Peter Moore, March 2018
Young children got their hands dirty and planted some bulbs and seeds of culturally important species recently at the Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde (CTGR) Youth Education Building.
Stacy and Peter Moore from the Institute of Applied Ecology teamed up with Jeremy Ojua of the Tribe’s Natural Resources Department to provide plant propagation workshops for students ranging from preschool to fifth grade.
The classes are part of Phase II of the Plants for People project, which aims to engage the tribal community in the restoration of culturally important plants at tribal areas and other restoration sites in the Willamette Valley. This was a perfect fit for the tribal education program which aims to provide cultural enrichment for members of the CTGR.
A small tribal nursery was established at Grand Ronde during Phase I of the project, and Jeremy brought bulbs of great camas (Camassia leichtlinii), harvest brodiaea (Brodiaea coronaria) and narrowleaf onion (Allium amplectens) from the nursery’s raised beds for the kids to plant. There were also seeds of showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosum) and common madia (or tarweed, Madia elegans) and cuttings of Pacific ninebark (Physocarpus capitatus) and redosier dogwood (Cornus sericea sericea).
The children learned about some of the traditional uses of the plants, such as food, medicine and tools, and even toothbrushes, in the case of dogwood sticks. They also heard about how important milkweed is for Monarch butterflies.
Some of the children had previously followed the progress of the camas being grown at the tribal nursery (see https://appliedeco.org/tribal-nursery-raises-plants-and-awareness/), and one of the parents, Logan Kneeland, had helped plant camas and yampah at Herbert Farm (see https://appliedeco.org/plants-for-people-bringing-traditional-ecological-knowledge-to-restoration/ ). Logan was particularly happy to see his son Logan Jnr. and daughter Ava now learning how to grow camas.
Some quotes for the day from the kids: “Is this enough dirt?” “I really want to plant the onion!” “I’m going to become a really good gardener!”
It was great to see the kids enjoying planting and learning about these culturally important species. To cap the classes off they got to take their plants home, with instructions to water them and transplant them once they get bigger.
The classes were a great success and enjoyed by all.
Many thanks for the support of CTGR’s Natural Resources and Education Departments and funding from Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board.