My Journey Through ESCI 302: Digital Story

We have now hit the end of the semester and I hope that each and every one of you take something away from this ESCI 302 class. Thank you for making this class valuable and enjoyable and I wish you all the best.

Video Scribe Screen Shot

The photo above is what my digital story looks like;however the link to watch the video can be found here.
Until Next Time


Environmental Education: Play, Exploration and Interconnection

As we ventured outside this week to explore some environmental education games, I felt excited to spend more time outdoors. As a class we partook in a variety of activities, all of which, provided a different view of what it means to teach environmental education. As we played and explored in the activities, I was drawn to the fact that environmental education is not a subject on its own; in fact, it could be integrated into many other curricular classes. As each group chose a different age group to teach, we were able to see  how you could modify activities to encourage all students to explore and find their connection to nature.

Below you will find two pictures of my creative journal entry. I decided to attempt an ambigram (two words in one – in this case it spells play upright, but upside down it spells learn) as I believed it showed how these activities outdoors gave us an opportunity to explore nature as well as we were actively learning during this process too.

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I was particularly intrigued by the connection made to the game of Lacrosse and how it not only promotes being outside, but also incorporates treaty education. This interconnection between physical, environmental and treaty education shows that if we as teachers put our minds to it, we do no have to segregate our learning into “disciplines.” This reminds me of the article we read in class called “The Problem of Disciplines” by David Orr and how if we divide our learning that we cause a disconnection and therefore lose the full picture of why we are learning. This reminds me of the way many students ask, “why are we learning this?” I think that, like David Orr, we forget the importance of learning as we just focus on achieving excellence in each particular “subject”. In my future classroom, I hope to use inquiry lessons to allow my students to explore the full picture and to help them gain a better understanding of the connection between different parts of our knowledge base.

The idea of cross-curricular teachings brought me to reflect on the presentation Morgan Bayta did in our classroom. Morgan’s dedication to incorporating environmental education into her everyday classroom experience was very inspiring. As she talked about her Little Green Thumbs interaction in her classroom with her students, I could help but desire to grow plants in my future classroom. It was encouraging to me that you do not need to have an extensive gardening background in order to have a successful garden in your classroom. I was thrilled to know that there are grants and opportunities for teachers to being nature into their classroom. As far as teaching, I think that it is cool that Morgan is able to connect a lot of her teaching to their classroom garden as it has become a passion of her students and they are very proud of it. I think that this gives a great opportunity for students to find their connection to the world around them and push to respect it.

This week, I completed a second journal entry because I was so inspired by Morgan’s presentation. The photo listed below shows how you only need one seed to start a garden. In the case of Morgan Bayta’s grade one class, that one seed was a physical seed. In my case that one seed was the story told by Morgan Bayta. She has inspired me to want to grow plants in my future classroom. This is the start to a journey of contemplation as I work to face all of my challenges before I am able to start a garden of my own, both at home and with my future students.

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Thank you Morgan for your inspiration. Your commitment to environmental education and your students is moving.

Until next time!

11th Hour: Review

The 11th Hour is a climate crisis documentary narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio. This 90 minute movie is framed around the concept that our earth is in a climate crisis and we as humans have the greatest impact on the future of our planet. This documentary hosts the thoughts and opinions of many great environmental voices as they call for a change in the way we live. This eye opening video ropes in the hearts and minds of adults across the world in hopes that they will make a change and teach the next generation that environmental action is something that all humans must take part in as nature is a part of us. Climate change is an issue that was increased by the development of industrialization. A species that was once dependent on natural sunlight, has not found sunlight power in resources in the earth and is using it to prolong and expand days and activities.

11th hour logo

This documentary poses an interesting standpoint of creating awareness. The environmental side of the video is focused on spreading the message that the world is at the eleventh hour and fifty-nine seconds and we have very limited time to have an impact on the way nature reacts. In order to help the earth, we must act now. On the political side of the video, famous or recognizable figures such as Leonardo DiCaprio and David Suzuki are used as a hope to garner support from fans. The media is a massive force in today’s culture and therefore it is important that we understand how we can use it to get what we want and how we can use it to create change.

The ecological issue that I covered in my action learning project was based around the topic of glacier melting due to climate change. This documentary, helped me realize that we can make a difference in our world, but only if we act quickly and change our behaviors before it is too late. The action that Brooke, Kristen, Kaitlin and I took in our project could be further refined with a purpose that we as humans believe that we are superior to other forms of life. I would use this information to alter our campaign so that we could evoke emotional response to how our impact at the university really impacts the world. We had great ideas and material; however, I think that a better connection to self would make a greater impact on those who we involved and interviewed in our campaign.

