Posted by: Jennifer Britton
This summer for seven filled to the brim days four students (and moi!) travelled to Québec from Montana State University Environmental Horticulture and Plant Sciences. A short plane ride but a world away from Bozeman, Montana we explored our North American neighbors unique French-Anglo cultural, horticultural, design and undeniably charming joie de vivre!
We lodged at two separate youth hostels in Montreal and Quebec City, perfect locations and comfortable too. In a constant flow of observation and conversation we saw, heard, and tasted the culture; and true to the non-vehicular urban experience we walked, biked, and rode the metro to gardens, parks, and open air markets. Lectures, topics, and tours in horticulture and landscape design provided students with historical and contemporary Québec knowledge. Lessons provided an opportunity for depth in experience with four main learning objectives: cultural, plant, park observations and blogging.
During the trip students were required to seek a new experience beyond our time in class together with opportunity to try something new and unique their cultural experience could take many forms: food, music, theater, art or historical museum, architecture, or shopping. Students also kept a journal and travel sketchbook for the trip and constructed a camera obscura (an optical device that projects an image of its surroundings on a screen) to help them in their sketching ability. This project had two parts: first to build an individual camera obscura with the supplied material and second to use the camera at their discretion to sketch the landscape.
As aways the Montreal Botanical Garden was a highlight of the trip- never enough time for those of us who love plants! Just look at those Hostas!
Parks also abound in Montréal, again what’s not to love? But the unquestionable jewel crowning Montréal is Mont Royal designed by Frederick Law Olmsted the landscape architect of New York’s Central Park and a multitude of other landscapes in North America. To engage students with the sense of place, they created “leave no trace” earth art with documentation.
In my final reflection as teacher and traveler I believe our time in in Canada instilled a joy of travel through an experience free of fear and judgment. Students embraced the Québécois culture, sharing in my passion for this beautiful place, with open and easy-going exchange. À bientôt, see you soon, Québec!
Highlights of our trip…