Introductory Native Plant Walks

Join our fun, informal introductory native plant walks and get familiar with plants native to Whatcom County.

These introductory plant identification walks feature an easy pace and will each last about two hours. All walks are free and no registration is required, just show up at the meeting spot. The walks will focus on a variety of habitats, with your expert guide introducing you to common trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants native to our area. Leaders will share tidbits on ethnobotany, wildlife use, gardening with natives, and other interesting plant related facts. People of all ages and experience levels are welcome. Dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes that may get wet. Each walk stands alone, or attend them all to get a free mini-course on plant identification. For more information contact: Allan Richardson at 360-733-5477 or via email at

Native Plants at the Stimpson Family Nature Reserve

  • Thursday, April 19
  • 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
  • Meet at the trailhead on Lake Louise Road. Directions: From I-5 in Bellingham, drive 3.5 miles east on Lakeway Dr to the Geneva neighborhood, turn right on Austin St (which becomes Lake Louise Rd), trailhead will be on the left in 1.5 miles.

Enjoy an early evening walk investigating native plants in a wild area just outside the city. We will explore a portion of this area of mature forest and wetlands, and learn about the plants, their names, and uses in native Salish traditions. The walk will be led by anthropologist Allan Richardson, co-author of Nooksack Place Names.

Backyard Habitat & Native Flora Fair Padden Lagoon Walk

  • Saturday, April 28
  • 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
  • Meet at the stage at Fairhaven Village Green.

Join WNPS at the Backyard Habitat & Native Flora Fair. We will walk from the fair area to the City Greenways trails around Padden Creek to see a variety of trees, shrubs and flowering native plants. Make sure to stop at the fair before the walk to purchase some native plants and see various displays.

Hidden Forest Foray

  • Thursday, May 10
  • 6:00 p.m. to dusk
  • Meet in the parking area at the top of Arboretum Drive (off Bill McDonald Parkway).

Explore the plants of the Sehome Hill Arboretum, a “secret” natural area in the heart of Bellingham with guidebook author and former Arboretum board member Mark Turner. Sehome Hill was logged in the early 20th century and is now developing a mature second-growth forest. We’ll look at trees, shrubs, wildflowers, and a vine or two. Learn what’s native and what’s not.

Spring Plant Walk at Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve

  • Saturday, May 19
  • 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
  • Meet at the Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve Park. Directions: take the Grandview Road exit on I-5. Head west on Grandview to the end, turn left (south) on Koehn Rd. and you will soon see the parking lot on the left.

Visit this gem of a county park, preserved through efforts of the Whatcom Land Trust. The forest floor at Point Whitehorn is carpeted with small wild flowers in the spring. Join us for a walk and learn about the flowers, shrubs and trees of this forest on the edge of the sea. The walk will take us to the beach. At this time you may choose to linger on the beach or return to the cars.

Coastal Ethnobotany

  • Wednesday, May 23
  • 6:00-8:00 p.m.
  • Meet at the Padden Creek Lagoon parking lot near the intersection of Harris and 6th Ave in Fairhaven.

Salish people have harvested food and fiber from coastal areas like Bellingham Bay for thousands of years. Ethnobotanist Abe Lloyd will share traditional uses and identification tips for the colorful plants as we meander through the Padden Creek Lagoon, enjoy good views, unique flora, and conversation.