Prestigious Award for The Morton Arboretum's Animal Houses
Congrats For The Critter Cribs
LISLE, IL (September 17, 2009) - Animal Houses, this year's outdoor exhibition at The Morton Arboretum comprised of eleven whimsical, imaginative, human-scale animal dwellings, has won a Superior Achievement Award from the Illinois Association of Museums (IAM).
"We were impressed by many facets" of Animal Houses, which "can be held as a standard for the museum community," IAM Vice President David Becker said in a letter to the Arboretum. Animal Houses was one of 16 exhibits submitted for an award, and one of three Superior Achievement Award winners.
IAM will present the awards on October 2 at noon at the Chateau Hotel and Convention Center in Bloomington.
Animal Houses, a first of its kind exhibition in the Chicago area, is designed to help visitors learn the ways that trees provide habitat to animals, and to reinforce the importance of appreciating and protecting trees.
"Animal Houses allows children and adults to see, experience, and learn how animals interact with trees and the environment. We're encouraging them to explore these dwellings from the animal's perspective," says Anamari Dorgan, Arboretum Manager of Interpretation and Exhibits. The exhibition remains open until November 15.
Professional designers and architects created the 11 houses, 10 of them in three habitats. The Pollywog Pond, Beaver Lodge, Skunk Den, and Great Blue Heron Rookery are in the wetland near Bur Reed Marsh. At the Schulenberg Prairie, it's the Spider Web, Ant Colony, and Coyote Den. The Raccoon Den, Fallen Log, and the Squirrel Drey are in the woodland near Big Rock Visitor Station. An eleventh house near the Visitor Center is The Guest House, a house for humans where visitors can find an introduction to the exhibition along with some of the "neighbors" that share our homes and backyards.
Visitors can let their imaginations run wild in climbing the Squirrel Drey, tunneling through the Ant Colony, perching in a Heron Rookery, tiptoeing through a Coyote Den, and playing in a Pollywog Pond. Youngsters can pretend they're spiders by crawling on the Spider Web that's suspended above the ground.
The Raccoon Den is approximately 24 feet high! Its woven willow artistry is so popular that it will remain in place at the Arboretum though spring 2010 so visitors can experience it throughout the changing seasons. The Beaver Lodge has an "escape route" and kids can pretend they're under water. The Skunk Den will have the whole family laughing as it has fun with this animal's notoriously bad eyesight!
The Fallen Log is a surprising animal version of an apartment complex. Visitors will see how a squirrel, raccoon, and even insects might live all in one place. The experience "is like turning over a rock, anything could be there," Dorgan says. There are also benches inside, so human "guests" can pause and take in the whole experience.
Frequently, Animal Houses builders used environmentally-friendly products. Some houses include sculpted elements made of papercrete, a product principally made of recycled paper that's very strong and substitutes for concrete. One house is made of woven willow, and several incorporate brush cleared from the Arboretum during routine management.
Animal Houses is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. or sunset, whichever is earlier and is free with Arboretum admission, which is $11/adult, $10/senior, $8/child ages 2-17, and under age two is free. Wednesday is discount day. Parking is free.
The Sara Lee Foundation is the Healthy Lifestyles Supporting Sponsor of Animal Houses.
The Morton Arboretum is an internationally recognized 1,700-acre outdoor museum with collections of 4,117 kinds of trees, shrubs, and other plants from around the world. The Arboretum's beautiful natural landscapes, gardens, research and education programs, and year-round family activities support its mission - the planting and conservation of trees and other plants for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world. Conveniently located at I-88 and Rte. 53 in Lisle, Illinois, the Arboretum is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central Time or sunset, whichever is earlier. The Children's Garden is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., March through October, and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., November through February. Visit Press Room at www.mortonarb.org, call to learn more.
Media Contacts: Gina Tedesco, (office) 630-725-2103,