Silver Hills Ranch Biodiversity Tour

Fri, Sep. 06, 10:30 am - 2:30 pm
Lumby
1010 Shuswap River Dr

Silver Hills Ranch is holding its annual Biodiversity tour.

For those that haven’t heard about this, the tour is Lee Hesketh's way of bringing together people who have common interests in agriculture or the environment to his back yard for good conversation and a walkabout.

The family’s ranch is located on the edge of the Monashee Mountain Range, is along the Upper Shuswap River across from the community of Cherryville. The location bordering near the confluence of the Okanagan, Shuswap and Kooteney watersheds provides a unique landscape that supports a wide variety of biodiversity.

Lee says, "While you are here, we take a walk, or perhaps a hayride, and look at how Silver Hills Ranch is making efforts to work with Mother Nature versus against her as we go about the business of raising commercial beef cattle. Silver Hills Ranch uses a Holistic Management style in looking after the land because the primary resources of the ranch are water, grass, and trees, and we realize that everything hinges on these resources success for the ranch to be successful.

"Also, I have a few friends and associates present some of their words of wisdom on subjects like Agroforestry. This year’s keynote speaker is George Powell, Project Development & Communication Services Manager for BC Agroforestry Industry Development Initiative. Have you heard about Birch Wine, or syrup, or have you considered growing Christmas trees? George is a wealth of information on these and other emerging sectors.

"Other topics that will be discussed will be range management, watershed management and an update on the reintroduction of fish passage to the upper river. Discussion and participation are encouraged by all attendees as this tour is about sharing knowledge while learning from others points of view in a “hats off” type of environment.

"This year the focus will be on the need for collaboration between stake holders. In my roll with the Farmland Riparian Interface Stewardship Program, FRISP, delivered through the British Columbia Cattlemen’s Association, BCCA, I have relied on my rural perspective when mitigating or moderating conflicts between stake holders. Far too often I see misunderstanding and conflict created by lack of knowledge, poor communication, and the concern for one’s self-gain. My ranching background has taught me that more hands make less work. By encouraging people to work together and to look for answers versus problems during challenging times, a lot can be achieved even with diverse interests.

My ultimate goal is to have attendees leave with a greater understanding, appreciation, and respect for the ranching sectors ability to protect and contribute ecological diversity on the landscape through integrating ourselves with the environment while preparing food for our plates.

In hosting this event on a Friday, we also encourage those of you who are travelling some distance for work the opportunity to add some personal time to the trip. I encourage people to bring family or friends along and enjoy the hospitality of the ranch by staying overnight. As in past, I’ll be opening my backyard to free camping and will have a community fire for those wanting to sit and relax under the stars after the days events. I encourage sustainability which means we supply the location, access to barbeques, and outhouse but you bring the rest.

Last year we had our District Range Specialist/cowboy/poet and musician, Rob Dinwoodie, bring out his guitar and serenaded us with some great stories and songs after a communal barbeque. Rob will be back this year and we encourage others who have musical talent to feel free to entertain.

For those wanting to make it a weekend event, the Wild Salmon Music Festival (www.wildsalmonsoceity.com) is being held in Lumby over the weekend as well. It is a great grassroots music festival featuring local bands and promoting the return of Salmon to the upper reaches of the Shuswap River.

For those just wanting to take a break and relax, the river should still be warm enough for swimming if we have sunny skies, plus the ranch has lots of hiking opportunities for those with a little extra energy. We even have a 9 hole golf course across the river in Cherryville in walking distance if you don’t mind wading the river.

If you are thinking of attending or have questions on this event please contact Lee at: silverhillsranch@aol.com

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