Weledeh Catholic School and the Yellowknife Community Garden Collective started a partnership in Fall 2009 to build a school-community garden on the playground at Weledeh School. This initiative was sparked by the vision of former Weledeh principal Merril Dean, who sought to create a school garden that would provide hands-on educational opportunities in local food production for students and their families.
Growing Together at Weledeh is a school-based gardening program that facilitated hands-on learning with students, teachers, and volunteer community garden mentors. Students have been learning the joys of growing their own food in the garden for the past five years. Weledeh Catholic School (WCS), the Yellowknife Community Garden Collective (YCGC) and Ecology North have worked together to deliver the program each year.
By the summer of 2011 the garden was ready for use and every summer since then Ecology North and the Yellowknife Community Garden Collective have run gardening activities with around 70 students from grades three to six.
Ecology North provides in-class instruction for all Grade 3 students for 6 weeks (mid-May to late June) culminating in a harvest celebration in the first weeks of September.
In addition, Ecology North also assists with the Weledeh School Garden Club. This after school club is open to students from grade 1 to 8 and has approximately 30 members. The garden club has been quite popular in the past and frequently has a waitlist!
We have a Grade 3 Garden Curriculum, full of great garden related activities, that was developed based on the success of the Weledeh School Garden program. Check it out on our Environmental Education page (NWT School Gardens)!
How did we do? In 2016, we were able to pause and evaluate the program with this Case Study funded by the Arctic Institute of Community Based Research.
The overall goals of the project are to engage Weledeh students and staff in planning and planting vegetable garden plots at the Weledeh School garden, in cooperation with members of the Yellowknife Community Garden Collective. By participating first-hand in growing and harvesting a garden, students develop an interest and skills in food production and preparation of healthy, locally grown foods.
For more information about the Weledeh School Garden Club or the Growing Together at Weledeh program contact us at 867-873-6019 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.