Seeds of Hope
Together with our school Chaplain, our Environment Specialist High Skills Major students (Grade 11 & 12), and grade 10 students from a first period Religion class, we worked to complete this Action Project and created environmental awareness in our school. This tied into the grade 10 Religion curriculum with Environmental Stewardship and our Catholic Graduate Expectations of being a responsible citizen. During Catholic Education Week and beyond, we built community through environmental consciousness and creating an appreciation for nature, for planting flower seeds/bulbs, for bees, and for birds. We also strengthened our bond with the local senior residents down the street. We launched off of the theme for Catholic Education Week, which was “Renew, Restore, Rebuild”.
We wanted to encourage gardening in general and awareness of our school garden. This was accomplished in a few ways. Firstly, we found out which plants may be added to our existing school garden that would attract birds and bees. Then we built bird and bee houses to add to the garden and to take to our home gardens (for some students). Finally, we encouraged our student population to plant their own flowers by offering them pots and packs of seeds in a fun way during their lunches in the cafeteria. The types of seeds selected had special meaning, they were selected based on the national flowers of countries that we would like to pray for. For example, the national flower for Ukraine is a sunflower, so we had packs of sunflower seeds. If we could not grow a certain flower here, we had rocks and painted that particular flower on it. These rocks were showcased in our school garden and in our school chapel and some students brought some home. We also highlighted different types of prayer methods, such as petition (asking for something) or intersession (praying for someone), while focusing on the flowers from other countries. We hope that caring for the garden at school and/or plating seeds transferred to caring for the environment and becoming a responsible citizen, which is a Catholic Graduate Expectation.
We consulted with a plant and seed expert at Mississauga Greenhouses to learn about the best type of plants to add to our garden and which seeds would be best to distribute to the school population. Then we researched what was available and carefully selected plants and materials. We utilized our school greenhouse to care for the plants until they were planted and carried out all of the gardening preparation and gardening. We took time and care to create an info sheet to go with each pack of seeds for the student population that explained the purpose. We also mentioned some information about our school’s Environment & Business Specialist High Skills Major programs, which may inspire students to look into it and join.
We also further built community by reaching out to our local senior’s home, which is within walking distance to our school. There have been other events where we have connected, so we wanted to strengthen that relationship and share our love for the environment with them by sharing some seeds packs, plants, and rocks with them. We also built community right in our own school by distributing the seed packs during all of our lunches in the cafeteria and turning it into a fun experience. This reached the entire school population of about 1600! Student were able to paint pots and plant bulbs, while others played an environmental awareness Kahoot and won seed packs as prizes. This was right before Mother’s Day, so the students were very happy to have a cute painted pot and bulb to bring home as a gift! This created environmental consciousness and created an appreciation for nature. Further, it fostered the skill of gardening and encouraged students and seniors to enjoy the outdoors.
Watching the various LSF workshops gave us many ideas that we thought about and brainstormed about. One past Action Project of “Kindness Walks” gave us the idea to connect with our neighbourhood seniors. Many other Action Project examples inspired us to work on our school garden and encourage students to plant seeds. We feel these seed packs, bulbs, flower pots, bee houses, and bird houses will inspire many to connect with nature and hopefully take that awareness with them in their daily lives.
Reflection & Celebration
The teachers who nurtured this project, Flo Pianta (Chaplain) and Sonia Janik-Corvinelli (Specialist High Skills Major Lead & Teacher) are very proud of the ideas, action, and effort put forth by our students. Congratulations on a wonderful project with intentional steps to make a difference.