the federal, state, and local strategies for better living with fire.



CLOSURE (1/23/22): All single track trails at Rocky Top are CLOSED due to mud. Closure protects fragile trails and lands from damage. Rocky Top trails will likely re-open on April 1, after winter damage is repaired. 

PLEASE NOTE: We will be monitoring CCC trail conditions for mud. If you find significant mud, please let us know, and turn around to prevent trail damage. Thank you!

Detailed trail conditions here.