Desert Society News

Winter 2019
snow on boardwalk
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Dear Supporters:

The busy, long days of summer have faded into memory, the leaves have fallen and winter is settling in. The season of migration has morphed into hibernation and dormancy, punctuated by the tenacious birds and mammals adapted to winter conditions, daily seeking food and shelter. 

We humans have reduced wild spaces which once provided an abundance of food and shelter for our feathered and furred South Okanagan co-habitants. In the spirit of Giving Tuesday, we can extend our generosity to the wild feathered co-habitants by providing feeders which they will quickly find and they will entertain us as we watch their antics and listen to their chatter.

Up at the Desert Centre the new building has been put to sleep for the winter. The generosity of grant funders, local businesses, supporters, members and volunteers provided the financial and physical support the Society needed to make the building a reality. Denise, her staff and volunteers spent many hours fine tuning the various aspects of its functionality. We all enjoyed its clean, bright interior and the expanded deck space, but we still have some work to do. The building needs a skirt and further improvements to the deck, exhibits and display signage.

To complete the project the Board is counting on your generosity and the spirit of Giving Tuesday to help us get this work done before opening in the spring. All donations will go directly to these goals.

As winter rapidly approaches, so does the slow return of the sun. May your winter be safe and cozy and your celebrations bright, with perhaps the inclusion of someone less fortunate.

On behalf of the Board, Denise and staff, I thank you for your past support and wish you a healthy and satisfying 2020. May nature be part of your joyful times and may a visit to the Desert Centre be part of your plans.

Lee McFadyen
President, Osoyoos Desert Society 
Thanks to the generosity of supporters like you, the Desert Society reached 95% of its Interpretive Building fundraising goal, and was able to open the 2019 Desert Centre season with a brand new facility in place. The building provides a welcoming gateway to the site and an indoor area for the Centre's educational exhibits. Although most of the work on the new building has been completed, fundraising is still underway to raise the final funds needed to wrap up the project.

If you would like to help us reach 100% of our goal you can make a donation by clicking here. Your donation will be used to complete the remaining building tasks and will support our ongoing efforts to educate the public about one of Canada's most endangered habitats.
Thank you for your support!
The Osoyoos Desert Society extends a sincere "Thank You" to all our supporters.


Our sincere appreciation to all the funders who make the Osoyoos Desert Society's habitat conservation, restoration and education efforts possible, including:
  • BC Community Gaming Grants
  • Community Foundation South Okanagan Similkameen
  • Fortis BC
  • Osoyoos Credit Union
  •  Regional District - RDOS, Area A
  • Suncor Energy Foundation
  • Town Of Osoyoos
  • 100 Men Who Care Penticton
  • Osoyoos United Church Dorcas
  • NWM Private Giving Foundation

Interpretive Building Funders

An enormous thanks to the funders, donors and community partners who made the Osoyoos Desert Centre's new interpretive building a reality:

  • Town Of Osoyoos
  • Osoyoos Credit Union
  • Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen
  • Province of British Columbia
  • Burrowing Owl Vineyards
  • Community Foundation South Okanagan Similkameen
  • Telus Community Ambassadors Okanagan
  • Individual donors, members and business partners


Donors & Businesses

Our heartfelt appreciation to the Society's ongoing supporters - the individual donors who contribute throughout the year, and the local businesses who kindly donate services and products to support our projects and programs.


Volunteers & Members

And, as always, a very special thanks to our volunteers and members. You make it possible for the Osoyoos Desert Society to exist and continue to pursue its mission. Thank you so much for supporting our efforts!

To renew your membership or make a donation to the
Desert Society, please click here.

Collecting Wildflower Seeds
By Valerie Blow 
Osoyoos Desert Society

Using native plants in your garden is an excellent way to use less water, reduce garden work, and lessen the impact of non-native plants on the environment. The Desert Centre hand-collects native plant seeds from a variety of native species in our garden and makes packets of seeds available to the public. If you are looking for seeds we don't have on hand, or are interested in collecting seeds yourself, read on for some important tips!

Collecting seeds can sometimes be tricky, and improper collecting can lead to the depletion of a species from a location and can also impact animals that depend on those seeds for food. When you collect your seeds, use the 5Rs below as a guide:

Rules: Rules are there for a reason! Collecting seeds from private land or conservation areas without permission is trespassing and illegal. It is always best to ask permission before collecting from anywhere but your own yard. It is also not advisable to collect seeds from any rare or endangered species - they are already having a hard enough time as it is.

Review: Always review and double-check your plant identification to make sure you have the correct plant in front of you. Collecting seeds from the wrong plant is not only a waste of valuable (and possibly rare) seed, it is also a waste of your time!

Restraint: No matter how common a flower may seem, be sure to exercise restraint when collecting. It is rarely a good idea to collect more than 5-10% of the seeds of a species from a single location. This means if there are five bunches of Yarrow, and each bunch has five flowers, you should collect at most 1-2 seed heads' worth of seeds. Ensure someone else hasn't already collected there either - look for clipped stems or trampled grasses.

Respect: Be gentle with natural areas! Respect the ecosystem above all else and evaluate whether it would be best to leave the area alone. Treading through a pristine grassland (or any other ecosystem) for just a few seeds can do serious damage. Always keep to roads and trails.

Remove: After collecting, be sure to brush off all clothing and shoes (and pets) to remove any hitchhiking seeds that should not be transported to other areas. Common offenders include cheatgrass, houndstongue, puncturevine, and burdock.

For best collection results, ensure the seeds are mature before harvesting. They will usually be hard and brown and will shatter easily from the flower or seed head. Many native species also benefit from stratifying several weeks before planting. The internet is an excellent resource to learn about stratification and the best stratifying techniques for different plant families.

For an extensive resource on seed collecting information and techniques, the Garry Oak Ecosystem Recovery team, though based on Vancouver Island, has an excellent website:
Looking for a stocking stuffer idea? Native seed packets can be purchased from the Osoyoos Desert Society office by calling 250-495-2470. You can even include the  Seed Bombs  recipe below!

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 The Osoyoos Desert Society