Today our group headed over to Windermere Secondary School, and it was so nice to see garden based education fully integrated in a school setting. I was so impressed by the courtyard garden the school had, as well as the orchard on it’s field. Brendan was a phenomenal tour guide. His return to the school will serve incredibly well for the garden. He is a passionate information who truly believes in the power of garden based learning. He showed us the original beds, the student built greenhouse, the aquaponics system, the orchard and told us what he would have done differently had he started the garden on his own. Originally the idea of starting a garden from scratch sounded incredibly daunting but he advises joe starting simply and small can go a long way. He truly proved the importance of having a teacher who is passionate about ideas at hand in order to have students buy into newer modes of education. He said he encourages students to use the garden as a playground and as a place of free experimentation. He wants them to move away from thinking of all the things they can’t do and start focusing on all the things they can do!
The second portion of our day was spent at a hidden gem in Vancouver, the ravine situated down the road from Windermere. We were all fascinated by the students efforts of preserving and cleaning the space and the heart warming story of how their efforts brought salmon back to the stream. A little passion and care can go a long way.
Our group finished off with a walk through a labyrinth, made out of stones, next to the ravine. It was a great metaphorical idea of a journey that has one point of entrance, and how perseverance gets you to the end.
Today we got to see an actual school garden at Windermere Secondary School. It was fascinating to see a garden at a high school level in comparison to the ones we have seen around UBC. It was a great trip I think because Branden was very realistic and logical about the concept of school gardens. He was candid on what works and what does not work in school gardens through his own experiences, which I appreciated. I appreciated that he was not just trying to sell the idea of a garden through the pros and I honestly realized how shockingly overwhelming it is to run a garden (especially a large scale one like Windermere’s).
What I was REALLY interested was with was the fact that they grow asparagus at the gardens! I was thoroughly impressed because I didn’t know it could really be done in Vancouver! I just learned so much about running a garden, and seeing the harsh reality that there needs to be management and interest in the garden, or else it will die off (quite literally).