Saturday, 29 April 2017

Friday April 28th

Circumambulating the UBC Botanical Gardens

                BEWARE the gate below. Once you step through there is no going back. The things you learn and the sights you witness are real and they are wondrous. If you are willing to expand your knowledge and test your endurance than please venture through the gate and circumambulate the UBC Botanical Garden with me.

Welcome! Please follow me to the Food Garden. This is an important area because it allows a space for the survival of all. Not only are edible plants such as Swiss Chard grown here but they are also sent forth into the world to create wellness. All of the food grown in this section of the Botanical Gardens is donated to the homeless. While it is slightly barren at this time of the growing season, we have high hopes for the remainder of the summer.

Before we move on, I would like to remind you that this is a garden, so please feel free to stop and smell the items that are growing in it.

The Physic Garden is a place of wellness.

While one may not look at this space and think “YES! I have finally found a medicinal remedy that is available at a low cost and relatively easy to ingest.” That is exactly what you will experience once you take a gander through this greenery. Some of these herbs aide in removing headaches, some work to decrease the libido, while others help with digestive issues. The pills available from your doctor may even have a starting point with some of these medicinal plants!
Do not forget to check the time as we have other important adventures to follow after lunch!


*If you struggle with the reading of a sun dial please feel free to ask your local Botanical Garden CFE student to assist you.

Sasha Forster

Brendan Stanford-Botanical Gardens and Crop Rotations: Friday, April 28th

     The first week in the Orchard Garden has already come to a close, and we ended it with a spectacular visit to UBC's botanical garden. We were greeted and led to an ocean view deck and met up with other CFE students working at the botanical garden who felt just as delighted as we did to be working in outdoor education. The morning was spent discussing traditional ecological knowledge, the forms and applications of different educational gardens, and our role as future educators striving to foster the simultaneous love of and reverence for outdoor flora.

     After a relaxing lunch in the botanical garden, we returned to the Orchard Garden to work with Julian. We were going to prepare the Orchard Garden plant beds for the introduction of new root crops, but first, we had to flip the soil of each bed and add our organic mushroom fertilizer.

     I thought flipping the soil to prepare it for new plant growth was a beautiful analogy for my teaching experience during the practicum.  As we would disturb each bed, what had been a neat structure would become loose and initially incoherent, but this was necessary to incorporate what material was necessary for new growth (the fertilizer). After some hard work, the beds are rebuilt and the new material evenly distributed throughout the soil, and each bed is ultimately healthier for new plants to flourish in. Similarly, I found that the most essential concepts in a unit I would teach would initially disturb what had been a coherent set of ideas for my students, but that this disturbance was ultimately necessary for the students to develop their conceptual perspective.

     This cycle of disturbance, incorporation and enrichment encapsulates my idea of the growth mindset we seek to foster in our students, and that we must continue to nurture ourselves. The garden abounds not only with context to illustrate curriculum concepts and big ideas but with potential experiences that enhance one's reverence for life and the process of development. One cannot fully appreciate the work invested in a beautiful life by seeing a snapshot of it; notions of a famous author, entrepreneur or scientist are just as two-dimensional as a photo of an apple tree in bloom. It is only when we have invested in the struggle towards that end and persevered through uncomfortable disturbance that one can see the end in all of its true beauty. At least in the garden, we finish every day seeing how our efforts improve it and enhance its beauty, and over the course of the school year, these small efforts and investments of ours will come to enrich the community as the garden's crops flourish.

If we can facilitate the same experiences for our students that help foster their growth mindsets, then we empower them to invest in and enhance not only the beauty of their life but the beauty of their community by extension. There may be hard work ahead, but the fruits of the labour will be well worth it.

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