Posted by: georginaferry | February 13, 2011

I touched the rainforest

Yesterday the Museum saw an eclectic gathering of schoolchildren, artists, local, national and international notables (including the Colombian ambassador and the Chancellor of Oxford University, Chris Patten)  as the artist Angela Palmer launched the next phase of her Ghost Forest art project, ‘I touched the rainforest’.

The stumps of ten rainforest trees have been displayed on the Museum lawn since July last year (see my earlier post). As the seasons change they take on new meanings: their tropical trunks covered in snow in December, they graphically illustrated the extremes we might experience as the climate changes.

In the remaining five months of the exhibition, Angela hopes that every schoolchild in the county will visit the trees, touch them and smell them. They will be invited to use the experience to inform their learning about deforestation and climate change. Each school will also have the opportunity to plant a tree in a new stand of native hardwood trees being created on Cumnor Hill.

Max from the Big Bang serves sausage and mash

After watching a moving film about the creation of the project and its impact on visitors in Trafalgar Square, Copenhagen and Oxford, we trooped out to enjoy hot drinks and sausage and mash in the February sunshine. We have become so used to the presence of the trees that it was a wonderful opportunity to look at them anew, and to think about the messages they convey.

I am frankly in awe of Angela’s drive and passion. Having conceived the project, she charmed, inspired and cajoled an astonishing array of people to collaborate on making it a reality.

Anglea Palmer and the Ghost Forest at Oxford University Museum of Natural History

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