It had to start somewhere, and they started in the woods. In an effort to facilitate RBC employees rekindling their relationships with the land, Michael Polak, Co-Chair of the Royal Eagles, brought a group of 20 RBC employees to Windhorse Farms, an old growth forest owned by community partner Ulnooweg Education Centre.
The outing was part of the Sacred Seeds initiative, which focuses on land-based learning as a component of a climate literacy strategy at RBC. The participants sat around a firepit, under a 500-year-old white pine, learning traditional teachings about the earth.
From there, they were sent off to walk wherever they felt led for 28 minutes. “What’s been said is that after 20 minutes, when you’re out in nature, things reset. After that 20 minutes, for the next eight minutes after that, you’re actually literally a part of the forest,” Polak explains.
“We’re connected to the environment. The walk is a way to spark the reminder. We’re creating an environment where people can be reminded of this connection. … My perspective would be anybody that has anything to do with designing anything related to climate should be engaging with activities like this very early on in their work,” Polak continues.
That time spent in nature helps people see the impact people have on the earth and the role they can play in protecting it. “The reason why all this ancient knowledge and wisdom exists in our communities is because our ancestors used to go and do this activity all the time,” he observes. Returning to that knowledge and wisdom has to start somewhere, and with the Royal Eagles, it started in the woods.
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