A special project at CNC’s Quesnel Campus has shared knowledge and experience about key plants of importance to the region’s Indigenous communities.
Students and employees worked together in the Traditional Plant Growing Project. The project’s goals included:
- Growing from seed plants that have been used by the Indigenous peoples in the region for centuries. The plants included arnica, calendula, catnip, chamomile, echinacea, nicotiana (tobacco), and yarrow;
- Teaching others how to grow, nurture, and harvest the plants;
- Recording the process; and
- Sharing the plants with local Elders and others.
Wildcrafter Sharon Primeau offered her knowledge, skill and warmth to the initiative “It was really gratifying to share my knowledge with local students and the CNC Quesnel community. We worked together. I appreciated everyone’s questions and feedback,” Sharon said.
Connecting with the Métis roots of her family history is what inspired nursing student Olivia Therrien to generously volunteer her time for the project.
“It was a privilege to learn from Sharon about traditional plant use,” she said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to help grow these plants right on campus.”
Several CNC employees worked on the project through the year by planting, watering, weeding, and harvesting. “As a novice gardener, I enjoyed learning from Sharon. I especially appreciated her knowledge and story sharing,” said Quesnel operations manager Sonya Spiers.
CNC has shared the project results and dried tobacco with the ?Esdilagh Nation. The college has also given plants to Nazko Elementary students, local Elders, and CNC staff. Elders, students, and the visiting Outland Youth Employment Program toured the project.
CNC’s lhulh whuts`odutel`eh | Learning Together strategic plan strives to increase community engagement and partnerships. The project is an example of CNC’s work toward revitalizing Indigenous, community, and stakeholder connections.
CNC Quesnel staff plan to continue the project in 2022, working with local First Nations Communities and potentially hiring a summer student.