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LCHS' Little Mother Earth

The Educational Pollinator Indigenous Carbon Capture (EPICC) Garden is quite an epic name in itself, but École Lacombe Secondaire Lacombe Composite High Schools’ Ecovision students and supporters gathered this week to officially unveil the project’s new name. 

Okawimaw Asksisis is Cree for Little Mother Earth, a name for the garden officially given at a ceremony March 21. 

Elder Bert Bull led off the ceremony with a blessing and smudging, sacred song and drumming. He spoke of mother earth and what we need to do to support her and live in harmony, and the Little Mother Earth garden makes steps to do just that. 

“Our Ecovision Club will have the opportunity to further develop their leadership skills, as they will further develop, design and build the project,” said Val Yaremchuk, ÉSLCHS principal. “The garden will enhance educational opportunities for many of our courses, such as agriculture, Aboriginal studies, foods, science, social and a variety of health and wellness programs.” 

Yaremchuk said the garden also improves the environment by creating healthy pollinator habitats, growing organic foods, managing water, and capturing carbon. Little Mother Earth is reintroducing 25 local plants with value to Indigenous peoples, pollinators and addressing the climate crisis. 

“The presence of this indigienous garden, with its beautiful variety of plants will increase cultural awareness, and lastly the produce from the garden will provide our school with a cost effective way of growing food and herbs for our school community, and surrounding communities,” said Yaremchuk. “I am confident that it will continue to be a positive addition to our school and community for years to come.”

Ecovision teacher Steve Schultz is proud of the work his students have put into building on the program and this project. 

“I am so honored that I have such a powerful group of students that care about the environment, care about their education, but also care about Indigienous culture,” he said. “You know that students are connected and passionate about a project when they give up their own personal time to it. These students are passionate.”

There are many sponsors and partners that help make Ecovision projects such as Little Mother Nature a reality, including garden sponsors and Friends of the Garden and Goats (FOGG) volunteers. Student Taylor Perez was among those who thanked the community for its support. 

“It’s a  project that was inspired and researched by Ecovision students, like me, and a project that will be maintained by our community group called Friends of the Garden and Goats (FOGG). I’m so happy and grateful for all the FOGG volunteers that have helped us with all our projects,” said Perez. “Without the dreaming, researching, fundraising, collaborating and planning … this project would not be a reality.”

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