Visitors to the Forest Preserve's "Found Objects Sculpture Trail" are being encouraged to grab a scavenger hunt flyer and search for individual items that make up the seven pieces of artwork on display near Snapper Pond.
The flyer lists specific discarded parts that went into making up each unique artwork along the sculpture trail. The exhibit opened June 1 and will run through March 31, 2021, in Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve.
Artist Jennifer Meyer scavenged discarded items to create the sculptures, so it makes sense to add a scavenger hunt to the exhibit, said Suzy Lyttle, an interpretive naturalist at the preserve's Plum Creek Nature Center.
“The whole fun of these sculptures is that they are created with old scraps of satellites, cans, pipes, bike and car parts, and more,” she said. “It’s really intriguing to look at the list of all the sculpture ingredients and see if you can pick out individual items on each piece. It makes you stop and take a second glance."
Meyer said she is constantly on a scavenger hunt of her own as she looks for pieces to add to her creations.
"When I go for walks with my dog, I am always looking for things that have been discarded that could be reused again," she said. "It is like a recycling scavenger hunt."
The scavenger hunt activity along Snapper Pond Trail is the perfect way to bring that same experience to visitors who tour the sculptures, she added.
"The Forest Preserve District is offering an opportunity for participants to recreate the experience of their eyes opening a little wider while they look for the same things that my eyes saw," she said. "What our eyes see can lead to all kinds of changes, like the creation of the found object sculptures. If we just open our eyes a little wider we can see all kinds of things that can be reused and recycled."
The scavenger hunt flyer lists discarded items that went into making each sculpture. Items on the list include a satellite dish, rake head, car hood, Mini Cooper muffler and bicycle handlebars.
“Some of the waste was created from my own personal consumption of our natural resources like my furnace and my car muffler, but most of it was lying around in the street or in the alley,” Meyer said of her sculptures.
The seven sculptures included in the exhibit are: Extremely Rare Tall Poppies, Three Old Furnace Fellas, Ramona, Iron Aviator, Two Astonishingly Large Poppies, Finnegan Z. Frog and The Schwinn Boys Choir.
Lyttle said she hopes people appreciate the fact that the items used to create the sculptures would be sitting in a landfill right now if not for Meyer's creativity.
“Instead, they are now part of a whimsical art piece! When I walk the trail, I still get a smile on my face seeing Ramona blowing bubbles and the Iron Aviator with goggles on,” Lyttle said.
The sculpture trail exhibit, which is made possible by funding from The Nature Foundation of Will County, has been a welcome addition to the preserve, she added.
“Recently, I was walking near some young visitors who were taking pictures and shooting videos along the trail. When they saw the sculptures, they stopped and said, 'Whoooa! Hey, look at this, it’s pretty cool,' as they were viewing The Schwinn Boys Choir sculpture."
Scavenger hunt flyers, which include a trail map, are available at the trailhead. Flyers will be available inside the nature center when it reopens. The nature center and other Forest Preserve visitor centers have been closed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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