Heart in the Haystack, pledges to plant native species
10’x10’x10′, branching, coco fiber, salt marsh hay, wire, sticks, native plants, twine, yarn
Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, MA, 2021
Historically, the salt marsh haystack was a structure made to store nutritious food for working animals. These iconic haystacks were beautiful beacons of function made up of Saltmeadow Cordgrass, Spartina patens. This plant was a critical crop in local history and vitally important now in capturing water and providing a buffer to our increasingly aggressive storms and rising seas.
On the Cape Ann Museum Green in Gloucester, MA this historical form was reinterpreted as an interactive experience to learn about our local ecology through plants. Cordgrass is just one of the many native plants that are part of the interconnected web of what makes this environment along the coast healthy and unique. Native plants, like New England Asters and Blue Lobelia, which have been here for thousands of years are best suited to provide the most nutrients for insects and birds. Without these creatures and their ability to migrate, nest, propagate, and germinate the patterns and structures of nature will degrade, sending the balance of Earth’s systems into decline. This public project taught about these special plants and asked people to make a pledge to plant one of these plants in the ground. In the act of hanging a stick from various native local trees within this haystack I invited people to become part of this project. By planting native species and converting lawns and properties to habitat, we are adding places for our local creatures to thrive and taking environmental stewardship into our own hands. Small steps you take can aggregate and make a big difference in the health of our future planet.