Click on each sign to see a high-resolution version:
Our signs arrived this week for our projects at Devon Middle and Garden Creek schools. The team at Jack Rabbit Signs did a great job! We plan to install these at the schools over the coming weeks.
Click on each sign to see a high-resolution version:
Nobody has a clue […] what the world will look like in five years time, and yet we're meant to be educating [people] for it.
Dan Pink thinks he has the answer and, in his book "A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule The Future", speaks of the increasing need to complement "left-brain" reasoning with "right-brain" skills for success in the approaching worlds of work and education. Not groundbreaking, perhaps, but his identification of six critical right-brain aptitudes is interesting:
1. Not just function but also DESIGN. It's no longer sufficient to create a product, a service, an experience, or a lifestyle that's merely functional. Today it's economically crucial and personally rewarding to create something that is also beautiful, whimsical, or emotionally engaging.
As educators — as people — how many of these qualities can we identify in ourselves, and in what ways can we foster more holistic ways of thinking, learning, and being in our lives and in our classrooms?
Both yesterday and today I had the good fortune to connect with Fredericton's Landless Gardeners, a group of individuals developing yard sharing and food growing opportunities within the community.
It's exciting and inspiring to see initiatives like this take root — literally! — in the city, not only as occasions for education and skills development associated with methods of local food production, but also as catalysts for deeper community connection and discussions concerning food security and land stewardship.
As Jay Griffiths commented in her wonderful recent essay in Orion Magazine:
How big am I? As an individual, five foot two and whistling. At a government level, I find I've shrunk, smaller than the X on my ballot paper. But at a community level, I can breathe in five river-sources and breathe out three miles of green valleys.
The Landless Gardeners are an energetic and dynamic group and it is always refreshing to encounter manners of problem solving that are not prescriptive, where alternative pathways to a solution are encouraged — a vital approach even in small scale food production where 'simple' gardens remain complex ecosystems, albeit in miniature. As David Holmgren, the co-orginator of the permaculture concept, states:
The map is not the territory.
— meaning that, in a systems approach, the creative application of basic principles is to be welcomed, not discouraged. Further:
Complex systems that work tend to evolve from simple ones that work, so finding the appropriate pattern for that design is more important than understanding all of the details of the elements of the system.
Again, from Jay Griffiths:
The process is "so creative and so chaotic," says Giangrande. "Let it unfold—allow it—the key is not to direct it but to encourage it. We've developed the A to C of transition. The D to Z is still to come." Brave, this, and very attractive. It is catalytic, emergent, and dynamic, facing forward with a vivid vitality but backlit with another kind of ancient sunlight: human, social energy.
There have been a number of exciting developments since I last wrote about activity at the Devon Middle School outdoor classroom a month ago.
First, thanks to the mix of sun and showers over the preceding few weeks, the wetland landscape is much more lush and green — good news for berm soil stability as well as rich habitat for many insects.
All kinds of critters have started to make the wetland their home, including frogs and at least three species of dragonfly. The first photo below shows a female dragonfly ovipositing (laying eggs) on the underside of a water lily leaf:
The vegetable garden, too, is making good progress, particularly given our late start and planting all vegetables from seed.
Earlier this week, I was joined at the wetland by representatives of the Giant Tiger store here in Devon. Thanks to the strong community focus of manager Wayne Gallant and his team, the store successfully raised over $1,000 in customer donations over just three weeks.
Left to right: Wayne Gallant, myself, Irene Jewett, Kim Babineau, Stephanie Dugan.
These funds will help provide much needed interpretive signage at the site as well as purchase marginal and water plant species for the wetland, such as arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia), spearwort (Ranunculus lingua grandiflora), pickerel rush (Pontederia cordata), and water lily (Nymphaea albatros).
Work has also continued on the Garden Creek School nature trail, with the laying of mulch and gravel successfully completed last week.
Although we initially began transporting material down to the trail using wheelbarrows, this quickly became tiring and difficult to manoeuvre, and was replaced by filling backpacks with mulch and gravel and walking them along the trail to where the material was needed.
Over the coming weeks we hope to install a number of interpretive signs, an observation platform along the creek, and a second platform under a large tree in the grassland habitat to function as a gathering space for storytelling circles.
All of this work has been made possible thanks to funding from Evergreen and the New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund, the City of Fredericton's Adopt-A-Lot program, the generous donations of materials from local businesses, and volunteer time and muscle power. Many thanks to everyone for their help and support thus far!
Hana Kucera, Meghann Bruce, Bridgette Clarkston
Justin Ancheta (with Hana Kucera)
Many thanks, also, to Valerie Hillier of the Daily Gleaner for her "Green Matters" article on our school greening projects which appeared in today's edition:
Chris Corrigan's powerful and poetic re-visioning for group facilitation of Joseph Goldstein's "four reflections" mindfulness practice:
1. Be aware of possibility. What is possible right now? What is the gift of the present moment? If we were to think about what we could do right now, what would be the most valuable thing we could do?
To get right down to Yellow Flower River
Some thoughts on teaching, learning, and the process of communication. Posts on these pages are collected under the following categories:
Ambience: a grab-bag of words, sounds, and pictures.
Projects: completed works and works-in-progress.
School: items of educational interest.