Trees with Heartbeats

Breathing tree with lights
As an urban forester and lover of installation art, I would be remiss to not share this installation that coincides with the Olympics in London this year.

Sometimes I think it's difficult for people to really grasp that trees are breathing, functioning beings with intricate processes that somehow come together even though these organisms do not have nervous systems or brains like humans and animals.  This is one of the ideas that drew me to study forestry in the first place, because it's so beyond my understanding no matter how long I ponder it.  I will never stop being amazed by trees and what they are capable of despite how still and static they appear, and I wish people didn't miss out so often in regards to understanding what our communities gain by having trees growing throughout them.

This installation is an educational and artistic perspective of environmental services of trees that was put in place to raise awareness about these benefits.

From RTTC:

"The ‘Breathing Trees’ display is based in Russell Square – one of they city’s best known public areas – and is intended to change a typical city park into a living, breathing organism using light and sound installations.The artwork is a collaboration between Camden Borough Council and digital art company Creatmosphere. It uses a series of multi-colour LED lights positioned within two of the square’s largest trees to visually transform the canopy into the ‘lungs’ of the city, rising and falling to the sound of breathing and a beating heart.

London’s focus on sustainability ahead of the Olympics Games has been praised by NGOs such as WWF and Bioregional.

And Councillor Phil Jones, Cabinet member for sustainability at Camden said the art would help reinforce their efforts to remind the public of how vital trees are to urban areas.

'Breathing trees in not just a visual audio spectacle…it will reinforce our message that our natural environment must be protected,' he said.

'Without protecting our wonderful natural resources we will be unable to tackle the many environmental issues in the years to come.' "

In case you're interested in what services trees do provide, check out the National Arbor Day Foundation's information about tree benefits.