A taste of the upcoming Season at Wild Cortes

Wild Cortes will be giving a peak of the theme for the upcoming season  this Monday, between 1:00 and 3:00. 

Curator Donna Collins explained, “It’s a bit of a preview that’s going to be a family day activity. We will be taking the families out into the forest, measuring trees to find a mother tree. Then we’ll also be digging to pull up some of the mychorrhizal networks and looking at them here underneath the stereoscopes. After that, participants will be actually creating their own mitochondrial network that will link to their own tree root.  They will be building this themselves. Finally, we will be mimicking the connections that all of these mychorrhizal networks and trees make, by making the connections with string and connecting people.”

“The series that we’ve been working on has been climate crisis, and we’ve started out with what our apex predators need to survive and just information basically about them, how we need to learn to live with them, what we need to do to protect ourselves and the predators.”

“We did climate crisis, the cascade effect.  We used an apex prey animal, the deer,  to explain what kind of life circumstances they need. So their habitat, what’s good for them, and then give the people  information about how the world is changing and what that does to the deer populations.”

“This year we will again, be doing climate crisis, but now we’re dealing with trees. We are looking into ways that the trees talk amongst themselves, and what they can do to help reinvigorate the forest and to maintain the forest that we already have.” 

“The current exhibit will come down on the 1st of April and the new exhibit will be gradually installed.”

CC: So when is the grand opening?  

DC: I invite everybody to attend on the 22nd of April, which is Earth Day. 

CC: Can you tell me any highlights? 

DC: The Mother Tree. Typically mother trees are about 500 years old, but anything in the hundreds would be probably considered a mother tree.  I have a list of diameters of trees: for Douglas Fir, and for Cedar. You can see the average, or approximate, age of the trees by measuring the diameter.

I have a whole table that people can have so that they can measure their own trees and see how they’re doing and where their babies are and how they protect them. 

CC: On this preview that’s coming up on Monday, are people going to be seeing any mother trees? And do you have any estimate ages?

DC: “I haven’t gone out and looked at the specific trees yet. We know where we’re going to be.”  

“We did some exploration of tree ages at the Cortes Island School, and they have a Cedar tree there that is over 400 years old.  The kids measured almost every tree  in the schoolyard and we had some very old Douglas Fir. Some of them were 150 and 200 year old trees. Unfortunately there’s so much hard surface there – compacted soil, roads, asphalt and all of that – so they haven’t been able to generate too much in the way of new seedlings. I just called them empty nesters.” 

CC: I understand at the same time that you’re bringing in the Mother Tree Exhibit here, Wild Cortes is also expanding into the atrium. Do you want to talk a little bit about that in both the higher and the lower levels? 

DC: “We have permission from Linnaea to use the wall space that is covering the walkway around the atrium on the lower floor for reinstalling the Bee exhibit that was up at the main gallery for the last year or so.”

“That was removed for the next big exhibit that’s going up at the main gallery, but we are going to reinstall it here. The doorways from the handicapped entrance will be open this summer and people can come down and look as they walk towards Wild Cortes. They’ll also see a new display that’s being put up. It’ll be hung from the ceiling of the atrium. This will include a bald eagle with a rock fish in its claws.  There will be an immature heron and some gulls that are  trying to get the fish from the eagle. That will be installed permanently into the atrium for people to see.”

CC: So you’re still on winter hours? What are they? 

DC: “Winter hours are Fridays and Saturdays from noon until four, and the main gallery is the same hours. We would be switching to summer hours, I think it’s June the 15th. Then we go five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday, and it will be noon to four as well.”

Top image credit: Taken from poster for Family Day at Wild Cortes, Mon Feb 20,1-3 PM

Sign-up for Cortes Currents email-out:

To receive an emailed catalogue of articles on Cortes Currents, send a (blank) email to subscribe to your desired frequency: