Aki Kinomaagewinan: Engaging Educators and Youth in Indigenous Land-Based Learning through Natural Curiosity

August 4th & 5th, 2022

This summer, Natural Curiosity (NC) excited to launch our in-person professional learning on the land, Aki Kinomaagewinan: Engaging Educators and Youth in Indigenous Land-Based Learning through Natural Curiosity, in partnership with ENAGB. This program is for educators who wish to deepen their own inquiry into the ecology of Natural Curiosity – growing a learning environment where educators and students experience themselves in relationship with the Land and each other in community. This fully outdoors offering will take place at the Humber River teaching lodge with a group of Indigenous youth from ENAGB. Together, our intergenerational learning community will engage in land-based learning around our plant and animal relations, Anishinaabe knowledge of/with the land, principles of reciprocity, nestled within the Natural Curiosity framework for inquiry-based, environmental education.

A child's hands are cupped together holding some dirt and a green seedling with four sprouting leaves. In the foreground, the ground can be seen. In the background, there is green forestry and the child who is wearing a dark green shirt.
The symbol for the experiential learning branch of Natural Curiosity. There is a greenish-yellow circle. At the centre of the circle, there is a black outline of a circle. Inside the black outline of a circle, there are two yellow half-circles with a red and a purple wavy line between the two yellow half-circles. Around the black outline of a circle, there is the black silhouette of a root stretching downwards and the black silhouette of a seedling stretching upwards.

The 2-day learning will take place on Awnjiktigaan (Eglinton Flats), a historically and culturally significant stretch of land along the Gabekanaang-ziibi (Humber River), Toronto. Over the past 3 years, a new teaching lodge has been raised on the land by youth, Elders, and women leaders, with support from community partners. Program activities will be conducted respectfully inside and around the teaching lodge, following physical distancing protocols.

Facilitators

A photograph of Joe Pitawanakwat. Joe is wearing a black beanie, rectangular glasses, and a pink shirt. Joe is looking to the side and smiling, mouth open wide. In the background, there is a thick tree canopy.

Joe Pitawanakwat, Founder of Creators Garden and Indigenous Plant Medicine Educator

A photograph of Haley Higdon. Haley is wearing a red shirt and a gray shawl. Haley has brown hair that stretches down below her shoulders. Haley is wearing a bronze broach around her neck. Haley is looking directly at us and smiling.

Haley Higdon, Program Director (MA, OCT) for Natural Curiosity

A photograph of Doug Anderson. Doug is wearing a red, blue, and white striped button up with a yellow long-sleeved shirt underneath and black pants. Doug is crouched over in a planting bed and reaching towards us with his hand. There is soil on his hand as if Doug has been digging in the garden. Behind Doug, there is a turquoise bike and a red brick wall with a window.

Doug Anderson, Author of the Indigenous Lens on Natural Curiosity, 2nd Edition

A photograph of Junaid Khan. Junaid is wearing a black beanie, a blue spring jacket, and black gloves. Junaid is carrying a camera with a wide lens and has a camera bag slung over their shoulder. Junaid is squinting into the distance. There is a field with long grasses behind Junaid.

Junaid Khan, Research Ecologist and Pollinator Stewardship Coordinator 

Cost

Pricing - $300

Natural Curiosity is a 100% donor-funded program – the cost of our summer program funds workshop planning, our lead facilitator, pre and post conversations regarding the workshops, administrative time, and resource-sharing tool. Participating educators will receive one free copy of Natural Curiosity 2nd Edition: The Importance of Indigenous Perspectives in Childrens’ Environmental Inquiry and a certificate of completion from Natural Curiosity and ENAGB.

Subsidy 

There are 10 subsidies of 50% registration fee available for this event. We kindly ask that only educators who self-identify as Black, Indigenous, and Peoples of Colour, and require financial assistance to go forward with this limited option.

Schedule

Over the course of two days, educators will explore the four-branch framework of environmental inquiry, and dive into ethical relationships with local Indigenous peoples and knowledge, in ways that reciprocate with N’iikiniganaa (all our relations) including covenants with the land. Strategies to overcome barriers towards implementation of these important ideas and experiences will be discussed in an open and collegial environment where educators may process their thinking, ask questions and share stories. For more information, check out the program overview here.

Day 1 August 4th (Thursday) is a full-day session which will take place between 9:00 AM to 15:00 PM EDT, and Day 2 August 5th (Friday) is a half-day session between 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM EDT.

Day 1
Thursday, August 4th, 2022
9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
Opening & Introductions
Convening around the fire with a Fire Keeper
Sharing introductions in a circle
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Conversation with Doug Anderson & Joseph Pitawanakwat 
"What does it mean to come to the fire?": learning about the cultural and historical significance of the Humber and revitalization of covenants with the land and Anishinaabe knowledge
Making new friends: introducing the plant and animal relations along the Humber as co-teacher
11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Indigenous Food Workshop
12:30 PM - 13:30 PM
Educator-focused workshop facilitated by Doug Anderson and Haley Higdon
Focus: Learning from the heart and from the land; connecting to the natural world through an inquiry approach 
Exploring the four branches of Natural Curiosity and the related Indigenous perspectives
13:30 PM - 14:30 PM
Group learning facilitated by Joe Pitawanakwat 
Connecting to anishinaabemowin and the knowledge of the land 
Getting to know native plant seedlings and their ecological and cultural significance 
Learning from plants and the land as co-teacher
14:30 PM - 15:00 PM
Closing 
Sharing our reflections and questions in small groups
Take home reflection
Day 2
Friday, August 5th, 2022
9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
Pollinator workshop facilitated by Junaid Khan
Planting native species around teaching lodge
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Educator-focused workshop facilitated by Doug Anderson and Haley Higdon
Focus: Using the Indigenous lens to introduce Indigenous stories/science/history
Addressing barriers to getting outside
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Putting it into Action & Closing
Take a seedling back to your home & community 
Stay connected to the land
12:00 PM - 14:00 PM
Optional (lunch not included): Working on the Land
Applying our learning in reciprocity

Have any questions?

If you wish to chat with a member of the Natural Curiosity team to further discuss program details, please do not hesitate to contact Rosa, our Program Manager at rosa.na@utoronto.ca.

ENAGB logo. On the left, there is a Medicine Wheel. Around the Medicine Wheel, there are stick figures with heads coloured in to correspond to the colour of the quadrant of the Medicine Wheel they are standing on top of. In the middle, ENAGB is written in black. On the right, Eshkiniigjik Naandwechigegamig Aabiish Gaa Binjibaaying is written in gray.
Natural Curiosity logo featuring a turtle with a tree growing upwards from its shell.

With the support of

TD Friends of the Environment Foundation Logo. On the left, there is a green square. Inside the green square, TD is written in white letters. In the middle, there is a green line. On the right, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation is written in dark green letters.