This September, students across the province will be cooped up in classrooms, with their only sunshine coming through the windows. But at the sustainable-communities field school at the UBC Botanical Garden, it will be possible for groups to learn about developing a greener economy and engage in some team-building while enjoying all that nature has to offer.
Tara Moreau, associate director for sustainability and community programs at the UBC Botanical Garden, told the Straight by phone that the educational program was designed with local companies in mind.
“There’s a lot of research that’s being done that shows businesses that take the extra step to be sustainable have higher employee retention,” Moreau said. “They can recruit higher-level candidates and then retain them longer.”
She said the field school involves a tour of the garden, supplemented with discussions about water conservation and biodiversity. This takes place as the group enjoys a “full immersion” in a forested area with Asian plants.
“They’re walking through the garden, up into the trees, and basically having a nature bath,” Moreau commented.
Lunch is served on a long table, which leads into discussions about food security and the impact of poverty. The program also enables members of the group to learn about organic agriculture, food-waste reduction, and even the collapse of bee colonies around the world.
“After lunch, they would tour our food garden, where we explore food choices,” she said.