Significant and complex projects are now identified as the best method for students to take in information, remember it and experience learning (Klein, 1988.). This mirrors student experience outside the classroom, where boundaries between subjects become enmeshed as they problem-solve real-life situations.
A major goal of the Dawson ecological Peace Garden is to develop and guide environmental programs that meet curriculum objectives in many disciplines. In this way, student learning is immediately meaningful and they develop a sense of identity with the college community, as their work will be an integral part of the project’s overall success.
This holistic and interdisciplinary approach will be documented and reinvested in future years. Participants will be empowered through action projects, particularly students, to become involved in working towards a sustainable future.
Programs & teachers will be asked to tap into the rich body of knowledge within our staff and student body to create authentic learning situations and practical assignments that benefit the creation of the ecological Peace Garden and bring immediate meaning to course content.
These are just some examples of possible student collaboration:
- Students the Civil Engineering Technology program at Dawson can test soil and survey the area in collaboration with WAA Inc., landscape architects
- Students in the Community Recreation & Leadership Training program will coordinate events, including community planting days, Dawson family days, outings, Dawson neighbour orientation, as well as create educational material as part of their program design and leadership courses
- Discussions with the Physical Education Department may well lead to the site being used for wellness and stress management courses
- Students in the Applied Arts programs can prepare artwork and design products to promote Peace Garden ideals and create an educational guide to accompany the Garden design
- The Biology department can integrate student research assignments with Peace Garden project needs to create a bank of information
- The Social Science program can use the Peace Garden in its analysis of peace education
- The proposed School of the Environment can use the Garden as an educational environmental lab
- The student-led Green Earth Club can work hand-in-hand with the Sustainable Dawson team to organize community events that build awareness
Some 1,000-2,000 student and teacher hours can be coordinated per year of this project, making it a truly unique educational experience. The student/teacher initiatives would complement the work of professionals during the pre-construction phase, during construction, and post-garden maintenance.