Introductory Native Plant Walks 2023

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

Sponsored by the Koma Kulshan Chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society (WNPS), 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 360-305-5270 or via email at

Bellingham Bay Marine Algae (Seaweeds)

Though sailors might say wind; the most interesting aspect of Bellingham Bay may be the shoreline marine algae. With an abundance of spring sunlight these photo-synthesizers are approaching their prime. Add the arrival of low tide season and many of us feel compelled to search out and learn something of these beautiful life forms. Join Bob Lemon and others at Marine Park for a beach walk, up to a mile, and open ended. Beginning at the pavilion we will explore southward along the shore likely reaching Post Point before 7 PM. Wear rubber boots, if you have them.

  • Friday, April 14, 2023
  • 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
  • Fairhaven Marine Park Pavilion, foot of Harris St.

Native Plants on the Lower Padden Creek Trail

Stroll through the shady Padden Creek trail in Fairhaven. Your guide will help you learn to identify common trees and shrubs, and also to learn their unique plant “personalities” and how they interact in this dynamic urban green space.

  • Sunday, April 23
  • 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
  • Meet at Fairhaven Village Green

Spring Plant Walk at Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve

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.

  • Saturday, April 29
  • 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.

Hidden Forest Foray

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.

  • Thursday, May 4
  • 6:00 p.m. to dusk
  • Meet in the parking area at the top of Arboretum Drive (off Bill McDonald Parkway).

Native Plants at Birch Bay State Park

Join us for a beginning plant walk in the rich, diverse plant community at the Birch Bay State Park. The walk will go from the beach through the uplands along a forested trail to the Terrell Creek estuary.

  • Sunday, May 14
  • 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
  • Meet at the BP Heron Center by the beach in Birch Bay State Park (Discover Pass required)

Downtown Plants

Enjoy an early evening walk investigating native plants in the urban environment. We will follow the Native Plant Trail in Maritime Heritage Park along Whatcom Creek and learn about the plants, their names, and uses in native Coast Salish tradition. The walk will be led by anthropologist Allan Richardson, co-author of Nooksack Place Names.

  • Wednesday, May 24
  • 6:00 p.m. to dusk
  • Meet at the park pavilion building, just east of Whatcom Creek, on West Holly Street at Maritime Heritage Park in downtown Bellingham