Science Odyssey 2022 Recap

We were excited to be back participating in Science Odyssey this year, Canada’s biggest celebration of STEAM. Led by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Science Odyssey brought together hundreds of fun and engaging activities across the country from May 7 to 22, 2022.

Check out our Sky, Sun, Seasons & Shadows workshop and Spotlight on Scientists interviews from our 2021 Science Odyssey events:

Social media links:


Twitter: @Sci_Od

Instagram: @Sci_Od

Hashtag: #OdySci


A week of science odyssey in review

by Jaimie Rosenwirth, Suwa’lkh Environmental Education Program Lead

This year, we held the workshops in the Suwa’lkh Healing Forest. We had 5 classes participate in the Exploring and Understanding Native Plants workshops over 3 days, May 16, 18 and 19th. 

The students worked their way through 3 stations, removal of invasive plants/planting natives, a forest walk, and ecosystem web/plant in a jar.

Station 1: Removal process. students remove Japanese knotweed, blackberries and English Ivy. These are all invasive plants that we have been removing from the forest on an ongoing basis. After they had removed the invasive plants that had the chance to plant native plants. They helped plant salal, sitka spruce, lingonberry, common camas, evergreen huckleberry, thimbleberry, snowberry, red flowering currant and stonecrop. They removed lots of Himalayan blackberries, Japanese knotweed and English Ivy. 

Station 2:  The forest walk. The students went on a walk through the forest and were identifying which plants we have. They were able to identify salal, salmonberry, thimbleberry, Indian plum, red flowering currant, cottonwood and skunk cabbage. 

Station 3: Ecosystem web/plant in a jar. During the ecosystem web each participant is given a new identity. They temporarily become something that is a part of our forest. We connect to each other using string. Students would have to say how they are connected to each other; blue heron is connected to salmon because they eat salmon. We continued making these connections until the web got complicated and more difficult to connect to someone they have not yet connected to. Plant in a jar activity takes your sight away. The leaf of a plant is placed in a jar with a sock over it so you are unable to see inside. The next step is to draw what you are able to feel. 

During the break we made tea for the students to try. We made different kinds with what we have available to us, mint as well as mint with sage and salmonberry leaves.

Thank you to the Suwa’lkh School, iHub Secondary School, Centennial Secondary School, Maillard Middle School, and Rochester Elementary School for joining us for this year’s Science Odyssey at Suwa’lkh!

Native plants information page – coming soon!

Stay tuned for the launch of our native plants resource page on our website.


Suwa’lkh means ‘New Beginnings’ in the Hul’qumi’num language

by Jaimie Rosenwirth, Suwa’lkh Environmental Education Program Lead

My name is Jaimie and I am the Suwa’lkh Environmental Education Program Lead. I have been volunteering with Fresh Roots since 2018 with an individual with autism. We both currently still volunteer up to 3 times a week. I have been working with Fresh Roots since the Fall of 2020. I have spent a lot of time working with the Leadership program through Suwa’lkh school, running the market, preparing salad for lunch, helping out with the SOYL Summer Program as well as Summer Camp. As well as growing fruits and vegetables, I love telling the students that radishes are my favourite vegetable that we grow. If they are really spicy then I need to eat them with a carrot to sweeten them up a bit. I like hearing what their favourites are as well and finding out the reasoning behind it. My camp name was given to me this past summer (2021) by a young camper, and it is Wildlife. 

The Space

Suwa’lkh is a very unique Fresh Roots location, having a garden – Suwa’lkh Medicine Garden, an orchard and The Healing Forest to work in. The students, teachers, and Smokey (a dog), at the school, enjoy eating fruit and vegetables from the garden and the orchard throughout the year. The teachers, youth and program goers have access to an outdoor classroom located in the forest. During summer programs this space provides quiet from the street near us as well as shade during the heat waves for children and youth to learn.

Smokey the Dog

Smokey is the PADS dog (Pacific Assistance Service Dogs) at school. He is a therapy dog that supports the students. When they are feeling anxious or emotional he goes to them right away. He is a sucker for carrots, especially if they are fresh from the garden. In the off-season when we don’t have any carrots he will settle for either an apple or a store carrot.

