CJ3 – The Reproduction of “Wilderness”

In class, we have been discussing and deconstructing the idea of wilderness. Growing up I would have described wilderness as a place with no humans, where wild animals live, and outside of the city. This class has now opened my eyes to why that view of empty of land (wilderness) is problematic. 

CJ3 – Outdoor Education

For my creative visual I wanted to illustrate the conflicting views I was taught in school regarding outdoor education. My visual piece is a set of glasses looking at a chalkboard with the heading “OUTDOOR EDUCATION”. In one lens you see a very commonsense photo of what wilderness is and the other lens is a city skyline. I wanted to represent how schools teach us to put the economy before anything else and how nature/wilderness is treated as only an escape or place of recreation. This way of teaching is problematic because it reproduces the binaries: civil vs. wild and culture vs. nature

In an assigned reading “Canoe Pedagogy and Colonial History: Exploring Contested Spaces of Outdoor Environmental Education” by Liz Newberry, Newberry further explains why outdoor education plays a role in reproducing and enforcing colonialism. In one line she explains that “[i]n dominant and colonial images of wilderness, Aboriginal presence is either erased or Aboriginal people are themselves recast as nature.” Thinking of my own outdoor education experiences growing up I do not remember learning about any First Nation, Metis, or Inuit people. This is a problem because it made me believe that there are empty lands and lands that have no other context than what I was seeing. Going through the education program and going to treaty education camps I have fortunately gotten to unlearn many colonial views. I look forward to continuing and sharing my education. 


CJ1 – So What Does Environment Mean Anyway?

For my first creative journal, I chose to draw a word picture using the word environment. Throughout the picture, I included drawings of things that I think of when I hear that word. As you may have already noticed, the second n in “environment” is missing. I realized after I had already completed the drawing that I spelled the word wrong (don’t worry my major isn’t English). Although this was completely unintentional I found it to be quite metaphorical. Often we as humans can be so focused on the task at hand that we forget to take in the big picture around us. 

Creative Journal #1

The letter T in my drawing is a tree with a bird which reminds me of walking through Narrow Hills Provincial Park and listening to the birds sing. A specific time that I always feel connected to the environment is when I go to my stepdads cabin at Narrow Hills. My time at the cabin consists of walking through the trails, swimming in the lake, and sitting by the campfire. 

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One of the trails at Narrow Hills

In the park, there is no cell phone reception so you are completely unplugged. There I really get to focus on mindfulness and truly breathe in my surroundings more than any other place I have been. Although I believe technology has many great purposes I also think it is important to teach students how to detach themselves from their devices. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Kimmerer writes about how much there is to learn from the land as long as we, as students, are mindful and that is what I believe part of environmental education is: Learning to be mindful and how to influence our students to do the same.