FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Students of the Senior Alternate Program held an opening ceremony on Wednesday for the Community Orchard and Healing Gardens at North Peace Secondary School.
The opening ceremony featured traditional Native drumming, speeches, tours, and a barbecue.
Personal and Social Development teacher Brenda Birley got her students involved in social change projects as a way of improving the community.
Senior Alternate student Chantelle Waughtal and another classmate started with an idea to grow a fruit orchard on the school grounds but then realizing that the idea of having an orchard could be something larger and more meaningful as a tribute to First Nations culture.
Reg Whiten, of Tree Canada, says the orchard and gardens allow students to show their connection to the communities and to learn about stewardship.
“The orchard and the healing garden are really two ways for them to show their connection to the communities and the whole idea of long-term stewardship of their garden.”
The orchard and gardens contain traditional healing plants, berry bushes, apple trees, cherry trees, and a few other species of plants.
The orchard project is made possible by grants from Tree Canada and Pembina Pipelines and is in association with the local First Nations.