April 16, 2024 (KIRTLAND)Pollinators are pulling into the station at the Holden Arboretum. Get ready to be inspired by an imaginative world of miniature trains and botanical structures at Pollinator Express. Opening Saturday, May 25, and running through Sunday, September 8, this immersive exhibit is built from natural and botanical materials. 

Pollinator Express  

Pollinators come in a wide variety of species beyond bees. Butterflies, moths, hummingbirds, bats, beetles, and flies are all pollinators. Pollinators move from plant to plant, and even have preferences as to which they enjoy best. Researchers at the Holden Arboretum study the movement and patterns of pollinators to find ways we can conserve these declining species. 

“Pollinators are essential members of the ecosystem community that we humans belong to. Our mutual success is interconnected, and we add tangible value to each other’s lives. Pollinators are beautiful, have fascinating life cycles & body structures, and help maintain plant diversity,” said Caroline Tait, VP of Horticulture and Collections. “To humans most pollinators are tiny creatures so our role as guardians is to provide and protect their habitats. Come visit Pollinator Express to see the tiny become giant!” 

Pollinator Express will feature four tracks of G-scale model trains chugging through a colorful garden bed full of sculptures that depict unique plants from around the globe, paired with the insects and animals they depend on for pollination. In an inventive twist, the support structures and sculptures are all made from unique and creative materials found in nature.  

The garden area has been redesigned for the exhibit by the Arboretum’s horticulturists to highlight native pollinator species. These ten botanical sculptures are intentionally over scaled at 3 – 6 feet each for visual impact and to show the details of each pollinator and its accompanying flower. 

APPLIED IMAGINATION 

Applied Imagination creates model train displays ‘grown from the earth’. Pollinator Express is as much an immersive art installation as a model train exhibit. There is something for everyone to enjoy, from children of all ages to fine art and railroad enthusiasts, to celebrators of the natural world. 

The concept of botanical architecture was originally developed by Applied Imagination’s founder, Paul Busse. Busse looked to elevate the experience beyond plastic train models, further developing the idea to create them entirely out of dried plant material. This concept has evolved in the hands of the company’s artisans, each building taking on average 1000 hours to complete. 

TREEHOUSE STORE: Pick up wooden whistles, train-themed gifts, and Holden Forests & Gardens souvenirs in the Corning Visitor Center. 

Pollinator Express hours areTuesday – Sunday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. The Holden Arboretum will be open Wednesdays 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. from June 5 – August 28. Please note that hours are subject to change, check holdenfg.org for updated information. 

Pollinator Express is included in general admission. Admission is free for Holden Forests & Gardens members. The Arboretum is at 9550 Sperry Rd., Kirtland, Ohio. For complete details about Pollinator Express, visit holdenfg.org. 

About the Holden Arboretum and Holden Forests & Gardens 

The Holden Arboretum, located east of Cleveland in Kirtland, Ohio, sprawls over an enchanting expanse of land in Lake and Geauga Counties and offers gardens, trails, lakes and meadows. The Holden Arboretum is part of Holden Forests & Gardens along with the Cleveland Botanical Garden in Cleveland’s University Circle cultural district. Holden Forests & Gardens is making a positive impact through urban greening and forestry initiatives, environmental research, educational programs, and world-class visitor experiences at its two campuses. For more information, visit holdenfg.org. 

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