New art show celebrates plants native to the Peace

Many of the flowers in the new art show were photographed by Garret

Susan Thompson
Express Staff

A new art show at the Peace River library celebrates the beauty of the many different plants that grow wild in the region.

The Plants of Peace art show opened on Wednesday August 28 and is being organized by the local chapter of the Alberta Native Plant Council (ANPC). The ANPC is a province-wide organization that promotes awareness and education about native plants in Alberta.

The council issues a newsletter and holds an annual workshop among other educational work.

Boreal research scientist Melanie Bird is the facilitator of the local chapter of the council.

“I just like to bring together folks that want to learn about plants,” Bird says.

Bird says the Peace River chapter of the council has been around now for about three years, and credits her colleague Wanda Watts with spearheading the local initiative.

“The idea was just that, within our group we do anything related to native plants. I do a lot of speaking on learning about them education-wise, but there’s a lot of folks that just enjoy the beauty of native plants, and Peace River has a ton to offer,” says Bird.

Bird says the new show is about the aesthetic side of native plants that some people may not be familiar with. The exhibit includes pressed plant art, photographs, leather leaf jewellry and original art.

Most of the work is by members of the local native plant council chapter.

Besides hosting the art show, the Peace River Plant Study Group will also start meeting at the NAIT Boreal Research Centre on the first Wednesday of every month starting in November.

“The boreal is a wonderful, beautiful place,” Bird says.

“A lot of folks take it for granted that it’s just around, and they recognize things in the forest but they might not know what they are, or they might not know about the ecology about them, how to identify them, maybe why they grow where they grow, so we talk about a range of different topics.”

For instance, Bird says the Peace is home to carnivorous plants, one of which is included in the art show.

“Anybody who goes out in the muskeg would recognize it. It’s called a sundew, and it traps small flies and eats them for nitrogen, basically,” she says.

“So people might know what that is, but they might not know a lot about that, or how to recognize it or what the name is, so our meetings are for that reason. The topic may be how to tell different grasses apart, or why do carnivorous plants eat insects and where do they grow. Or it might be about different moss types.”

The meetings emphasize group participation, so all members are invited to present on topics they may be knowledgeable about, such as one member who presented on local mushroom species.

The art and photography depicting native plants will be on display at the Peace River library until the end of September.

These aspen leaf earrings were made out of bicycle inner tube by artist and boreal scientist Catherine Brown.

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