ESCI 302 Metareflection

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.

ESCI 302 Meta-Reflection

Video Script

Hi Audrey! It’s Sara here, and I am going to tell you all about my ecoliteracy journey in ESCI 302. To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when we first started this class. Throughout the course I learned a lot about myself, the environment, and different ways of teaching.

First I would like to walk you through my background in environmental education and the environment in general. I do not have a lot of experience with nature and with being outdoors. I do remember going on a few outdoor field trips in elementary school but never anything super big like a canoe trip which we read about Newbery’s canoe pedagogy article. My family, though, has never been camping or really spent any time outside. Mostly because my mom hates bugs as does my brothers and myself. I really enjoy spending time outside, I always have – aside from the bugs. My parents used to go skiing and used to spend much more time in nature than they do now. I’m not sure why they stopped spending time outside, but because of this,  think they have lost their connection to nature or to Friluftsliv which we learned about in the video by Charlotte Workman. Friluftsliv is a Nordic philosophy about outdoor life and embodies the idea of returning to nature, or home, as Workman calls it. My parent may have experienced this Nordic philosophy when they were younger but because of their lose of their connection with nature, my brothers and I never got to really develop a connection of our own.

As a documentation process for our learning in this course practiced the creative journal pedagogy. Taking a look at my creative journals I completed during this course, I am noticing that I unconsciously was unlearning and relearning throughout the course. My first creative journal was titled the “Beauty of Nature;” it’s prompt required us to explain what the environment means to us and I chose to focus on it’s beauty because it is beautiful. Looking back on this journal now, I realize that the environment is so much more than just beautiful. It provides us with life and materials that many people take advantage of. In Robin Wall Kimmer’s Braiding Sweetgrass, she states on page 221 in her story “The Sound of Silverbells,” “How will people ever care for the fate of moss spiders if we don’t teach students to recognize and respond to the world as a gift?” And that, I think, is one of our biggest problems; people don’t look at the world as a gift. We discussed in class how anthropocentrism is a human-centred philosophy of environmental education and that many, if not all, of the world’s problem are caused by humans. As we shifted into looking at hope and despair philosophies, I began to noticed a theme of a lot of emotions in my creative works. In my second creative journal I addressed the garbage that seems to be everywhere now a days. I notice myself getting very angry when I see garbage littered around my neighborhood or along the side of the road on my drive to school. My ecoliteracy love poem was full of shame, and guilt, and hope and a whole bunch of emotions. As I think about the world’s problems like climate change, I feel so much guilt because it is almost impossible not to contribute to this issue. I incorporated this quote into my ecoliteracy love poem: “And I sit here and ponder on these thoughts/while you think i’m full of lies./I know, I know, I do it too, we all do./ Contributing to this cancer/ it’s almost impossible not to.”

As we shifted our focus on a save the planet kind of philosophy, the embodying ecoliteracy project has changed a lot of things in my life. I now try to use as little plastic as possible and recycle as much as I can and influence my loved ones to as well. But, I also learned that disrupting this issue takes more than just individual changes as I’m not even sure if my life changes are even making a difference. Nevertheless, this embodying pedagogy allowed me to discover my ecological passions and self, which I hope to pass onto my students one day.

One of the biggest things that stood out to me during this course is the Eurocentric view that dominates our country. This Eurocentric view administers many normative narratives which  I failed to notice before. My third creative journal was centred around Terra Nullius or “empty land.” But as we learnt in The Blanket Exercise, that land was never really empty at all, it was stolen. This Eurocentric view implements normative narratives on many subjects in this Country. Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmer focuses on Indigenous philosophies by sharing her life stories and experiences with us. I went to public school all of my life so I’ve learned about the Indigenous history of Canada, but never Indigenous philosophies, which we strongly focused on in class. One of the ways we focused on disrupting these normative narrative was reciprocity. Kimmer poses the question, in “An Offering:” “What else can you offer the Earth, which has everything?” (p. 38). Reciprocity was a new term to me. It’s terrible, but I never really thought about how I can give back to the Earth. Our fifth creative journal focused on what we can do to give back to the Earth. I focused on using more of the Earth’s natural resources, like the sun, but as I am rethinking and relearning, there is so much more I can do. For example, I’ve been thinking of getting a tattoo for a while now and the two that I really want are small tree and a small sun. I can give thanks to the Earth by forever having it’s symbols on my body.

