Posted on December 18, 2020
On December 3, children from the Grade 1and 2 class at Winchester School had a special celebration for what to the uninitiated would seem to be just a ragged old Cedar tree. The celebration was planned a few weeks in advance so the children would have time to make decorations.
With help from their teacher they glued slices of wood together to make snow men, there are cranberries strung with red ribbon and made pine cone elves. And they made ornaments with bird seed and suet for the birds
Micah, from Green Thumbs Growing Kids made organic cedar tea sweetened with maple syrup and dropped a thermos of the warm sweet tea at the school so they could taste cedar tea before decorating the tree.
Micah visited with them via the wonders of technology and during the visit he explained why the Indigenous people refer to Cedar Trees as the “Tree of Life”. Trees use Carbon dioxide and give back oxygen for our survival but beside that their “leaves” contain Vitamins C and D. In harsh winters indigenous peoples gave early settlers who were struggling to survive in harsh winters, Cedar tea to drink to prevent deficiency diseases like scurvy. Bows and branches could be used to build shelters and insulate the ground from the cold. And the sap was used as an adhesive. So, Cedar trees were a source of protection and saved lives.
And he gave to them the Anishinaabe name of their tree… Giizhikaatig.
Micah suggested the children give thanks to the tree for the life it gives before decorating it. One boy asked how he should do that. “Stand in a circle around the tree and thank the tree for the life it gives”.
From a distance I watched as this group of earnest Grade 1 children made a circle around the tree and gave it their thanks before the decorating bedlam began.
The Winchester Garden’s ragged old Cedar tree was transformed. It became a Solstice tree.
Green Thumbs Growing Kids (GTGK) is a local charity actively creating and managing school gardens in order to connect children to food and their environment. Gardens at Sprucecourt Jr. PS, Winchester Jr. & Sr. PS and Rose Avenue PS are managed by Green Thumbs and we support gardening projects at Nelson Mandela Park PS. No funding is received from the Toronto District School Board so GTGK depends on funding from members of the community and friends of the gardens. Look us up and learn more about what we do. Please support our work by donating atwww.greenthumbsto.organd check us out on social media.
(Article supplied by GTGK)