On the first day we were asked to define environment, but right away I knew this class was more than what meets the eye. I knew the answer was always going to make us think deeper and continue to ask why. Why do we think it’s this and not that? Why are we so easy to accept certain way of knowing but when that thought is shifted we get defensive?
This was the first creative journal I did and it not only described my environment but also could describe a “city wilderness”. Wilderness, it is commonly thought of today, variously implies a space of rejuvenation, of peace, of wild danger, of inspiration, and of adventure, this is how Newberry first describes it. I can relate to this, as my thoughts about wilderness always meant I had to go somewhere else. Away from people and where it has been “untouched”. Many times, I did this by going on trips throughout Canada, just this year I went to Banff and Kelowna. These trips are to find adventure somewhere that I cannot find at home. As I discussed in my second blog “Canoeing: Techniques or Tradition?” how I thought that at the camp I worked at, was for us to explore and was that empty space Newberry talked about. Throughout this class, this topic was the one that hit home and I think the realization about white people is that we do not see that wilderness is someone’s or something’s home, regardless if that is an animal or a plant, that is their home. We see it as empty space for ourselves to enjoy.
When I wrote my blog “Escaping the Wilderness”, I did not identify as a Treaty person or hardly touched on my eco-identity, even though this year I would consider myself more eco-literate or environmentally friendly than any other year. Did I not say I identify with those because they are new terms or is it because I don’t want to make myself seem like such a good person? Or do I think that I am still not good enough to identify with these strong terms?
In my life and the way I see wilderness and environment creates this tension between wanting to incorporate EE into the classroom and not knowing how or if it matters since wilderness can’t be in the park. But as Orr states, “overcome the idea that learning occurs exclusively in the classroom”, I used this quote in my forth blog and when I started to see a shift in my learning. Learning deeper and looking for those tensions instead of staying away from them. A lot of this has to do with talking to Collin and how he connected with us on a personal level, even though he has done this amazing thing with Take Me Outside Day. Hearing soemone’s experience but it into reality for me and showed how I can do it to. My visual for that blog was all about my learning, about jumping into the next step or just staying stuck. I didn’t want to be stuck anymore. Continuing to ask myself why can’t wilderness be in the park and how those thoughts can impact my students.
Then, we read Barret and this set me back and brought back all my fears about teaching. The fear of being a female science teacher and wanting to incorporate environmental education, although these go together well, the mindset behind them do not. These discourses clash and as I struggled in “Uncertain” do I try to fit into two opposite categories or do I just say screw it and do my own thing, a thing that even if others do not agree, it makes me proud to be me.
From this class, I am more aware of my surroundings, I am aware that I am on treaty 4 land and that wilderness is all around us everyday at any moment in time. I am aware of the assumptions around teaching and the expectations of teachers and how we do not need to fit into categories to be good at our job, maybe schools don’t need more teachers fitting into categories.
I have never been forced or pushed to look at my ways of thinking more than this class has asked me too. All this tension is hard but liberating, I feel more at ease with myself than ever before. These new thoughts bring me back to the first article we read “Braiding Sweetgrass” and the vivid images of braiding and how you need to pull tight but not too tight and weave the strands intertwining each other, eventually creating something beautiful. This is how I have thought about this class and pushing myself to feel the tensions around certain topics and eventually my mindset will be where I want it to be. This is something I am going to take with me it every class and continue to be better.