“Back to our Roots” – A Traditional Plant Garden

Vedder Eco-bears

Vedder Elementary
  • Mixed Primary School Grades
Photo Essay (3–10 images)

Community Coach(es): 

Tzeachten Counselor Loren Muth, Stó:lō Culture and Education Program, Halq'eméylem teacher Lauralee Kelly, Stó:lō Library and Archives, Return-It Schools, Call2Recycle, Canex , Kel-mor, BCWild Heritage Plants, FV Custom Printers Ltd. grants LSF, WWF

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Our students love to explore our local environment and have been learning about the history of our place from local Stó:lō First Nations; landforms, waterways, cedar, elder stories, language and ethnobotany.  With guidance from Stó:lō  community members, we have been able to construct an outdoor learning area that connects us with the history of our place – a traditional plant garden. Local Tzeachten Band counselor Loren Muth joined students, staff and parents as we measured, re-measured, sawed and hammered together our 4 garden beds.  It was all hands-on as we positioned the beds in the 4 directions, then shoveled in the soil.  We are anxious to plant our Traditional native species obtained from BCWild Heritage Plants.  Grade 3 students each chose a plant to study, learning its Halq’eméylem name, english name, scientific name, description and how the plant was used by local indigenous people.  The students are waiting to share their research of salal, nodding onion, chocolate lily, licorice fern and salmonberry …. these are just a few of the plants we are excited to taste. While we wait for the first buds to appear, we are making interpretive signs for the garden and printing a booklet that will be available for others to use. The “Back to our Roots” garden will serve as a co-teacher.  In the meantime, our school’s green journey continues as our Eco-bear team spreads the word and shares their green tips with others. We now have several classes from K to 5 who are taking part in green initiatives such as recycling (paper, old pens, markers and batteries), composting food waste and gardening.

At Vedder Elementary “we have kind hearts and curious minds.” As Eco-Bears we respect and care for Mother Earth and understand the important role of Elders as knowledge-keepers. We acknowledge we are on the unceded traditional territory of the Stó:lō people and are thankful to be able to live,  learn and play here.

“We must teach our children

To smell the earth

To taste the rain

To touch the wind

To see things grow

To hear the sun rise

                                                             and night fall

To care.”

                                                                                       John Cleal

Elementary School Winner
Travel Subsidy Prize