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Revisionist Landscapes: Luminary Forestation

The Young Naturalists Club offers paper trees in a communal, symbolic reforestation effort.

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Exhibit 136, Museum of Natural History, 1747 Summer Street

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In this interactive piece, viewers are invited to assist in reconstructing a forest by travelling the city with paper lanterns. The ecosystem of an Acadian forest is a unique combination of evergreens such as red and white spruce, as well as deciduous trees like sugar maple and yellow birch, all grown out of rocky, loamy soil. But the landscape of the peninsula as we see it today has been widely cultivated and altered, with rivers buried, non-native species introduced, and much of the greenspaces overtaken by development.

In Revisionist Landscapes: Luminary Reforestation, we are able to re-imagine the landscape as it once was, rebuilding it in our imaginations for the night. Visitors are invited to create a paper lantern printed with leaves of real trees indigenous to the area, and "reforest" the city by travelling with them in tow.

The Young Naturalists Club, a local organization that teaches young people to be stewards of the environment, serves as our tour guide to this re-imagined landscape, this ghost forest, with information on Acadian forest ecosystems and the traditional use of the plants that grow within them. Afterwards guests can take their own printed lantern, lit with a tealight, and move through the city, filling the urban landscape with an illuminated canopy.

Perfect for the young naturalist at heart, this creative and educational visit to the Museum of Natural History will help guests better understand the landscape around them, and involve them in a collective re-imagining of the spaces we occupy.

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