Last August, thanks to a grant from our partners at 4Culture, SHADOW brought on Gabi Esparza to complete a heritage project. This season, her work will be immortalized in the form of 12 new signs on the Boardwalk trail. These signs highlight native plants found at SHADOW alongside the voices of local community leaders.
Each sign features a different native plant with colorful images and tips for identification. For example, Sword fern’s sign highlights medicinal uses as well as the “orange and brown spores on the underside of its leaves”. You can also learn both the Latin and Lushootseed names of native plants, along with a pronunciation key for Lushootseed, a native language of the cost Salish Peoples.
Gabi shared that her favorite tree is the Western Red Cedar because of its strength, “It can feed and house a lot of creatures.” In fact, it is known as the Tree of Life. Come out and see what the signs have to say about your favorite native plant.
The signs also include quotes from local community members, highlighting the cultural heritage of native plants. Gabi reached out to members of the Snoqualmie Tribal Community, local historians, and community members who grew up in the area. The quotes share the voice of our local nature. SHADOW Lake Nature Preserve takes pride in preserving and respecting the heritage of all local communities. We all share this land together with our different stories and backgrounds. Travelling along the Boardwalk and reading these signs unite all of us into a shared experience. The knowledge of local plants becomes part of our stories.
Inevitably, the signs do not feature everything Gabi learned in her studies. There is much we do not know about bogs and wetlands in general, but these signs are a great start in sharing our knowledge.
We hope that these new signs will not only inform you but also peak your curiosity to ask and share your knowledge with future generations.
When you come out to see the new signs, we would love for you to share pictures of the native plants you identify on social media and tells us what you think of them.