‘ … Upon whose bosom snow has lain; Who intimately lives with rain …’

No, not me weathering another Derbyshire winter, but a reference (care of Joyce Kilmer) to all the tree-themed activity in and around the Manchester Museum that’s been going on as part of the launch of the Collecting Trees exhibition (22 June – 6 October 2013).  This is funded by the British Ecological Society and part of their Festival of Ecology (15 Jun-4 Aug) taking place across the UK to celebrate their centenary.

My last post mentioned the setting up of the exhibition.  On Thursday the arrival of the lovely lynx, capercaillie and fighting stag beetles caused much excitement – a little late for the opening but well worth the wait and we all gave a hand to get them installed.

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This heavy case required a 7-person lift and much pre-discussion, co-ordination and removal of light fittings (intentional obviously).

Stag do.

Stag do.

On Friday I put on a handling table for a Magic Carpet story-telling and activity session for under-5s using objects from the Herbarium.   The Trees exhibition space made a fantasy setting, especially decked out with rugs and draped material by Kerry Beeston who facilitated the session.  As well as a story session, there were activities, crafts and dressing up.  I used the objects to prompt conversations following on from the story.  These included pine cones, eaten and uneaten, open and closed, which were not too precious to be handled by little fingers; a lovely rattly bean from a Flame of the Forest tree (Delonix regia) and a coco-de-mer fruit.  Photos and more familiar beans were on hand to help the young and not-so-young visitors connect with these strange objects and the magnifying glasses were a big hit.

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The magical Collecting Trees exhibition space.

The magically transformed Collecting Trees exhibition space.

The Big Saturday event the following day was very busy with stalls and activities in and around the building.

Jesper Lauder ran another Urban Naturalist walk around the environs of the Museum (see post of 2 June 2013) and, as for last time, I’d helped Curator Rachel Webster to look out some herbarium objects relating to herbal remedies to be available for the group to look at and discuss:

Comfrey, Rose hips and Lavender.

Comfrey, Rose hips and Lavender.

I manned another handling table and after the success of the Magic Carpet session I decided to use the same objects again, adding in a beautiful crown gall and a grey squirrel to vary the texture and range of interest.  I had great fun chatting with the visitors and the very knowledgeable contributors to the event.  I’m not sure why this might be but the majority of under-5s I spoke to thought pine cones were acorns!

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My tree outfit.

Finally, I was asked to provide a photographic flavour of the event which was a great opportunity to have a nosy round at everything else that was going on – here’s my collage of the goings on.

3 thoughts on “‘ … Upon whose bosom snow has lain; Who intimately lives with rain …’

  1. Hi Claire,

    Would it be alright with you if I pinned your photo of the comfrey rosehips and lavender to our Materia Medica board on pinterest? Since the herbarium is closed this week I’m running out of fresh photos to pin!

    See you soon!

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