Plants with Purpose
In early March, we hosted an excellent workshop – just after the biggest snowfall of the season! Those who were able to dig themselves out had a real treat in store – spending the morning with two award-winning educators: Bonnie Anderson (Outdoor Environmental Education and Healthy Active Living Coordinator for the Simcoe County Board of Education) and Sherri Owen (local artist and outdoor educator).
They shared a fascinating project that combined Indigenous plant knowledge with scientific botanical information and beautiful illustrations to create a set of plant cards to showcase important plants in their region. And, these cards are meant to be used by classes! They can be sorted by habitat, by height, by plant type (tree, shrub, wildflower etc.), by origin (native or non-native) or other criteria as needed. They can be used to create a simulated garden for a particular purpose. They could be used for a plant hunt (which of these can you find growing in the schoolyard?) or as an introduction to plants to look for as you visit different kinds of habitats.
As an added bonus, each card has not only the English and botanical names, but the plant’s name in Anishinaabemowin, French and Michif. What a wonderful, multi-purpose resource!
Bonnie explained that the cards are not intended to be a substitute for a ‘medicine walk’, where more time would be spent exploring the many stories and uses held within each plant.
Many children aren’t ready for that kind of detail and have short attention spans. These cards are a wonderful first step to spark interest, encourage observation and build relationships.
We had a terrific morning in spite of the weather, learning the importance of respectful interactions with plants, planning imaginary gardens together and thoroughly enjoying each other’s company. Our thanks to Bonnie, Sherri and the Simcoe County Indigenous Education team for sharing this beautiful project with us!
To request access to a PDF of the ‘Plants with Purpose’ cards, contact email@example.com