In the work I do with students, I try to focus on place-based learning as much as possible. I feel that for many families where I work there is a lack of connectedness to the place where they live. I work at a school walking distance from the middle arm of the Fraser River. The Fraser River has a long history and the Musqueam peoples who have inhabited this area for thousands of years fished salmon from its waters and harvested crabapples and salmonberries from its banks.
This week the weather has been beautiful and one evening after dinner, I needed to get outside and gather my thoughts about something. I walked along the river as the sun was starting to set on the horizon. The birds were busy chirping and flitting amongst the trees, bushes and cattails. I walked down to the river and found lots of clumps of salmonberry bushes and a beautiful crapabble tree in full bloom.
The photographs were shared with some groups of my students. None of them knew what salmonberries were and only one child out of many knew about crabapples. I gave the students some "homework" for the week - to get outside and take notice of the natural part of their community. It will be interesting to see what they bring back to share next week.
For me, being outside near the water always brings me peace of mind which was very much needed this week.