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.
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.