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Updated: Apr 25, 2022

Super-excited for what this coming week will bring. My daughter's birthday, Bullock Lake Farm field trips, plus one of my favourite holidays: EARTH DAY! Here's what our GISS-SSE ECO Club has planned for Friday, April 22nd:

Tuesday after the long weekend, we started duck eggs from five different farms in the grade 6 classroom (Thank you Krystel Saunders, Elaine McCann, Erin Williams, Julien, and Alura Gilbert!).

Wednesday & Thursday, the K-1 and 1-2 classes took day-long field trips to Bullock Lake Farm. Molly Wilson & Sophia Gregory plan these wonderful learning experiences--I help a little--and they recruit fun people to help teach, like Zack Hemstreet, Naroo (livestock manager), Camille and Deb Penas & partner (Dos Amores Tortilleria). It's such a stunning setting and facility and they obviously enjoy the days, too. We're so lucky. Thanks.

In the mornings there, I taught about the ancient Indigenous practice of three sisters farming (plus brother sunflower) and the symbiosis/mutualism of growing corn, beans, and squash together. We enjoyed this wonderful Iroquois story about the three sisters (as told by Lois Thomas of Cornwall Island, recorded in Indian Legends of Eastern Canada). I also referred to this lesson plan and the Native American Gardening book on permanent loan from SSE teacher, Janisse Browning, whose heritage includes Indigenous farmers who grew these corn, bean, and squash crops together for many thousands of years. Then we planted "Painted Mountain Corn", a meal corn for bread and tortillas donated by Cam Pyper, plus many-coloured popcorn, and a diversity of squashes.

Back at SSE in the afternoons, we munched around the gardens, played with chickens, and planted more peas with the grades 3-4-5-6's.

Friday was the BIG DAY! Here are galleries of each of the six stations, through which eight classes rotated all day long (big thanks to Carla Maruca for photo-documenting!):

#1: Native Plantings at the Indigenous Welcome Pole (led by Robin Jenkinson, Mikayla Langdon, Michael Nickels, Spence Pentland, Shannon Johnston, Asher and Martin -- with bottomless French fries donated by Alex Lyons & Al's Falafel, thanks!)

#2: Seeds & Compost (led by Quinn Nickels, Anya Neish, and Pasley Fernandez-Hayden)

#3: Chicken Education (Emmi Blankenberg, Annika Fleming, Bryn Pyper, Luci Pugh-Aucoin, and friends)

#4: Local Food (Maggie Naphtali, Elyse Walsh, Chantal Lam, Serenity, Niccola, and friends).

#5: Tshirt Upcycling (Sophia Lam, Nina De Roo, Vicky Doyle, and Holly Barr)

#6: NaturePlex Mural on upcycled Covid dividers (Amy Ebrahimian, Reason, Nagomi Katano, Malou Weiss, Kirsten Marshall, and Ryan Timms)

WHAT A DAY! All I hear from teachers is fabulous appreciation, especially for the incredibly talented and generous GISS students who gave their day to share inspiring Earth Day activities with children at Salt Spring Elementary. Thank you. Huy ch q'u.

Thanks, too, to the funders of necessary materials for this day-- HCTF (Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation) for station #1; Vancity for stations #2 and #5; Presidents Choice for station #4; and ArtStarts & Salt Spring Arts Council for station #6!


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