Natural History of a Coldstream Vineyard

Michael Garagan

Abstract

The purpose of this project was to explore the natural history of a small, new vineyard outside of Vernon, B.C. By documenting the history, geography, geology, botany and wildlife presence on the property, I wanted to advocate for the practicality and importance of observing the natural world. After all, observation is the first step in conservation. No government can afford to pay biologists, naturalists or environmentalists to monitor all that needs to be monitored. Engaging the general public could contribute much to the protection and the proper stewardship of the land around us. Whether in a wild, rural or even an urban environment; a watchful eye can contribute baseline observations against which future change can be measured. By outlining and recording natural observations, species sightings, geographic and geological factors on this rural agricultural property within the Okanagan I was able to complete a detailed ecological account of a 16 ha property over a 2 month period. The Vineyard is on a south facing gradual slope north of Lake Kalamalka B.C and was originally part of Lord Aberdeen’s Coldstream Ranch. The property is about 85 percent agricultural land mostly planted with grapes, but also 1 ha of garlic, strawberries, tomatoes, potatoes and other vegetables. The remaining portion of the property is a small pond and cattail wetland placed in the hollow of the property before the raised train tracks which run East/West through Coldstream. Over the period of two months I observed 18 species of birds, 52 plant species and several large mammals including a family of coyotes whom having a den nearby were regular visitors. The work of this project emphasizes the importance that we can all play in preserving the world around us. The completion of this project reminded me of the complexities of interactions between species and the importance of diversity and a proactive community for stewardship of the land.

 

Natural History of a Coldstream Vineyard

The purpose of this project was to explore the natural history of a small, new vineyard outside of Vernon, B.C. By documenting the history, geography, geology, botany and wildlife presence on the property, I wanted to advocate for the practicality and importance of observing the natural world. After all, observation is the first step in conservation. No government can afford to pay biologists, naturalists or environmentalists to monitor all that needs to be monitored. Engaging the general public could contribute much to the protection and the proper stewardship of the land around us. Whether in a wild, rural or even an urban environment; a watchful eye can contribute baseline observations against which future change can be measured. By outlining and recording natural observations, species sightings, geographic and geological factors on this rural agricultural property within the Okanagan I was able to complete a detailed ecological account of a 16 ha property over a 2 month period. The Vineyard is on a south facing gradual slope north of Lake Kalamalka B.C and was originally part of Lord Aberdeen’s Coldstream Ranch. The property is about 85 percent agricultural land mostly planted with grapes, but also 1 ha of garlic, strawberries, tomatoes, potatoes and other vegetables. The remaining portion of the property is a small pond and cattail wetland placed in the hollow of the property before the raised train tracks which run East/West through Coldstream. Over the period of two months I observed 18 species of birds, 52 plant species and several large mammals including a family of coyotes whom having a den nearby were regular visitors. The work of this project emphasizes the importance that we can all play in preserving the world around us. The completion of this project reminded me of the complexities of interactions between species and the importance of diversity and a proactive community for stewardship of the land.