The Stanley Park Ecology Society proudly offers this timely experience in Stanley Park (or in Spapayeq, “the way the water flows around”) in the traditional territory of Coast Salish peoples. The Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh, and Squamish peoples have had deep connections to the ecology of this land for thousands of years. Today, the forests, wetlands, and shorelines of the Park still feature a bounty of useful and edible plants. This new programming offers authentic opportunities for all ages and backgrounds to connect with this heritage.
Whether you are a school group, corporate team, family, or an individual curious about the wild food and medicines of the West Coast, you can benefit from the sharing of this traditional, oral teaching.
Meet Our Walk Leaders
Kushi Opi Mani Wi, or Starla Bob, is a West Coast Salish woman of the Cowichan Tribes, Snuneymuxw First Nation peoples. She was born, raised, and grown here in Vancouver in Squamish Nation territories. Besides working as an environmental monitor for SPES, Starla is a wellness consultant and yoga instructor specializing in weight loss, nutrition, and core conditioning. She studied Environmental Monitoring and Assessment at Kwantlen Polytechnic University as well as Yoga Teacher’s Training at Semperviva Yoga College and Administration at Academy of Learning Career College.
Kushi Opi Mani Wi fell in love with the wildlife and environment here at Stanley Park as well as the staff at the Ecology Society. She works across all its departments—in Conservation, Public Education and Outreach, and School Programs. Starla began her professional relationship with SPES in the spring of 2016 and is eager to share her wealth of traditional, medicinal, and spiritual plant use knowledge with Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.
Lauraleigh is of Coast Salish, Interior Salish, and Carrier First Nations descent. In spring 2016, Lauraleigh joined SPES via her environmental monitoring practicum. Offering us her invaluable indigenous life experiences and integral teachings about Coast Salish historical interpretation and relevant present day interpretations, Lauraleigh directly facilitates positive relationship-building and ecological stewardship practices. She shares a wealth of local flora and fauna use, teaching us how to nurture ourselves with nature, whether it be medicinal or practical, to harmonize our wellbeing with the natural world… and for this we raise our hands to express our “Coast Salish” appreciation.