My meta reflection

 

     Before taking this Environmental Education class I was someone who didn’t think about recycling or climate change, I only thought about what was physically happening around me. This class has opened up my eyes to the effects of global warming and what will happen if we do not do our part to help our environment. I never used to think about how much single use plastic I use and throw away, and what happens to it if I don’t. but now that has changed, and for the better. I am now aware of what I can and cannot recycle, I know that there are major issues happening around the world and not just around me that I should be concerned and care about, a course content that helped me with that was the “before the flood” documentary, and I would like to think that this class has helped me to become a better person and future educator.

 

     This class was so engaging and I loved all of the creative class projects and experiments that we did. One of my favourite parts about the class was when we grew stuff and overtime came together to watch them sprout into something, like the beans and the pea chutes. I really loved how you let us students do it ourselves and experiment with different ways of doing it, for example, using the three different tubs with different mixes for our beans and seeing which one was most effective for the growing process. I have mentioned in a few of my blog posts that I love our environment and in my childhood my grandmother used to have a beautiful garden that I loved being in, helping out with, and eating all of the different kinds of vegetables from. This quote is from my Creative Journal number three, “Gardening makes me feel like Canada isn’t just wilderness, even the wilderness grows its own plants without being cared for, it grows trees to give us oxygen, but what do we give to all that wilderness, nothing. People just see it as an “empty land” with just trees and weeds, but that’s not the way I see it. I see it as beautiful, undisturbed land which people should spend more time in, embrace the land as see it more than an empty land, think of it as a place to learn, explore, and discover.”

 

     In the class we focused on many stories from the Robin Wall Kimmerer textbook of the course and throughout reading the stories I found many meaningful quotes that I just felt so connected to, I really loved how real Robins stories were and they really pulled me in. In my First Creative Journal I borrowed this quote from the Sound of Silverbells, “The world is so richly endowed that the least we can do in return is to pay attention.” because so many people don’t take the time to notice the beauty of it. If I am anywhere, I take photos of the moment because our world is so breathtaking and it should be taken in. Robins story, Epiphany in the beans, was another one that I fell in love with and used it as the base of my third creative journal. Robin talks about reciprocity in gardening which was a special time I once treasured doing with my grandmother. Robin says “Something essential happens in a vegetable garden. It’s a place where if I can’t say I love you out loud, you can say it in seeds. And the land will reciprocate, in beans.” Gardening, giving back to the land, it is so peaceful, mind-opening, and it has many other benefits, this is something I would love to include in my future classroom. Growing a vegetable garden each semester with my students, it will bond all of us together as a class and help us to give back to the earth and create that sacred relationship with it.

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    This class has also really opened up my view of the history of the land we walk on. Before when taking walks or going on a trip I never used to think of what happened on this ground centuries before I was here, who the land belonged to and the history that could’ve happened here before I walked along it. I loved the outdoor aspect of this class so much, I love being outside and exploring the land, so when we went on our cold but fun walk to the First Nations University and read the signs in the ground, that was when I really realized that I never used to think about the history of things and places. A shifting point for me was when we went to the Indian Residential School, it was a really deep and emotional day for all of us and I am so glad that we went and got to experience that because it taught me a lot about respect. Before I probably wouldn’t have even thought about any cultural respects and how the people of this history would feel by me being there, it has taught me that I need to pay my respects and follow the wishes of those who have been affected by the tragedy that happened here or anywhere. One of our assignments was to read Jade Ho’s paper and in her paper she talked about moments of unlearning and relearning which is what I based my fourth creative journal on, like I had mentioned, I never knew much about history or our land, I was on the path of unlearning, but after the experience from this class, I now am on the path of relearning the history of our land and others as I travel.

 

     I would just like to say that I really enjoyed this class, the hands on experiences, the outdoors, I find that an active and hands on class is one of the best learning experiences it is so much more interactive and engaging and this class has given me ideas on how to incorporate that kind of learning experience in my future classroom. It has also taught me that we need to bring environmental education into the classroom and have it be a great effect on our students’ lives. We are the educators of our future world leaders and we need to import the value of environmental education onto these children to keep the world a beautiful and better place even after we are gone.

