“The COSA Refuge will be a model for conserving the natural diversity of plants and animals, preserving cultural resources, and providing opportunities for research, environmental education, and quality outdoor recreation. The refuge will link other wildlands with vital habitat for threatened and endangered species, migratory birds, and resident wildlife, and it will protect the natural resources of Bishop Paiute Reservation. Conservation of the natural health and beauty of the refuge is our promise to the community and future generations.”

(Bishop Paiute Tribe Conservation Open Space Area Comprehensive Conservation Plan, Bishop Paiute Tribe Environmental Management Office, 2014).

a calm sunlit pond surrounded by grassy banks

The Bishop Paiute Reservation Conservation Open Space Area (COSA) is a 24.8 acre tract of breathtaking wetlands set aside for conservation, research, education and outdoor recreation. Please utilize the 1.2 mile walking path and see the activities below for more ways to enjoy the unique plants and wildlife on the refuge.

COSA map

Location: Entrance to the COSA is behind the Paiute Shoshone Cultural Center at 2300 West Line St.


COSA Self-Guided Plant Walk

Explore native plants growing in the COSA and their traditional Paiute uses on your own schedule! The plant walk follows an easy 1 mile round trip scenic trail. Numbered posts along the way mark plants of interest and correspond to the numbered map on the back of booklets located at the COSA entrance. Also keep an eye out for the many species of birds and mammals that live in the COSA.

Begin behind the Paiute-Shoshone Cultural Center and enjoy your walk!

flower with a bee in ityellow flowers


COSA Corner:  Paiute-Shoshone Cultural Center

The COSA Corner is an educational resource located in the Paiute-Shoshone Cultural Center. Adults and children alike are welcome to stop in and learn about native plants and animals in the COSA, as well as ongoing restoration and education efforts, after experiencing the COSA trail firsthand!

Make sure not to miss the native fish tanks!


Eastern Sierra Audubon Society Monthly Bird Walk & Census

The Eastern Sierra Audubon Society hosts bird walks along the COSA on the second Saturday of each month, unless otherwise listed. These events are an exciting way to become more familiar with native birds, help improve the COSA list of bird species, and meet community members who share a love of the outdoors!
If interested, please meet at 7:30am in June-September, or 8:30am during October-May at the BLM/Forest Service Building on West Line Street in Bishop. Contact Hillary Behr for more info: hbehrATicsosDOTus.

people with binocularsAudobon society


Taking Root Program

“If we surrendered to the Earth’s intelligence, we could rise up rooted, like trees…The future of education is in the outdoors.” –Rainer Maria Rilke
Taking Root is an outdoor education program that takes place in partnership with Bishop Elementary School’s third grade classes. Each monthly lesson in the COSA is intended to foster a sense of connection to the local landscape and ecology and promote skills of sensory observation, curiosity, and questioning. Students learn that nature is fun, safe, and deserves respect and they get some time outside!

people sitting in a circle outside


Birds in the Classroom

Birds in the Classroom fieldtrips offer third graders at Bishop Elementary School the exciting opportunity to learn about birds of the Owens Valley from passionate Audubon Society and Taking Root volunteers. Prior to the field trips, volunteers present slides and a video about birds and their adaptations and migrations, and students have an opportunity to discuss, share their own experiences, and ask questions. The class field trips to the COSA are scheduled during spring migration for maximum viewing of birds. Audubon provides child-sized binoculars and training in their proper usage. Students will also have the opportunity to learn about and use birding field guides. If interested in volunteering, please contact Hillary Behr at hbehrATicsosDOTus.

people pointing at birdspeople looking over tall grass


Head Start

The Bishop Indian Head Start preschool utilizes the COSA for field trips including seed planting, observing water bugs, and visiting the Paiute-Shoshone Cultural Center’s COSA Corner. These trips are intended to spark a curiosity and fondness of nature from a young age. Please contact Head Start Director Susie Cisneros at 872-4857 if you are interested in volunteering with the Head Start program.

kids looking into a pond


Tuniwa Nobi Field Trips

The Tuniwa Nobi Family Literacy Program is an “American Indian organization that aims to improve quality of life by focusing on education and self-sufficiency while protecting, preserving and promoting culture in the spirit of positive nation building for Native people of today and generations of tomorrow.” To help achieve this goal, Tuniwa Nobi has recently initiated field trips to the COSA for participants in their after school program. These field trips have included activities such as macroinvertebrate investigations, nature scavenger hunts, native species planting, and blackberry picking behind the Paiute-Shoshone Cultural Center.





How to Get Involved

  • Email Emma Hewitt at emmaDOThewittATbishoppaiuteDOTorg
  • Come to public events
  • Volunteer at COSA Stewardship Days
  • Volunteer to help with environmental education field trips
  • “Like” the COSA facebook page (Search “Bishop Paiute Tribe’s Conservation Open Space Area”)
  • Support our nonprofit partner groups (Eastern Sierra Audubon Society, Sierra Land Trust, TANF)
  • Give expert advice on best management for wildlife and native plants
  • Go for a walk on the COSA- check it out!