As I reflect upon the last 6 weeks of classes in my Environmental Education class and Creative Blog posts, I am noticing that: there is always something new that I will be able to learn about the environment; that I need to keep an open mind; and I need to be prepared to continually teach myself more about ecoliteracy and the environment. As I look back to my blog posts, I have come to realize that there are a few recurring topics. I have found that I talk a lot about my outdoor education and learning experiences at my camp called Kinasao and my past school called CLBI (Canadian Lutheran Bible Institute). Camp Kinasao and CLBI have been a huge influence in my life and I believe that I started my ecological journey by attending both of these places as I grew up. On my camping experiences at CLBI, I found that I not only learned how to camp outdoors in the fall and winter, what to pack, and how to dress, but I also learned how to respect, appreciate and value the environment. I also learned how to “leave no trace” while camping, which I understand as – I should not remove anything from its natural environment or leave any signs in the environment that show that I was there. Not only was I taught to be aware of my surroundings but I was also taught to respect them.
What I find interesting, is that while I was attending both camp and CLBI, I was never taught the importance of the treaties or the aboriginal culture/history that lied within the rivers I had canoed on and the land that I had camped on. I believe that it has been through my ESCI 302 class and reading Newbery’s (2012) article, that I have become more aware of the lack of teaching on aboriginal culture while I was learning about outdoor education. I believe that I could have easily been taught about the treaty land that I was camping/canoeing on and how I could give thanks to the land and the treaties. But as I look back at my training and experience, I find that the opportunity to teach about and intertwine both treaty education and the environment was missed. I hope I do not miss my opportunity to intertwine both of these when I become a teacher and I wonder how well I will actually be able to incorporate treaty education into my lesson plans. My overall hope as a future educator would be to incorporate aboriginal culture into my outdoor education, teach others about the treat land that we live on, and teach people about how to be more thankful towards the land and the treaties.
As I reflect further upon my definition of ecoliteracy, I have found that my understanding of ecoliteracy has been built upon since I first posted what it meant to be ecoliterate. Something that really helped me to broaden my definition of ecoliteracy was my ecoliteracy braid post. Currently, I do not only know the formal definition of ecoliteracy by Capra which is to understand the natural systems that make life on earth possible, but I also understand the definition of ecoliteracy as taking that understanding of the natural environment and using it to create sustainable environments and communities for all life forms. My understanding is also that ecoliteracy is more than just being knowledgeable and appreciating the environment; it is also about sustaining it and not taking it for granted. Looking back at my ecoliteracy braid helped me to discover that reading other classmates opinions and definitions of ecoliteracy can help me to weave their stories and opinions into my stories and opinion to create a whole new story.
Re-reading my ecoliteracy braid assignment then reminded me that stories can be built on top of each other and that they can also be woven together to create a meaningful sharing time. For example, Curthoys’ article helped me to think more about how important storytelling in a circle can be. A story circle can provide a space for people to share oral histories and environmental memories together. Overall, Curthoy helped make it clear to me that story circles (ex. around campfire) can be a great way to share indigenous teachings and stories and that this would be a great tool to use when teaching about environmental education and aboriginal teachings.
One thing that I noticed about my blog posts was that I left out reference to O’Riley & Cole’s poem called “Coyote and Raven talk about Landscapes”. I believe that I left this reference out of my blog posts because I found it hard to fully understand. One thing that I feel like I should have made reference to was the hint that we are all garbage (p. 29). O’Riley and Cole helped me to realize that we are the reason that the air we breath and the water we drink is polluted. Therefore, we are creating the garbage that comes back to us and is ingested by us, which makes us garbage. I think that this is something that a lot of people overlook and I think that it needs to be addressed more when thinking about being ecoliterate. If we want to become more ecoliterate, we need to keep this in mind – we are garbage and we are the cause of it, so what are you going to do about it?