Ronan High School Native Plant Garden: A Space for Learning, Community, & Cultural Competency
DescriptionRonan, Montana is nestled at the base of the Rocky Mountains and at the heart of the Flathead Reservation. Home to roughly 2,000 people, which include the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT). The Ronan High School (RHS) Native Plant Garden, aims to connect the culture/goals of our students' homes to the school. The associated activities promote positive and collaborative relationships between the school and families so that students can see themselves as full members of their school and community. This project was (and still is) designed around communication, collaboration, and building relationships with the hope that we learn from one another and come together to support our students and improve the overall health and well-being of our community. Community gardens have been proven to relieve stress, increase sense of wellness, improve overall physical health, provide social opportunities that build a sense of community and belonging, and to give people an opportunity to learn and share knowledge on gardening, culture, sustainability, nature, and cooking. The implementation of the RHS Native Plant Garden has allowed for a community space that provides growing innumerable opportunities for the school to (and continue to) collaborate with Confederated Salish and Kootenai (CSKT) Forestry, CSKT Culture Committees, Salish Kootenai College, and many more. The RHS Native Plant Gard has also provided RHS staff with an outdoor classroom space, students with a social-space at school that can be utilized for various community activities. The RHS Native Plant Garden provides space for learning, community, and cultural competency.
-Story contributed by Jessica J.