ESCI 302 Meta – Reflection Script

Hello, today I am going to take you through my eco literacy journey.

Coming into this course I had a few expectations. My roommate had taken it before me and after she had completed it, I noticed she had started doing thing such as recycling more. For this reason, I expected that this class would be teach us how to save the environment. This was wrong. In reality, this course provided me with a new lens to look at the environment through and shifted my perspective of the environment completely. I now feel as though I am better prepared to teach environmental science, and for that matter, all school subjects now that I am aware of the use and benefits of inquiry pedagogies.

Looking back upon by blogs at the beginning of the class has made me realize just how far I have come in terms of ecoliteracy. These blog posts were so embedded in normative narratives and limited in perspective and this can be seen when I said things such as, “I will do things such as shop locally, reduce my use of plastic, eat mindfully, walk or bike, promote reciprocity, and many more”.  This is all I had been taught up to this point. But, I am now aware that there is so much more to the environment and that we need to take a leap as a population if we want to make a difference.

As I moved forward with the class, I now notice how much more in depth my posts got. It is clear that I was able to recognize the normative narratives that I was reproducing and could consciously correct them and try to make people more aware of the fact that they exist. This began when I was able to recognize the western worldview that had been taught to us throughout school. Up to this point, I had never considered or was taught about treaties and I recognized this in my blog post that said, “This concept of taking this “unclaimed” land and creating this fort on (which is a large part of Canadian identity) further ingrained the normative narrative of “land belonging to nobody””.  The class opened eyes to who really owns the land and that we are permanent guests, we do not own it. This idea was furthered when we did the blanket exercise because I had never been taught the other side of the story before. It was disturbing to see the effects colonization had on the indigenous communities and how the land we know today really came to be.

The embodying eco literacy project opened eyes to how big the environmental issues at hand are and made me realize, again, how we have to take a leap as a population if we want to make a difference in the environment. I was shocked and disrupted when thinking of how small the changes we make are in the grand scheme of things. Such as the fact that there is little impact of me using 1 reusable cup compared to someone ordering 1000 roll up the rim cups to win the Jeep. Also, that the products we recycle are sold and shipped over seas. It was all very frustrating to learn about.

My understanding of wilderness was disrupted by this course. In my initial blogs I expressed that I grew up seeing the wilderness as raw, natural, and unclaimed land like when I said, “There is no service on this lake and the lack of technology really allowed me to take in all the beauty that surrounded me”. This just shows that we are not taught to recognize the treaties that exist and the western world view is being reproduced through our education. This was challenged and, with the knowledge I have, I know there is so much more to “wilderness” and my past thoughts were based on a lack of knowledge of the land we inhabit.

This led me to really question my education up to this point. The inquiry pedagogy made me realise that We need to change the European ways that are so embedded in education today so that students in the future are not faced with the extreme shock that I was. It is not fair to withhold this information for the sake of not only the Indigenous peoples but also the students, knowledge is power and this knowledge will change the way we view and treat the environment. We should educate our students about the treaties that exist and disrupt the normative narratives to stand a chance at making a change. This can be done by employing the inquiry cycle to our teachings. We can guide the students, allow creativity to flow, and have them make discoveries for themselves throughout the process.  As the STF says, “The Future is in Today’s Classroom”. The change starts with us.



Creative Journal #5


In terms of homemade ceremonies, my family does not have many. I grew up in a roman catholic household so some of the “ceremonies” we performed were things such as praying before meals, going to church on Sundays, and celebrating Easter and Christmas with my extended family. This was more or less all we did in terms of ceremonies. I do not think this is wrong at all, but after visiting the RIIS and speaking about spirituality, I am able to recognize that there are other ways of knowing/other ceremonies that exist and I feel as though this allows me to better appreciate views other than my own.

My family is full of cattle ranchers and farmers and, without the land, I would not have the opportunities I have today.  My family, and in the past myself, can sometimes take the land for granted and get caught up in our profits and efficiency over anything else. We need to, somehow, give back to the land that we take so much from and overall truly appreciate it, because I now realize that we have without a doubt, failed to maintain a healthy relationship. The quote from Kimmerer’s The Offering that resonated with me was when the mother said, “Leave this place better than you found it”.  This is something my family can definitely employ. A way that this can be done is by making sure that we are not over grazing the land we have our cattle on, rotating the fields we use when harvesting, employing the most environmentally friendly practices we can, and really taking a moment out of our day to give thanks to the land.

A small thing that me and my dad do that feels to me as a type of offering or more so appreciation for the land is taking walks through our pastures. When the water is running and the sun is shining, every year, without fail, we will put on our rubber boots and walk through the land. As  stated in the Kimmerer   text, this something that I feel is “a ceremony that makes it home”. We take time from our busy days and completely soak in our surroundings. My dad has always had an appreciation for the land we use and I can see this in him when we go on these walks together. So, though he does get caught up in the western side of his job frequently, doing these small things reminds him how grateful he should be for all the land has given to us. For this reason, I think that as a family we can take more steps towards physically and mentally giving back to the land on a regular basis or maybe go on these walks more often because it really allows us to take a step back from all the numbers and increases our appreciation.

My visual seeks to represent the fact that I am nothing without the land. My body is made up the land and for this reason, I need to give back and practice offering more frequently. This representation was created at White Butte where we went on our class trip. I decided to create it here because the environment we were in was a very similar landscape to that of the land me and my dad take our walks on. The small river, the evidence of cattle, and the sun brought me back to the numerous times we gave our offerings and appreciation to the land. I really felt a connection to this area for that reason. This brought to my mind that I need to, in some way, reciprocate all that it has given to so that I do not take and take until there is nothing left. I also hope to inspire my family to practice this reciprocity as well and practice more offerings with them because this really does change a person’s perspective. I need to make sure I am doing everything I can in order to preserve, appreciate, and give back to the land through my everyday practices.

Creative Journal #4

It is now evident to me, after looking back on this course, that I am a more ecoliterate person. The moment that I have chose to focus on in terms of decolonization is one that happened to me recently. This happened when I looked back at my first blog post. Looking at this post now, I realize how limited my ecoliteracy was. It was so rooted in colonialism. The way I spoke about nature, expressing the rawness and the stereotypical fishing story was so limited compared to how I see nature now. This was shocking for me to read though because I did not realize how much my worldview and understanding had shifted in the last few months. Ho’s quote, that spoke about the “space in between embodied feeling & making sense” applies directly to how I felt looking back. I know, that in my heart, I have a much richer feeling of embodiment but I am not sure how I got to this point.

Throughout the year, I have gone through many processes of unlearning and relearning things that I thought I knew. I am aware that my past views were based largely on colonialist view points. At the time I wrote this post, if someone would have asked me what it meant to be ecoliterate, I would have listed of a number of things. People who are productive and make a change, recycle, don’t litter etc. This is such a colonial and limited perspective I can see now. This viewpoint, I believe, is a result of what I had been taught throughout school. Ho’s quote saying that, “Nature was just pages in my biology class” resonated with me. This could not be truer. Why would my view on the environment and ecoliteracy be any different than it was when all I knew of it was learned from a textbook?

If someone asked me now what it means to be ecoliterate, my reply would be very different. I now understand this to be someone who is able to connect with the environment, recognizes the lack of reciprocity, views the environment from numerous perspectives, and realizes that there is more to our earth than meets the eye. I am honestly confused talking about this change though, because I am unsure of how I got here.  As Ho mentioned, this is a result of my “cognitive & embodied experiences”, yet, I cannot pinpoint one. I was not even aware of this change until I looked back on where I began. But I do know, looking back, that the process has consisted of the unlearning, relearning, and decolonizing because of where my heart is at today. This course and the inquiry process that it employs has obviously provided me with numerous experiences that have led me to unlearn and relearn certain ideas. It did it in a way that was not explicit though because prior to looking back on my first blog, I would not have recognized this change.

