KPU received a grant in 2018 to restore the forest in the Logan Creek area, one of the natural spaces that can be used by students in the Native Education College Indigenous Land Stewartship program. (KPU photo)

Langley-based university horticulture program grows new bond with Native school

Kwantlen Polytechnic University and the Native Education College have announced a partnership

Students studying Indigenous land stewardship at the Native Education College (NEC) in Vancouver can now transfer their certificate into the Horticulture Urban Ecosystems bachelor’s degree at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

“Students from the Indigenous land stewardship program will benefit greatly from the facilities and resources of KPU’s Department of Horticulture,” said Dr. Kathy Dunster, an instructor in the Horticulture Urban Ecosystems program.

“From greenhouses to a rooftop research garden and the Logan Creek floodplain forest and salmon stream post-colonial ecosystem repair project, we have many opportunities on our Langley campus for hands-on experiential education,” she says.

The new partnership agreement will allow students to count the Indigenous Land Stewardship certificate from the Vancouver-based NEC towards the KPU degree.

“The need for new leaders to build a better, greener world has never been more urgent. Students at NEC who want to expand their knowledge base and skillset in land stewardship now have a fantastic opportunity with this partnership,” said David Tracey, instructor and coordinator at NEC.

“We felt the strong synergies between the Indigenous Land Stewardship program at NEC and the Horticulture Urban Ecosystems program at KPU were worth connecting,” said Dr. Steve Cardwell, KPU’s vice president, students. “We’re proud to partner with the NEC to assist their students in obtaining degrees that will help them maintain ecosystem health and build resilience for their communities.”

Dunster said the agreement supports the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, including eliminating poverty and hunger, equal access to education and clean water, protecting all life on land and finding decent work.

“A key sustainable development goal is creating partnerships to achieve all the goals,” she added. “This partnership between NEC and KPU will strengthen our commitment to Indigenous people and their rights to social and environmental justice, which includes the scientific and Indigenous knowledge to achieve food sovereignty, and land and water protection.”

• Learn more about the academic programs of the NEC and KPU

The Native Education College (NEC) was established in 1967 and founded by Ray Collins. The College, then called the Native Education Centre, began as a project to meet the educational needs of Indigenous people who relocated to Vancouver from their rural First Nation communities.

The overall objective was to provide Indigenous adult learners with the academic and life skills to secure employment and improve their quality of life. By 1979, NEC became a private college, operated and controlled by B.C. First Nations. Today, it offers a variety of programs in academic upgrading, business, health sciences, social sciences and humanities, and fine arts. Most of its certificate and diploma programs are transferable to other post-secondary schools in British Columbia. NEC provides a supportive learning environment, including cultural activities, which creates a connection to the Indigenous community of Metro Vancouver. We strive to meet workforce demands by delivering a variety of academic programs that are pathways to higher education and career opportunities.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has served the Metro Vancouver region since 1981. Based at five campuses across Richmond, Surrey and Langley, KPU offers a comprehensive range of sought-after programs in business, arts, design, health, science and horticulture, trades and technology, and academic and career advancement.

Around 20,000 students annually choose one of its programs, including bachelor’s degrees, diplomas, certificates, apprenticeships and graduate diplomas.

Post-secondary Education

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