While rewatching the 11th Hour recently, I realized the connection between my action learning project and everyone else’s. I noticed that this documentary talked about the pollution in the water, as well as how we as humans need to find a connection to the earth in order to sustain our living. This realization makes me reflect on how everything in environmental education tends to link together into one large complex structure. This is of course, due to the fact that the earth, itself is complex and there is so much still left to learn.

Until next time!


The Big Thaw Presentation

Below you will find my Action-Learning project presentation. This was created with my group Kristen, Kaitlin and Brooke. We worked great together and I really appreciate all of the hard work each and every one of these ladies put into this project. We were all very passionate and committed to our work as a group and I enjoyed the clear communication and flexibility of our group members.

As for my action, I started off strong with commuting with others and taking the bus; however, I started to drive more myself as the month went on. I found it particularly hard to take the bus when I had to work after class, because the bus times would have made me late or close to late everyday for work, due to the short window between the end of class and the start of work. I plan to bus more as spring comes and as I have concluded my job. I look forward to walking to get groceries and the mail as the weather gets warmer.

This project made me think critically  about my carbon footprint and try to find ways to reduce it. My group’s Glogster and Prezi presentations can be found below. Finally, I want to thank Kaitlin, Kristen and Brooke for being such great group members!

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The Journey of the Big Thaw Prezi

Glogater Photo

The Big Thaw Glogster 

Until next time!

My Eyes Have Been Opened

Listening to everyone’s presentations so far, has made me realize how much I enjoy talking about the earth. I have always been interested in the environment and its wonderful capabilities, but this ESCI 302 class has opened my eyes even further. I was always stuck in the mind frame that taking care of the environment meant recycling and licking up litter. Listening to the presentation on food global vs. local made me question myself. I never considered that choosing foods from a local place instead of the grocery store would have an impact on the world. Thanks to this groups’ action learning project, I am now aware that we need to respect the animals and plants that we use as food, so we do not end up without a food source. I would like to thank Courtney, Matt, Trina, and Nat for opening my eyes to the places I get my food from and what they are made of. After this presentation, I was very cautious when I went to the grocery store. I am looking into purchasing fresh foods from Local and Fresh as I think this would be a great company to support and I would be given healthy fresh foods. In my creative journal this week I wrote, “Think LOCAL to affect GLOBAL” and I was making reference to the foods I buy. One reistance I had with the group’s presentation, is that we cannot totally buy local as many of the goods that we use today are created globally. I think that purchasing food locally is important, but you it is hard to completely cut our global goods entirely.

My feature image of this post is my creative journal entry from this week, but to give a visual to the following discussion I decided to post the journal entry below.

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ESCI 302 has opened my eyes to the way I look at the world. The words love, freedom, treasure, responsibility and education are located on this drawing as a reminder of the goals I have for how I now view the world. I love our earth and I think that it is important to treasure what you love. In order to treasure our wonderful planet we must rethink our education and give students the freedom to fall in love with what is around them. As a future educator, it is my responsibility to spread my knowledge of the world with my students in hopes that they will continue sharing the love and respect that I have for our planet.

One issue that I had during this course is that I live a very comfortable life, that is very harmful to environment. I struggle to step outside of that comfort zone and try to be more eco-friendly. My hope for the future is that I will be able to acquire new skills and techniques in my everyday life that will take the place of parts of my current life. I want to end this post by transferring the text on my journal entry to this blog page.

“ESCI 302 has taught me to look at the world around me in a different way; yet challenge myself to do more. Find a connection with the world around me. Fight for what I love and inspire others to do the same. Enjoy the fresh air. Be active and love life. Think local to affect global. Breathe. Respect our planet. One Earth One Life.” – March 9th, 2015

Until next time!

Unboxing Ecoliteracy

Reflecting on the past few weeks of class has shown me that some terms cannot be strictly defined. A great example of this arose from our class conversation with Colin Harris. During this call, Colin was asked if he considered himself an eco-literate person. I appreciated his response, “don’t box in ecoliteracy” because it helped me question the idea of definitions and trying to have a standardized answer to what something means. Looking around at the world around me, definitions and the idea of boxing in people has become a way of our world. I relate boxing in to colonialism and the way that colonizers believed that there was a right and a wrong way of living and those who lived differently were considered as uncivilized. In the world today, we carry the idea of boxes into the way we live, the friends we choose to associate with and the places we choose to go. Now what is the issue with boxes, well if we look at a box factory, all of the boxes are made the same and there is little room for variation. Those boxes that get bent or come out misshaped are tossed aside. This analogy shows that society steadily recreates the same citizens and in turn recreating their ideals, values and beliefs.

