Class­room in na­ture ini­tia­tive con­tin­ues to blos­som

Aca­dian For­est and Farm School re­ceives sup­port from FCC

The Casket - - Health&wellness - COREY LEBLANC coreyle­[email protected]­cas­

The Aca­dian For­est and Farm School con­tin­ues to achieve mile­stones.

Thanks to a re­cent fi­nan­cial boost from Farm Credit Canada (FCC), through its Com­mu­nity Agrispirit Fund, the non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion will be able to com­plete con­struc­tion of its one-room school­house, in­clud­ing a so­lar light­ing sys­tem, along with a small park­ing area, on its Ohio, Antigo­nish County prop­erty.

“We are ab­so­lutely de­lighted,” Ri­ley Chisholm said of the $25,000 con­tri­bu­tion from FCC.

She added “con­struc­tion on the build­ing site has al­ready be­gun, and we will be con­tin­u­ing through­out the fall.”

De­scrib­ing it as “quite a process,” Chisholm added volunteers re­cently com­pleted the school drive­way.

She agreed work par­ties have been — and will con­tinue to be – in­te­gral to the growth and suc­cess of the ini­tia­tive.

“Peo­ple have re­ally stepped up. It has been re­ally won­der­ful,” Chisholm said of the com­mu­nity sup­port.

She added that has been there – and it con­tin­ues to grow – since she and her hus­band, Gabe, ini­ti­ated their plan to launch a for­est and farm school.

“This model emerged out of, I be­lieve, a re­ac­tion to con­ven­tional school­ing sys­tems, in which chil­dren were in­creas­ingly alien­ated from their en­vi­ron­ment,” Chisholm ex­plained in an ear­lier in­ter­view.

“I think we, in­creas­ingly, un­der­stand it is fairly para­mount to have op­por­tu­ni­ties for our chil­dren to know their place within and have a re­la­tion­ship with our en­vi­ron­ment.”

As for a time­line to com­plete the school­house, Chisholm said, she could only pro­vide a “guessti­mate,” con­sid­er­ing the im­por­tance of vol­un­teer labour to the process.

“We hope to have work par­ties in the win­ter,” she added, noted the tar­get date is Fe­bru­ary.

Be­fore then, Chisholm said, they may erect a tem­po­rary can­vas struc­ture.

“Ul­ti­mately, in­fra­struc­ture in such a school en­vi­ron­ment is not that cen­tral,” she noted, adding

“it is about the peo­ple.”

Along with site clear­ing and trail blaz­ing, Chisholm said the school has pro­vided work­shops and day trips, in­clud­ing a pad­dling ex­cur­sion on Cameron Lake led by as­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Peter Dowd.

For more on the Aca­dian For­est and Farm School ini­tia­tive, visit their Face­book page – www.face­­di­an­fore­stand­farm­school - or email forestschoolantigo­[email protected]

Peo­ple have re­ally stepped up. It has been re­ally won­der­ful.

Ri­ley Chisholm

Corey Leblanc

Nancy Smith (left), Farm Credit Canada (FCC) re­la­tion­ship man­ager, re­cently vis­ited the Peo­ple’s Place Li­brary to present a $25,000 cheque to rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Aca­dian For­est and Farm School, in­clud­ing Ri­ley Chisholm, Peter Dowd,Josef Dowd and Mon­ica Schue­graf. The fi­nan­cial boost will help with com­ple­tion of a one-room school­house, in­clud­ing a so­lar light­ing sys­tem, along with a small park­ing area in Ohio, Antigo­nish County.

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