Under a bright and warm sun, more than 140 students, staff, families and members of the community came together on Monday, April 22 at the Blair Outdoor Education Centre for a reconciliation tree planting and ecological restoration in honour of Earth Day. The event was made possible thanks to the generous support of the WRDSB Indigenous Learning Team and helped to raise funds for land-based Indigenous education.

Led by special guest Dr. Andrew Judge, a professor and coordinator of Indigenous Studies at Conestoga College, attendees were called to action in the effort to reverse climate change. Volunteers also learned how to implement some Indigenous land-based practices, using native species and traditional land management techniques to enhance and restore degraded ecosystems.

In addition to the 200 trees that were planted (160 cedar and 40 oaks) on the nearly 10 hectares of land at the Blair Outdoor Education Centre, gardens were dug and planted by the Waterloo Region School Food Gardens group, thanks to the help of community partner Seeds of Diversity and the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The wood frames for the garden beds were generously built and donated by a shop class at Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate & Vocational School.

Organizers want to express their sincere gratitude to Indigenous outdoor educator Garrison McCleary for his leadership in hosting the event and the Blue Sky Singers, Banakonda Kennedy-Kish and Michelle Sutherland, for their contributions to the day.

About the Blair Outdoor Education Centre

Blair Outdoor Education Centre is one of four full-time outdoor education centres operated by the WRDSB. Students attend field trip programs at these centres throughout the year to supplement science and social studies curriculum topics with outdoor, hands-on learning experiences.

To keep up with programs and events at Blair Outdoor Education Centre, parents, teachers and students can follow their Twitter accounts: @outdoor_ed and @N8ureNate

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