The 2021 Youth Summit for Mother Earth connected over 100 youth across Ontario through a weekend-long event held online, providing a meaningful platform to engage youth to protect nature in the spirit and practice of reconciliation. As part of the Youth Summit, challenges planned by youth, for youth, gave participants the chance to spend time in nature and reflect on what they learned. This is the second blog of a series that showcases a few of the submissions of youth participants based on a common theme.
As a mentor at the Youth Summit, I led a team of youth as they submitted challenges and worked on a group event poster for other participants at the summit. I was surprised at the level of ingenuity, intelligence and inspiration that came from the youth I worked with, and I am excited to share some of their work with you.
The following compilation of submissions I selected come from all the youth at the summit:
Cross-Cultural Knowledge and Understanding Theme
“During the opening ceremony at the Youth Summit there was a presentation telling us to embrace all of the colours in the world, especially in terms of race. I thought this was a beautiful analogy. This nature piece shows how beautiful different colours are and how they work together to make a beautiful mosaic of life.”
“I used rocks to create a spiral because I feel that the spiral is the symbol of growth. I chose to do this because the summit is an amazing opportunity for growth and learning about different perspectives”
“The warm soft breeze has become the long howling wind. Grandfather Sun begins to ease the strength of his warmth. Grandmother Moon comes to pull us closer to her embrace.”
“Here’s a picture of some bannock I made during lunch. I have been to old Fort William historical park in Thunder Bay and they taught us how voyagers made bannock. This was a very fun experience!”
The medicine bundle challenge included important protocols for gathering medicines, teachings from an Ojibwe (Anishinaabe) knowledge system, and encouraged participants to do their own research on medicinal properties of other plants in their community, and to learn more about the history available around the medicines.
Pariza’s medicine bundle and research included:
Wild carrot: used for cold and fever. The difference from Hemlock is that wild carrots have hairy legs. Wild carrot is also known as Queen Ann’s lace, so to differentiate both we say “the queen has hairy legs.”
Dandelion: used for digestive issues, has liver tonic and diuretic properties.
Chamomile: used for insomnia, eye inflammation and infection. It heals mouth sores and prevents gum disease.
Mint: used for colds, chest pains and heart ailments. It prevents illnesses.
I was inspired by how creative the selections were and these are just a few of the many amazing pieces and photos that youth submitted during the weekend-long Youth Summit.
For more information on the Youth Summit, visit Ontario Nature’s website. I definitely recommend the Youth Summit to young leaders aged 14-20 for 2022. As a mentor, I learned so much, broadened my awareness of environmental and cultural topics and knowledge, and had an amazing time.
Stay tuned for the next blog series that will highlight reflections that youth wrote based on their experience at the Youth Summit.
Nathaniel Rose grew up in Tkaronto or Toronto, Ontario and now currently presides in The Town of the Blue Mountains, Ontario on the land located within the boundary of Treaty 18 region of 1818, which is the traditional land of the Anishnaabek, Haudenosaunee and Wendat-Wyandot-Wyandotte peoples. He is of mixed European descent, with ancestors who lived in the United Kingdom as well as Russia and Romania. He is a member of the Coordinating Circle for the Youth Circle of Mother Earth and loves learning about Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives on conservation, biodiversity, and ways of knowing. He is currently working as a Knowledge Gatherer for the Canadian Parks Collective for Innovation and Learning where he works on issues such as diversity and inclusion. In his spare time, he loves to listen to music and play guitar.