May 20th, 2010

A Social Network for Nature Teachers & All Kinds of Stick Sculptures

by Jonah Holland, PR & Marketing Coordinator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

As you probably know, here at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden we love education. And in turn that means we love teachers too!
I’ve written about it before. But I keep coming back to it, because our mission in everything we do here at the Garden has roots  in education.

As the social media point person for the Garden, I’m always seeking out connecting with others in the Gardening world who have a similar mission to Lewis Ginter. This week, I hit pay dirt, when I discovered that the Children & Nature Network has a Ning community, made up entirely of educators who have a mission to integrate nature into their teaching. After only just a few minutes on the site, I felt like I’d found a new home.  In particular, an article on creating live willow tree structures for children to play in caught my eye.  Although I’d never heard of it, I knew immediately what a hit it would be with my own kids.  Come to find, we’ve got one right here in the Children’s Garden at Lewis Ginter in the Bird and Butterfly Meadow! After several years of careful pruning, we’ve got a nice looking tunnel, and at the end a fort!  It’s too short for adults  — so it’s the perfect kid hang out!

Living willow fort in the Children's Garden

A living willow fort in the Children's Garden: come on in!

Living Willow Structure at Lewis Ginter Children's Garden Speaking of sculptures made out of plants, just wait until next spring when

stick sculptor Patrick Doughterty comes to Lewis Ginter for 3 weeks (May 2 – May 22, 2011) to create one of his amazing woven stick installations that both children and adults will be able to explore.   Garden visitors will witness the creation of a monumental, site-specific sculpture made entirely of woven sticks and twigs.   Doughtery is an internationally-renowned artist who gathers natural materials, and draws inspiration from the surrounding environment, as he designs larger-than-life structures  may remind visitors of a nest, cocoon, or even a fairy tale dwelling.

In fact, Dougherty will be in town next week for a site visit to get some ideas about what sort of structure he might create and where.  Stay tuned to this blog for more posts, photos and video from his his site visit!

Jonah Holland is Digital Content Manager at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, where she has worked for 14 years overseeing social media, the blog, and the website. She is also a mom, yogi, open water swimmer, gardener, and seeker. She's been known to go for a walk in the Garden and come back with hundreds of plant photos, completely inspired to write her next blog post.

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