Healing Forest and Salmon Stream

Students get to take calming walks through the Healing Forest for a break. Getting to hear all the sounds of nature, birds chirping, water flowing through the stream, the wind blowing through the trees. Going for a walk through the forest is one of my favourite things to do when I just need to take a break from a task or to refocus. While in the forest during the fall, it is great to look in the stream and see if there are any salmon spawning. I myself have not been lucky enough to see any. I hope that one day I will be able to. 

Native Plants

We also have a native plant nursery. We have plants that are native to our area and they thrive in this environment. We hope to introduce them back into the community. We use the native plants from the nursery to reintroduce them to our forest. We have put thimbleberry, Sitka spruce and dune willow in places where we have removed invasives. We also use them as part of our programming. The students get to transplant native plants to areas where they have removed invasive species. We have been giving them to classes from field trips to take back to their school to plant in their gardens. We have the native plants available for purchase on our website as well as at our weekly market. 


We have a weekly market on-site every Thursday starting mid-May through to mid-October. It is located at Suwa’lkh school, 1432 Brunette Avenue. We have large orange flags leading up to the parking lot. We get help from the students to harvest the vegetables as well as set up the market stand each week. During the summer months, we have help from the SOYL youth, they come from many different schools in and around Coquitlam. The SOYL youth will help with harvesting, market set up as well as running the market. Each week a different crew of 4-5 youth is assigned to be at the market. Being at the market is one of their favourite things. Especially being the cashier. 


We have dedicated volunteers on site. They help with general farm maintenance and tasks such as weeding, seeding, transplanting, uppotting and harvesting. Our volunteers come weekly to work on tasks at times. Our volunteers live in the area and have seen the progress of the garden through the years. They love what we are doing and enjoy helping out when they can.

If you would like to volunteer, email!

CSA Veggie Box Pilot

We will be trying out a CSA veggie box program this year with 7 spaces available. Keep an eye out for more information. 


Suwa’lkh School’s Native Plant Sale Now ONLINE!

The Fresh Roots Team at Suwa’lkh School is very excited to announce that we’ve brought this year’s Native Plant Sale online with 2 convenient pick-up locations! If you’ve been looking to learn more about native plant species or have been searching to find your favourite native plants for your garden, this is the blog post you’ve been waiting for! 

When Fresh Roots formed a partnership with the Indigenous Education Department in Coquitlam/Kwikwetlem, one of the main requests from this community was to help provide access to native plants, especially those harder to find for sale or in our urban environment. The beauty of the Native Plant Nursery Project here at Suwa’lkh School is that the youth who work with us in preparing and selling the native plants also learn about those plants, their uses, and their seasonality.

Gray Oron, the Suwa’lkh Project Manager, had this to say about the native plants we grow:

“Native plants not only give us a sense of place and connect us to the history of the land and the people on it, but they also support our local ecosystems and are easier to care for than most plants. One of the most common questions I get is: ‘can they be outside, right now?’ The answer is yes! They belong here, they are from here, and if you give them the right environment, they will need much less care than most non-native plants!”

We are working towards deeper guidance and connection with local First Nations Communities, Knowledge Keepers, and Elders. We strive to be an ally by providing native plants to the local community and space to support the passing of knowledge to youth. The web pages for each of the native plant species we’re offering in our shop are full of information about each species, their preferred conditions, and their interactions with wildlife and humans.

You can scroll through our online shop, add the plants you would like to have in your garden to your cart, choose a pickup location, and pay online all in a few simple clicks! We will contact you to arrange a pick-up time at your chosen location once you have placed an order. There are two pickup locations to choose from: 


  1. Italian Cultural Centre (Vancouver) on Wednesdays from 4-7 pm during our Pop Up Market
  2. Suwa’lkh Secondary School (Coquitlam) on Thursdays from 4-7 pm


Thank you in advance for your support in all of the work we do at Fresh Roots, especially during this difficult time! We are grateful to the communities we are a part of and your efforts to support native wildlife and youth education through our Native Plant Sale.

Happy planting!

The Suwa’lkh Fresh Roots Team