Alice Lake Planters

Cultural Journeys

Stawamus Elementary
  • Grade 1
  • Grade 2
  • Grade 3
  • Grade 4
  • Grade 5
  • Grade 6
Photo Essay (3–10 images)

Community Coach(es): 

BC parks, the Squamish Nation Education Department, ethnobotonaist Leigh Joseph

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As a Kindergarten to Grade 6 Program of Choice that centres around Skwxwú7mesh culture and practices, students at Aya7ayulh Chet (Cultural Journeys) learn about the connected relationship of Language, Land and Culture. They love participating in weekly field studies on which they learn to identify and harvest local edible and medicinal plants for food, teas, salves, etc. In accordance with our commitment to promote reconciliation and greater respect and stewardship for our local environment, we were excited to team up with BC parks and the Squamish Nation Education Department to restore culturally important plant species at Alice Lake Provincial Park, one of our favourite spots to visit. We began a multi-month project to install an ethnobotany garden of traditional medicinal and edible plants next to the existing Longhouse and to create an interpretive trail of indigenous plants and trees around the lake. In the Fall, led by Squamish Nation member and ethnobotanist Leigh Joseph, students dedicated the site with singing and drumming. They then helped build and plant garden beds next to the Longhouse and dig and plant in several locations around the lake. In the Spring, they will harvest the plants to prepare medicine and food to share with Squamish Nation Elders and our school community at our biannual Potlatch. They will also help design the signage for the interpretive trail and give tours at an open house that will be offered to the broader community in order to facilitate more widespread engagement with the flora and fauna of Alice Lake Provincial Park. Students will help maintain the trail and garden in future years.

Through their involvement in this project of cultural and habitat restoration, our students are gaining new perspectives on interacting with nature and how to reflect on their own impact on the land through such concepts as invasive and colonial species. They are also learning to prioritize responsible land stewardship and the use of local resources in sustainable ways. Our students hope this project will encourage greater respect and appreciation for nature among the many locals and tourists who visit Alice Lake Provincial Park each year.

Elementary School Winner
ProductCare Recycling School Mural Prize