Trinity Western celebrates Blaauw Eco-Forest

Art helped save what was once known as McLellan Park Forest in Langley, and art will help celebrate its preservation on October 3.

The Township of Langley planned to sell the park for development in 2012, until local artists and conservationists rallied and organized several arts events in the forest. The Han Shan poetry project displayed 200 poems from poets all over the world in the trees, drawing attention to the beauty and worth of the forest. This and other events eventually attracted a $2.5 million donation from the Blaauw family to Trinity Western University for the purchase of the land. The University promised to preserve it for education, research, and community engagement.

To celebrate the second anniversary of the forest’s preservation, TWU is ensuring that history repeats itself: Once again, the community will gather to celebrate the forest and all it has given through art.

The celebration of the Blaauw Eco Forest, at 257A Street off 84 Avenue, will draw attention to the interconnectedness of art and the environment. A reprisal of the Han Shan poetry installation will be a highlight. The celebration will also feature poetry readings, as well as remarks from a local artist who created a series of paintings in which she embedded the poems inspired by the original exhibit. A TWU graduate will perform a choreographed dance in the forest, and OPUS Women's Choir will perform. “We want to celebrate with art because that’s what saved the forest in the first place,” said David Clements, Ph.D., a professor of biology and environmental studies at TWU. “The forest is more than something utilitarian. It’s meant to inspire people like this one has. We take trees for granted, but people have seen the trees in the Blaauw forest to mean much more than wood. There’s deep meaning there.”

The forest has also enabled and inspired the field work of several TWU biology students. Sterling Balzer studied red-legged frogs, a rare species that thrives in the forest, and Beth Guirr discovered non-vascular plants and a bog there. Both students will present their work on the morning of the celebration at Trinity Western.

The celebration is a part of three days of events on the TWU campus dedicated to celebrating the relationships between artists, scientists and the environment. 

EVENT AT A GLANCE:

Blaauw Eco-Forest Celebration
Saturday, October 3
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Blaauw Eco Forest

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