My visual seeks to represent this subtle shift. I have created a type of book. The first page represents the beginning of my story. The pictures show litter, a recycling bin, and a bike rack. This is where I started in terms of ecoliteracy. If someone had asked me to picture “ecoliteracy” I would have shown them these because I believed an ecoliterate person would recycle, ride bikes instead of driving, and pick up garbage. Largely based on colonial ideals. The next page in the book represents where I am today and what I would do if someone asked me to picture “ecoliteracy”. I am in the same locations, but instead, I captured the beauty of the spaces. The places where connections were felt. The places that inspired me and gave me an appreciation for this shared land we inhabit. The final page is a picture of a flower blooming with an infinity sign where the page number would be. This represents the blooming of my ecoliteracy and the fact that it is ever growing. I can look back to the beginning, which represents my first blog post and where I began, and see that all of my embodying experiences, unlearning, and relearning had allowed me to shift my perspective and decolonize my understandings of the environment and ecoliteracy as a whole.


Creative Journal #3



Throughout my education, I have gone on many camping trips. The one that is the most memorable to me is the time my class went to Cypress Hills and Fort Walsh which is represented in my visual. This was for an outdoor ed. class. Now that I am aware of the normative narratives of wilderness that exist within Canada, I can recognize how prominent they were on this trip. For starters, the whole concept of the camping aspect is that we were going to “rough it” in the “great outdoors”. We were spending time in the natural and undisturbed environment. It is clear that the mindset held by all of us on the trip was that this camping we were doing was in the wilderness and was “untamed” and belonged to nobody. It was just there. Not once did anyone challenge this concept. Nor did anyone mention the fact that we were on treaty land that had been lived on by Indigenous peoples for so many years before our ancestors arrived. A quote that really put this all into perspective for me was one from Kimmerer that was speaking to the Mohawk River that said, “Replaced by waves of immigrants, the Mohawk people were pushed from this generous valley in upstate New York to the very margins of the country”. This quote made me realize that this land we came to was not unclaimed at all. Places like New York were not just established. There were people here and we decided that meant nothing and forced them to move. Even if we come across land that appears to be “untamed” (the normative narrative of wilderness), it does not mean that it belongs to nobody and that we can exploit it and build on it.

The second part of this trip that very much supported a normative narrative in a historical sense was our trip to Fort Walsh. While the tour guides did mention the Indigenous peoples, they did not acknowledge them being on the land first or the treaties that existed. The tour focused completely on the concept that the land was a North-West Mounted Police fort and then went into depth explaining the battle that occurred in the Cypress hills. This concept of taking this “unclaimed” land and creating this fort on (which is a large part of Canadian identity) further ingrained the normative narrative of “land belonging to nobody”. What came to mind when considering all of these normative narratives was a quote by Newbery which stated that we need to “confront the traumatic traces lingering in a nation born through colonization” which was very evident throughout this field trip. We, as environmental educators, need to make it clear that this land does not “belong to nobody” and it was not there to take over and claim when our ancestors arrived here and colonized it.

Overall these readings and critical thinking has opened my eyes to the idea that wilderness does not mean unclaimed or natural. Just because there are many trees and greenery and little industrialization in an area does not mean that it belongs to nobody. We have to recognize that our history is based largely on colonialism and then look past this and acknowledge our Indigenous history and the treaties that exist across our country.

Ecoliteracy Braid

After looking at some of my peers’ poems there were two that stood out to me. One because it is so similar to mine in meaning and one because of how different of an approach it had. The first poem I am going to weave mine with is Jade’s. In my poem I stressed the importance of giving back to the environment because we take so much from it. A section from my poem that really represents this idea is the one that says, “If we take, From our environment, And never give back, Is the relationship, Going to last?”. Jades poem had a line that said, “Give back to the world, something just as good as the world gives to us”. This line in her poem was one that I could personally connect to. I feel as though she holds the same beliefs as I do when I heard her read these words. We both recognize that we are taking and taking from the environment and not giving back to it. We both believe that we need to make a change. I wrote the words, “Unless, The knowledgeable can leap And, Repair what has been broken”. Jade’s poem said, ““So, let’s take a moment and think of what we can do to give back to the world”. It was made clear to me when comparing our poems that we have somewhat of an anthropocentric view of ecoliteracy. This is due to the fact that both of these lines in our poems are making it clear that the ecoliterate need to lead the movement to give back to the environment. It seems as though Jade and I both view the ecoliterate as the ones that have the ability and knowledge to really change the world and help save it. The humans have to “save” the environment.

