The non-profit society that became Heartwood Folk School started in 2010 as "Pender Community Transition"
(PCT). It was formed after a New Year’s candlelight vigil in which Pender Island residents stood together for global action on climate change. They also stood for the principle that all communities need to “transition” to become more sustainable and resilient. This led residents to Zorah Staar, Julie Johnston, Peter Carter, Yvonne MacKenzie and others to create a new non-profit society, which offered community building discussions, events and classes.
By 2014, it was clear that there was a demand for practical classes on food growing, sustainable energy, traditional skills, well-being and other community capacity building, so in February 2014, PCT was became the non-profit Heartwood Folk School Society. The aim was to offer skill-building education for all ages. Over the years Heartwood has been directed by a board of active volunteers, and was also directed for over a year by long-time Pender resident Mae Moore. Currently it is being stewarded by a volunteer board of directors.
What's a folk school? Folk Schools began in Denmark and the U.S. and can now be found worldwide. The current model focuses on practical education connected with the place we live. Many valuable, beautiful skills (sometimes called “lost arts”) come from a more resilient past in our communities, and these are the skills we aim to teach. Other important skills we teach include sustainable innovations (such as solar thermal technologies and eco-building), which are useful for living sustainably in our region.
Skill-building education like this can help us sustain the earth and respond more resiliently to local and worldwide challenges affecting island communities. In addition, the Folk School process of teaching practical skills hands-on connects our community in powerful ways!