Introductory Native Plant Walks

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 360-733-5477 or via email at

Whatcom Falls Park

  • Monday, April 20, 2020
  • 6:00  to 8:00 p.m.
  • Meet at the Silverbeach Road parking lot at Whatcom Falls Park; this is the parking lot nearest the Stone Bridge and the fish hatchery. Coming from town, take Lakeway Drive then turn left at the first signal after the cemetery. (We will congregate in the lawn just east of the parking lot.)

Late April is a perfect time to get acquainted to our local flora. Many of our native trees, shrubs, and wildflowers have already or are beginning to flower and leaf out. In this informal two hour walk, we’ll identify some native and non-native plants, talk about different habitat types, discuss edible plants, and touch on native plant restoration in city parks. Walk led by Nolan Richard.

Native Flora Fair and Padden Creek

  • Saturday, April 25, 2020
  • 12:30 to 2:00 p.m.
  • Meet at the stage at Fairhaven Village Green.

Join WNPS at the Native Flora Fair and help us celebrate Native Plant Appreciation Month (April). We will walk from the fair area at Fairhaven Village Green 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.

Spring Plant and Beach Walk at Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve

  • Saturday, May 2, 2020
  • 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Plant Walk
  • 3:30 to 5:30 pm Beach Walk
  • 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 plant walk ends at about 3:30 at the bluff top when you may choose to return to your car. The optional, open-ended, beach walk then begins at the bottom of the trail stairs, on the beach, with Bob Lemon, examining all life forms revealed by the falling tide.

Hidden Forest Foray

  • Thursday, May 14, 2020
  • 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.

Downtown Plants

  • Wednesday, May 20, 2020
  • 6:00 pm to dusk
  • Meet at the park pavilion building, just east of Whatcom Creek, on West Holly Street at Maritime Heritage Park in downtown Bellingham.

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