Fraser Lake is now home to one of 150 new celebration gardens across the country for Canada’s upcoming 150th birthday.
On Oct. 4, school district leadership and community representation put their weight on spades in unison to ceremoniously break the ground for Mouse Mountain Elementary’s 150th Celebration Garden.
As a symbol of friendship and spring, one thousand tulip bulbs — 500 red and 500 white — will be planted in the shape of the Canadian flag by elementary school students and other community members in front of the school, explained Jennifer Schroeder, a teacher of Mouse Mountain.
Schroeder, along with fellow teacher Betty Peters, stumbled across the country-wide application call during their gardening pursuits online earlier this year.
The ceremony opened with a welcome by Stellat’en First Nation Chief Archie Patrick, who gave his blessing in the Carrier language.
“It gives me a great honour to welcome all of you to this part of the world, where my people have lived under this mountain for thousands of years,” Patrick said. “We’re going to remember this as long as flowers bloomed in the spring.”
Indigenous plants with traditional uses will also be added to the community garden next spring, as local aboriginal elders are invited to teach students about indigenous plants and their traditional uses.
“The new B.C. school curriculum puts an increased focus on including more aboriginal content,” Schroeder stated. “[Elders can bring] in a particular local plant that is used in their culture such as a soapberry bush, teach about its value and uses, and then do a hands-on activity like making soapberry ice cream.”
Charlene Seguin, superintendent of School District No. 91 attended the ceremony with assistant superintendent, Eugene Marks.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for the community to gather and celebrate Canada’s birthday, as well as for the future, involving elders and the entire community,” Seguin said.
Also representing the area’s residents are Cst. Steve MacLean of Fraser Lake RCMP, School District No. 91’s superintendent Charlene Seguin and assistant superintendent Eugene Marks, Mouse Mountain principal Lauretta Hunter, Fraser Lake Elementary-Secondary principal Brian Cross, Monique Roy and Lynn Wiggins of the senior community, Skylar Rodrigues and Lara Hartman from FLESS Leadership, Kindergartener Cody McMaster, Grade 1 student Levi Cockerill, Grade 2 student, Lydia Thompson, Grade 3 student Lucien Peters, and the grades 4/5 classes of Ms. Matthews and Miss Moon in FLESS.
All materials and work such as soil, excavation, and lumber framing will be donated by local businesses, and the community will be invited to a tulip blooming ceremony next spring.