Classroom sit within a forested trail to learn about Indigenous Plants and Animals in the area

Blue Jay Students Blossom with Indigenous Plant Knowledge

May 28, 2024

As part of the district’s unwavering commitment to Indigenous Education, Blue Jay is dedicated to expanding our understanding of Indigenous ways of learning. The last part of May and the beginning of June, known as tem’elile or Salmonberry Time according to the Stó:lō Seasons of the Moon calendar found on the Indigenous Education website, marks the start of the berry season and the return of the Salmon to their home. This season of growth, much like the salmonberry season, continues to flourish at our school, even as we approach the end of the school year.   

Over the last couple of months, our grade 3 students in Ms. Leskiw’s class have been actively involved in taking their learning outside to an outdoor trail within our school grounds. As Ms. Leskiw walked the trail, she realized what a great learning opportunity this would be for her students and the rest of the school to learn about plants and trees that were important to Indigenous people and native to the land.  She began to study the plants in the area and wanted to provide information for students to learn about these plants. She took the initiative to make signs out of cedar with information about the Indigenous plants, the Halq'eméylem pronunciation of each plant name using a QR code and how Indigenous people use these plants for food, medicinal purposes, or daily supplies. With her students, she placed these signs around the trail so our Blue Jay students could learn about these plants and trees and their Indigenous roots. In addition, she is hoping to change these signs each month to continue helping students grow in their learning about Indigenous plants and trees.   

We often hear that taking the initiative to incorporate Indigenous ways of learning begins with an open heart. At Blue Jay, one teacher’s willingness to have an open heart and to take action for our school community has enabled an incredible learning opportunity for our students to flourish and bloom like the first berries during Salmonberry Time. We are hopeful that this initial step will bring about many more opportunities to deepen our understanding and broaden our knowledge of Indigenous ways of life.  


Blue Jay Elementary