Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Twin Towers Sept 11, 2001

Peace Garden Education -
Promoting Safety in Schools

By Julia Morton-Marr
Sept 12, 2001

“The crisis on September 11, 2001 proves that peace is the only option, if the planet is to survive such actions.” Julia Morton-Marr.

“How can I continue the work of the International School Peace Gardens (ISPG) when the world isn’t listening for peace?” I sat at my desk wanting to take the easy way out and stop work, after the numbing events on September 11, 2001. Have the last nine years of peace education suddenly seemed to have been a futile effort, as so little in the world seemed to have changed since IHTEC - ISPG began in 1993? “As teachers, can we use the powerful ‘nag-quality’ of children, towards changing currents events and regaining a more peaceful world?” I pondered. “Can teachers have such a significant impact on young people through their work for peace, so these events will never happen again?” “Will I go on?” The answer is of course YES ..... that following Sept 11, the implementation of ISPG will be enhanced as millions in the world are trying to understand how this event could have occurred.

Like butterflies, as they slowly begin unfurling their wings, schools with peace gardens took their students outside for reflection after Sept. 11th. They sent messages to all the children who might have been effected, for we do not know what will be happening in the future.

Peace gardening is like ‘Stone Soup’ . One teacher told me the story of her sitting in a circle of soil, digging a hole. A small group of children gathered around. “What are you doing?” “I’m planting a peace garden would you like to help me?” I said. We discussed what plants were peace trees that lived in our Eco-system and who could bring one from home. “Can we solve our problems in a peace garden?” “We could have an indoor garden and join the two together with a “Path of Peace”. “Aha, we could stop bullying each other in the playground,” the children’s discussion continued. “I know what peace is,” a five-year-old grins, “I have just solved a problem with a friend on our friendship bench.” “We must support each other like dolphins do, if we are going to have peace.” "Our peace garden has changed the way I think" said another. So the teacher brainstormed and developed their mind maps, collected words and decided to solve their conflicts in their peace garden.

In another school a child said “But our skins look so different and people are hurting my family.” Two children in a school, an Afghani child and a classmate; yesterday their friendship was like any other, today society is trying to tear it apart. Meanwhile nothing has changed, our blood is still the same colour, our eyes work the same way, we all have bodies that are filled with salt water. In Canada, we live or come from different countries around the world, how can we show this in our peace garden?

What kind of cultural symbols can we include? I suggested that we use the International School Peace Gardens logo in our garden. “What else can we plant?” Climate Change might cause a famine, so we must plant, protect and share our food. Our water is polluted, how will we keep the peace when we soon won’t have additional water to dilute the pollution?”. We know that we need most of the planet’s resources to regain a sustainable world.

Trees are sacred trees world wide. The Ontario Provincial tree, a white pine, is the First Nations Peace Tree. Mexican children are planting their five sacred trees. Lebanese schools are studying Jordanian Heritage sites and developing an art form for performance as part of their peace garden. African children are planting 100 peace trees to help reduce pollution, to protect their soil and encourage Eco-tourism. Co-operation between world cultures for human and planetary security, the children understand this before adults. Art, music and design are the outward expressions of learning. A visiting parent sits beside me. She offers to draw graph paper 1" = 3m for each student in the school, so they can design their own garden. She also suggests a model competition. We join hands under the big oak tree, to measure how many squares it will take to cover the paper. How many squares we will need for the other plants. How will we account for the gains and losses? Gradually we understand substance accounting and relationships between space, soil, food, water and peace.

It takes a village to raise a child, and the whole world to make peace. Together we chose two children from our class for the peace garden committee, and two for the “Peace Garden Newspaper”. Our activities include: writing stories, songs and poems for our families and a computer presentation for marketing and to stimulate community donations and funding. Our school peace garden website linked into the IHTEC site. We registered our ISPG on

Peace builds peace. We held a dedication ceremony and invited public officials, a First Nations man smoked a peace pipe, and we dedicated ourselves to a project for sustainability in our community.

IHTEC has linked us to “A Culture of Peace through Tourism” with local Peace Parks and Gardens, UNESCO Heritage Parks, Heritage Rivers, Creature Corridors and Marine environments. Our ceremony included a United Nations representative, who told us that “If our country was a member of the UN, then we were members of the UN.” We understood that if there was a problem, that we had to be part of the solution. Many schools have asked for information this week, which gave me hope that people are still listening to the need, to create a world in which peace prevails. Gently we returned our lives by nourishing young people’s enthusiastic spirits and souls with daily use of the peace garden.

The ISPG program was already supported by many Ministries and Boards of educational along with other organizations. IHTEC encourages all schools to participate.


