Volunteers Help Complete the Medicine Wheel Garden
Students, staff, faculty and family joined botany expert Paul O’Hara, Saturday, 16th of September to complete the planting of our new Indigenous pollinator Medicine Wheel Garden.
It was one of the first volunteer events of the school year and a perfect Saturday morning for planting.
With staff alongside the student volunteers a total of around 20 dedicated planters showed great enthusiasm, ready to help complete the garden, learn new things, meet new people and share in some good laughs with other Sheridan members. All the things we wish for in our volunteer experience.
The volunteers along with two experienced Oakville Green educators were split into pairs. Before we got started our botany expert Paul, gave a quick planting tutorial for the group and helped describe what was going into the garden and why it was significant to the local area.
The garden was designed and planted for many positive reasons. The Medicine Wheel Garden symbolizes the First Nations’ traditional teachings. We hope the garden will be used to promote biodiversity and health and wellness. It will also provide the Sheridan community a beautiful green space for learning and relaxation at the Trafalgar campus.
“Being out here and learning about the details of the Medicine Wheel was great. I liked learning about the colour quadrants, how they represent the seasons, four directions of the earth and balance with nature,” said Mission Zero student volunteer, Kimberly Nguyen.
We hope that this planting event will help the volunteers from the community foster a sense of stewardship towards the garden and our environment.
The design of the garden is very specific to First Nations traditions. They were ritualistically constructed by the Native tribes, such as: the Mississaugas of the new Credit, The Iroquois and the Ojibwa, in North America.
With that history in mind, the Office for Sustainability has been partnering with The Centre for Indigenous Learning and Support in the garden design and volunteer recruitment process.
“I was very impressed with the garden, I could see that there were plants that are traditionally used in certain medicines and that sweetgrass and sage were all present. I hope that when the plants take root and grow the garden can become a peaceful area for people to relax,” student volunteer Jacob Henry said.
About 90-95 percent of the plants are native to Southern Ontario, according to Paul.
“I hope that people will feel some sort of energy, a good energy in this garden to kind of take them away from their studies,” said Paul, local botany expert of Blue Oak native landscapes.
“I know that students are having a tough time these days. There’s an anxiety epidemic out there and I hope that the garden will give them some respite or solace and take them away from the stresses of life, don’t take things too seriously, just have fun,” O’Hara continued.
And we share the sentiment. We are thankful to all the volunteers who came out and contributed to something that will provide so much in return.
Our efforts don’t stop here though, we need more volunteer support to maintain this beautiful garden. If you are interested in helping out, please email us at MissionZero@Sheridancollege.ca
The official opening of the garden will take place at the College’s 50th anniversary. On October 2. Hope you can join us for the celebrations!