The inquiry philosophies and pedagogy we focused on in class were really eye opening to me and is something I plan on incorporating in my future classroom. Inquiry allowed us to be engaged and participate within our learnings which is something that I think is very important in the classroom. Within this pedagogy we practiced vermicomposting, went on field trips, had class outside and practiced stillness outside, and gardened.

David Orr proposes that all education is environmental education and that is something I want to live by as an educator. Taking my students to work outside is so beneficial and is something that I can easily incorporate into my classroom, but will that be enough? I can incorporate gardening and vermicomposting and field trips but I’m worried that my students won’t be able to develop a deep ecoliterate connection with the Earth by doing just that. I hope as I continue my journey in environmental education, I can develop more ways to incorporate this important subject into every area of my curriculum.





ESCI 302 Meta Reflection

Hello and welcome to my ESCI 302 Meta Reflection.  Upon entering this course I understood what Environmental Education was, but I found it difficult explaining what it means to be an ecoliterate person, as Ecoliteracy has so many different meanings.

Throughout the course I gained knowledge on what it means to be ecoliterate. To be ecoliterate, to me means to reduce, reuse, and recycle, and to take care of our environment by cleaning up everything around us. This course has taught me a few ways as to how I can incorporate environmental education in to my future classroom or school. Some ideas that this course gave me is how we can plant mini gardens, vermicompost, or take our students on nature walks as a part of environmental education.

During this course I reflected back on my experiences and connections with the environment around me through the blog posts I created. Some connections that I have with the environment is through the resources I use.

I learned that when using our environments resources we should not be wasteful or careless. We should give back and say thank you.

In the reading “Maple Nation: A Citizen Guide,” Kimmerer states (2013) that  “[w]e’ve  got  a lot to be grateful for, and we all have to do our part to keep it going” (p.169). I agree with this quote as we all need to work together as a community in order to see the positive changes we can have on disrupting climate change.

Our generation is “becoming more ignorant of the things we must know to live well and sustainably on the earth” David Orr.

I believe that any small actions can help to disrupt the global warming that is happening around our world. Some of these actions include saving power, picking up garbage and not polluting, reducing, reusing, and recycling, as well as limiting the amount of single use plastics that we use.

I believe that if everyone does their part our environment can be clean. We need to think about our future, and how we can do something to disrupt climate change.

This course has taught me how I can incorporate environmental education in the classroom. As a future educator I want  to take my students beyond the four walls of a classroom, as I believe that students can learn from their environment. I want to challenge the norms of how students are being taught today. I want my students to understand that “school isn’t supposed to be a polite form of incarceration” Richard Louv.

I want my students to have fun while learning, and I believe that they can have fun by exploring the outdoors. Our world provides us with endless learning opportunities, and we as educators should use these opportunities to teach our students about their environment.


ESCI 302: Final Project

To conclude ESCI 302, I have decided to create a video that reflects my experiences and understandings for this past semester. Please find attached at the bottom my video uploaded to YouTube. I would like to thank iMovie for making it look like Stephen Spielberg directed, filmed and edited my video (just kidding).


Before entering and learning about environmental education, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. My understandings of what the Earth means to so many organisms was limited but now reflecting back on re-occurring themes that entered my mind every time I walked into class and looking back on my blog posts, I now know that it goes much deeper than my previous knowledge of the environment. Environmental education has now reshaped my mind and how I will view the environment going forward by helping me understand important themes of what the Earth offers us and spreading that knowledge on as a future educator.