Julia Morton-Marr, is the co- founder of the International School Peace Gardens program. She is a retired integrated studies teacher, from South Australia. Her 46 years of practical teaching experience. Julia developed the concepts for the International Holistic Tourism Education Centre - IHTEC in 1991. IHTEC’s focus is a ‘Culture of Peace through Tourism” a global perspective for peace and sustainability education.

Contact: Julia Morton-Marr, President, International Holistic Tourism Education Centre, 3343 Masthead Crescent, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, L5L 1G9. Tel. (905) 820-5067

Email: Website:

Box of Peace Miracles for Schools - Post Crisis Ideas

These ideas have been developed for post trauma school incidents and prevention of copy-cat events in nearby schools.

To be donated to a school:

* $10 towards a peace tree representing your Life Zone - Sponsor:
* $10 off a Friendship Bench - Sponsor:
* $10 off ISPG plaque for Benches - Sponsor:
* $10 off a Culture of Peace Diary - Sponsor:
* Free ISPG brochures (to share with other schools)
* Kit of ISPG materials
* Two free ISPG logo pins - Sponsor: IHTEC


Develop a project using some of the ideas below. Contact IHTEC for discussion on these ideas, and register your project on the IHTEC website:

1. Dedication of the whole school ground to a Culture of Peace.
a. Create a "Path of Peace with the whole school and community walking or dancing around the parameter of the school. Develop a significant dance that is repeated at all the entrances using peaceful hand signs, and songs as part of the ceremony. A Path of Peace can be
b. An actual pathway,
c. An imaginary path
d. A natural planting of thickets for migrating birds.
e. Items placed around the school such as painted rocks with international, IHTEC and newly created peace symbols.
f. Plant peace trees, that symbolically represent each person involved and ensure that the representation is positive aiming at reversing the incident. All species planted should feed migrating species in your area.
g. Involve all parents in whatever action is taken. Give each parent a role in the event.
h. Invite a local First Nations persons to hold a Peace Pipe Ceremony.
i. Use universal prayers for peace eg: World Council of Churches, Joseph Campbell and other United Nations sources.
j. Invite someone from a country that has been war torn to speak about the importance of a Culture of Peace.
k. Each person to make three peace tokens or rocks' that can be dedicated - one to exchange with another person, one to be kept at home, one to put in the peace garden. You can use words or peace designs including the IHTEC peace logos.
l. Use a Friendship Bench or Peace Rock as part of the ceremony.

2. Create positive learning outcomes that improve the planet's environmental problems. Focus on energy, air, water and soil, eg: "Solar Powered Living Rock" or a "Solar light" or "Solar oven".

3. Build a friendship bench for conflict resolution.

4. Build a cultural bridge' for performances, which can go in the school peace garden at a later stage.

5. Each school to keep a Culture of Peace Diary in a central place. This is to hold a record of positive achievements towards a Culture of Peace, locally, nationally and internationally. Please send a copy of these in hard copy and email to IHTEC for sharing with other schools.

6. Keep a school ideas book for the "Path of Peace" that you can send to other schools who may experience a trauma. Have each student make a cover for these books of ideas.

7. Bury all hurtful items before you plant your peace garden. This could include letters, poems of fear, sadness, knives, toys etc.

8. Read and Sign and Dedicate yourself to implementing UNESCO's MANIFESTO 2000.

9. Embroider words and pictures on a "Peace Blanket, Afghan or Quilt". This can be used to wrap around the aggressor and the victim.

10. Develop a strategy for a Culture of Peace in your school.
a. Peace in yourself
b. Peace in your school and community
c. Peace with nature

11. Write new peace songs and poems to help heal the hurt. Perform them to the whole school at an assembly.

12. Make puppets that help you act out how you feel.

Stage 2: Curriculum Re-Evaluation.

13. Develop an ongoing curriculum strategy around the "United Nations International Year and Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World. " for your school. This curriculum will have your peace garden curriculum included in it as well.

14. Analyse all subjects taught through the UN International Culture of Peace statement, on UNESCO's website: (Check this website address)

Stage 3: Building your Peace Garden

15. Students and the staff at the school now begin the process of Planning, Planting, Dedicating your International School Peace Garden. Please Register your garden on the IHTEC website:

16. Please be kind and include the words "This is part of the International School Peace Gardens program, founded in 1993." and use the ISPG logo on all materials that go out to parents and the community.

17. Each student and teacher is to design a peace garden that includes ideas for a Culture of Peace through Tourism from your Curriculum.

18. Build your peace garden web page on your school website. Visit other school's peace garden websites at

19. Create a "Peace Garden News" and produce a newspaper with regular issues each year.

20. On the dedication day, where possible, have all students involved with the incident be part of the ceremony.