September 29th, 2021
The Queen’s University Biological Station acknowledges that reconciliation is a long-term process and that it is the responsibility of all Canadians to reflect on the ways in which they can contribute to meaningful change. Accordingly, through engagement with the local Indigenous community, QUBS is committed to active learning and engagement in truth and reconciliation work through two ongoing projects.
In March 2020 and 2021, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Promoscience program awarded QUBS with a total of three years of funding to create five STEM Learning Bundles bringing together Indigenous land-based knowledge, Ontario Science curriculum outcomes, and locally conducted STEM studies. Our project, known as QUILLS (Queen’s University Indigenous Land-Based Learning STEM), is collaborative, drawing on the expertise of local Indigenous knowledge holders, teachers, and Queen’s STEM faculty, and is geared towards integrating the themes of the biodiversity crisis, global climate change, traditional Indigenous knowledge systems and the environment, invasive species, and contaminants in the environment. In addition to the Learning Bundles, tailored to grades 7-10, QUBS is also creating short videos to accompany each bundle and facilitating professional development sessions for local teachers in the Limestone District School Board and Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Boards. Stay tuned for the release of these locally-focused, decolonized STEM learning resources!
Additionally, with funding from the Frontenac Township, Community Foundation for Kingston & Area, and TD Friends of the Environment fund, QUBS is excited to be converting a section of the Red trail at the Elbow Lake Environmental Education Centre to be accessible for all users. This wheelchair-accessible trail will take visitors through several habitats, concluding at a thriving beaver pond. Working with local Indigenous Knowledge Keepers and Elders, QUBS is also creating four interpretive signs that will be installed along the trail. The signs will highlight plants and animals important to local Indigenous groups and provide translations for Anishinaabemowin and Kanien’kéha language learners. To go along with these signs, there will also be virtual app stations for visitors to learn more about the highlighted plants and animals and listen to words and traditional stories from both cultures, translated in both languages. A sign will also be placed at the beginning of the trail to explain the project and the traditional land use of this area before European settlement. Construction on the trail is soon to be completed, and signs will be installed in December 2021!