a The Learning Garden: Poetry & Eco-literacy Project

Monday, November 03, 2014

Poetry & Eco-literacy Project

The English and Middle School Student Teachers Cohort at University of British Columbia Okanagan support the 43 missing student teachers in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero.  Our poetry and eco-literacy community project support poems written on the boxes in the Learning Garden. Poems will be published and promoted in booklets, and also sent to the community in Mexico.

Mexican students in the rural education college disappeared on 26 September after being attacked by police in the city of Iguala, a city about 130km south-west of Mexico City. Hundreds of thousands of Mexicans, enraged by the attacks and the lack of information, have marched in protest across the country. Families of the missing students confronted Mexico's president. We are inspired by shows of support in Mexico and in other student communities, including: University of Texas, MIT, Harvard, and demonstrations in Buenos Aires,  London, Paris, and Vienna.

Today, our lesson exemplifies the need for eco-literacy, critical literacy, media-literacy, and POETRY in education. We look at the need to read the news with an eco-literate, poetic eye. 

Today we follow on the words of others who have strived for democracy, human rights, and freedom of speech:

"We must teach others to read the word…and the world."
- Paulo Freire

"Day after day, children are denied the right to be children."  
- Eduardo Galeano 

"Teacher, purest creature
Green young man with face fixed
Whoever killed the present for you
Did they believe they were killing the future?"
- Nicolas Guillen, Conrado Benitez

"It is necessary to engage in a campaign of gentleness and knowledge. .  ."  José Julián Martí

The student teachers wrote poems. Everyone participated. For the class poem, each student wrote one line of poetry. Then the poem was written on the garden boxes in the Learning Garden with natural, non-toxic, water-based paints. 

To the student teachers in Mexico we dedicate our poems, in support of Freedom and Free Voices for all.

In Solidarity.

Do not despair.

Hear the voices of those who have gone,
no matter the distance, 
together we are strong.

Radiant potential snuffed out.But in the darknessa light of light. . . 

We had hope. 

Burn on to ignite the fires of change!Exhume the dead for what has passed is not gone.

Stand up 
for what 
you believe in.

(We shared a hope that the next generation would be better).

On top of the load you carry. . .  
weighs such stress and duress 
we fail to fathom.

What can I say to those who have disappeared?  
You are remembered...

You are a symbol of peace, and strength. 

You inspire more than you realize.
Your voices live within us now.
Allow us to carry your voice.

Allow us to give it purpose.

This is a battle we must all continue to fight.
The best educators don't need a classroom in order to teach. 

You are the teachers you aimed to be.

You are us and we are you. 

You have done something I could not.
Now, what can I do for you?


Just as we finished writing the poem, it started to rain. 
Our water-colours ran back into the soil. 
Nature mirrors our tears for you today. 

After it rained, the Canadian winter wheat sprouted.

Until spring,

With support from CPLP, The Canadian Poetry and Literacy Project


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