PEPAḴIYE, Ashley Cooper

Programs 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 is a member of the W̱SÁNEĆ nation from the Tseycum village and has been working with PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ since 2018. Since then, she has learned all she knows about native plants and restoration by working intimately with the land, asking questions, reading, and being surrounded by mentors, knowledge keepers, and community members. She helps at PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ teaching the kids about plants, carrying out garden duties, and doing restoration work at ȾIKEL. Although SṈIDȻEȽ is the main restoration site she typically works at. Sarah has a Bachelor’s Degree of Fine Arts from the University of Victoria and emulates her plant knowledge through her artwork. Her love for the outdoors and native plants continues to propel Sarah in a direction that helps heal the community and herself through plant medicines, native foods, and restoration work.

Stacie Thiessen

Website Coordinator


I am a recent graduate from the University of Victoria with a B.A in Visual Arts & Computer Science. I am grateful to work with PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ as it allows me to combine my skills in a unique way and to connect with people who are doing amazing work. I grew up in the Cowichan Valley, and now live in W̱SÁNEĆ territory.