CONIFERS: THE LIFE OF TREES
Our newest temporary exhibition in the Exploration Center of the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden opened July 8, 2019. CONIFERS: THE LIFE OF TREES is a collaboration with the Morton Arboretum, Texas Forestry Museum, Texas Forestry Association, and Stephen F. Austin State University.
Dustin Miller, Director of Experience and Innovation, conceived the idea based on a professional learning workshop he participated in several years ago in the east Texas Piney Woods. The weeklong training, sponsored by the Texas Forestry Association, afforded teachers the opportunity to experience the forestry industry firsthand through daily field trips to managed forests, lumber companies and sites like the Texas Forestry Museum, all of which were reinforced with hands-on lessons to share with students and children. “It was an incredible learning experience,” says Miller, “because it gave me a holistic view of forestry that I had never considered. We went from observing field upon field of seedlings and tree breeding to seeing finished products that end up in Texas houses – and everything in between.”
Miller relied on this experience, and professional contacts he made, to construct the CONIFERS exhibit. “When the Morton Arboretum shared a group of conifer posters with us, I knew I wanted to build an exhibit around them. I think many of us don’t consider how important conifers – pines, spruce, and cedars – are in our everyday life. My hope is this exhibit does that for our Arboretum guests.”
The exhibit is a combination of artifacts from the exhibit partners. It shows the basics of conifer biology and anatomy through Stephen F. Austin’s conifer collection, featuring cones from all over the world, as well as full color, informational text provided by the Morton Arboretum. It continues with a history of logging and the pine industry in Texas with historic artifacts and photos from the Texas Forestry Museum. Then, visitors will see the myriad of ways that conifers are used to construct everyday products – from building materials to food packaging. These product samples were made possible by the Texas Forestry Association. Throughout the exhibit, art, historical narratives and inspirational quotes demonstrate how engrained conifers are in our lives.
Visitors will also be encouraged to explore the Children’s Adventure Garden to find examples of conifers in the garden. Special conifer-related activities will take place in the Exploration Center and throughout the Children’s Adventure Garden.
On display through the end of the year, CONIFERS is sure to engage visitors of all ages – and, best of all, is included in the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden admission.