a The Learning Garden: Day One:The Pond

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Day One:The Pond

Welcome to the Learning Garden

Learning Garden Co-ordinator: Dr. Veronica Gaylie, Faculty of Education
Learning Garden Chief Advisor: Michael Marchand, Okanagan Nation

A Legacy of Principled Action

The Learning Garden at UBC Okanagan is primarily an experiential teaching and learning tool for training teachers in the practices of environmental education. The garden is dedicated to promoting the principles of sustainable environmental practice, authentic and esponsible stewardship of nature, interdisciplinary learning and ecoliterate knowledge, across campus. The garden was designed and built in Summer 2006 by Dr. Veronica Gaylie and the Environmental Education graduate class (EDST 588). The garden continues to provide a focal point for Environmental Education and for interdisciplinary collaborations across campus. Dr. Gaylie continues to co-ordinate activities in the Learning Garden and chairs the Learning Garden committee, which is comprised of student volunteers.

The Learning Garden's primary goals are to:
- cultivate and respect the sacred qualities of the natural environment
- provide access to new crops of student teachers to engage in experiential learning
- cultivate authentic community
- use small grants well
- engage new student volunteers


1. The purpose of the Learning Garden is to promote eco-centred learning and ecological literacy amongst student teachers and to provide a model - in both action and principle - for school/community and campus gardens.

2. Changes to the Learning Garden are initiated by students involved in the Learning Garden stewardship committee (Environmental Education and Middle School Teacher Education students). Any changes or work in the garden must meet the Learning Garden Principles established in August 2006 by the first Environmental Education cohort. All decisions are made by consensus amongst committee members, and changes are made only with the unanimous approval of the entire Learning Garden committee.

 3. All design decisions follow Wendell Berry's first principles of ecoliterate design: What is there? What are we going to put there? What is our purpose in putting what we’re going to put there? What will nature allow us to put there?

4. All Learning Garden work and participants must be mindful of the following principles:

The Learning Garden supports:
  • the Okanagan Nation, the Okanagan Nation Firepit and The Pond (adjacent to the Old Pond Trail and Learning Garden). 
  • organic gardening and permaculture principles
  • intergenerational learning and respect for elder knowledge
  • respectful management and sustainable practice, mindful of the importance of preserving Okanagan agricultural land
  • shared responsibility: all committee members are invited and involved in decision making
  • a basis for teaching and learning environmental principles across the curriculum
  • promotion of local food sources and critical understandings related to global education
  • actively providing an avenue for critical learning in the context of ecology and gardening
  •  promoting teaching in the outdoors and experiential learning
  • current readings in the legacy of edible schoolyards 
  • a peaceful space: the garden is based on an ethic of care and being in tune with nature and with one another in the garden
  • Rachel Carson’s belief that gaining perspective on our own place in nature is a first step towards responsible stewardship
  • The Learning Garden is about noticing what went unnoticed before and respecting knowledge we do not yet know
  • The LG is a welcoming space. It represents a diverse, separate, yet equal space within the academic complex. Come to the Learning Garden to give, if you can, or, just to reflect. "Take a picture. Leave a footprint." 
  • The Learning Garden promotes responsible involvement in natural contexts and the value of equality and of giving back to the land.
  • The LG is resilient and strong; but the Learning Garden needs care, respect - and love 
  • All new plantings must belong to one or more of the following categories: native plant species and/or produce to be donated to the Kelowna food bank OR other needy organization/individual OR plants that may be sold for charitable purposes with donations to charity/the Learning Garden. (i.e. Lavendar).
  •  NO SMOKING in the garden.
A few garden milestones:

Spring 2013: Dr. Gaylie thanks TD Canada Trust Friends of the Environment Foundation for a new grant - and - ongoing generous support of the Learning Garden!

Fall 2011: Ongoing collaborations and outings with Chief Garden Advisor Michael Marchand/Dr. John Wagner in Anthropology - Fall 2011: The Wonder of Weeds (research project in organic weed control continues) - Summer 2009: Collaboration with Campus Action Trails Project/Facilities Management

August 2009: Composter built

February 2009: Middle school student teachers Davinder Bal, Jason Parkinson and Elisha Peller presented narratives on "The Learning Garden" with Veronica Gaylie at WestCAST teacher education conference at the University of Victoria.

October 2008: Glenmore Elementary, teacher Natalie Perrier and Principal James McMahon visit The Learning Garden

August 2008: New Path Built to the Garden by EE 08

Winter 2008: TD Canada Trust Friends of the Environment Foundation Grant (2nd grant)

Fall 2007: Learning Garden stewards from Middle School cohort involved in a major planting around native species and drought tolerant plants. Produce harvested during this cohort was donated to the local food bank, while students developed community service initiatives. The students held a lavendar and harvest sale, with proceeds donated to local charities.

 May 31, 2007: Official Opening of the Learning Garden

May, 2007: Building of the Fire pit/ En'owkin carving (Education student Mike Marchand/Fine Arts student Kevin Wizke)

Spring/Summer 2007: Major planting and design phase by students in Middle School teacher education.

 Fall 2006: TD Canada Trust Friends of the Environment Foundation Grant  - thank you!

Summer 2006: Learning Garden built by students enrolled in very first Environmental Education course for graduate students (EDST 588)

All projects in The Learning Garden are based on established ecological design practices and principles set out by the original Environmental Education stewardship committee and their instructor, Dr. Veronica Gaylie. (Learning Garden Co-ordinator)

The Learning Garden Stewardship Committee:

Dr. Gaylie, chair
Michael Marchand, chief advisor
Environmental Education class
Middle School Teacher Education classes

The Learning Garden Stewardship Committee 2013-2014:

Middle School Teacher Education cohort

The Learning Garden Stewardship Committee August 2008:

Environmental Ed Students:

Stacey Galigan
Donna-Leigh Goodman
Christina Lauze
Moïra Manthorne
Irene Marquez
Jane Northcott
Chris Ovelson
Candace Sharko
Eli Silver

Stewardship Committee Fall 2007 - Summer 2008:

Students from Middle School Teacher Education Cohort
Amanda Kehler, Middle School Teacher Education
Bridget White, Middle School Teacher Education
David Laird, Middle School Teacher Education

The Learning Garden Stewardship Committee August 2007:

Doug S.
Viollette B.
Yvonnne K.
Michael B.
Ryan S.
Lisa R.

The Learning Garden Stewardship Committee 06/07:

Farah Canuel
Mike Burdeni
Jenn Sanders
Mike Marchand
Ryan Scorgie

SPECIAL thanks to students who actively and thoughtfully participated in The Learning Garden's Founding Stewardship Committee Summer 06:

Jim Anderson
Hadrian Merler
Jess Morcom
Dave Reynolds

The Learning Garden thanks our corporate and community sponsors, especially
TD Canada Trust Friends of the Environment Foundation.

We also thank the UBC Okanagan community, especially the Faculty of Education, UBCO Facilities Management, and the Development Office for their support and encouragement.

Also thanks to those largely anonymous supporters and volunteers, friends and family, who support our ideals and visions.

Check this site often for updates as the Learning Garden at UBCO continues….


At 4:31 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for explaining the learning garden to us last week on our hike with Dr. Wagner's environmental Anthropology 245 class. It was thoroughly enjoyable. I was wondering how a middle school teacher may get in touch with you to bring her environmental class up to the learning garden for a field trip. Sincerely, Joanne Taylor joannemaytaylor@shaw.ca


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