Michalina Hunter ‘14
Co-Founder, Squamish Food Policy Council / Co-Owner Green Bee Honey
Michalina’s Question: What is environmental education?
Keystone Title: Quest Pollinator Enhancement Project
Abstract: In her Keystone, Michalina drew together the history and current state of pollinator science and the field of Environmental Education (EE). Based on these observations she developed and executed her own Environmental education project, which aimed to make parts of the Quest University campus pollinator friendly and to educate students and the wider community about pollinators in a hands-on restoration event. The event was followed up by a rigorous quantitative impact assessment.
Where did you go for your Experiential Learning?
I spent my Experiential Learning Block at an organic/biodynamic/almost entirely self-sufficient farm just outside of Wellington, NZ, and then a sustainable living festival on the South Island, called Luminate. I found the farm through the organization “Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms”. WWOOF is a network of national organizations that facilitate placement of volunteers on organic farms.
What was a typical day like there?
At the farm, we woke up around 8, had breakfast, then went out to weed, plant, put up blueberry netting, mulch, harvest honey, etc. on the farm for about four hours. We learned how to milk a cow, make yogurt, cheese and butter, and look after pigs, cows, sheep, and chickens. We would break for lunch (we made all our meals with eggs, meat, dairy, and vegetables from the farm, and bread or muesli that we baked ourselves) and work again for a few hours if we had more work to do and it wasn’t too hot.
What did you like about the experience?
The most valuable part of my EL experience was meeting other like-minded, inspiring, and motivated people who were passionate about sustainable living and sharing their knowledge with others.
What else did you learn?
I was surprised by the different motivations behind living sustainably. The farm I worked at was motivated by the idea of doing everything themselves, traditionally, and saving money. Other farms I have worked at (not for EL) were motivated for environmental reasons. They often had similar outcomes, but I learned that the first mindset can lead to doing extravagant things, like having your own cow and having to process that milk, where sharing a cow may make more sense, or having your own wind turbine and having to maintain it by yourself, versus sharing a larger wind turbine with your neighbours, so everyone works less. I came to realize how important community is to truly sustainable