The Woodland Trust A pop-up woodland experience
After more than a year of pandemic-provoked absence, the Balmoral Show, Northern Ireland’s largest agri-food event was back in business in September 2021.
The Woodland Trust Northern Ireland, who look after over 50 woods in Northern Ireland including two recently purchased lands in Mourne Park, Kilkeel and at Cave Hill, Belfast, approached us to help them design and build their exhibition stand at this years’ show. With a larger-than-normal space secured, a bigger story to share, but a tight budget to work with, we knew we had a challenge ahead.
But as we are an organisation who completely believes in the aims of the Woodland Trust and the importance of their work in arresting and reversing climate change, we really wanted to take it on. With a diversity of audiences at the Balmoral Show, we needed to help the Woodland Trust make a memorable impact and encourage landowners, farmers and the visiting public to engage with them and consider supporting their work in a variety of ways.
The Trust put their faith in us to come up with an ambitious plan and build of a brand experience that would explain their work, be remembered long after, and have a real and lasting impact on visitors.
With so much natural resource available both around us and through the Woodland Trust, and a commitment to only using reusable, recyclable, or biodegradable materials in the build itself, we wanted to create a magical, immersive experience which visitors could enjoy with all five of their senses – like they do when in a real woodland. We sourced suppliers who could match our ambition and were committed to reducing the environmental impact of the work they produced, and set to work!
Native woods and trees are one of the best ways to tackle the climate crisis and as Northern Ireland is one of the most sparsely forested areas in Europe, the Woodland Trust need more landowners and farmers to use their own land to plant trees.
The 50 woods the Woodland Trust manage in Northern Ireland have provided countless people with outdoor exercise and escape over the course of the pandemic, so we brought that positivity to the fore through creating a sustainable woodland installation experience.
Visitors wound their way through the tented experience which consisted of 50 native tree trunks reaching skywards from a bark, leaf, acorn and pinecone-strewn forest floor. Each tree represented one of the woods the Trust look after in Northern Ireland and every trunk bore a tag which told the reader more about the place it represented. In addition, the installation included six feature pods made from ethically sourced, native: Cherry, Oak and Birch veneer. Each pod was precision cut to include key facts about most popular tree species found here in Northern Ireland. Dappled light shone through the trees, native birdsong played, and visitors inhaled the scent of the authentic woodland floor as they were guided through the experience by a leafy tapestry wound around and throughout.
We were thrilled to hear from our delighted client that nearly four thousand visitors got to enjoy the Woodland Trust experience over the four days of the show and that membership team signed up a significant amount of new members! We’re looking forward to working with them again soon.