A combined grant from Tree Canada, Bird Studies Canada, Pollinator Partnership Canada, and with help of students from the Kitaamgwedaagwad Gindaaswin Adult Learning Centre, the Kikendaasogamig Elementary School will get to experience a new style of learning environment.
The goal of the 2019 edible tree/school greening initiative was to support the development of a land-based learning environment as part of the Healthy Living Program (Deidre Millar- facilitator) and provide a place where the Neyaashiinigmiing (Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation) can unite in planting, maintaining, and harvesting a variety of culturally significant trees and plants.
The combined grants from Tree Canada/Staples Canada, Pollinator Partnership Canada, Bruce Power and Bird Studies Canada provided the materials for elementary students with community members to gather on Solidarity Day and take part in the planting of bee/moth pollinator gardens, sweet grass beds, edible shrubs, native ground covers, wind breaks, shade trees, orchard trees, disease resistant nut trees and more.
Each planting was designed by horticultural students Wesley James Doxtador and Nathan Goode with help from horticultural mentors Caleb Hull, Amy Petersen, and ecologist Jarmo Jalava. Research was done on what plants where originally growing on the school site pre-development and were chosen for re-establishment with other varieties selected for the purposes of textile use, medicines, story-telling, drying, fresh eating, juicing etc. The use of indigenous plants thus also turns the garden into an outdoor classroom for learning about local food webs, biodiversity and species at risk.
This is an exciting multi-year project where carefully selected species will be introduced each year as the landscape is observed for favourable planting conditions. Educational signage is planned to be created for each planting area and is expected to be unveiled during a community event on Earth Day in 2020.