Native Seed & Growing Project

Program Description


Registered already? You will have received an email from us letting you into the Satinflower Education Hub (NSGP classroom). From there you can sign-up for the first set of fieldtrips. Fieldtrip and webinar dates posted below. 

Welcome to the Native Seed & Growing Project! To begin this new project, we are starting with exploring native trees and shrubs. In our winter/spring 2023 session, we welcome you to join us, free of charge, to learn about growing, identifying, and appreciating native trees and shrubs of Southeastern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.  This is a learning opportunity for people of all experience levels.
Over two months, various tree- and shrub-related topics will be highlighted in our online classroom.  
  • Native tree and shrub identification.
  • Habitat preferences of native trees and shrubs.
  • Growing native trees and shrubs (seed and vegetatively). 
  • Choosing native trees and shrubs for gardens and projects. 
  • Planning and planting for hedgerows.
  • Wildlife interactions.
Participants will have a chance to attend two virtual sessions (Feb. 10th and March 15th 7-9pm) to discuss concepts and information outlined in the online classroom. Information related to propagation will help equip you with the knowledge needed to start growing native trees and shrubs.  Applied examples of propagation are provided through the classroom, video tutorials, and an in-person propagation workshop at Satinflower Nurseries.
We will be reading The Nature of Oaks by Doug Tallamy. This is an inspirational book that will integrate concepts that we are learning along the way. 
Click here to purchase!
The online classroom opens on February 7th, and fieldtrips start on February 11th. Please register in order to gain access to the online classroom, webinars, and field trip sign-ups. 

Virtual Sessions (7-9pm): Friday, February 10th and Wednesday, March 15th


We are offering five field trips, each led by an expert.  In-person trips will provide a unique learning opportunity to interact with nature, the community, and educators.  
  • Relationships between fungi and trees
  • Winter tree and shrub identification
  • Making and tasting native tree teas  
  • Growing native trees and shrubs 
  • Observing and listening to woodland birds 
  • Traditional forest medicines and Indigenous-perspectives
*Field trips sign-up will become available as separate Eventbrite links once you have registered for the course. The links will be available in the online classroom (Moodle). All field trips are in person.*                               

1: Forests and Fungi

With: Andy MacKinnon and Kem Luther

Date and Time: Saturday, Feb 11th, three sessions

(1) 9 am - 11 am (2) 11 am - 1 pm (3) 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm

Location: Sitting Lady Falls & Witty's Lagoon 

To Bring: Make sure to bring your copy of Mushrooms of British Columbia by Andy and Kem! 

Join us as we hike on the beautiful Sitting Lady Falls trail and discuss the integral relationships between fungi and the surrounding vegetative ecosystem. We will look at mushrooms we find along the way and try to identify their roles and importance. Feel free to bring your Mushrooms of British Columbia Book! 

Andy MacKinnon. Andy’s recent research interests include ecology of BC’s ectomycorrhizal fungal species. He was lead BC scientist for Environment Canada’s 2017 ranking of the province’s threatened and endangered fungal species. Andy has taught rainforest ecology field courses in Bamfield and Tofino (for the University of Victoria) and Haida Gwaii (for UBC). He has also taught mushroom identification courses in Tofino (for the Rainforest Education Society) and in Victoria. He is co-author of six best-selling books about plants of western North America and co-author of the Royal BC Museum Handbook Mushrooms of British Columbia. He is past-president of the South Vancouver Island Mycological Society (SVIMS).                                                                                      

Kem Luther. Kem is a naturalist and writer. He grew up in the Nebraska Sandhills, studied at Cornell, the University of Chicago, and the University of Toronto, and taught at Eastern Mennonite University, Sheridan College, York University, and the University of Toronto. When he moved from a home on Ontario’s Grand River to the southern tip of Vancouver Island in 2004, he developed an abiding passion to know the mushrooms of western North America. Besides Mushrooms of British Columbia, Kem is the author of six books, including Boundary Layer (Oregon State University Press, 2016). He has been secretary and speaker coordinator for the South Vancouver Island Mycological Society (SVIMS).

Kem and Andy, who both live in Metchosin, BC, are cofounders of the Metchosin Biodiversity Project ( They are both enthusiastic participants, speakers, and field trip leaders for various mushroom festivals in southwestern BC each autumn.


2: Winter Tree and Shrub Identification

With: Jay Rastogi

Date and Time: Sunday, Feb 12th (two sessions) 

(1) 9am - 11am (2) 12pm - 2pm

Location: Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary

To Bring: Hand lens if you have one; note/drawing pad

Cryptic Clues

Using buds, bark, and branching patterns, we will work to improve our skills in winter tree and shrub identification.  A power point slide presentation will be followed by a hands-on-practice session (be ready to participate).  Bring a 10x magnifying lens if you have it and some paper and a pencil or pen to sketch out the features as a way to deepen your observations.  The cryptic features of trees and shrubs are not only beautiful but also provide insight into how a species grows and produces flowers and fruit.  This understanding helps to inform our stewardship practices.

5: Native Plant Teas

With: Jay Rastogi

Date and Time: Sunday, March 12th (two sessions) 

(1) 9am - 11am (2) 12pm - 2pm

Location: Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary

Drink in the wild 

Native plant teas can be a great way to celebrate native plants and form a relationship with the landscape.  Many can be grown in our home gardens (including pots), reducing potential stress on wild populations, and benefiting wild insects and birds.