Looking back on the themes in my blogs that were important to me, and what I think needs to be passed onto students as a future educator is the importance of the true meaning of wilderness. We as humans, view land that is not inhabited by humans as wilderness. Understanding that no matter where you go that is deemed as “empty” probably is home to many various forms of wild life that goes as unrecognized. Is there true wilderness? Probably not as we share the land with many living organisms. What true wilderness helps me reflect on is the colonization of European ancestors coming to North America onto First Nations territory and how it’s important to recognize early ancestors and who’s land we are really on.

Looking at this so called “wilderness” and shared land  through our eyes as humans is a beautiful thing. There are many aspects of this Earth to appreciate as it provides us with so many opportunities. In order to keep this Earth beautiful, we need to reflect on our acts of reciprocity. We get so caught up In taking what the earth offers that we don’t think of giving back. Looking at my blog posts I found that I honestly don’t give back to the Earth as much as I should but during the embodying eco-literacy project I found out that there are many ways I can give back in more ways than just recycling or picking up garbage while on a hike (as I explained in my first blog). As humans we need to be more ecoliterate, which is understanding what things make life on earth possible.

By understanding what makes life possible on Earth, we need to have everyone on board to disrupt climate change or else these natural systems on earth that make life possible won’t be existing in the future. Doing little things that make you feel better like recycling, isn’t going to fix the problem, it goes much deeper than that. We need to have an environment first mentality, and figure out ways to disrupt climate change and pollution like ways such as carpooling or reusable water bottles for example. There needs to be a major movement in what we do with this planet.

Moving forward, reflecting on my blog posts, learning in class and what I thought beforehand,  I now realize that I have become a more eco-literate person and have realized that environmental education is an important subject area to incorporate in school systems. It is an integral part of the future.

To end this video off, I have saved a few of my favourite quotes from this semester. These quotes have challenged my learning all semester and will continue to challenge my thinking as a future educator. The first quote I would like share comes from Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass. Kimmerer states in one of her chapters we read “the world is a gift”. It’s a very simple quote, but when I unpack that quote, I think of gifts being a special gesture. When she states “the world is a gift”, we need to treat it special and to take care of it, but the way she sees it is we are doing the exact opposite.

The second quote that served a meaningful purpose to me came from David Orr’s article. The quote I liked was, “the plain fact is that the planet does not need ore successful people. But it desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, story tellers and lovers of every kind”. We need to start treating the Earth as our friend.

The last and my favourite quote was the one by Leonardo DiCaprio which really struck me at the start of the semester and I continue to think about it. It comes from his movie Before the Flood, which was a very interesting documentary that I encourage people to watch. The quote I want to leave you with is “you are the last, best hope of Earth, we ask you to protect, or we and all living things we cherish are history.” There needs to be a change in the ways humans think of the Earth before it’s too late. We need to have everyone on board in order to be successful.

Works Cited:

Kimmerer, R. W. (2013) Braiding Sweetgrass. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Milkweed                              Editions.

Fisher, S., & DiCaprio, L. (2016). Before the Flood. [Documentary]

Orr, D. W. (2004) Earth in Mind. Washington, DC. First Island Press.


ESCI 302 Meta – Reflection Script

Hello, today I am going to take you through my eco literacy journey.

Coming into this course I had a few expectations. My roommate had taken it before me and after she had completed it, I noticed she had started doing thing such as recycling more. For this reason, I expected that this class would be teach us how to save the environment. This was wrong. In reality, this course provided me with a new lens to look at the environment through and shifted my perspective of the environment completely. I now feel as though I am better prepared to teach environmental science, and for that matter, all school subjects now that I am aware of the use and benefits of inquiry pedagogies.

Looking back upon by blogs at the beginning of the class has made me realize just how far I have come in terms of ecoliteracy. These blog posts were so embedded in normative narratives and limited in perspective and this can be seen when I said things such as, “I will do things such as shop locally, reduce my use of plastic, eat mindfully, walk or bike, promote reciprocity, and many more”.  This is all I had been taught up to this point. But, I am now aware that there is so much more to the environment and that we need to take a leap as a population if we want to make a difference.

