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About us

Saanich Native Plants was initiated by Kristen and James Miskelly in 2013. The nursery now employs several wonderful part time staff!

Kristen Miskelly
Kristen Miskelly is a biologist who specializes in the botany and ecology of southeastern Vancouver Island. She is passionate about native plants, restoration, traditional ecological knowledge and peoples relationships to plants, conservation, and native plant propagation. Kristen received her Master of Science in Biology from the University of Victoria in 2012, where she used palynology (the study of pollen grains) to learn more about the ancient vegetation of southern Vancouver Island. She has a diverse background in botany, conservation, and ecological restoration and has worked with various partners. She enjoys teaching plant identification, botany, restoration, and gardening with native plants. Kristen manages the day-to-day activities of Saanich Native Plants and hopes the nursery will help and inspire others to conserve, enhance, and appreciate local ecosystems.

James Miskelly

James Miskelly is a biologist with expertise in Garry oak ecosystems, plants, insects, and restoration. James completed a Master of Science in Biology from the University of Victoria in 2004 focusing on butterflies and their habitat needs.   James has worked in various capacities specializing on rare plants and animals. James is a research associate at the Royal BC Museum in entomology with a particular interest in Canadian Orthoptera (crickets, grasshoppers, and katydids). He also serves on the  Arthropods Specialist Subcommittee of COSEWIC.  Currently, James works full time with Natural Resources Canada, helping to conserve and restore habitats and rare species on federal DND lands. James is an invaluable part of Saanich Native Plants, helping continually with consulting aspects of the nursery and especially managing the native seed fields and developing specialized seed mixes for customers. 

Daniela Toriola-Lafuente

Daniela moved to Victoria in 2012 and has worked with Saanich Native Plants since 2014. She obtained her B.Sc. in Natural Sciences at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland and her Ph.D. in Tropical Forest Ecology at University of Paris 6, France. When she is not at work, volunteering, or being a soccer mom, she spends her time enhancing her 2-acre property in Metchosin with native plants.

Kate Kennedy

Kate's passion for plants has taken many forms from floral design, wholesale nursery production, urban farming, habitat restoration, herbal medicine studies, permaculture design, and certification in landscape horticulture. Passionate about propagating well-grown plants, she loves learning the intricacies of each individual species and happily shares this knowledge with anyone who dares to ask! When not in the field Kate is found in her ceramics studio creating cozy functional pottery. 

Julia Daly

With Saanich Native Plants since 2018, Julia comes with experience in plant identification, species at risk management, ecological restoration and native plant gardening. Raised in Saanich, she has been passionate about plants, birds, wildlife and geography for as long as she can remember, and now shares these interests with her two young children. Julia looks forward to meeting you at the nursery and assisting with native plant selection and site planning on Sundays. Julia holds a B.Sc. in Geography (UVic 2012) and Diploma in Applied Coastal Ecology (Northwest Community College, Prince Rupert 2008)

Beangka Elliott

Beangka Elliott brings experience with native plant restoration projects, including the SNIDCEL resiliency project and Project Reclaim: WSÁNEĆ youth food justice. With family ties in WSÁNEĆ and Songhees nations, Beangka incorporates cultural knowledge to her work with native plants. She has been teaching cultural/ethnobotanical classes to a wide range of groups, from youth as young as five to adults in post secondary education. Beangka has a keen interest in using native plants as food and medicine and practices this in daily life.

Andrea Simmonds

Andrea Simmonds is an artist who is passionate about nature.  Her interests include wild edible plants, soil rehabilitation, natural landscaping, and propagation.  She graduated from Bishop's University in 2008 with Honours in Visual Art.  Andrea continues to study land stewardship and has been involved in many land based projects with a strong focus on Permaculture techniques.  She has her Permaculture Certificate from Quail Springs Learning Oasis, has spent time at The Possibility Alliance, and locally as an intern at Haliburton Community Farm. When she is not outside gardening you will find her on hikes with her pup, creating paintings both big and small or nurturing families as a doula. 

Saanich Native Plants was the 2016 recipient of Saanich's Environmental Award in Business Achievement!

Read more about our work in this article by Focus Magazine

We are driven by a desire to make native plants and seeds readily available as a step towards conserving and celebrating the unique flora and ecology of southern Vancouver Island.

Students from Scian'ew First Nation (Beecher Bay) in the program Growing Our Futures, Royal Roads University. 

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