Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

News stories from the Renfrew-Collingwood community in East Vancouver


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Still Moon Arts takes youth on a caravan along the Fraser

Carmen_team_Mount_Robson

The Still Moon Arts team started off at Mount Robson, the headwaters of the Fraser River. Photo courtesy of Still Moon Arts

 

BY LUCAS CHAN

Youth from the Still Moon Arts Society spent a week in June travelling along the Fraser River watershed in the 2nd annual Wild Salmon Caravan!

The Wild Salmon Caravan, taking place from June 6 to 11, was a journey from Mount Robson to Vancouver celebrating the spirit of the wild salmon through indigenous communities in Chase, Adams Lake, Kamloops, Lillooet, Lytton, Chilliwack and Abbotsford.

“The journey was really about celebrating, recognizing and honouring the spirit of the wild salmon, and how it is interconnected with First Nations culture as well as the rest of the environment,” said Henry Lau, one of the youth from the Still Moon Arts Youth Team.

The spirit of the salmon is something that influences across cultures and communities, representing more than just the ecological health of the land or water but also the relationships communities have with nature and each other.

Chitha_Lytton_Ceremony

It was an honour to take part in the Lytton ceremony. Photo by Chitha Manoranjan

Groups from across British Columbia joined the Wild Salmon Caravan in this travelling collective of culture, art, drumming, music and storytelling. It sought to connect with people and express the significance of salmon to the well-being of our cultures, communities, food systems and nature from an indigenous perspective.

“What I witnessed reminds me about how food is important to me in my neighborhood of Renfrew-Collingwood and how that is connected to the ways that First Nations groups access culturally relevant food in their own indigenous landscape,” said Crecien Bencio, who also participated in the journey.

The Wild Salmon Caravan also stressed the importance of building strong relationships with indigenous communities and conducting meaningful reconciliation processes. Threats of development and climate change endanger the well-being of the wild salmon that are so intricately linked with the land and its people. The Wild Salmon Caravan carried the wishes and hopes for what relationships with wild salmon was in the past, what it is in the present, and what will be in the future.

Still Moon’s previous youth engagement coordinator Chitha Manoranjan expressed, “I’m proud that we were able to take a small team of youth from this community up on this journey to share stories of our community’s successful efforts at bringing chum salmon back to Still Creek and bring some of Still Moon Arts’ creative energy. More importantly, it was an honour to be so warmly welcomed to different indigenous communities and be witness to the rich cultures and experiences that these communities have.“

The journey was part of Still Moon Arts’ Youth Engagement Project funded by the BC Arts Council. The youth team was made up of two Grade 9 students from the Leadership 9 Ecology class who have been working in the Renfrew Ravine this past year, and two long-time youth volunteers (and dedicated board members).

The team returns to the community with deeper knowledge, experiences and stories that are necessary to continue to act as stewards of the salmon and inspire the community to create their own intercultural experiences around food.

To find out more about Still Moon Arts Society’s journey on the Wild Salmon Caravan, visit www.stillmoon.org or find out more about the Wild Salmon Caravan at www.wildsalmoncaravan.wordpress.com.

Lucas Chan is a summer student with Still Moon Arts Society.

Copyright (c) 2016 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News

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Buzzing into action: Youth invite bees to pollinate the ravine

BY CHITHA MANORANJAN

April 2016, Windermere youth will join beekeeper Brian Campbell to plant their precious seedlings in the Renfrew Ravine. Photo by Daisy Martin-Moore

April 2016, Windermere youth will join beekeeper Brian Campbell to plant their precious seedlings in the Renfrew Ravine. Photo by Daisy Martin-Moore

It takes just a short stroll along the trails of the Renfrew Ravine to realize that spring is here! Fresh leaves are unfurling like tiny flags hanging on once-bare branches and colourful blossoms burst into life celebrating the spring air. Now is the perfect time to dust off those gardening gloves and dig out your tools from the shed—the youth in Renfrew-Collingwood sure are!

The Grade 9 Leadership students at Windermere high school spent the last two months carefully tending to tiny little wildflower seedlings that will soon make the Renfrew Ravine their home. Still Moon Arts has been working with the class on stewardship and arts initiatives this year with their expanding Youth Engagement Project. Now, with the support of master beekeeper Brian Campbell, Still Moon Arts and the students are making the Pollinator Project their next big thing!

The keen teenagers spent a session with Campbell learning all about native bees and their importance to our ecosystem. The class got to look up close at old bee houses as they talked about suitable habitats for bees and got to look even closer at deceased bees as they continued finding out about the different types that exist in the Lower Mainland.

Bees are important for human survival and wildflower and pollinator gardens are spaces for them to thrive. Photo by Carmen Rosen

Bees are important for human survival and wildflower and pollinator gardens are spaces for them to thrive. Photo by Carmen Rosen

There’s a lot of buzz about pollinator gardens and bees—all with good reason. These creatures are intricately woven into the fabric of our survival but have seen an alarming decline in their population worldwide. Habitat loss and pesticide use are among the leading causes of their loss. But wildflower and pollinator gardens are spaces for bees to thrive. By creating more of these spaces, the positive impacts of a healthy bee population is transferred across the surrounding ecological system.

Come April, the youth will once again join Brian Campbell with their precious seedlings and plant them in the ravine. This is being done with the hopes of building a larger network of pollinator havens that will work alongside other stewardship initiatives to contribute to a healthier ravine ecosystem.

If you’re stinging with curiosity and want to find out more about pollinator gardens and bees, Brian Campbell will be speaking at the Still Moon Arts Society’s annual general meeting on Thursday, May 5, 2016. More information is available at stillmoon.org

Chitha Manoranjan is a resident of Renfrew-Collingwood and is the youth engagement coordinator at Still Moon Arts Society.

Copyright (c) 2016 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News