Nicomekl School Garden
Our school has been dedicated to restoring our community garden throughout this school year. The garden holds a significant place in our community’s history and within the city. Our primary goal was to actively engage students in the restoration process, fostering their enthusiasm for sustainable agricultural practices and deepening their connection to the land and what plants are indigenous to our area.
One of the first additions we made with the grant money was the purchase of a rain barrel. This rainwater collection system serves as a tangible demonstration of the importance of sustainable water consumption. Living in this temperate rainforest in British Columbia, we are fortunate to receive a plentiful amount of rain throughout the year. By utilizing the rainwater, we aim to instill in our students a sense of responsibility and awareness about conserving this precious resource.
In line with our commitment to environmental stewardship, we carefully selected plants indigenous to our region. This decision serves a dual purpose: supporting dialogue with students about the significance of native plants in sustaining life in our area and contrasting them with invasive species commonly found in the Nicomekl River watershed. Through these conversations, our students have engaged in discussions about the impact of invasive species on our ecosystem and the importance of preserving local biodiversity.
To support the diverse goals of other classes, we believed it was important to invest in essential supplies, including a hose and hose reel. These tools facilitated the watering of garden beds and contributed to students’ understanding of food production. While it wasn’t the main focus of our grant, we wanted to support the endeavours of students in this way.
The students’ sense of ownership and connection to the garden has been instrumental in their continued involvement. Multiple stakeholders have contributed to instilling this sense of ownership. We have worked closely with staff and students from different divisions within the school. Additionally, the Langley Environmental Partners Society (LEPS), a local organization, has supported our school and garden, further enhancing students’ investment. One particular class had LEPS present about the garden and sustainable practices, and students participated in various activities aligned with the grant’s focus on sustainable practices.
When teachers bring their classes to the garden space, students experience a profound sense of place. They become invested observers of the garden’s transformation, particularly during the spring season when nature is in full bloom. This firsthand experience allows them to witness the tangible results of their efforts, fostering a sense of pride and accomplishment.
This process has been important to our community. The PAC at our school has wanted to see increased use of the garden space for their school community. Since we have gained momentum through this grant, a parent has offered to build a shed for our school in the garden area to help keep some of our supplies secure. It is exciting as we intend to use the rain run-off from the roof to help fill our water barrel. This partnership between families and the school is invaluable.
Reflection & Celebration
As mentioned above, in multiple areas, our students were brought together and empowered through the building of this place in our garden space. The community was brought closer through the support of outside agencies (LEPS) and the PAC, and students were able to participate and help direct our garden to participate in more sustainable practices.