 

Photos:

 

https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/greenland-ice-sheet-melting-sea-level-rise-climate-change-coast-cities-a9038746.html

 

https://www.google.com/search?q=braiding+sweetgrass&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwirssbrr-rjAhWQB80KHSiyDJ4Q_AUIESgB&biw=1496&bih=705#imgrc=DRtalC63lG_sVM:

 

https://www.google.com/search?q=before+the+flood&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjwiLe7t-rjAhUbOs0KHbDKAo0Q_AUIEigC&biw=1496&bih=705#imgrc=U0KajCAPA5zrXM:

 

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Creative journal 5

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Growing up when my grandma was well enough to garden she did, I was always fascinated how things grew and how they tasted and hoe I could just pull up a potato wipe the dirt off and eat it, the same with carrots. I have always loved summertime because that’s the time grandma grows and I get to go eat all of the fresh vegetables. I have never known how to do it myself but since this class it has really sparked my interest in growing things, and plants. For one of my early childhood education classes we had to come up with an invitation for grades K-3, for my invitation I used an indicator from the sk curriculum relating to plants in their natural environments, so I took focus from our class when we planted all the different seeds and pea chutes, and I got a tray of peat moss and grabbed a package of flowers. I let the students plant their own and they had fun with it! So far all 50 of them have sprouted pretty well and may be ready to plant soon, and that is my new offering to the earth. I will be planting these flowers at my house and I am really excited to see how they turn out, I would also love to talk to my grandma about how to maintain a garden, I really think I would love to start a garden of my own and I could start composting out in the garden as well.

 

We need to give back to the earth like Kimmerer says, we need to offer it good things and I think that a garden is great for the earth in so many ways and would love to stop buying produced food at grocery stores, that way I can offer more to the earth by lowering my use of plastics that the food is packaged in. “The visible became invisible, merging with the soil. It may have been a second-hand ceremony, but even through my confusion I recognized that the earth drank it up as if it were right. The earth knows you, even when you are lost.” (36.) I thought that this quote was beautiful because I can’t tell you how many times I have gone outside to be in beautiful nature because I was upset, because the earth knows me and it cheers me up when I am lost and am looking for guidance. I feel connected to this earth and I want to give something back to it, because it is always there if I need some peace in my soul.  

Creative journal 4

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For my creative journal four I decided to based it off “moments of relearning & unlearning” from Jade Ho’s paper. I have drew me in the past going down both of the paths of unlearning and relearning, because not only until recently have I learnt about the importance of land and the history behind it. Growing up in Moose Jaw and travelling to Regina lots I never knew that I lived so close to Treaty 4. It wasn’t until my first year of University in ecs 110 that I learnt we were living near a Treaty signing. In grade school they took us to Fort Qu’Appelle a few times but all I can remember from it would be just general stereotypes about First Nations/Aboriginals, they didn’t teach us anything while we were there, its like they expected to take us and we just know what is going on. We watched pow-wows, we made bannock, we also watched an Elder smoke Bison meat, we even got to go stand inside of tipis, but that was all I took in from it, I didn’t know why they lived in tipis and why that was sacred, and the history behind Fort Qu’Appelle and these people we were visiting. It would have been a great history lesson for us students while we were there if our teachers would have told us about the history and why we were visiting this place and why these people held pow-wows, because to us students it was just a fun field trip.  “One of the dangers of formal schooling is“it will imprint a disciplinary template onto impressionable minds and with it the belief that the world really is as disconnected as the divisions, disciplines, and subdisciplines of the typical curriculum.” (3.)

 

“I knew then I had to re-learn and re-cultivate affinity with nature and start slowing

down to appreciate and understand life’s beauty and suffering. Through this process, I

had come to see the complexity of my own situatedness. I had to shed the layers of my

own privilege and oppression— as drifter from culture to culture, and place to place, I

have become a colonizer and the colonized, the privileged and underprivileged, oppressor and the oppressed.” (12.) It is very important to notice your own oppression and to know the history to imprint it onto your students to avoid white privilege and oppression, to let them know that the land is not yours, you may own a property of land one day but the land you live on goes way back and they need to be aware of the history of Canadian colonialism. When we went to the Regina Indian Industrial School I wanted to go in and pay my respects but it is not my place, I do not have family history with this, and even though I only wanted to go in there with good intentions, it may be seen to others of that culture and background as disrespectful, and we need to teach our students that. “For this reason, a critical pedagogy of place fails to recognize that

there are many intergenerational traditions that have evolved in ways that co-exist with

the environment in non-destructive ways and it also fails to include the long and diverse

histories places have.” (5.)

