Our society has broken with nature. Computer screens, sedentary lifestyles and busy schedules distance us from it, subtly or not so subtly, every day. The links of interdependence that bind us with the rest of living beings are coming undone – but in fact they’re imperishable. The reality is quite simple: we are nature. And yet, we’ve learned to position ourselves as the dominant species, blindly chipping away at the resources of our environment.
It must be admitted that the traditional means deployed over the past 30 years in school, in museums, in associations or government institutions have not succeeded in reversing the trend. We can let ourselves be overwhelmed by it, or we can see an enormous opportunity – the opportunity to reinvent ourselves, to create, alongside more traditional activities, new educational and experiential forms in order to revitalize those links. What a wonderful challenge for the hunters after experience that we are! Let’s bring our bodies into play and see. Let’s tease the animal that’s dozing inside us. Let’s feel nature, so that we kindle an appetite for preserving it.
A benevolent gaze
At the Botanical Garden, based on these observations, our team asked itself some powerful questions. How might adults and children establish a caring connection with trees…without considering them merely as the background to a stroll? Can we lead our visitors to relate, one “body” to another, with these living beings? More daring still: is it possible, through the magic of guided activity, to weave an empathetic relationship with crab apple trees or willows?
These are the challenges that our summertime event Heroes of the Forest will endeavor to meet. An adventure that brings you face to face with trees in a forest like no other, at the heart of the imaginary Arbol County, populated by exceptional beings: the trees in our collection. Tender-hearted children, parents and adults will negotiate the logs of the Hotfoot Trail, pass through wooden tunnels, build themselves a shelter, put up wooden towers for the ruler of the County and be enlightened about the botanical secrets of the masters of the game – the willow, the oak, the crab apple and the cherry tree. To crown the experience, storytellers will spark our imaginings and our creativity.
Experiencing the Arboretum
Why all that? For the happiness of playing with trees, recognizing their qualities and being inspired by them. For the joy of discovering that the bark of the cherry tree has funny little lines and that a single willow seed has the potential to produce a luxuriant tree. For the simple pleasure of setting foot in the Arboretum, of enjoying oneself freely while taking a few risks, of basking in the welcome shade of crab apple trees, of being brushed by the breeze and warmed by the sun. To escape, just like children, and experience nature.
And thus, in tiny steps, in the course of multiple beneficial experiences, at Space for Life and elsewhere we will repair the fabric of living things. And as Heroes, no less!