Sunday, 11 March 2018

EDUC 450B Inquiry class in the Orchard Garden October 2017

Our EDUC 450B spent four hours in class in the Orchard Garden on a beautiful day in October. We did mathematics in the garden:

  • drawing human-made and living, growing things in the garden with an eye to lines and angles (guess which kinds of things tended to have straight lines and right angles, and which didn't!)
  • experiencing mathematical patterning by dancing braid into being (with a 'line hey' with ribbons)
  • harvesting vegetables and herbs in the garden.

Completing the installation of Hyperboloid Gate #2

On a rainy weekend in October, a group of hard-working Orchard Garden team members muddily but triumphantly completed and installed the second Hyperboloid Gate in the UBC Orchard Garden, in time for our Dark Garden Arts celebration.

The gate was designed by mathematical sculptor and computer science professor George Hart from Stoney Brook University. George was at UBC in 2007 and again in 2014 as a mathematical artist in residence, and in 2014, was the keynote speaker for the PME (Psychology of Mathematics Education) conference at UBC. Hyperboloid Gate #1 was built in the Orchard Garden by George, PME conference participants and members of the Orchard Garden team. George documented the process and the mathematics behind his design in this short film made for the Simons Foundation.

The gate was built by elementary and middle years teacher candidates and garden team members in June 2016, but wasn't completely tied off and installed till this year.

Many thanks to John, Jo, Kwesi, Phil, Sophia (Danish grad student from the Vancouver Tool Library), and me (Susan) for lots of tying off, hoisting, digging, and tipping of the new gate into its spot in the garden. It's beautiful, and it was fun doing lots of wet and muddy work together with such a great result.

Orchard Garden 2017-18 Workshop #1, October 14 2017

Our first workshop of the year was a great way to start the year. John, Jo, Myron, Tathali and Sam led activities introducing the importance of school gardens, both here and internationally, and offering hands-on experiences in the garden.

Here is a link to the handout from this workshop.

World Environmental Education Conferences symposium day at the Cultivating Learning Network, UBC

On September 11, 2017, we welcomed 40 delegates from all over the world, along with 30 UBC teacher candidates and student, staff and faculty members of our organizing teams, to the Cultivating Learning Network at UBC for a beautiful day of off-site Community Engagement Day conference papers, symposia and hands-on activities around environmental education.

The morning was spent at Intergenerational Landed Learning at the UBC Farm Children's Garden and surrounding forest, with a lunch included edible flowers and greens we had harvested at the Children's Garden.

The afternoon activities were held at the UBC Orchard Garden, including interactive conference symposium presentations and arts-based environmental education activities.

The weather was lovely and the day was full of moving, thought-provoking, delicious, fragrant, poetic and community-building experiences -- a highlight of a very interesting international conference


It's been a busy six months!

...And it's definitely time to catch up our Orchard Garden blog!

From September 2017 to March 2018, here are some of the highlights at the UBC Orchard Garden:

Sept. 9-15: World Environmental Education Conference (WEEC), with a full conference day held at the Orchard Garden and Landed Learning at the Farm.

Presentations to UBC teacher candidates on CFEs (three-week intensive community field experiences following their 10-week school practicum) , workshops and volunteering at the Orchard Garden.

October - March: The first 5 of 8 Orchard Garden workshops
#1 Oct. 14
#2 Nov. 25
#3 Jan. 13
#4 Feb. 3
#5 Mar. 10

(Here are the other three workshop dates:
#6 Apr. 14
#7 May 12
#8 June 30)

October: EDUC450B class in the Orchard Garden
Completed work on Hyperboloid Gate #2
Dark Garden Arts (Hallowe'en, Day of the Dead)

September - December: Collaboration with SFU School of Interactive Arts and Technology undergraduate student design team

November: Grant writing sessions

Launching the new Cultivating Learning Network website

December: Planning for upcoming ECE Summer Institute in the Orchard Garden

January: Orientation meeting with CFE students

February: Two workshops with the Tell-3C elementary cohort


Secondary CFE: April 23-May 12

Elementary/Middle CFE:
June 11-30

Summer Solstice Celebration: Thursday June 28

Summer Institute in Early Childhood Education: July 9-14

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Orchard Garden Saturday Workshop #8: Scented Self Care

For our last day in the Orchard Garden CFE, we held a workshop entitled: Scented Self Care.

This is a topic that we chose because as Teacher Candidates in this intensive program, we have realized that self care is not something to dismiss. We focused on both mental and physical self care for this workshop.

Part 1: Mindfulness

Our first station for our workshop was focused around mindfulness. We wanted participants to slow down their lives to just take a moment to look at the world around them, especially the nature. Using one of the prompts from Margarets Eco-poetry workshop, we had the participants go into a spot in nature that called out to them and had them describe their senses through touch, smell, sight, and sound. This helped to set the tone for the workshop for us to consider how we are connected to our food, and to think about what kinds of connections we would want. This station focused on the mind in connection to nature.

Part 2: The Harvest

Being part of the Orchard Garden CFE, we saw that we had an amazing opportunity to use locally grown produce in the workshop. This was a good way to both show participants what it would be like to have a garden of their own, but also to taste and see what plants grow locally. Below are some of the plants that we harvested for our meal and for our tea workshop.