Creative journal 3

 

cj3During my first year in highschool the school took us on an all girls camping trip to Dallas Valley for two days, the object of the trip was to bond all of us girls who were fresh into grade nine to create friendships. We were separated into different groups throughout the two days doing different exercises with different people, some of the activities included horseback riding, archery, rock climbing, bonding exercises and drug awareness activities. Now looking back to the trip we didn’t get to have much time exploring the wilderness around us, we were told to stay by our teacher and after doing inside “bonding” activities we were told to go into our cabins to go to bed. I never thought anything of it at the time but now that I look back they could have taken the time to explain the environment around us, taking us for a long walk in the woods and showing us the beauty of the nature around us, especially while we were horseback riding, that would’ve been a perfect opportunity, although the point of the trip was to bond us, they could have slipped the information in while we were walking to these locations. Looking back to my highschool and even elementary years I have never had the opportunity of learning about the wilderness and environment around me, the only times we went outside was to play games like soccer or football, or go on the annual Terry Fox run at school, never to explore the environment.

 

“During the planning stages of a canoe trip, I eagerly annotate topographical maps with portage trails, trail notes, or possible campsites. The maps, without my pencil etchings, indicate buildings, roads, marshes, rivers, lakes, land, and rapids but tell me very little of the social, cultural, or political history of the space beyond those buildings and roads. National and provincial park maps come pre-annotated with campsites and portages (but not Aboriginal history and present, the location of culturally modified trees, the presence of sacred sites, or the existence of land claims, for instance)” This quote comes from the Canoe Pedagogy and Colonial History journal, since we did the blanket exercise in class I realized that we never talked about this stuff in my highschool years and I feel like the author had a great plan with this and my teachers could have done something similar with our camping trip to help us to learn about where we were and the history behind it. I never thought of the land we were on as once someone else’s, I just thought of it as a campsite I was occupying for a few days.

 

I based my third creative journal from Kimmerers Epiphany in the Beans. I was really moved by the thought of gardening when she talked about it because my grandma used to do it when she was still able to and it brought back a lot of memories of being in the soil and eating the carrots and small potatoes right from the garden with the dirt still on them, I think that’s where my love for plants and soil comes from. The smell of fresh rain on the soil, the soft feeling of playing in the smooth soil. In my visual I tried to show the before of what the garden would look like if we did nothing about it with some dead leaves off of my plant, and the after we make our footprint in the earth and give it our love, it blossoms with trees and other beautiful things.  “Knowing that you love the earth changes you, activates you to defend and protect and celebrate. But when you feel that the earth loves in return, that feeling transforms the relationship from one-way street into a sacred bond.” Kimmerer talks about reciprocity, we need to give the garden our time for it to become something, we need to give it our love for being loved in return, which is with natural grown foods that save the environment by using less produced packaged foods, but also connects us with our land and makes us feel loving and warm. Gardening makes me feel like Canada isn’t just wilderness, even the wilderness grows its own plants without being cared for, it grows trees to give us oxygen, but what do we give to all that wilderness, nothing. People just see it as an “empty land” with just trees and weeds, but that’s not the way I see it. I see it as beautiful, undisturbed land which people should spend more time in, embrace the land as see it more than an empty land, think of it as a place to learn, explore, and discover. “People often ask me what one thing I would recommend to restore relationship between land and people. My answer is almost always, “Plant a garden.” It is good for the health of the earth and it’s good for the health of people. A garden is a nursery for nurturing connection, the soil for cultivation of practical reverence.”

 

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Ecoliteracy Braid

For my first braid I chose Bens poem to braid with because I think we had a lot of the same ideas about how we look at the environment and feel about it. In Bens poem he writes “You have shown me the earth is such a special place…” “You tell me I should be honoured and lucky to call this beautiful Earth our home…” “You demonstrate how we need to give back to this Earth and not just take…” and in my poem I wrote “Nothing is better than the world we live in; So let’s take a moment and think of what we can do to give back to the world; Something just as good as the world gives to us.” I feel like we were thinking in the same mindset when we wrote these poems. We both recognize that we need change in our environment and we both think that we should be honored to live on this earth and we need to give back to it.

