Niagara College to celebrate Indigenous Garden opening at Welland Campus

The Niagara College community and the public are welcome to attend the grand opening of the College’s new Indigenous Garden at the Welland Campus. 

Presented by NC Indigenous Education, the event will be held on Wednesday, June 13 at the rear entrance of the Applied Health Institute (near Parking Lot G).

The event is scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m. with an opening song and greetings by elder Elaine Berwald followed by a welcome message from College president Dan Patterson. Guests will hear about plant teachings (1:20 p.m.) and plant medicines (1:30 p.m.), as well as acknowledgements from NC Indigenous Education staff prior to the closing by elder Berwald (1:50 p.m.). The opening ceremony is expected to end at 2 p.m., followed by informal garden tours.

The garden is a dedicated outdoor space intended to help Indigenous students feel connected to their home and the earth. It includes plants indigenous to Ontario, including the ‘three sisters’ vegetables of corn, beans and squash; as well as plants used for their medicinal properties such as cedar, white sage, sweet grass and tobacco.

In consultation with NC’s Indigenous Education Management Circle, the garden was designed by Teri Sherwood, horticulture technician at the College, who also teaches a general elective Indigenous Knowledge class. Sherwood designed the Indigenous Garden at the College’s Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus while she was still a NC student.  A cedar bench was donated to the garden by the Niagara College Retirees Association, and the garden also features a canoe. Seeds were planted in the NC Greenhouse by Indigenous students from the School College Work Initiative (dual credit program) Traditional Indigenous Knowledge class, while horticulture students from the College helped to plant the seedlings in the garden.

Niagara College offers more than 130 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit niagaracollege.ca.