As I moved forward with the class, I now notice how much more in depth my posts got. It is clear that I was able to recognize the normative narratives that I was reproducing and could consciously correct them and try to make people more aware of the fact that they exist. This began when I was able to recognize the western worldview that had been taught to us throughout school. Up to this point, I had never considered or was taught about treaties and I recognized this in my blog post that said, “This concept of taking this “unclaimed” land and creating this fort on (which is a large part of Canadian identity) further ingrained the normative narrative of “land belonging to nobody””.  The class opened eyes to who really owns the land and that we are permanent guests, we do not own it. This idea was furthered when we did the blanket exercise because I had never been taught the other side of the story before. It was disturbing to see the effects colonization had on the indigenous communities and how the land we know today really came to be.

The embodying eco literacy project opened eyes to how big the environmental issues at hand are and made me realize, again, how we have to take a leap as a population if we want to make a difference in the environment. I was shocked and disrupted when thinking of how small the changes we make are in the grand scheme of things. Such as the fact that there is little impact of me using 1 reusable cup compared to someone ordering 1000 roll up the rim cups to win the Jeep. Also, that the products we recycle are sold and shipped over seas. It was all very frustrating to learn about.

My understanding of wilderness was disrupted by this course. In my initial blogs I expressed that I grew up seeing the wilderness as raw, natural, and unclaimed land like when I said, “There is no service on this lake and the lack of technology really allowed me to take in all the beauty that surrounded me”. This just shows that we are not taught to recognize the treaties that exist and the western world view is being reproduced through our education. This was challenged and, with the knowledge I have, I know there is so much more to “wilderness” and my past thoughts were based on a lack of knowledge of the land we inhabit.

This led me to really question my education up to this point. The inquiry pedagogy made me realise that We need to change the European ways that are so embedded in education today so that students in the future are not faced with the extreme shock that I was. It is not fair to withhold this information for the sake of not only the Indigenous peoples but also the students, knowledge is power and this knowledge will change the way we view and treat the environment. We should educate our students about the treaties that exist and disrupt the normative narratives to stand a chance at making a change. This can be done by employing the inquiry cycle to our teachings. We can guide the students, allow creativity to flow, and have them make discoveries for themselves throughout the process.  As the STF says, “The Future is in Today’s Classroom”. The change starts with us.



CJ5: My Family of Butterflies

Majority of my heritage is Ukrainian. That means that my family celebrates Ukrainian Christmas and Easter. The holidays normally occur after Christian Christmas and Easter. Easter is a huge holiday for both Christians and Ukrainian Orthodox followers. Traditions are ripe throughout our celebrations. They normally involve food. Food is huge in my family; it does not deal with reciprocity to the land. We would have feasts because when my grandparents grew up they were really poor and starved. This was around the time when there were no Wal-Mart’s to buy cheap food. The ability to get food for cheap at a moments notice instead of having to grow it in a garden was lifechanging to my family.

For Easter we would create elaborate baskets full of food. We would take these baskets to a church to be blessed by a Ukrainian Orthodox priest. Afterwards we would have dinners and lunches to eat the blessed food. We could not throw away the blessed food because it was blessed.

Another addition to the baskets were pussy willows. Pussy willows are plants that grow in the ditches of Saskatchewan. We would have the pussy willow blessed too. It represents the cycle of rebirth. Pussy willow grows wild around Saskatchewan. One stalk of pussy willow contains many seeds. If we bless the pussy willow it makes those following seeds sacred. I drew this picture to symbolize the importance and the sacred nature of the pussy willow plant in my family. The butterflies were my grandmothers favourite. I wanted it to symbolize those who have passed. When someone has passed we bring pussy willow. Even though death is a loss of life on Earth the pussy willow layed on the gravesite allows the pussy willow to be blown by wind dispersing the seeds so new pussy willows can grow.

I adore my family traditions and hope to pass them along to my children one day.

