Chilliwack students learn healing powers of plants

Chilliwack Landing Preschool and Kindergarten class winners in forest education poster contest

A group of young local students have learned about the healing powers of plants, and about the joys of winning a province-wide contest.

Chilliwack Landing Preschool and Kindergarten decided to enter a poster contest, held by FORED BC. The annual contest celebrates the rich cultural and heritage traditions of B.C.’s aboriginal people, and this year’s was traditional knowledge and medicine

They turned to Halq’emeylem language teacher Eunice Ned, whose Halq’emeylem name is Howlaxiye, for guidance.

The children were taken out by Howlaxiye and taught about healing powers of indigenous plants. She showed them plaintain (slhawels te pipeho:m) and stinging nettle (th’exth’ex), says the school’s kindergarten teacher Caroline Humchitt.

The lesson was as intriguing for the teachers as it was for the students, Humchitt adds.

“It was really interesting,” she says. “We suggested she come and teach us at a professional day so we can carry on the knowledge.”

They took photos and compiled all the info onto a poster board, and submitted it to FORED. They learned this week that they took first place for primary.

“We all yahooed and cheered,” Humchitt says. The class won a cash prize of $50, which will be spent on a small class party. Of course, Howlaxiye will be receiving an invite.

Their poster was among hundreds of entries. Other winners in the contest were students from Penticton and Halfmoon Bay. One of the judges noted that the Chilliwack Landing poster taught him something useful.

“Who would have thought stinging nettles could be a vitamin-rich source of food and a useful treatment for sore muscles and joints? I learn something new every year through this truly educational contest,” says Victor Godin, FORED’s educational director.

jpeters@theprogress.com