The Tree of Life
How is a raven like a writing desk? At Waseca Biomes, both (well, an African pitta and a drafting table) were parts of our process building the Tree of Life
! A product that allows children to experience scientific classification firsthand, the Tree of Life
comprises 69 wooden leaves, 21 wooden tree parts, 108 fact file cards with wooden box, a fabric control chart, a research master and this guide to presentation
. Because we're so excited, we'd like to give a behind-the-scenes look at our own process building the Tree of Life:
from beginning brainstorms to designing, printing, sewing, and assembling the materials, this has been a truly hands-on experience of building the classification of life forms!
Building the Tree of Life!
An idea that was years in the making, we knew that our desire for a beautiful, interactive material for children to explore the Tree of Life could be a reality. But we also realized that for the materials to come together, we'd need to step outside of our regular production processes and enlist the help of our community!
A product of teamwork: Chelsea from Waseca Biomes sewing Tree of Life mats (printed by Athens' own Double Dutch Press)
From step one, the Tree of Life
grew as a collaborative effort. Beginning with illustrations and research by our own Sharon Duncan (founder of Waseca Biomes!), we brainstormed a design and accompanying text, assisted by Priscilla Spears, PhD, our science consultant who advised our layout and checked our facts. Waseca's Dana Jo then expertly crafted the layout and graphic design work whose leaves and branches were cut by University of Georgia professor Michael Oliveri
in his studio.
UGA's Michael Oliveri laser-cutting leaves and branches in his studio
Double Dutch Press
of Athens, GA, screenprinted the beautiful canvas mats that Waseca's Chelsea carefully sewed.
Amanda and Katherine from Double Dutch Press
After all the collaborative work that resulted in beautiful cards, laser-cut leaves and branches, and screenprinted and handsewn mats, we decided our precious material needed a box
. We came up with this...
Chelsea from Waseca Biomes showing off the Tree of Life materials in the Tree of Life Box
A sliding-top box
with two levels of storage for the Tree of Life
's materials to nest.
The Tree of Life in its natural habitat
We hope you enjoyed a glimpse into our team's process as much as we enjoyed crafting these materials! How does your Tree of Life grow? Share your stories and pics in the comments!