Hi Audrey, Michaela here.
One major thing I noticed about this course was the talk of white normative narrative. This is seen when people of white settler nation try to ignore the Indigenous relation to land and only use the land for enjoyment without reverence. Things like canoeing have been under attack in this course. In my past I honestly enjoyed those canoe trips. It is a hard memory to turn bad, but it shows how far behind the education system is in regard to Indigenous and land acknowledgement. This class has made me think critically about taking children into nature. It is not just about going for a nature walk. There needs to be some thought put into the decision.
Our effects on the planet was also a key topic. It is a common element added to environmental education, but it does not go much farther than thinking locally as opposed to globally. I will be the first to say that I tend to only do the local thing like not using plastic shopping bags, but it will take much more than that. Yes, we need to create a habit, but things will only change if we can take this globally. It brought out a side of me that was more activist than teacher. Sometimes we need those type of people because they will incite change. By having this new mindset, I can teach future changemakers who will hopefully have an Earth to be on.
We discussed the importance of Indigenous Peoples to the land. I have been continually taught in university about the plight of the Indigenous People, and I can only learn more. This class has helped unite these teachings to the environment. Something important that needs to be address is cultural appropriation. Without agreements or knowledge if we teach from an Indigenous perspective, we culturally appropriate something that is not ours. Although I cannot be perfect, I hope to move forward with more drive to acquire knowledge from the masters of such knowledge.
Being a part of nature came in the form of vermicomposting. Although it was not for grades it allowed us students the ability to get our hands in the soil and make a difference at the same time. Because of the hustle and bustle of society it is hard to feel connected to the land. By vermicomposting we take something we get from a supermarket and instead of throwing it out we take it back to the earth. It is a cyclical process. It is humbling that we can do something so simple but create a big impact.
In my creative journals I saw a progression from a more analytical approach to an interpretive approach. I believe that change occurred over the realization that dealing with the environment is not just about Biology but also about the spiritual connection to the land. It was hard to change that mindset with my background in Biology, but I feel closer to the Earth than I ever have. With the outdoor moments and field trips it created a connection with the land and education.
Thanks for the experiences.
Hi Audrey, Michaela here.