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On September 28, 2018, McKinney Elementary, with members of our community, celebrated the opening of the McKinney Park Indigenous Healing Garden. The event took place just days before Orange Shirt Day, and the school also had special events around reconciliation that day. The intention of the garden was to increase the public’s awareness of Indigenous Plants and their traditional edible uses or healing properties as used by the First People’s in our area. The students from McKinney school have been active in planting the garden and acting as caretakers of the garden. The garden has increased the public’s interaction with each other as they come to check out what is happening in the garden area and through reading about the different plants. We have had many families help with caretaking through the summer months and have had some grandparents also show interest in helping with the caretaking.
At the opening event, we had a special guest, Coast Salish Elder Roberta Price who had a special song and blessing for our garden. We were also joined by Ed Gavsie from Richmond Cares, Richmond Gives, and Eric Yung, school trustee from the Richmond School District. We had special gifts donated by West Coast Seeds that were given through special draws to students in each division. The intent was to get students and families interested in growing and caring for the Earth. The garden was funded by Richmond Cares, Richmond Gives through the Vancouver Foundation’s Neighbourhood Small Grants Program. We thank them for funding this special project.