PEPAḴIYE Ashley Cooper
Program Director

ash bio pic

PEPAḴIYE is not available for consultation, collaboration, projects, plant walks, or any work in general.

PEPAḴIYE Ashley Cooper, is from W̱JOȽEȽP and Nuu Chah Nulth. She has been studying the SENĆOŦEN language in her community.

PEPAḴIYE graduated W̱,SENĆOŦEN,IST in 2016 with a diploma in Indigenous Language Revitalization through The University of Victoria. PEPAḴIYE has been learning about plants, medicines, and plant technologies in W̱SÁNEĆ from local community knowledge keepers and elders. PEPAḴIYE is the Programs Director for the PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ Native Plant Nursery and Garden Program at the ȽÁWELṈEW̱ Tribal School and W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Secondary School. She is a team member of ȾIḴEL Living Lab and on the W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council Environment Committee.

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 Coast Salish, Mexican, and Russian-Jewish, and is a proud member of the W̱SÁNEĆ nation from the Tseycum village. She has received a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Victoria and works with PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ as an emerging land steward. Working on the land and learning from community has resulted in deep insights into how language, culture, traditional knowledge, and art are all intimately connected to the land, sea, and sky. Learning about the direct connection between culture and place has helped empower Sarah as a W̱SÁNEĆ woman and a Coast Salish artist. Creating place-based artwork of her homelands and waters allows her to explore 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.