At the end of this blog you will find a blended watercolor visual representation of my Eco-identity growing up. Eco-identity can be defined as or refer to “all the different ways people construe themselves in relationship to the earth as manifested in personality, values, actions, and sense of self. Nature becomes an object of identification” (Thomashow, p. 3).
When I look back at my life, I find that I have had many opportunities to gain my Eco-identity and some of these places have been on my farm at Gaertner Seeds, Camp Kinasao, and on canoe trips/fall and winter camping/hiking with my school called CLBI. In my picture, I start off by representing my ecological identities and roots starting to be formed at my farm beside the tree. This is why I included a tree in my visual with a GAERTNER SEEDS Tag beside it; this represents where my ecological identity and roots began. This is also where I began to gain ecoliteracy. I started to gain an appreciation for nature, and the environment and living creatures because I always spent a lot of time being outdoors on my farm. I spent time taking care of our garden, being in the fields, and just being outside on the yard playing in the meadow and the caragana trees.
What is special about this picture is that the three places where I found my eco-identity are all connected. They flow together to make one picture and they are connected by the water that is drawn and also the water that was used to smudge the watercolor pencils. You will find that my picture starts with my roots at my farm and then shortly after the roots you will find that the water connects to the lake at Camp Kinasao and the water then flows under the dock to connect to the river that represents all the rivers and lakes that I have canoed on with my classmates and teachers from CLBI. This is all happening with a sun shining down on all three places to represent joyful memories at all of these places that have helped form my eco-identity.
After I became 11 years old, I was able to start attending Camp Kinasao. This is where I spent time playing wide games outside, making crafts with nature, going on nature walks, spending time at the beach by the lake, sitting on the dock, going kayaking, going canoeing, and going on Pontoon boat rides. I also spent time sharing stories and singing songs around a campfire at Kinasao. When I look at the red canoe with CLBI’s logo on it, I remember all of the times where we were canoeing on the Saskatchewan river, camping along side the river, digging our own toilets, making our own food over a campfire, and packing up everything after we were done camping that we brought with us so that we left the land the same way when we had used it. All three of these places helped me to create my eco-identity and they also taught me to respect, take care of, and appreciate the environment. I am very grateful for these three places and I will continue to remember the impact that they had on me growing up and still continue to have as I live my life.
Thomashow, M. (1996). Ecological Identity: Becoming a reflective environmentalist. MIT Press.