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If we relate boxes back to ecoliteracy, many people can be ecoliterate as the term is so broad. Each person can make their own contribution to making the world a better place. In my eyes, anyone who associates them self as someone who is ecoliterate is someone who makes an impact on their world around them for the better. As humans, we tend to live in disharmony with the earth in this modern day. I view those who make attempts at living harmoniously with the earth as disrupting the impact we have on the environment. This interruption impacts the recreation of humanities destructive boxes. WE NEED more people to disrupt societal’s boxes so we can stop the eradication of our planet.

In class, I was reminded of our conversation with Colin as we watched a short claymation video of the song Little Boxes, originally by Malvina Reynolds. This video reminded me that society is the reason that we harm the earth and disrespect it in our daily lives. To this point in the semester, ESCI 302 has made me rethink the way that I treat the earth and has inspired me to push myself to be better. In my creative journal this week, I reflected on our call with Colin Harris as well as the word Environmentalist. As mentioned in class, I generally associate the term environmentalist with those who take the term to the extreme. This view changed during our Skype call with Colin. From his accomplishments and passions, I view Colin as an environmentalist in the context that he wants children to find their connection to the world around them. As I have mentioned in past posts, I think that this re connection is vital for helping our ill planet because we need to understand and be passionate about the earth in order to save it.  Our excursion to the Royal Saskatchewan Museum reminded me of our connection to the earth. In the basement of the museum, Brooke and I spent a great quantity of time exploring the exhibit based around First Nations way of life before contact/after contact and their harmonious way of life. Like Brooke mentions in her recent blog post, this display evoked a feeling that the way I live steps on the toes of those who lived here before me. In my creative journal I reflected on my thoughts about our visit at the museum and what path I followed. The picture below is the outcome of this process.

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Looking Back And Moving Forward: Meta- Reflection

Starting out in ESCI 302 my understanding of my connection to the environment was very different to how it is today. I felt very distanced from nature starting this class; however, I still felt that I was responsible for what happened to the earth. In my first blog post/journal entry I created a ticket that said the saying, “Your Environment, It’s Everywhere.” Looking back at this, I realize that I did not understand how interconnected I am with the world around me. Today, I feel that my environment is not just around me, but that I am also an environment. This understanding that when I hurt something in the world, I hurt myself because we are all connected. This reminds me of “system thinking,” an idea that we are all connected and dependent on one another. These new concepts, made me be critical of how I view my relationship to the world. My conversations in class and online with Willow, have also made me question my relationship with nature and how can I become more connected. I am still working and struggling through this process.

One thing that I really enjoy about ESCI 302 is the assignment of creating a creative journal. This project has become more than another assignment for me, but a great way to express my creativity and be critical of myself. If there is one thing that I am completely confident with from this class, it is the creative journal process. I enjoy pushing myself to try and do new things and express myself in a different way. A recurring element in my journal is a globe or the view of the whole earth. Now, it may seem obvious, because I am in an environmental class, that I would have pictures of the earth everywhere, however, I commonly describe and illustrate the water, air and dirt that exists on the earth. In connections to everything environmental, it all comes back to the water, dirt and air of the earth. I feel that I need to look deeper into these issues and topic to explore further, but my mind is always drawn to these elements.

One concept that I struggled with was ecoliteracy. I am glad that we had multiple readings and conversations about eco-literacy as I struggled to understand what exactly it entitled at first. Now, I believe that many titles that we put on people are too broad to fully define. I make the connection to my second blog post about eco-literacy. The drawing that I displayed from my creative journal showed me how chaotic and difficult it is to define an eco-literate person and that this is okay. I can relate this to the conversation that we had with Colin Harris in class. I loved how he said that environmentalists are hard to define and that we shouldn’t limit them. Making this connections, invokes me to think further and make a connection to the earth and how we shouldn’t limit the possibility of this world we live in. I believe that the vision of a limitless world, filled with joy, prosperity and love, is a reason why environmental education is so important.

My action learning project is focusing on climate change in regards to the impact it is having on the glaciers. This project has made me dig deeper and realize that I feel close to the environment, but I need to take more action. I loved the video The Story Of Change and how it said that the only way we can create change is with and idea, commitment and then by taking action. I have noticed that taking action is hard and my group and I have struggled with how we are going to create change in an action packed way. I want to make a change in the world, and do my part to help out, so this project is a great way to help me start putting my ideas into action.

As the semester continues, I look forward to learning more about my connection to nature and ways in which I can develop evolve this. I hope that I will be able to gain a better understanding of how I can help my future students feel connected to the environment, but I think I have to first work on myself, in order to help them. Thank you for reading my meta reflection.

Until next time!