Tend, Gather & Grow partners with EDGE Center to develop Teaching Toolkit

The Tend, Gather and Grow team

The EDGE Center is pleased to partner with Tend, Gather, and Grow, a team of 13 native and non-native educators from western Washington who are developing a teaching toolkit for children and youth about northwest plants.

Tend, Gather and Grow is project of Garden, Raised, Bounty (GRuB), a non-profit food justice organization in Olympia, WA. Tend, Gather and Grow is dedicated to educating native and non-native young people about wild edible and medicinal plants and the cultural traditions around them. Through developing a teaching toolkit about Northwest plants and providing teacher trainings, the project aims to build food security, promote health, and facilitate connection with the land. Seeing the need to revitalize cultural, nutritional and medicinal knowledge of wild edible plants has emerged as a priority for creating robust tribal food systems.

Early spring violets
The teaching toolkit is directed at young people ages 5-18. Lessons focus on common wild plants and offer supporting material about traditional land management practices, plant identification, harvest protocols, nutrition and cooking, medicine-making, and traditional technologies. Teaching videos will show youth demonstrating their plant knowledge; educator field trip guides will help teachers lead visits to camas prairies, wetlands, forests, saltwater beaches and mountain huckleberry meadows.

The EDGE Center Community Outreach and Ethics Core (COEC) is supporting the development of field trip guides and of a Cultural Ecosystems module. Cultural Ecosystems describes how over thousands of years the land has shaped the culture of Northwest Native People, and, in turn, Native People have shaped the ecologies of the land. The module emphasizes that humans are integral to, not separate from, the natural world.

The lessons will be piloted during 2017 in seven public schools in Thurston, Mason and King Counties, outdoor youth programs, and community classes with Muckleshoot, Nisqually, Squaxin Island, Chehalis and Tulalip tribes. After the pilot, the toolkit will be widely available to educators. The Tend, Gather and Grow team will offer "train the trainer" workshops throughout Washington, Oregon, Southern Alaska and British Columbia to implement the toolkit, as well as provide online access to the materials and updates.

Elise Krohn, educator, author, herbalist and native foods specialist, leads the project team. Dr. Rose James, Co-Director of the EDGE Center Community Outreach and Ethics Core (COEC) is a member of the Tend, Gather and Grow team, as are Aleta Poste, Annie BrulĂ©, Brett Ramey, Charlene Rubinstein, Charlie Sittingbull, Elizabeth Campbell, Janna Lafferty, Dr. Joyce LeCompte, Kim Gaffi, Mariana Harvey, and Tracy Rector. Project partners include the Squaxin Island, Muckleshoot, Tulalip, Suquamish, Nisqually, and Puyallup tribes, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Connecting People with Nature Program, Washington Dental Health, Hancock Forestry, Pacific Education Institute, and the UW EDGE Center.
-- Marilyn Hair 

"We cannot win this battle to save species and environments without forging an emotional bond between ourselves and nature -- for we will not fight to save what we do not love."  --Shephen J. Gould

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