Horticulture and Storytelling? Who Knew?
It never occurred to me that I would be doing a storytelling workshop with students in a horticulture class, but I really did that and the results were amazing!
My friend, Jerry Kelly has been teaching Horticulture for the last 5 years and has turned the program into an award-winning one with national recognition. He and his students (like everyone else) are struggling with pandemic fatigue and online schooling. And then Jerry had an idea.
Why not integrate the arts into their activities? Let’s invent some Eco-literacy Crosswalks!
Journaling, Mindfulness, Poetry, and Storytelling were integrated into the curriculum. There were two storytelling classes. The first was an abbreviated Storytelling 101, which ended with photographs I had taken in my travels. We brainstormed about the kinds of stories each picture evoked and had great fun doing so. There was a 2 week break, during which the students crafted a story drawing on images from Nature.
Today there were brand new stories waiting to be told. There was a Por-quoi story, several fairy tales, a story from the point of view of a seed being planted by a toddler. There were poems that had imagery that was astonishing, considering the ages of the students. And I had been asked to take one of the stories “from page to stage” which I did with a bit of hesitation and trepidation.
I told “False Holly,” a myth about protecting the planet and had everything any self-respecting myth would have - Battle between good and evil forces, a beneficent emperor, a loyal warrior who held a powerful secret, the daughter who was the secret and held the health of the planet in her hands, and a bittersweet ending. It was an easy tale to tell, and I was able to demonstrate the power of storytelling one more time to a new audience.