Thursday 13 July 2023

July 8th Environmental Education Students Visit

 On July 8th, the Environmental Education course students had an insightful visit to thee Orchard Garden, filled with new learning experiences. We are so thankful to Dr. Susan Gerofsky and James Trentos for welcoming us and sharing this amazing space with us. Below are some reflections from the students and photos of our visit. 

 Student Reflections

Plants and nature are able to provide more than just food but rather we are able to use the resource in its entirety. we must respect the plant and use what we need strictly. 

we learned how to weave with branches of blackberry trees and that many of the berries we came across are edible. Fireweeds grow in adversity. 

making rope from natural fibers (eg twisting grass)

beautiful getaway in an urban space

reciprocity - gathering berries to share for potluck and a reciprocal offering from students of weeding, planting and watering

learning about new plants native and non-native species

I really like how you touched on reciprocity and gathering berries. I have always thought that food brings people together and this reminds me of summers on the sunshine coast me and my siblings would gather berries in the forest and then share them with each other. 


1 area of the garden reveals a food forest which people can come in and learn about some Indigenous plants and the relationships between some "weeds" and other plants. An example of this is the red clover, which seems like a "weed" at first, but upon listening and learning, it in fact helps the garden as it nitrogen fixes the dirt. This is an example of two-eyed seeing. Which is where you can use both Western and Indigenous knowledges to view the world.


learning outside is fun and interesting 

getting to physically do activities and be 'hands on' was cool

re-frames the way you look at the world and look at plant life, like looking at a blackberry bush not just for the berries but also for the weaving you could do with it

I was taken with how good I felt at the end of the experience. I suspect that it was combination of the fresh air and sunshine, the learning, the good company or the beautiful setting, but it significantly boosted my mood. I am reflecting that that, in itself, could be a learning objective for lessons and activities. 


Skills learned such as tying grass can be useful skill that can be taught to students as part of the outdoor education curriculum. 


Main take away idea = interconnectedness

Wasn’t a typical orchard with rows, was an intermingling of purposely planted plants that grow amongst other naturally occurring plants (design was intent but feels less structured)

Was fascinating to see the process of finding a blackberry stem to make rope out of and how there is more to the decision than just making picking the first stem you see

Lots of good information for what different types of plants could be used for




Braiding grass --> If I was to ever take my students on a class camping trip it would a an activity I would do with my students. It is also  an interesting survival technique that my students could take into their toolbox and use if ever required if they was to go camping on themselves.      


Learned how to weave blackberry tree branches - we must respect and thank the plants that we use

Only take what you need, its important to be aware of what you use and how much you use

Interesting fact: Fireweeds grow in adversity!





My key takeaway stemmed from peeling the bark off of the blackberry bush. This connects to redefining how we look at the natural world around us and how we can do this with our students as well. Now when I look at a blackberry bush I will see it differently, I want my students to also experience this and see the natural world in different, creative ways. 

Friday 7 July 2023

Coast Salish Wild Flowers from 2022 calendar (continued -- July to December)

 More images and information about some of the Coast Salish wildflowers at the Orchard Garden:

Coast Salish Plant Nursery and Senaqwila Wyss on Coast Salish wildflowers (from 2022 calendar, January to June)

 These images and captions from the Wild Bird Trust/ Coast Salish Plant Nursery 2022 calendar (Maplewood Flats, North Vancouver) offer some beginning teachings on some of the Coast Salish Indigenous plants we have planted in the UBC Orchard Garden.

Senaqwila Wyss, who was a guest teacher at the Orchard Garden's 2018 Summer Institute, curated this calendar. Senaqwila is of Skwxwú7mesh, Tsimshian, Sto:lo, Swiss and Hawaiian descent. Senaqwila and Cease Wyss are ethnobotanists, educators and matriarchs who generously share their extensive knowledge of our plant kin on these

territories. Many of the plants are named here in Skwxwú7mesh Sníchim (Squamish language), Heńqeminem (Musqueam language), English language, and by their Latin Linnean name.

