Classrooms 2 Communities 2022 Conference hosted in Revelstoke

 In News

This year’s C2C conference, “Classrooms to Communities: Reconnecting Ourselves with Landscapes, Waterways and Each Other,” happened in-person on the banks of the Columbia River. With over 300 educators and community members from across B.C. and Canada in attendance, the conference was a huge success. CBEEN was proud to have supported 10 Columbia Basin educators in attending this incredible professional development opportunity.

Emma Garforth-Bles, a TTOC with SD5 and also an educator at Fernie’s Outdoor Connections Forest School, had this to say about attending the C2C conference: C2C 2022 wove together many facets of environmental education in practice and pedagogy. From land-based, immersive experiences, I took away many reminders of why I feel so passionate about what I do. Specifically, I was reminded about the language we use to speak to, with, about, and from the land- that there is immense value in building relationships with knowledge holders and language speakers of the traditional territories we live on. I was reminded to practice speaking of the more-than-human world in a non-gendered method referring to beings as “they/them” or simply by using their name eg. “Cedar” and how our language can shape a lot of our student’s connection to the land. I was also reminded of the magic of medicine foraging and making from traditional native species and how they can be used in ceremonies, and beautifully accompanied by traditional song and dance. Deep listening is a reminder I am always grateful for. These conferences mostly remind me how powerful community can be and how seeking connection with like-minded people is of utmost importance when you work in a field that is consistently facing barriers and pushback from larger, dominant Western systems. Hurrah for C2C 2022!!!

In the new year, I am very much looking forward to putting together a few workshop/presentation proposals for upcoming environmental education/teacher conferences! This conference helped me connect with people who share similar interests to brainstorm some engaging and rich workshop ideas!

In one of the conference workshops, Erich Meyer, a teacher at Kootenay River Secondary in Creston, BC, discovered BC Tomorrow a free online simulator educational tool that was developed for use with K-12 and post-secondary curricula, that helps students to understand the process of sustainable planning to balance different land-uses with ecological integrity. Erich also plans to reach out to local Lower Kootenay Band members to build relationships for learning for both him and his students.

Jess Williams, an educator with Wild Voices for Kids and Wildsight, said, “This was such a great experience to connect with other educators and be inspired by all the workshops that I attended. From learning about Sinixt resources to the Columbia Field School adventures to engaging younger students in outdoor learning with puppets, this conference gave me specific tools that I have already used in my programs since. I have new resources and actual hands-on experience with new tools and delivery methods that I would have not gained through on-line searches or books that I have now. I now have new material and am inspired to do things a little differently in my programs. This is huge, as I am in a small community and my students often know all of my “tricks of the trade””.

Thank you to ALL of the amazing educators in the Basin doing such great environmental education work to improve the lives of their students, communities, and out planet!

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