PEPAḴIYE Ashley Cooper

Program Director

ash bio pic

PEPAḴIYE, Ashley Cooper, is from W̱JOȽEȽP in W̱SÁNEĆ territory. She has been studying the SENĆOŦEN language for 8 years collectively. PEPAḴIYE graduated W̱,SENĆOŦEN,IST in 2016 with a diploma in Indigenous Language Revitalization through The University of Victoria. She has been learning about plants, medicines, and plant technologies in W̱SÁNEĆ for 6 years on her own, and with the support of local community knowledge keepers and elders. She has been working at PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ for 4 years and has been developing curriculum and resources for weekly workshops. She teaches workshops with classes ranging from pre-school to grade 11. PEPAḴIYE is the Programs Director for the PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ Native Plant Nursery and Garden Program, SṈIDȻEȽ Resiliency Project, and ȾIḴEL Living Lab.

Judith Lyn Arney

Ecosystems Director


Judith is an ethnoecologist of British ancestry raised here in W̱SÁNEĆ territory. In addition to her experience working in the food sovereignty movement and forestry sector in British Columbia, she has also worked internationally on the restoration of traditional food ecosystems in Japan, Italy, and Mexico. Judith founded the PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ program in 2011 during her graduate work with York University. Her passion for restoring ecosystems supports her work at PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ nurturing connection to the natural world for children and youth! Currently, Judith leads on the PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ restoration projects and native plant nursery operations, teaches in the programs and works with project partners to encourage the restoration of indigenous ecosystems in W̱SÁNEĆ territory and beyond.

XEṮXÁṮEN Earl Claxton Jr 



Earl is a respected SȾÁUTW̱ elder, plant knowledge keeper and community historian. He was an integral team member in the precedent-setting Claxton vs Saanichton Marina (1987) case which protected Saanichton Bay from development, ensuring a future for the fishery of the W̱SÁNEĆ people. Earl came to his career in plants after years in recovery following a double aneurysm; his intention was to learn a skill that would be useful to his community. Earl has been working at PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ since its earliest days, contributing his plant knowledge, storytelling, and plant stewardship skills to the school program and maintaining the gardens throughout the year. Earl also does storytelling and cultural teachings – and of course his famous salmon and clam bakes! – for many schools and organizations in the region, sharing his invaluable knowledge as well as his personal message of kindness and compassion.

Sarah Jim

Senior Crew


Sarah Jim is an emerging artist of mixed ancestry, and is a member of the W̱SÁNEĆ nation from the Tseycum village. She has received a Bachelor’s Degree of Fine Arts from the University of Victoria and emulates her love of the territory and native plants through her artwork. Environmental restoration work has been her main source of inspiration since 2018 when she started working with PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ in SṈIDȻEȽ; the first W̱SÁNEĆ village site. Working on the land and learning from community has resulted in deep insights of how language, culture, traditional knowledge, and art are all intimately connected to the natural realm. Learning about the direct connection between culture and place has helped empower Sarah as a W̱SÁNEĆ youth and a Coast Salish artist. Creating place-based artwork of her homelands and waters allows her to educate others about the importance of environmental restoration, native plant food systems, and coastal medicines in relation to the ecosystem and W̱SÁNEĆ culture.

Stacie Thiessen

Website Coordinator


Stacie is a recent graduate from the University of Victoria with a B.A in Visual Arts & Computer Science. She is grateful to work with PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ as it allows her to combine her skills in a unique way, to be involved in plant restoration, and to connect with people who are doing amazing work. Stacie grew up in the Cowichan Valley, and now lives in W̱SÁNEĆ territory.