A new feature to Plantasia - the Rainforest Hut
Here at Plantasia, our aim is to make learning fun, and when the Friends of the City of Swansea Botanical Complex very kindly approached us and asked if they could support another project, we thought that building a 'working' rainforest hut would provide a new and 'live' learning experience. Teaching our children about the importance of living as one with our environment is an important lesson, and being able to show how the rainforest tribe people live so basically and in harmony with their natural surroundings can be inspiring.
The hut at Plantasia is based on the very basic construction used by the tribal people. The huts are usually constructed using forest materials, such as bamboo, palm leaves or leaves from a banana plant, trees and clay. They are also often built on stilts; some are even built in the treetops to escape from flooding, mud or animals.
The rainforest hut, constructed by Dragonfly Crafts, was built applying traditional methods through using ethically sourced bamboo and reed,and other locally sourced materials making it as authentic as possible.
The size of the hut is approximately 4m x 6.5m and 2.5m high at the highest point.
The following images show the progress made from the beginning of the construction;
Inside the Hut
The inside of the hut again is very basic as the tribal people live a very simple life. Some of the artefacts and images inside the hut have been kindly sourced by Dave and Sue, who deliver the Rainforest Roadshows in Plantasia. They have visited rainforests all around the world and have therefore built up quite a collection of tribal artefacts.
There are also items from Ecuador, brought in by Plantasia's Education Officer, Maria Bowen, who spent some time in the Amazon and met up with people from the Waroni and Shuar tribes.
The artefacts on display include traditional hammocks, baskets and musical instruments.
A fire pit has also been built which the tribe would use to cook. Here you will find dried fish, seeds, pods and many other herbs that they would use for cooking.
On entering the hut, visitors will be greeted by a hanging tribal mask that is said to protect tribal families and ward off any evil spirits. To fully create the rainforest experience, actual recordings of tribal singing are played in the background with images of tribal families displayed on the walls.
Use of the Hut
The rainforest hut will prove to be a valuable resource especially in the delivery of the educational programme at Plantasia which already educates approx 12,000 school children per year. It will also add another dimension to the visitor experience where members of the public can get a sense of how different our homes are to those lived in by the tribes in the rainforests.
It is also a great educational tool to teach how important the plants of the rainforest are to the tribes and their great medicinal importance to the rest of the world, paying special attention to the plight of deforestation and the effects the loss of habitat will have on the peoples of the rainforest and what the world will lose if we don't stop destroying these beautiful forests.