Khowhemun Elementary is the recipient of a Roots & Shoots 30th Anniversary global award from the Jane Goodall Institute.

Khowhemun Elementary is the recipient of a Roots & Shoots 30th Anniversary global award from the Jane Goodall Institute.

Duncan’s Khowhemun Elementary honoured by Jane Goodall Institute

School recently awarded a Roots Shoots global award

Students and staff at Khowhemun Elementary have been recognized with a prestigious award for their Indigenous garden project.

The group is the recipient of the Roots & Shoots 30th Anniversary global Growing Together award from the Jane Goodall Institute.

“We are tremendously proud of the staff and students at Khowhemun Elementary,” said Candace Spilsbury, chair of the board of education for the Cowichan Valley School District. “This beautiful project started with our dedicated educators who continue to think of meaningful projects while intertwining them with our continued path on our reconciliation journey.”

It was that thoughtfulness in connecting students so closely with nature and with the history of the land while highlighting the interdependence of plants, animals, and humans that earned them the honour.

“This campaign focuses on another one of Dr. Jane Goodall’s favourite reasons for hope: the resilience of nature. The campaign emphasizes getting young people into nature and encouraging regeneration and protection of green spaces and forests,” said presenter, Saad Amer during a virtual ceremony. “The awardee combined the Indigenous knowledge of the Cowichan First Nations people establishing a garden with plants that were used for dying, eating, and medicinal purposes while also benefiting pollinators. For demonstrating the spirit of Roots and Shoots and exploring the interdependency of plants, wildlife and humans, congratulations Khowhemun Elementary First Nations plant garden from Canada.”

Originally founded in 1991, Roots & Shoots aims to give young people reasons for hope and celebrate youth-led actions that are making a difference in communities all around the world.

“Being part of the Roots and Shoots project has given us a platform and a structure to deliver opportunities and connect students to the natural plants of our ecosystem and all the gifts they offer,” said Maria Tarasoff, a teacher at Khowhemun Elementary in an acceptance video. “Having the garden space immediately accessible to all of our students offers a lot of opportunities for them to connect to our local plant community and learn and grow together.”

“I understand the importance of listening to Elders and knowledge keepers,”added Khowhemun teacher Mary Dawn MacWatt. “Honouring local history and place has informed all aspects of the garden design. Having students work and learning with the plants in nature just feels right.”

To see Khowhemun’s acceptance video online visit:

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