By Mamta Lulla
A herb garden now sits outside the Forest Green School in Stony Plain.
Phillip Campiou, 61, who works alongside Parkland School Division No. 70 built the garden from scratch with the help of a friend.
While growing up, Campiou was taught to use herbs in everyday life. Now he wants to pass on the learning to younger generations.
“So I thought I will bring herbs to them,” he said.
The round shaped garden, about 20 feet in diameter, grows peppermint, wild onions, garlic, liquorice root, sage, Saskatoon berries and Kinnikinnick.
The round shape is based on the philosophy of a medicine wheel, he said.
Campiou recently showed the garden to the school division staff and got positive feedback. With a tour guide like him, the community can learn about different ways to use herbs. He confirmed elders in the Tri-Region community will help with tours and education of all herbs that grow there.
While giving an example, he said Sweetgrass, a herb available at the garden, can be used as a relief from cramps.
The construction for the garden started in May and it was ready in August. Campiou drew his idea and handed it to his friend Dave Mauchier, a carpenter, who helped bring the idea to life.
The project received funding from the Canada 150 grant. Campiou received support from the Stony Plain Public Library, Parkland School Division and from the Town of Stony Plain to build the garden.
The total cost of the garden is close to $50,000.
Originally, the garden was supposed to be built at the library but that didn’t work out due to lack of space, so now, it sits at the local school.
Campiou said the school, being so close to students, is a good place for the garden as it will promote learning of young minds.
Campiou is an advocate for teaching First Nations, Inuit and Metis teaching to younger generations.
He does blanket and teepee teachings with children where they learn Indigenous history and culture.