The Morton Arboretum – Animal House Exhibit


The Animal Houses Exhibit at The Morton Arboretum allowed us an extraordinary opportunity to combine our love for the landscape architecture, environmental awareness, desire to educate, and our passion for creating interactive artwork. Living Habitats submitted our rendition of a Great Blue Heron Rookery and was selected for the Animal Houses Exhibit from May to November 2009 as an interactive feature in the wetland group. The goal of the exhibit was to educate the visiting public about the types of animal houses that they might find near their own homes, how different wild animals live, and why protecting other animals’ houses is important.

The piece was designed as a “human-scale” interpretation of the Blue Herons’ stick nest, sized such that a ten year old child would feel like a fledgling. The large nest was surrounded by three salvaged and repurposed poplar trees sourced from a woodland restoration elsewhere on the grounds. Set into the bare canopy of these salvaged poplars were life-size nests and heron sculptures meant to convey the feeling of a crowded rookery that often occur in and around groves of standing dead trees.

Research is integral in the work that we do and this project was no exception as extensive research was done to ensure that the sculptures were well-informed interpretations of the eggs, nest, and habitat. Our team designed, fabricated, and installed the entire piece allowing us a careful and steady hand in the delivery of the exhibit. We are especially proud of the way we utilized recycled and repurposed material and minimized disruption to the grounds and to the visiting public during construction of the exhibit.

While only temporary in nature, the design and installation conformed to all national playground safety standards.

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