Tag Archives: Community

Place-Based Imaginative and Ecological Education in Maple Ridge, BC


Since August 2008, the project has been working to bring together the community of Maple Ridge to establish a public K-7 school and learning centre. The theory and practice of the project is supported by Place-Based, Imaginative and Ecological Education. Learning and teaching will be experiential, in context, and through activities that engage the mind, body, and heart. The project is based in principles of inquiry and inclusion.

Teaching and learning will involve reconnecting the natural and human worlds. The project is a partnership between several community groups, School District 42 Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows, and Simon Fraser University. The university-based research is funded through an environmental Community-University Research Alliance grant (eCURA) from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

maple-ridge-nature-educationWe seek to grow relationships and nurture practices of learning and teaching that embody the following principles and values:

  • Place and Community
  • Nature, Ecology and Sustainability
  • Inquiry and Possibility
  • Interdependence and Flourishing
  • Imagination and Integration

Place and Community

We cultivate learning in, about, with and from local places. This includes spending extensive time immersed in the outdoors, dialoguing with a diversity of people connected to these places, and exploring the meaning of places in the context of the broader community, its past and future. Our hope is to nurture and develop an inclusive educational community deeply rooted in place. Related readings.

Nature, Ecology and Sustainability

We cultivate learning in natural settings, where we listen for what the more than human world has to teach us. Through the cycle of the seasons and the years, knowledge of ecosystems will be built gradually so that diversity, complexity and sustainability become part of our understanding of the world. How to live sustainability in this place is an ongoing question in everything we do. Related readings

Inquiry and Possibility

We cultivate a spirit of inquiry involving everyone – the natural world, students, parents, community members, teachers and researchers alike. We are committed to exploring multiple pathways of learning and teaching that engage many different ways of knowing and forms of knowledge. Meaningful, authentic, locally-inspired individual, group and community projects play an important part in this process. Related readings

Interdependence and Flourishing

We cultivate an appreciation of people both as unique individuals and as members of nested families, communities, and places.  We seek to understand the complex ways in which we can help each other flourish, and how to build relationships and systems that contribute to such flourishing. We aim to foster respect, care, and health in everything we do. Related readings

Imagination and Integration

We cultivate imagination in teaching and learning, as a key to deeper understanding, creativity, and responsiveness to place and community. We look for ways to integrate learning across the curriculum, bridging language arts, sciences, histories, geographies, mathematics, physical and social skills. We develop educational practices and materials that nurture a sense of wholeness in learning and teaching. Related readings

School Questionsenvironmentalschool@sd42.ca
Research Questionsecolearn@sfu.ca

Community Gardens

By Brooke Spencer

Vancouver is now home to over seventy-five community gardens and over a dozen urban farms in the inner city. As part of the Vancouver Greenest City 2020 Action, planners encourage community gardens, farmers markets and urban farms with hopes that numbers will continue to increase. These gardens can be found in city parks, school grounds and private properties; there is even a garden located at City Hall.

Lots of people do not have the space or resources to grow their own vegetables at home but through the use of community gardens, people can enjoy the benefits of fresh, locally grown produce. Potential low income families are given access to nutritionally rich foods which may not have been available to them.

Along with the upside of healthy eating, community gardens also promote community building, sharing and friendship as well as reducing the levels of crime. It can be a place for people of many different backgrounds to interact with one another; you get the chance to meet your neighbours and look out for one another. Community gardens have also been endorsed by the police as an effective crime prevention strategy as people develop an appreciation for living things.

Older generations with gardening experience can share their knowledge with others and inspire a new generation of conscious growers. Kids can grow up to learn more about where their food comes from, environmental sustainability as well as the life skills that emerge from working with others toward a common goal. People can also learn about the importance of recycling, saving items to compost instead of being thrown in a landfill. Food scraps, paper cups, paper towels and grass clipping can even be used in place of fertilizer.

Working in the garden can be a form of physical exercise and has actually be proven to reduce stress rates; horticultural therapy is a growing trend. Gardens can also increase oxygen levels and reduce the level of pollution in areas. People who garden can also develop an immunity to pesky pollen allergies because they are gradually exposed to small amounts of it.

