Native Plant Walk with Matthew Williams

August 2, 2023

Native Plant Walk with Matthew Williams photo

ISCMV & Stanley Park Ecology Society were honoured to welcome Matthew Williams of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh nation for a Native Plant Walk in Stanley Park on Aug 1, 2023. Mathew guided 18 participants on a walk up South Creek trail and around the southeast side of Beaver Lake. Matthew pointed out the native plants of the park and shared their traditional uses.

"Squamish is a gift giving society. We show wealth, not by how much we have, but by how much we can give away" - Matthew Williams

Matthew was very generous with sharing his knowledge and encouraged us to continue to pass the knowledge on to others.

So here are some highlights of the knowledge shared:

- sword fern spores can be made into a paste to treat minor burns like sunburns
- salmonberries are considered an indicator species for Chinook spawning
- Vancouver in Sḵwx̱wú7mesh is K'emk'emeláy, which means place of the maple trees
- Big leaf maples are used for making paddles
- red elderberries are edible if boiled for 24 hours into a thick molasses
- forest gardens, historically planted by coastal peoples, helped increase biodiversity of the forest, providing food for both people and the animals.
- thimbleberry leaves can be made into a paste to treat acne
- in the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh language the word mushroom can be translated to mean "umbrella of a dead person".
- salal berries can be boiled to create a dye for cedar or wool.
- plants such as, stinging nettle & Devil's club, which are often vilified by the public, actually have rich medicinal uses.

Thank you to Matthew Williams for sharing your knowledge with us!

For more photos, check out our Facebook post