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Environmental and Sustainability Education
 

White Meadowsweet

Equity & Inclusive Education Garden

This garden symbolizes the values embraced by education for equity, social justice and inclusivity.  The variety of different plants  represent the inherent diversity and difference found within the natural world, with recognition of how these differences are negotiated and respected so that each plant can flourish. The inclusion of endangered and marginalized plants symbolize those who are overlooked and silenced, recognizing the importance of hearing and honouring marginalized voices and perspectives and allowing for greater critical thought by the inclusion of dissenting voices. It is hoped that through the diversity represented in the garden viewers will see themselves reflected in the garden, symbolizing the importance of our own place in the world in order to develop a critical consciousness of our own actions to help better shape and transform the places in which we live.    

Meadowsweet


Chicory Red Dandelion (cichorium intybus)

Red dandelion is not native to Ontario but has become naturalized to the area. It lives as a wild flower on the margins, often at roadsides, and has been labelled as invasive or a weed; only recently has it been considered to be naturalized. Red dandelion represents the recognition of those new to a community (or previously marginalized) when they are welcomed and celebrated as important members of the community dynamic.

Meadowsweet (filipendula ulmaria)

Meadowsweet has lush and soft blooms that are highly fragrant; it is commonly included in gardens for the visually impaired and encourages the visitor to linger in the sensory experience. It is a shrub that can grow to about 2 metres, creating a strong yet soft and approachable presence. The shrub itself changes over the year, with its shiny green leaves changing to a rich golden-yellow in autumn.

Lavender Hyssop (agastache scrophulariifolia)

Like meadowsweet, lavender hyssop is very fragrant; all parts of the plant are highly aromatic. Because of this, and like meadowsweet, it is commonly found in gardens for the visually impaired and also attracts a range of pollinators. It is edible with a wonderful licorice taste and is often consumed in salads and steeped in teas. Medicinally, lavender hyssop has been used to open up the airways. 

Dense Blazing Star (liatris spicata)

Dense Blazing Star is a wild flower with delicate purple blooms that attract butterflies. It is on the margins; it has been listed on the COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) Candidate List and it is suspected that it is at risk of extinction or extirpation. Its inclusion in the garden highlights the need to view communities broadly and inclusively; typically we focus on animals (usually mammals) that are at risk rather than on other living things like plants.

Swamp Rose (rosa palustris)

Swamp rose is a native flowering plant with soft pink fragrant blooms. It is unique in that unlike many members of the rose family, it does not have thorns (save for a few prickles at the base of particularly vigorous shoots). It is therefore a rose that welcomes passersby to stop, look, smell, and touch.

Wood Sorrel (oxalis montana)

Like many native plants, and despite its many uses, wood sorrel has been labelled as a weed. Its leaves are edible and tasty in salads or on their own. Wood sorrel has small, delicate creamy pink blooms. Recognized as a weed, its presence is discouraged from many contexts but here, we welcome it not as a weed but rather as a valued member of the garden community.

Greenheaded Coneflower (rudbeckia Iacinitia)

Greenheaded coneflowers are not a member of the Echinacea family as might be expected (like the Purple Coneflower), but come from the daisy/sunflower family (Asteraceae). They attract pollinators including bees, birds, and butterflies, and their blooms are long lasting with their seedheads providing food for birds well after the flowers have gone. Valued by humans for their youing leaves in spring, they are often eaten cooked.

Beets (beta vulgaris)

Beets have visually appealing red stems and bright green leaves and below the surface, is the rich red root. Beets provide a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Its inclusion in the garden provides a metaphor for environmental and sustainability education as it aims to be the foundation, resting just below the surface, of OISE’s research, teaching, and learning.   

Equity and Inclusive 1

Equity and Inclusive 2

Resources on Equity and Inclusive Education

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