Community gardens can also facilitate crops that would not always be available in the average grocery store. For example, GMO free seeds. Many reports show that urban farms can be more productive per square inch that larger scale farms growing genetically modified produce.

Check out the City of Vancouver’s website for a list of community gardens near you.

Heart-Mind 2013 Conference

Heart-Mind 2013

Heart-Mind 2013 brings together some of the leading minds in child development and contemplative practice – from scientific researchers to practitioners – to address the Dalai Lama’s question, “How can we educate the hearts of children?”

The theme of this year’s conference is Mindfulness and its role in helping children thrive physically, socially and emotionally. It is for all those who care for and about children – parents, educators, mental health workers, healthcare professionals, out-of-school-care providers, yoga instructors, recreation leaders, academics, thought leaders and many others.

The conference provides a wonderful opportunity to network with like-minded people who are committed to integrating mindfulness into the lives of children.

Learn more and register here.

New Electric Vehicle Charging Station at Hollyhock

Last year, a group gathering for SVI Hollyhock initiated a bright idea that came together this February: a partnership to install a Dual Pedestal Electric Vehicle Charging Station at Hollyhock.  With the collaboration and gusto of a multitude of individuals, now anyone with an electric vehicle can charge up at Hollyhock.

Hollyhock’s charging station connects to a growing network of  over 500 stations for the public, which was developed by the Fraser Basin Council’s initiative, Plug In BC.  Vancity‘s progressive funding facilitated Big Green Island Transportation to make this project happen.

EV Charging stationThe unit itself is a 240 Volt Dual Pedestal Electrical Vehicle Charging Station from Quebec company Add Energie Technologies.  Add Energie is a member of the Community Charging Infrastructure Fund, which aims to reach 1000 Stations, under the Province’s Clean Energy Vehicle Program.

Hollyhock’s own electric golf cart fleet, however, will continue to use their usual charge up stations for a lower voltage, so this initiative is really aimed at servicing guests and visitors to the Center.  Hollyhock’s Sustainability Manager and Director of Wizards for Environmnetal Technologies Inc., John McQuaid, coordinated and supervised the installation of this project that is one more step towards Hollyhock’s Greening the Cortes Island Campus Plan and another reason on that long list for choosing an electric vehicle.

Our People – Toby Barazzuol

toby.featureToby Barazzuol was born in Vancouver and lived in the Stanley Park Teahouse until the age of 5 before finally settling into the rainforests along the Seymour River in North Vancouver where he grew up. Toby is the founder and president of Eclipse Awards, the chair of the Strathcona BIA, and currently serving as a BALLE Local Economy Fellow.  Toby has attended Hollyhock three times, once for the Social Change Institute and twice for the Social Venture Institute.  He attributes “at least five breakthrough ideas about business and community work” to his time spent at Hollyhock.

Toby currently spends about 20% of his time volunteering in community building efforts in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Eclipse Awards has renovated two warehouses into “Living Buildings”; built nearly 4000 sq.ft. of new green space in the form of two greenroofs and three community gardens; provides subsidies for employees who bus or walk to work; has reduced water consumption by over 75% and continues to explore the challenges of integrating sustainability with business successfully. Eclipse Awards was also the 8th company in BC to commit to paying its staff a Living Wage and was recognized in 2012 as BC’s Best Employer.

Toby believes that “What stands before us is the opportunity to build resilient new economies based on respect, recognition, beauty, creativity and collaboration. Localized economies that creates value through regenerating the environment and celebrating the human experience. Figuring out how to do this has fallen upon the shoulders of our generation – not only is it a tremendous responsibility, it is a tremendous opportunity.”

Learn more about Toby’s work at www.eclipseawards.com or www.bealocalist.org.
Follow Toby on Twitter at @tobybarazzuol

Support changemakers like Toby by contributing to the Hollyhock Scholarship Fund. Contact danielle@hollyhock.ca.