In the UBC Orchard Garden, we have planted the following Coast Salish Indigenous plants, mostly in the  food forest half of the garden:

  • Bunchberry
  • Kinnikinnick
  • Licorice fern
  • Nootka rose
  • Snowberry
  • Wild plum
  • Highbush cranberry
  • Twinberry
  • Wild ginger
  • Salmonberry
  • Thimbleberry
  • Woodland strawberry
  • Western goldenrod
  • Stinging nettle
  • Avens
  • Coastal gumweed
  • Lomatium
  • Pearly everlasting
  • Western yarrow
  • Blackeyed Susan
  • Balloon flower
  • Nodding onion
  • Stonecrop
  • Prairie coneflower
  • Stinkcurrant
  • Baldhip rose
  • Serviceweed
  • Saskatoon berry
  • Salal
  • Lingonberry
  • Slough sedge
...and we have 
  •  Fireweed that appeared as a volunteer!

Links to Jared Qwustenuxun Williams' great videos, TED talk, book and CBC interview on Indigenous foods, Coast Salish Indigenous plants and their Hul'q'umi'num names

Jared Qwustenuxun Williams is a father and husband, Indigenous foods educator, chef, filmmaker and an 
award winning writer. He is the former Elders' kitchen manager in the Cowichan community near the place called Duncan, BC. 

Qwustenuxun is doing research with Elders in his community and teaching all over BC on Coast Salish food traditions and the ways that our relationships around food configure our whole ecocultural systems. He is working with the UBC Orchard Garden and our 2023 project funded by the Jane Goodall Institute to create some new short videos around some of the Coast Salish Indigenous plants that are now an integral  part of our food forest at the garden.

Some links to Jared Qwustenuxun William's great work. What a wealth of knowledge and respectful, collaborative work is shared here! We raise our hands in gratitude and appreciation.

Interview with CBC Radio's Jason D'Souza on All Points West, June 21, 2023

Qwustenuxun's TEDx talk, Royal Roads University, June 2023: The Power of Indigenous Foods

Jared's articles on Coast Salish foods and other important topics in The Discourse Cowichan

Cooking In Two Worlds coverLink to a free pdf download of the book he has written and published with Feed BC: Cooking in Two Worlds: A Process Guide for Incorporating Indigenous Foods into Institutions

His website and consulting firm

Home playlist page: Short videos with Jared's son Qwustenuxum Williams on Coast Salish food plants and their Hul'q'umi'num names: wild cherry, licorice fern, salal berries, chanterelle mushrooms, 'witches butter' fiddleheads, salmonberry and thimbleberry shoots, maple blossoms, nettles

Hul'q'umi'num names for Coast Salish plants: nootka rose,; snowberry;  plants and animals in Somenos Marsh (including plants like spirea, grass, Himalayan blackberry, camas, bare stem desert parsley, cow parsnip, tall Oregon grape and ocean spray); three trees -- red cedar, yew, broadleaf maple; winter plant words including moss, licorice root, sword fern, low Oregon grape.

Hul'q'umi'num words for the months of the year

Home playlist page for all Hul'q'umi'num language and pronunciation videos

Home playlist page for Cooking with Qwustenuxun, including steaming nettles

Monday 26 June 2023

June 24th - Saturday Workshop - Sip and Paint in the Garden

 Thank you to the elementary Community Field Experience TCs for creating a wonderful Saturday workshop. This was the fifth and final of our series of workshops for 2022-2023. A big thank you as well to everyone who has participated in the Saturday workshops and building community in the Garden!

Weaving Baskets, Bracelets, and Coasters

Orchard Garden Raspberry, Black Current, Mint and Lemon Balm Mocktails

Elderberry Paint and Garden Sourced Paint Brushes

Welcome back Susan!! We've missed your music!