I also thought that Kieras letter related a lot to mine, while I read it I thought wow, she is thinking exactly what I am thinking, but both were put in such different ways. Kiera says “We are so grateful to live on this planet that we call Earth. There are so many beautiful sites to see and places to explore.” “Have you ever went outside just to be outside, with no other reason but to embrace the natural beauty of nature?” as well as “Or the glazing hot sun on your body that has been craving sunlight for months?” I thought that those related to what I said in my poem, “It is enjoying every breath of fresh air you take; Loving every moment in nature on a warm summer day; Capturing every breathtaking experience in the world.” We both see the world as a natural beauty we should be grateful for, but we both put the words in such different but humble ways.

For some differences I thought that Laurens Ecolitracy poem was so deep and different than mine, Lauren is thinking in the mindset of the world, she is speaking for the world to us, where as in mine I am speaking to the environment. “I love you for feeling the rhythm of nature and for being open to learning from the true teacher, not a parent, or grandparent, or a school teacher, but the earth teacher.” “And when all is said and done, and we are dying and, we are done. I will love you for following your original instructions and for trying to return this home to those from whom we borrowed it.” Where as in my poem I say “You need to be the change in the world; So lets seek change, and make it happen; For a better world for us all.” Although Laurens poem is so different from mine we both think that if we have borrowed it, we should give it back.

The course reading that I thought most connected with my poem and braid is Friluftsliv: The Scandinavian Philosophy of Outdoor Life. Friluftsliv is the spiritual feeling of connectedness to the landscape, and that is what I tried to create in my poem, my love and connection to the world. The article says that “The word friluftsliv implies being in the open air, the outdoors… it involves free nature. Friluftsliv involves the unconditional encounter with nature in the same way as getting to know a person needs an unconditional meeting, and not just a quick look at eachother.” In my poem I said that “Being an ecoliterate person to me means being apart of and engaging with the environment around you… and taking your time to stop and smell the flowers; and just being there in the moment; right here on planet earth.” Friluftsliv is about harmonizing with nature, not disturbing or destroying it. Friluftsliv is about love and respect for nature, and I think that is what Kiera, Ben and I all thought of when we wrote our ecoliterate pieces.

 

 

Ecoliteracy Poem

What does it mean to me to be an ecoliterate person?

To me it is being apart of and engaging with the environment around you:

It is enjoying every breath of fresh air you take;

Loving every moment in nature on a warm summer day;

Capturing every breathtaking experience in the world;

Making unforgettable memories in our environment;

and taking your time to stop and smell the flowers;

Just being there in the moment; right here on planet earth

Nothing is better than the world we live in;

So let’s take a moment and think of what we can do to give back to the world;

Something just as good as the world gives to us.

You need to be the change in the world;

So lets seek change, and make it happen;

For a better world for us all.

CJ & Blog post 2

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For my creative journal I have made just a simple but meaningful drawing of what I interpreted from Robin Wall Kimmerers story Maple Nation, as well as ways to leap into action to help with reciprocity to the land. Robins story really got me to think about the trees, she refers to the trees as “standing people” and I think that it’s true and people these days don’t think about trees as people, they don’t give back to the trees or care for them when that’s how we live, breathe, and write. The trees help every aspect of our world and they are just taken for granted. So I think that everyone should be trying to give back to the trees and earth and it means a lot to me that I start to follow this as well, I can’t be hypocritical and say we need to change, but never act on it.

 

Throughout reading Robins story and watching before the flood documentary it has really opened my eyes. I never knew that out world was in such danger, I never knew that we are at great risks for flooding of countries and rainforest animals going extinct and millions of more issues. These have really taught me that I need to be doing my part to try and make our environment better for the sake of our lives, as well as exotic and regular animals lives. I need to be doing as much as I can on my part whether it be recycling more, or trying to compost my fruits, or reducing my use of paper and plastic. But I now realize just how important these issues really are and that I need to start doing my part to create a healthier environment.