Creative journal 5


Growing up when my grandma was well enough to garden she did, I was always fascinated how things grew and how they tasted and hoe I could just pull up a potato wipe the dirt off and eat it, the same with carrots. I have always loved summertime because that’s the time grandma grows and I get to go eat all of the fresh vegetables. I have never known how to do it myself but since this class it has really sparked my interest in growing things, and plants. For one of my early childhood education classes we had to come up with an invitation for grades K-3, for my invitation I used an indicator from the sk curriculum relating to plants in their natural environments, so I took focus from our class when we planted all the different seeds and pea chutes, and I got a tray of peat moss and grabbed a package of flowers. I let the students plant their own and they had fun with it! So far all 50 of them have sprouted pretty well and may be ready to plant soon, and that is my new offering to the earth. I will be planting these flowers at my house and I am really excited to see how they turn out, I would also love to talk to my grandma about how to maintain a garden, I really think I would love to start a garden of my own and I could start composting out in the garden as well.


We need to give back to the earth like Kimmerer says, we need to offer it good things and I think that a garden is great for the earth in so many ways and would love to stop buying produced food at grocery stores, that way I can offer more to the earth by lowering my use of plastics that the food is packaged in. “The visible became invisible, merging with the soil. It may have been a second-hand ceremony, but even through my confusion I recognized that the earth drank it up as if it were right. The earth knows you, even when you are lost.” (36.) I thought that this quote was beautiful because I can’t tell you how many times I have gone outside to be in beautiful nature because I was upset, because the earth knows me and it cheers me up when I am lost and am looking for guidance. I feel connected to this earth and I want to give something back to it, because it is always there if I need some peace in my soul.  

Creative journal 4


For my creative journal four I decided to based it off “moments of relearning & unlearning” from Jade Ho’s paper. I have drew me in the past going down both of the paths of unlearning and relearning, because not only until recently have I learnt about the importance of land and the history behind it. Growing up in Moose Jaw and travelling to Regina lots I never knew that I lived so close to Treaty 4. It wasn’t until my first year of University in ecs 110 that I learnt we were living near a Treaty signing. In grade school they took us to Fort Qu’Appelle a few times but all I can remember from it would be just general stereotypes about First Nations/Aboriginals, they didn’t teach us anything while we were there, its like they expected to take us and we just know what is going on. We watched pow-wows, we made bannock, we also watched an Elder smoke Bison meat, we even got to go stand inside of tipis, but that was all I took in from it, I didn’t know why they lived in tipis and why that was sacred, and the history behind Fort Qu’Appelle and these people we were visiting. It would have been a great history lesson for us students while we were there if our teachers would have told us about the history and why we were visiting this place and why these people held pow-wows, because to us students it was just a fun field trip.  “One of the dangers of formal schooling is“it will imprint a disciplinary template onto impressionable minds and with it the belief that the world really is as disconnected as the divisions, disciplines, and subdisciplines of the typical curriculum.” (3.)


“I knew then I had to re-learn and re-cultivate affinity with nature and start slowing

down to appreciate and understand life’s beauty and suffering. Through this process, I

had come to see the complexity of my own situatedness. I had to shed the layers of my

own privilege and oppression— as drifter from culture to culture, and place to place, I

have become a colonizer and the colonized, the privileged and underprivileged, oppressor and the oppressed.” (12.) It is very important to notice your own oppression and to know the history to imprint it onto your students to avoid white privilege and oppression, to let them know that the land is not yours, you may own a property of land one day but the land you live on goes way back and they need to be aware of the history of Canadian colonialism. When we went to the Regina Indian Industrial School I wanted to go in and pay my respects but it is not my place, I do not have family history with this, and even though I only wanted to go in there with good intentions, it may be seen to others of that culture and background as disrespectful, and we need to teach our students that. “For this reason, a critical pedagogy of place fails to recognize that

there are many intergenerational traditions that have evolved in ways that co-exist with

the environment in non-destructive ways and it also fails to include the long and diverse

histories places have.” (5.)