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See the Forest (For the Trees) at Knoch Knolls Park

The following blog post describes a nature art exhibit that was featured in 2016. Some of the trees have been transplanted to ensure their health.

There’s a secret message at Knoch Knolls Park, and it’s written in trees.

“See the Forest (For the Trees)” installed just south of Knoch Knolls Nature Center

Everyone is invited to decode the word that is hidden in the seven trees of a new nature art installation by environmental artist, Jenny Kendler, entitled, “See the Forest (For the Trees)”.

The new artwork is located along the trail near the Knoch Knolls Nature Center, located at 320 Knoch Knolls Road. 

 Summer campers walking toward the Nature Center along the path where the new artwork is installed.

View of artwork with educational sign that explains how to decode the message in the trees

 “A sign posted by the artwork gives you the clues needed to figure out the word,” said Knoch Knolls Nature Center Manager Angelique Harshman. “If you want to check whether your answer is correct or if you have a question, please stop in at the Nature Center. Our staff is glad to help.”

Artist Jenny Kendler was inspired in part by an ancient language in which every letter in the alphabet also stood for a tree. “I realized you could invert this relationship and essentially write a word with the trees themselves,” says Ms. Kendler. “So I’m posing a fun challenge to the public to come down to the Knoch Knolls Nature Center and decode the hidden word that’s inside these trees.” 

Artist Jenny Kendler stands in front of the new artwork

Bookending the line of seven trees that spell the word in a sculptural garden are the upended roots of two fallen trees, offering visitors an up-close look at a part of trees that is usually unseen.

The trees and root plates were installed at Knoch Knolls Park on July 12. Learn more in the article and video in the Daily Herald and the article in the Naperville Sun. NCTV-17 also was on site during the installation. Watch the video here

Frederico Flores (left) and Daniel Diez, of the Bolingbrook office of Bartlett Tree Experts, 
discuss placement of one of the root plates with Ms. Kendler.


Artist Jenny Kendler, is the first-ever artist-in-residence for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and her work has been exhibited internationally. Scott Stringer, a certified arborist and arborist representative with the Bolingbrook office of Bartlett Tree Experts, managed the tree planting and moving of the root plates, one of which weighed approximately 600 pounds.  In the background is the grove of mature trees just south of the new artwork at Knoch Knolls Park. 

“See the Forest” was made possible by Bartlett Tree Experts, which was interested in commissioning an art installation that would incorporate tree roots, to be a springboard for building appreciation for tree roots and their importance in tree and ecological health. 

For instance, did you know that:

•tree roots typically extend from the trunk at least as far as the branches do 
•most tree roots are in the top 18 inches of soil
•tree roots help reduce flooding by intercepting stormwater 
•tree roots improve water quality by filtering pollutants.  

Knoch Knolls Nature Center overlooking the pond

Nature Art Week

Nature Art Week at Knoch Knolls Nature Center is coming August 6-14, 2016 and will include a variety of activities: 

•Arborist-led tree identification walks
•A TLC for Trees tree-care talk and Q&A
•An Art & the Environment talk by the artist and meet-and-greet with the artist and an arborist
•A drop-in make-and-take art/craft project
•Tree-related self-guided activities

Thanks to Christine Esposito of Terracom for her contributions to this blog post.

Nature Art Week and “See the Forest” are sponsored by Bartlett Tree Experts with additional support by the Ex.Change project of Terracom

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