The Indigenous Plant Garden is a living classroom that has been used continuously each semester for a variety of activities by Camosun students and instructors.

A living classroom

There are opportunities for classes in all disciplines to use the gardens as a tool for learning/living lab projects. Options for experiential, interdisciplinary student learning and participation include learning about Native plant garden propagation and maintenance, researching traditional plant uses, and discussions about community health and access to traditional foods. Other opportunities are highlighted below.

As an aid to experiential learning, identification tags (created by Nicole Kilburn and Anthropology classes) in the garden will identify the plants in Lkwungen, English, and Latin languages, and will provide a brief description of traditional Salish uses and a link to our webpage which offers more information on the traditional uses of the plants (food, medicine, technology).

If you are interested in using the Indigenous Plant Garden in your class, reviewing your program, or thinking of developing a new course or module to incorporate aspects of intercultural, indigenous, and/or sustainability learning please contact:

Programs that use the garden include Indigenous StudiesIndigenous Family SupportNursingCommunity, Family & Child StudiesMental Health & AddictionsAnthropologyBiology; and Environmental Technology.

Teaching opportunities in the Indigenous Plant Garden

School of Access

Employment Training and Prep, E.A.R.T.H. Gardening Environmental Approaches for a Resourceful, Thoughtful Humanity

School of Arts & Science

  • Anthropology
    • Indigenous cultural significance and use of native plants
  • Biology
    • Botany
    • Study of native flora
    • Native plant propagation
  • Chemistry
    • Chemistry of soils
  • English
    • Write and publish a collection of garden stories and poems
    • Brainstorm adjectives that relate to plants in the garden
  • Environmental Technology
    • Participating/leading workshops/garden tours
    • Sustainability Projects
    • Environmental Horticulture
      • Soil testing, composting, organic gardening, culturing and disseminating biological control agents, plant propagation, greenhouse maintenance and landscaping with native and xerophytic species
    • Environmental microbiology
  • Geography
    • Human geography: place-making activities, the social and cultural significance of native plants
    • Physical geography: Vancouver Island geomorphology, flora, fauna, soil composition, etc.
  • Geoscience
    • Geology and soil science
      • Geology of BC and Vancouver Island
  • History
    • Indigenous history and culture
  • Math
    • Growth rate of plants
  • Philosophy
    • Ethics: Animals to Ecosystems
  • Social Science
    • Service learning opportunity
  • Visual Arts
    • Photography
    • Painting/drawing en plein air

Camosun International

An opportunity for Camosun International to invite cultures from around the world to learn about Lkwungen and W’SANEC traditional knowledge and connect with Elders, knowledge keepers, IECC staff, and Indigenous learners. This partnership offers an invitation to other cultures to share in an exchange of their home’s traditional knowledge of the use of plants for food, medicine and celebration. It is Interculturalization in action.

Projects with international students could include:

  • Participating/leading workshops/garden tours
  • ELS students could develop a script or brochure to introduce visitors to the Indigenous plant garden
  • Compare and contrast native plants from various regions

Centre for Indigenous Education and Community Connections

  • Indigenous Studies
  • Indigenous Family Support
  • Indigenous Literature
  • Horticulture
    • Maintenance and care of native plant garden
  • Digital Media
    • Learning lab component, getting students to photograph garden for website
  • Medicinal/technological and food uses of traditional plants

School of Health and Human Services

  • Nursing
    • Learning about the medicinal use of traditional plants
    • Community health and connection to land and food systems
    • A space to talk and learn about Indigenous health issues
  • Community, Family and Child Studies
    • Learning about the medicinal use of traditional plants
    • Community health and connection to land & food systems
    • A space to talk and learn about Indigenous health issues
    • Service learning activities; maintenance, invasive plant removal
  • Community Mental Health
    • Counselling technique called Morita therapy in the garden
  • Early Learning and Care
    • Nature based learning approaches

Related Living Lab Projects

  • Geographical Information Systems or Environmental Technology students to make an interactive map of the garden
    • Plot all plants have information (name, uses, etc.) for each one
    • Plot all gardens on Camosun campus
  • Place-making initiative or project (ex. Geography, Environmental Technology, Anthropology, Indigenous Education) mapping out the gardens and connecting personal stories to different plants or areas of the garden
A field of wild camas flowers

Get Involved

You can help Camosun become more sustainable. There are lots of ways to participate, both on campus and off.