August 22, 2014 - 4:27 PM
KAMLOOPS - Hands up everyone who likes to explore our diverse region. Hands up everyone who takes pictures of pretty and odd looking flowers while out exploring. Now keep your hands up if you can actually identify the flowers. Anyone?
Now you can find some local help online as longtime nature lover and educator Doug Smith shares both his love of wildflowers and interest in sharing his knowledge.
Enter the Kamloops Wildflower Project, a group of nature lovers, photographers and hikers wanting to document the flowers found in the Kamloops area. The group has already documented dozens of different species on their Facebook page through photos, dates and locations of where the flowers were found. Smith notes it can be hard to identify flowers based on a single picture because you often need to see the leaves, the base and the stalk to properly identify them but with a diverse group of people with different levels of expertise, few flowers are unidentified.
“Many eyes in many places allows us to catalogue quite a variety of wildflowers and to learn from the collective knowledge,” member Ed Hennan says. He also takes part as a way to showcase his photographs.
The page offers a way to informally inventory the flowers in the area not only so they can be identified but so others will know when and where to look for the flower in future years. Because of the diverse ecosystems in the region, even books that list flowers for all of B.C. often gloss over the Kamloops area and list just the most common flowers, like lupins. But flowers like bitterroot are only found in small pockets and tend to be overlooked.
Smith says they will likely keep posting flower pictures until October, since few new flowers emerge after mid-September, at which point he would like to see a shift to fungi. Then once spring rolls around and the buttercups make a first appearance it will be back to the wildflowers.
Two of the best areas to find alpine wildflowers are Trophy Meadows and Sun Peaks, though Smith notes there is less diversity in the heat of summer so heading up in spring or early summer is best. You should also keep your eye out for the small delicate flowers while out on the trails.
“You may not even notice them when walking by,” Smith notes. “But they can be very intricate, very detailed.”
While Smith says there are no set plans as to how the group may grow, but he has ideas.
“It’s more for fun, it’s not meant to be a big study,” he says. “Some photos are so good, we may do a calendar or photo book… I don’t know of any books for our area.”
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