EcoWalk shows the relationship between arts and the Arboretum

by | Oct 13, 2016 | A&E

Jason Ramroop
Arts Reporter

Humber College’s L Space Gallery teamed up with the North campus Arboretum to give staff, students and community members an inside look at the botanical gardens in the Arb.

Guests were invited to join the Cultures of Ecology Artist Walk through the 101 hectare Arboretum on Sept. 30 and explore part of the wooded area, home to more than 1,700 species of plants and animals.

Artist and Humber Arboretum staff member Benjamin Verdicchio led a small group for an hour-long walk through the forest and riverside trails of the Arboretum, started by Humber students in 1977 for education and research and featuring over six kilometers of trails.

Verdicchio said the purpose of the Ecology Artist Walk is “bridging the relationship between the Humber galleries and the Humber Arboretum.”

“I come from an environment background and an art background, and for me there is no separation. The purpose is just to do what I think is done best together,” Verdicchio said.

“I shared some things of interest and I was hoping to get some of other people’s shared interest in relation to the kind of nature because at this point people’s relationship with these environment are often aesthetic,” he added.

Verdicchio explained how architectural and artistic elements play into the living ecosystem of the Arboretum.
“Stone fences became a natural habitat for snakes,” he said.

Verdicchio explained plant formations keep deer and other animals from reaching Humber’s parking lot while white spots on building windows keep a clean look and make the buildings blend into the environment.

Humber student and North Space gallery staff member Adrien Yiptong found the walk “pretty enlightening.”

“Being a Humber College student you always just think about the Arboretum kind of being there just as something tacked on to the school and not really having any depth to it, but the walk was eye opening in that sense to realize that it is its own thing in its own right,” Yiptong said.

Along with the Cultures of Ecology Artist Walk, other programs are held at the Arboretum, such as the annual summer camp, which offers children the opportunity to learn about the environment and art of the Arboretum.

“I’m also interested in what more it can be,” Verdicchio said. “Both art and nature, and the role it can play in someone’s life, and how much you engage with it.”