Marie's Garden: Designing and Implementing a Native Plant Space for Summerland Secondary's Biology 11 Class of 2017

  • Tanya Brouwers University of Victoria


Nature deficit has been identified as a growing problem among our youth of whom many are more attracted to hand-held devices and screens than they are to the nature that surrounds them. Fortunately, there is a growing movement to get kids outside. Outdoor classrooms, in particular, are gaining in popularity as they successfully meld education and the concept of 'place' so that 'place' is valued.

In order to address nature-deficit in the youth of Summerland BC, I worked with Shona Becker, a Summerland Secondary Biology teacher and her class of students to create a native plant outdoor learning space in a school-owned, unused garden bed that lined Summerland's main street. It was necessary that the design and implementation of the space fulfill the BC Ministry of Education Biology 11 curriculum requirements, Ministry core curriculum requirements of social responsibility, and be student led. With that in mind, I designed a four-themed native plant garden: Xeriscape, Native Pollinator, Okanagan Nation/Syilx, and Edible. The students were involved in every step of the way from choosing plants, preparing the beds, irrigation, educational sign design and garden art creation.

Technical Papers