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Local students plant camas on campus

"Soft piles of soil near the waterfront at Royal Roads University hold hopes for the future and a link to the past for a dozen students from Shoreline Middle School.

Using traditional digging sticks, aided by more modern shovels, Grade 6 students burrowed into the mounds of earth on Wednesday and planted bulbs of common camas — a plant that was once ubiquitous around southern Vancouver Island.

It was also a food staple for First Nations.

“The camas would be steamed. It’s our potato,” said Ken Elliott of Cowichan Tribes, owner of a native plant nursery.

Elliott has provided dozens of camas bulbs for the project, which is being co-ordinated by the Centre for Livelihoods and Ecology at Royal Roads, and he is hoping to inspire a curiosity about the past.

“I am encouraging the kids to go back to their family elders and see if they remember a plant they used for food, a plant they used as a tool and a plant they used for medicine,” said Elliott, who has watched traditional use of many plants disappear within four generations..."

Read the full story in the Times Colonist and see another image in the Goldstream News Gazette.

Photo credit: Lyle Staford, Times Colonist.