Introductory Native Plant Walks 2024

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

Native Plants at the Stimpson Family Nature Reserve

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.

  • Tuesday, April 16
  • 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.

Native Plants on the Lower Padden Creek Trail

Stroll through the shady Padden Creek trail in Fairhaven. Your guide, Eric Worden, 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 21
  • 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
  • Meet at Fairhaven Village Green

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 2
  • 6:00 p.m. to dusk
  • Meet in the parking area at the top of Arboretum Drive (off Bill McDonald Parkway).

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 Annie Prevost, Bob Lemon, and Pam Borso 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.

  • Sunday, May 5
  • 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.

Native Plants at Birch Bay State Park

Join Pam Borso and Lyle Anderson 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.

  • Saturday, May 11
  • 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
  • Meet at the BP Heron Center by the beach in Birch Bay State Park (Discover Pass required)

Native Forest on the Otto Preserve, Lummi Island

Explore the native plants in the forest understory of the beautiful Otto Preserve, land protected and stewarded by the Lummi Island Heritage Trust. Alika Herreshoff will introduce common native trees, shrubs, and flowers, as well as identifying non-native and invasive plants. The walk will take us through varying aspects of the forest and along the edges of a rich wetland ecosystem.

  • Sunday, May 12
  • 1:30 to 3:30 pm
  • Meet at the Otto Preserve, 3560 Sunrise Rd, Lummi Island. Take the Lummi Island Ferry from Gooseberry Point. (Parking is limited, please consider carpooling!)
  • Please note that the date for this walk has changed from May 19th to the 12th to accommodate the rescheduled Lummi Island Ferry dry dock period.