A Living Laboratory
The landscape occupied by the Arboretum and Wildlife Center is dune-like rolling land, sloping down from the forested regions of northern Idaho. It was originally a bunch-grass prairie dotted with stands of Ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, hawthorn thickets and galleries of tall cottonwoods. Riparian forests that flow out from the prairie line the streams that drain into the salmon-filled Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean. It was and is home to the Palouse or Palus people, hunter-gatherers and horse breeders (the Appaloosa takes its name from the Tribe).
In consultation with the Tribes of the Palouse, the Arboretum and Wildlife Center interprets the interaction of land, people and plants. The Wildlife Center aims to study bears, raptors, bats, birds and a diversity of other native wildlife species. The complex is a living laboratory, growing and displaying native plants of the Pacific Northwest, and is used as an outdoor laboratory for teaching and research. And a new Story Circle provides a gathering space for Plateau Tribes for various ceremonial events and cultural experiences.