The mission of the Okanagan Institute
is to contribute to
the quality of creative engagement in the Okanagan through publications, events and collaborations.
» The Institute
Kelowna BC Canada
Email: Click here
Click here to help us improve our programs.
THE EARTH BENEATH OUR FEET
» Thursday 5 Febuary 2009 | 5 pm
» The Bohemian Café, 524 Bernard Avenue
An informal afternoon hour showcasing people and ideas featured in Okanagan HOME. Join us as Xeriscape gardener Gwen Steele and research scientist Gerry Neilsen explore what lies beneath the surface of the Okanagan valley.
» This is a free event. Refreshments will be available at a modest cost.
» Seating is limited, please reserve yours HERE
Experts Reveal the Okanagan's Dirty Secrets
The Okanagan is known as having one of the most fragile eco-systems in the province, but residents and developers alike sometimes aren't aware how much that eco-system affects not only what we build, but how we build it.
This past fall, commuters travelling Highway 97 took the brunt of Mother Nature's power when construction crews spotted a growing fissure on the mountain side. One false move, and the rock could all come tumbling down.
So what lies beneath the surface of this beautiful valley, and what do we need to do be aware of in order to maintain it?
On Thursday, February 5th at 5 pm the ongoing weekly Okanagan Institute Express series at the Bohemian Café presents Digging for Dirt: The Earth Beneath Our Feet at which Xeriscape gardener Gwen Steele and research scientist Gerry Neilsen explore what lies beneath the surface of the Okanagan valley.
Gwen Steele is a local expert in xeriscaping - the style of dry land gardening suitable for our region. But she's also an advocate of a new concept in the Pacific Northwest that encourages developers to work with buyers before the house goes in so that the original land can be preserved.
"In the last few years I've had clients tell me stories of how they purchased a pristine piece of property only to find it damaged from construction. Then they're coming to me asking how to fix it. There is another way."
Steele has been studying, teaching and practicing the principles of xeriscape gardening for nearly 20 years. This has lead to the discovery of a multitude of native and non-native plants that thrive in our climate with very little water. In addition, she has become aware of how variable the soils can be in this area and what a large role soils play in the selection of appropriate plants and the success of a garden. In recollecting her childhood memories of gardening in Kelowna, Gwen just realized she learned about soil amendments before she learned to read!
Gerry Neilsen has been a research scientist in soil fertility and plant nutrition for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Summerland since 1978. He says the range of soil qualities changes substantially from the southern part of the region to the north. This has an enormous impact on how we irrigate our landscape, to what we can expect to grow.
Neilsen obtained his PhD in soils from McGill University. Throughout his career he has worked collaboratively with international scientists, industry groups and students. Gerry recalls his adventure with dirt began when he was working as a biological control agent, weeding and hilling potatoes for his grandparents. He also spent excessive energy trying to put a black disc between 2 metal posts past another agile ape wearing protective equipment. It was enough to convince him his future lay in soils research. This past summer, he spoke to an international gathering of scientists at the University of Algarve in Portugal.
Digging for Dirt: The Earth Beneath Our Feet is a free event, and takes place at the Bohemian Café. This marks the 76th event the Okanagan Institute has held since the Express series got underway in July 2007. Since that time, the series has played host to many Okanagan luminaries, including former deputy secretary general of Amnesty International Derek Evans, artists Lee Claremont and Gary Pearson, BC Book Award nominee Don Gayton, CBC Literary prize winner poet Harold Rhenisch, distinguished editor and author Jim Taylor, poet and professor John Lent, animator and filmmaker Jim Cliffe, community activist Don Elzer, dancer David LaHay, architect Jim Meiklejohn, culinary artist and writer Heidi Noble, broadcaster Marion Barschel and others from a wide range of creative fields.
FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO REGISTER ONLINE CLICK HERE
Where Enquiring Minds Gather. Okanagan Institute at the Bohemian Café A hearty feast of lectures, presentations, workshops and showcases celebrating our culture and community. Produced by the Okanagan Institute in association with Wheat King Publishing magazines: Okanagan Arts and Okanagan Home. Express is sponsored in part by the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan, Wood Lake Publishing, UBCO-FCCS, and in support of Project Literacy Kelowna.
Our mission is to ignite cultural transformation, catalyze collaborative action, build networks and foster sustainable creative enterprises. We invite the participation by all members of the creative community.