Lemon Balm
As we toured the Garden, each person in our group shared some medicinal properties of the plants. We could see that not many people had thought about plants used medically as opposed to for consumption. As well we taught proper harvesting processes as each plant grew differently and as we did not want to harm any of the existing plants in the Garden by over harvesting.

Part 3: Meal Preparation

For our menu, we created a kale salad with a homemade vinaigrette, basil & arugula pesto pasta salad, and mint mojitos.

 In particular, we focused on our menu around herbs and how to use them in different ways to show their diversity as more than just a garnish. Here we have the beginnings of our basil and arugula pesto. It contained mint, arugula, parmesan cheese, garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper for taste. It was used in a pasta salad though it would be a great addition to any kind of appetizer or meat dish.

Our mint mojitos were a refreshing addition to our workshop. Using only limes, mint, club soda and raw sugar, it was a simple yet fantastic drink to have after being in the hot sun. We wanted to show that with a little work, you could make delicious foods that we also see in the grocery store without the additives and preservatives. We focused on the body for this portion in terms of nutrition and just being conscious of what your body needs and how to fuel it properly.
The lunch spread
 The vinaigrette was made with rosemary, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. We used a mortar and pestle to grind our rosemary to bring out its flavours. A teaching connection is that this action of grinding is similar to flour production in the past, image having to do that for an entire bag of flour!

Part 4: Tea Making

For our final portion of our workshop, we wanted to show how simple it is to make our own tea out of lemon balm and mint. We had gone to the garden earlier in the week to harvest our own herbs for drying before our event. The beauty of this drying process was that you would only have to wash the plants and let the environment do the rest of the work!

We made our own tea bags using coffee filters. We could see how this would be a process with much more labour than simply buying tea at the grocery store. But at the same time, it felt more rewarding to make our own tea and drink it. As well, knowing what ingredients were in our teas helped us consider the ingredients in the foods that we buy and that we should be mindful of how nutritious or healthy they are.

We saw that there is not a lot of knowledge on "production of goods". Though our workshop we showed that we are capable of producing our own food, processing it, and packaging and preserving it for later. If we all put effort into caring for ourselves with more natural ingredients and by being in nature, we are also helping create a more sustainable lifestyle. Both people and the environment benefit from adopting these kids of practices. We did not use a lot of packaging for this event, our teas were put into reusable sachets that could be used later to make bath tea for skin care or to hold other things in the future. This is somewhat of a small change but can be broadened and incorporated much more deeply to create a stronger impact.

From a Teacher Candidate perspective, we have seen that there is a dire need for sustainable education. Using food as our focus, it helps us gather people together to work towards a collective cause. Like the mighty bannock line made during our Aboriginal day visits, building community with food and good company breathes life into any space. Food and culture are so accessible for sharing especially in our classrooms, it would bring very engaging cross curricular opportunities like todays workshop!

Kirstie and Natalie

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Summer Solstice

Today for our community field experience we had to host our event. Our event was the Summer Solstice at the Orchard Garden. Therefore, our team had to arrive bright and early at the garden to begin set up. We arrived at 8 am to start off our beautiful morning. The sun was shining and it was wonderful! We couldn’t have asked for better weather. Soon after we began to set up the tents and tables at which we each had an activity. Our activities for the event were as followed; one station we had paint chips and the children or adults were to find in the garden matching colours. The second stations were making newspaper pots and planting out own seed. The following station was sketching some vegetables from the garden while the last station was making your own herbal bouquet to take home.

Once the stations were set up the next step was setting up the food. This was our biggest task for the day. We wanted to celebrate the garden, so we harvested some fresh vegetables to make a salad for the guests as well as herbs to flavour our water. The rest of the food was homemade goods and dips to go along with the wonderful bread we were lucky to have donated to us!

Soon after the set up was completed our guests began to arrive, one of the first ones being the UBC Osprey daycare centre. They arrived with six eager children who we rotated around to tour our stations. In the time they had we were able to have them make their own herbal bouquets and make newspaper pots. We also had an opportunity to give them a tour of our garden and read them a story in the shed for a while deserved break from the sun.

We had many other wonderful guests who were able to join our celebration. Our guests included members of the community, as well as students and faculty me,bets of UBC. Although our event took place on the 23rd, we were still celebrating the Summer Solstice/ longest day of the year. Our event included posters, informational material and education talks surrounding the significance of the solstice as well as the value that the Orchard Gardens has to the UBC community. As future educators, we learnt the value of hosting an event, and providing education on a subject that is so strongly tied to place and the Earth. We hope that all of our guests left with new knowledge and perspective that they did not have before! 

One of the highlights of our event was the opening speeches and the wonderful Solstice celebration dance that engaged all guests and Teacher Candidates. The event was informative, unique and fun! For our future career in teaching, we have also gained valuable knowledge on how to integrate the community into our teaching and learning. I believe that we will all take away the importance of being part of a community and place, and how these connections can help teach children!

The event was a success and we are grateful for everyone who came!

Meg and Laurence