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Student Life’s inaugural alternate spring break service-learning road trip

Creating an herb garden
Students dig up hard ground and add fertilizer to create a herb garden for natural healing herbs

This spring break, I was one of 11 students and three staff members who embarked on a life-changing journey during Green River's first-ever alternate spring break service-learning trip.

We spent over 50 hours driving from the Green River bus circle to Estancia, New Mexico, where we were greeted by Grandmother Flordemayo. Grandmother Flordemayo had originally visited our campus as a part of our longstanding Artist and Speaker Series and is a member of the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers.

The whole group stayed with Grandmother Flordemayo on her sacred land, learning from her experience with indigenous traditions and practices and soaking in her earth-based wisdom for the betterment and support of all beings.

The students learn how to sort and clean seeds from Grandmother Dianna

Through the mission and vision of The Path, a seed temple on her land, we learned that Mother Earth is humankind's partner in the journey toward the future. Grandmother Flordemayo taught us that that nature supports the development of humanity's spiritual consciousness through seed saving and seed distribution of heirloom seeds, not genetically modified plants.

Those lessons were not the only thing that filled our two and-a-half days at The Path. We also participated in land cultivation for tradition herb gardens, soil conditioning, seed balling, and much more! 

The students loved the trip and learned a lot. Read what they had to say in their own words:

"I learned how to prepare an area for planting. I also was exposed to the Native American perspective that EVERYTHING is living and should be considered and appreciated. Though difficult to use all the time (I'm not used to it), this perspective has helped me to be more grateful for the things around me."
--Jacquie Chamberlain, Green River Student, Auburn

 "It was so awesome! I really enjoyed the trip. The chance to see many different cities was magnificent. In this trip, I visited cities which are so different from cities that I have visited before. Furthermore, I did enjoy volunteering at New Mexico. I learned things about planting, as well as about indigenous cultures."
--Steven Walentino, Green River Student, Indonesia

Happily stretching their legs during a stop just outside of Moab

"All the way to New Mexico, the landscape is quite amazing. I've never seen such changeable landscape and those kinds of mountains before. Also, the culture about agriculture really attracts me. The instructors taught me not only about agriculture but also how to find the connections between nature and me, how to recognize myself. These are quite unforgettable and really do help on my major because my major is art."
 --Dong Sheng (Vivien), Green River Student, China

We drove 2,888 miles across seven states crammed into two mini vans. It took eight days and by the end of it all, we had become a family. The journey we took is now etched in the books as a super successful inaugural trip. Here we come, alternate spring break service-learning trip 2014!

Please contact Dani Chang for more information and pictures from the trip.