The Field Museum’s Keller Science Action Center recently debuted Rooted! The Richness of Land and Culture in Pembroke Township IL, which exhibits the history of this community’s intimate relationship with its natural environment. Pembroke is located about 70 miles south of downtown Chicago, in Kankakee County. Here, we reprint the FMNH’s announcement from the 25 February issue of The Natural News publication.
New exhibit explores the connection between Pembroke residents and their landscape. A new Field Museum-sponsored exhibit launched with a community forum on December 16, 2015 at the Pembroke Public Library in Hopkins Park, Illinois. The crowd of 50 people consisted of longtime residents sharing their experiences and knowledge, students learning more about their regional ecology and heritage, and a variety of environmental professionals as well as resident farmers and herbalists.
Rooted! The Richness of Land and Culture was co-curated by local experts from Pembroke Township and Action Center’s Jacob Campbell and Erika Hasle. Supported by the Science & Education Innovation Award, the exhibit draws attention to residents’ long tradition of stewardship, herbalism, and small-scale agriculture in and around the globally rare black oak savannahs of Pembroke Township. Oral history and ethnobotanical interviews informed the exhibit content, as did Field Museum collections and ecological research.
Rooted showcases the Pembroke region’s considerable biodiversity as well as the connections the primarily African-American community has made to the plants and animals around them since the area was settled after the Civil War. Middle school teachers are bringing classes to the exhibit to supplement their curriculum. During the launch event, exhibit curators, community leaders, and land managers expressed interest in utilizing Rooted to activate a collaborative planning process for Pembroke that draws together conservation and quality of life goals.
The exhibit will be on display at the Pembroke Public Library located at 13795 E Central Ave, Hopkins Park, IL throughout 2016.