We will be discussing the identification, growth requirements and care of 10 plants, preparation methods for tea and will taste a blend of several species.

Jay Rastogi: studied Natural Resources Management and Environmental Studies at the University of Guelph and worked at the University Arboretum. After graduation, he mentored in sustainable forestry practices with renowned ecoforester Merv Wilkinson. Over the years, he has shared these teachings and principles during tours and workshops.  Since 2013, Jay has been Site Director at Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary – work that focuses on the stewardship of the Sanctuary’s ecosystems.

3: Growing Trees and Shrubs with Satinflower Nurseries

With: Abby Hyde and Michelle Schlafen-Brown

Date and Time: Saturday, Feb. 18th

(1) 10am-11:30am  (2) 12:30pm-2pm  (3) 2:30pm-4pm

Location: Satinflower Nurseries, Haliburton Farm 741 Haliburton Road

To Bring: Secateurs and gloves if you have them, but they will also be provided!

Join members of the Satinflower Nurseries Team at Haliburton Farm for hands-on propagation experience. We will teach two of our propagation techniques for trees and shrubs; cuttings and seeding. We will begin our day by touring the nursery and learning about the work of Satinflower Nurseries and our homebase Haliburton Farm. In smaller groups, we will take cuttings of Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus) and seed a selection of native trees and shrubs. Tools, materials, and techniques needed for propagation will be highlighted.

Abby Hyde: started at Satinflower Nurseries in 2021. She is a plant enthusiast and is eager to help no matter the scale of a project. She discovered her passion for observing endemic species and restoring degraded ecosystems through her years of hiking and scuba diving while growing up in Bali, Indonesia. She made the long move from Indonesia to Victoria in 2016 to pursue a BSc in Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. During her four-year program, her love for tropical and aquatic plants translated to a newfound love of the native plants of British Columbia. Abby now heads orders and consultations at the nursery.  

Michelle Schlafen-Brown: is a Certified Horticulture Technician who is passionate about bringing native plants into the broader horticulture scene, as well as bringing lots of love and care to each and every plant we grow. Michelle co-leads the plant propagation team at the nursery. Michelle seeks to demonstrate that a native plant garden can be just as beautiful and exciting as conventional, while being both more resilient and more beneficial to the ecosystem at large. 


4: An Introduction to the Birds of our Native Ecosystems

With: Glenn Bartley

Date and Time: Saturday, March 4th, three sessions 

(1) 7:30am - 9:00am (2) 9am - 10:30am (3) 10:30am - 12:00pm

Location: Elk/Beaver Lake UPDATED

To Bring: Please bring your own binoculars (BYOB!)

Join us as we get outside and explore birds of the Saanich Peninsula. During this 90-minute walk we will visit Elk/Beaver Lake and search for birds that can be found in our region during late winter, as well as the migratory birds that will arrive as spring progresses. Glenn and Kristen will discuss some of the relationships between our native plants and the birds that depend upon them and make suggestions on how participants can make their own yards more attractive for our native bird life.

Glenn Bartley: is a bird photographer and naturalist from Victoria BC. He is the author of Birds of Vancouver Island, Birds of British Columbia and Hummingbirds: A Celebration of Nature's Jewels. When not off photographing wildlife, Glenn enjoys transforming urban spaces into more biodiverse spaces for our native plants and animals. 

 Glenn Bartley Nature Photography - Bird Photos and Workshops 

6: Forest Ecology and Traditional Forest Medicines

With: John-Bradley Williams

Date and Time: Saturday, March 18th, two sessions

(1) 9:00 am - 10:30 am (2) 11 am - 12:30 pm

Location: SṈIDȻEȽ (Tod Inlet, Gowlland-Tod Provincial Park)

Optional reading beforehand: Here

Join John-Bradley Williams for a talk focused on native trees and shrubs, forest ecology, and traditional forest medicines. 

John-Bradley Williams: W̱SÁNEĆ and Ahousat Nation ethnobotanist, storyteller, and knowledge keeper.


7: Nature of the Blenksinop Valley

With: James Miskelly

Date and Time: Saturday, March 25th, two sessions

(1) 9 am - 10 am (2) 10:30 am - 11:30 am

Location: Blenkinsop Valley 

To Bring: Binoculars helpful but not required! 

The natural vegetation of the Blenkinsop Valley was extraordinarily diverse, supporting such disparate communities as oak woodland and sphagnum bog. Today little trace of those communities remains, but many of the trees and shrubs associated with the original habitats can still be found along the Lochside Regional Trail. Along the trail, we will see a range of species associated with wet thickets and riparian woods, along with species more associated with the former meadowlands, such as Garry Oak and Trembling Aspen, and even some remnants of the original bog, such as one of the Victoria area's only stands of Paper Birch.

The Blenkinsop trail is very flat and accessible making it welcoming to all abilities. 

James Miskelly: is a biologist and co-owner of Satinflower Nurseries 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 on 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). Currently, James works full time with Natural Resources Canada, helping to conserve and restore habitats and rare species on federal DND lands. James helps continually with consulting aspects of the nursery and managing the native seed fields as well as developing specialized seed mixes for customers.




Gulf Islands National Park Reserve is a proud collaborator of the Native Seed & Growing Project