Experience Redwoods in Downtown Brooklyn

Redwood trees in art installation
“Lost Man Creek” by Spencer Finch. Photo by Inhabitant, Flickr Creative Commons
For many New Yorkers, exposure to redwood trees only happens when viewing the giant sequoia exhibit (external link) in the Hall of North American Forests at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan. The sequoia cross-section on display was once part of a 1,400-year-old tree that grew to over 300 feet tall in California before it was cut down in 1891. While it’s only a relatively small piece of a much larger tree, this giant tree cookie has helped many museum-goers imagine the scale of these ancient trees.

For a limited time, a new art installation in Brooklyn offers New Yorkers another way to experience the scale of redwood trees. “Lost Man Creek(external link) by Spencer Finch, an American artist who channels his impressions of the natural world into his art, recreated a living model of an important forested watershed in Redwood National Park.

When searching for the appropriate watershed to recreate, Finch turned to Save the Redwoods League. The League identified Lost Man Creek, a 790-acre section of Redwood National Park, to demonstrate the majesty of the redwoods. Lost Man Creek is just ten minutes north of the League-owned Orick Mill Site.

To lay the groundwork and recreate the terrain for his New York display, Finch trucked in loads of dirt and used topographical data provided by the League. When looking for information about the size and number of the trees, Finch again turned to the League. Using Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) surveys, the League determined the heights of the trees in the surveyed area and shared the data with Finch.

Due to the immense size of coastal redwoods, Finch decided to use the smaller dawn redwood for the installation and scale his piece down to one one-hundredth of the forest’s actual size. Working with the Public Art Fund, Finch was able to plant his installation in an urban section of Brooklyn, the Metro Tech Commons.

The installation opened to the public on October 1, 2016 and will be on display until March 11, 2018. To appreciate the true majesty of the redwood forest, try to visit in the summer because, unlike its coastal redwood and giant sequoia cousins, the dawn redwood loses its leaves in the winter.

For more information about “Lost Man Creek,” visit the Public Art Fund’s website and watch this amazing video about the construction of the installation.

Know of other redwood art exhibits? Leave a comment and let other redwoods enthusiasts know!

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About the author

Sonia spent her summers in college interning for the League before joining in 2016. She currently serves as a Conservation Analyst and brings with her an extensive knowledge of the fish and invertebrates of the Bay Area.

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