Walking Softly in the Bush: Apprenticing to the Earth in an Ecological Curriculum
Keywords:ecological curriculum, life writing, literary métissage
AbstractIn this piece, we conceptualize walking in the bush as an act of ecological apprenticing. Even after many years of learning/teaching, we also attune to the limits of our knowledge, seeing ourselves as continually evolving in our practice of nurturing more ethical and responsible apprenticeship relations, both out in the bush and in the classroom. Together, we write about places in the bush that are sacred to us, places around the Nicola Valley and the Nehalliston in the interior of British Columbia. We undertake a holistic and relational dialogue, grounded in life writing and literary métissage (Erika Hasebe-Ludt, Cynthia Chambers & Carl Leggo, 2009). We interpret the work of an ecological curriculum through four interrelated concepts of apprenticing: 1) as a sustained and lifelong, imperfect and unfinished practice; 2) as learning/teaching through sensory heartful attunement; 3) as teaching/learning through wonder; and 4) as a gift which creates relationships and obligations (“bound by legal agreement”). Drawing on Vern’s lifelong pedagogical work of “walking in the bush” and Jodi’s poem entitled “Huckleberry Prayer,” we undertake an intergenerational dialogue around an ecological curriculum as an act of apprenticing to the Earth.
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