The second poem that really stood out to me was Mateus’. His poem was so different than mine that it almost caught me off guard. But, after really analyzing it and considering all of it’s meanings, I realize that the differences between the two poems really compliment each other. Mateus’ poem was anything but anthropocentric. His lines focussed on the fact that we are all one and that there is a strong connection between us and nature. Some lines that really resonated with me are, “we are part of nature”, “we are part of nature and so are the Bacteria and Archaea”, and “as atoms and particles and energy and vibrations”. These lines of his poem really opened my eyes to the fact that we are so deeply connected to nature which was not really represented in my poem. But, the line in my poem that says, “Is it a relationship, If one only gives, And one only takes?” compliments Mateus’ lines. If we can realize the connection between us and the environment that Mateus’ poem speaks to then I strongly believe that we will be able to build a stronger relationship with it. If we can really feel the connection and realize we are all made up of the same things, then we will not treat nature so poorly. We will be able to improve our relationship and be able to “repair what has been broken” as my poem notes.

In addition to this weaving that I did with the poems of my classmates, I was able to make connections with the Kimmerer text we use in class. Honestly, the first connection made was not made with any specific readings within the text, but simply the sub heading on the cover. Under the title Braiding Sweetgrass, it says “Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants”. Reading this made me realize that my ecoliteracy braid is not complete. I have scientific knowledge and the teaching of plants incorporated, but I am missing Indigenous wisdom. After seeing this, it makes me want to gain a more in depth understanding of the Indigenous perspective of the environment in order to improve my braid. I feel like I have been neglected this type  of understanding for most of my life and this simple sub heading has inspired me to work towards deepening this understanding.

Ecoliteracy Poem

Fade Away

Is it a relationship,

If it is one sided?

If one only gives

And one never gives back,

Is it going to last?

One will wear out

And be forced to fade away,

Leaving the other with nothing.


What went wrong?

If we take

From our environment

And never give back,

Is the relationship,

Going to last?

One will be forced

To fade away,

Leaving the other with nothing.


What went wrong?


The knowledgeable can leap


Repair what has been broken

Starting now.


Maybe one will not,

Fade away.

CJ #2: Reciprocity with the Land

After reading In Maple Nation I really began to critically analyze how much the environment gives to me and contributes to my well being. This got me thinking about the things I do, and could be doing, in order to give back to the land. The reading made me realize just how important it is to practice reciprocity because if I am only taking from the land, and not giving back to it, then there will be an imbalance and I will no longer be able to benefit from the environment.

The reading, along with the blog prompt, led me to brainstorm ways in which I can take a “leap” and give back to the environment. I will do things such as shop locally, reduce my use of plastic, eat mindfully, walk or bike, promote reciprocity, and many more. These are just some of the steps I will take to give back and they are all extremely do able. I decided to give myself realistic goals to begin, then I will make more drastic changes. I will make reminders for myself to stick to my plans and make it as convenient as possible for myself and others to “leap” into action and really start to make a difference starting today.

This was shown in my visual representation. I used a glass bottle to represent me and my physical body. The inside of the bottle is filled with parts of the environment. This represents the fact that the land contributes so greatly to who I am today, my well being, and my overall health. Though it may not be easily seen by the human eye, there is nature within all of us and its effects are extremely beneficial to us. For example, without trees we would not have clean are to breath in. So, the inside of the bottle represents what the environment gives to me internally. The outside of the bottle is meant to be my outer self. The part that everyone can see. I surrounded this part of “my body” with numerous acts of reciprocity that I will do to give back to the environment. These are the things that I can physically do if I want to make a difference; my ecological pledges. The point of this piece is to show that even though the effects the environment has on me may not be obvious, they are still there and are a huge part of me. I wanted to show that I can use my body and the things that can be seen to reciprocate/give back to the environment as a sign of my appreciation.