NNSL Photo/Graphic

Home page text size buttonsbigger textsmall textText size Email this articleE-mail this page

Inspired to make Mama's Heart
Garden project dedicated to mothers on Nunavut Day

Casey Lessard
Northern News Services
Monday, July 20, 2015

Grise Fiord's nurse Joanne Dignard has been busy doing transplants this summer.

NNSL photo/graphic

A crew of children helps Grise Fiord nurse Joanne Dignard garden in the hamlet. Dignard, right, got help creating a heart-shaped garden from Katie Qaunaq, left Rhonda Qamaniq, AJ Kiguktak, Denise Akeeagok and Rhonda's dog Booboo. - photo courtesy of Joanne Dignard

But the heart that is now thriving in the hamlet thanks to Dignard is strictly a group of rocks shaped as a heart with transplanted tundra, the end result being a beautification project in the area near the health centre.

"We called the heart 'Mama's Heart' because (Mayor) Meeka Kiguktak is called Mama and she loves tundra transplanting," Dignard said, noting the project was inspired by the mayor's garden.

She has been working with a group of about seven girls and two boys who get their hands dirty when they're available and interested.

"Occasionally I have just one or two, and sometimes three or four. Sometimes I have none," she said, adding she does the work when she's not busy inside the health centre. If she's in the garden, the children follow, she said.

"If you keep the kids busy, they don't get hurt," she said, explaining the health promotion and crime prevention benefits. "Getting healthy, keeping busy. And at the same time, I'm having exercise and losing weight, so that helps."

The mayor is very supportive of the project.

"I notice Joanne is very happy making the garden with the children," said Kiguktak. "It is probably very healthy for her, like a therapy. I think it's been good for everybody to see and the children to enjoy making such a pretty garden."

Mama's Heart was finished in time to be dedicated on Nunavut Day as a tribute to all "mamas," Dignard said.

The next project is a big flower that will be titled The Flower of Hope. Community members will be asked to pitch in, painting rocks with messages that encourage healthy living, such as "quit smoking," said Kiguktak.

"She's making it really beautiful now with the (flower), and we look forward to the final results," she added.

Dignard may do another design next year, too. But this year, a third project will occupy Dignard and her team's time.

"We're making a picnic area, too, so that will be a little place where we can celebrate," she said. "I've already had a barbecue with the kids. It will be a little area to have things happening."

E-mailWe welcome your opinions. Click here to e-mail a letter to the editor.