salmonberries along the fraser river

Posted on: June 9th, 2014 by jnovakowski

Salmonberries are the first berries to ripen locally and salmonberry bushes can be found along the banks of the Fraser River here in Richmond. They are one of only a few berries that are native to this land and for thousands of years, the Musqueam peoples canoed to what is now called Lulu Island to set up temporary summer housing for fishing and foraging for berries and plants.

Many of our students in Richmond have never seen a salmonberry. When they see it for the first time, they comment that it looks like a raspberry or a blackberry and in fact, they are in the same rose family of plants.

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Inspired by a resource created on Vancouver Island, we are working with the Richmond Nature Park and the Musqueam First Nation to develop a resource to support K-12 teachers in understanding local native plants and their traditional indigenous uses. A draft of the first pages of our project can be viewed here: salmonberries draft

I clipped some branches of salmonberry and took them into Lauren MacLeans’ K&1 classroom at Blair Elementary. This class has been involved with the Primary Scientists Looking Closely project his year as well as working on observational drawings and storytelling using First Peoples Principles through our QTL project. They were eager to learn about the plants I brought in (I also brought in some local flowering salal) and I told them a bit about their history in Richmond and some of the ways the plants were used. Students then came over to the tables and engaged in being scientists as they carefully observed the plants and recorded what they saw.

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What amazing drawings from five and six year olds! Some of their work will be added to our resource.

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