Identifying Native Grasses of Southern Vancouver Island

Are you interested in learning more about native grasses on Vancouver Island? Satinflower Nurseries Native Seed & Growing Project (NSGP) presents this three-part series that includes topics on the ecology and biology of Vancouver Island native grasses and equips participants with practical identification skills through field trips and classroom exercises.


Program Dates: Three sessions between May 28th and June 22nd, 2024. Each session is being offered twice, and you will attend one of each session. Registration for each session will occur once you have purchased your registration. 

Session 1: Tuesday May 28th OR Wednesday 29th, 5:30 pm-7:30 pm

Session 2: Wednesday June 5th OR Thursday 6th, 6:30 pm-8:30 pm

Session 3: Saturday June 15th OR Saturday 22nd 10am-3:00pm

Hours of Instruction: 9 hours

Venue: In-person, and Fieldtrips (local)

Cost: $295 + GST


Identifying Native Grasses Program Details:

SESSION 1: Introduction to Grasses of Vancouver Island 

In-person, 4286 Metchosin Road
Date: Tues May 28th OR Wed 29th 2024 5:30pm-7:30pm

This introduction to native grasses will help familiarize you with grass-specific terminology and physical features, including how to distinguish grasses from other plant groups. In this introductory workshop you will be introduced to some common local species and their ecology.

SESSION 2: Identifying Native Grasses

In-person, 4286 Metchosin Road
Date: Wed June 5th OR Thurs 6th 2024 6:30pm-8:30pm

This in-person session will empower you to identify native grasses instead of ignoring them! We will put our new knowledge about grasses to use while we take a close-up look at a variety of native grass species. We will look at their physical features and talk about the types of habitats where you might expect to find them. Grass samples, live dissections, and “keying out” grasses will be part of this session.

SESSION 3: Identifying Grasses Outdoors/ Growing Native Grasses 

In-person, Sitting Lady Falls, Witty's Beach, and 4286 Metchosin Road 
Walking on uneven and hilly terrain outdoors for ~2km is required. Restrooms at the trailhead.
Date: Sat. June 15th OR Sat. 22nd 2024 10am-3:00pm

Observing grass species outdoors is an essential part of coming to know and appreciate native grasses and the important role they play in local ecosystems. We will be exploring native grasses and their habitats for two hours, followed by a mini workshop at Satinflower Nurseries (Metchosin). Growing native grasses is one of the ways to improve your overall knowledge of the plants we have discovered. You will come to recognize them across the seasons- from seed, vegetatively, and in flower. We will cover practical propagation tips that will motivate you to try native grasses yourself! Participants will be provided native grass seed and potted samples to try at home should they wish.


Meet your Instructors:


Kristen Miskelly, MSc Botany, RPBio 

Kristen co-founded Satinflower Nurseries: Native Plants, Seeds & Consulting, a native plant nursery and consulting business in Victoria, British Columbia. The nursery inspires and empowers people to connect with nature through native plants. Kristen is a biologist passionate about native plants, ecology, ecosystem restoration, and native plant propagation. Her undergraduate work focused on grass taxonomy, and she completed her master’s in paleoecology at the University of Victoria, where she studied the preglacial flora of southern Vancouver Island. Over the past couple of decades, her work has focused on the Prairie-Oak ecosystems of Southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. Kristen is a steering committee member of the Cascadia Prairie Oak Partnership and a sessional lecturer at the University of Victoria in Biology and the School of Environmental Studies. Kristen continues to provide ecological consultation to various agencies and groups and teaches courses and workshops on native plants, propagation, and local ecology regularly.

James Miskelly

James is a co-owner of Satinflower Nurseries and a biologist with expertise in Garry oak ecosystems, plants, insects, and restoration. James completed a Master of Science in Biology from the University of Victoria in 2004 focusing on butterflies and their habitat needs.  James has worked in various capacities specializing in rare plants and animals. He is a research associate at the Royal BC Museum in entomology with a particular interest in Canadian Orthoptera (crickets, grasshoppers, and katydids). Outside of the nursery, James works with Natural Resources Canada helping to conserve and restore habitats and rare species on federal DND lands.