A Midsummer Night’s Dream

"Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing" by William Blake.  c.1786.  Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Midsummer_Night's_Dream.
“Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing” by William Blake. c.1786. Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Midsummer_Night’s_Dream.

 

Shakespeare comes to Brushwood Center:

A performance in the woods with Citadel Theatre

Shakespeare aficionados and neophytes alike can relax among the lush vegetation and sound of crickets at Ryerson Woods on August 1, 2 and 3 when Citadel Theatre performs “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” outdoors.

“The hour-long performance is perfect for those who already know and love Shakespeare as well as those who want to enjoy theater in a beautiful setting,” said Heather Meyers, the show’s production manager. “It’s a great introduction to Shakespeare, and we’re making it accessible to a modern audience.”

All the audience needs is a blanket or lawn chair, and a picnic if they like, as they watch a fully costumed production of Shakespeare’s bewitching tale of fairies, enchanted forests, and of course, lost lovers.

“The show has a little bit of everything: comedy, love and romance, mistaken identity, chase scenes, the magic of the fairies. It will be fun to watch,” said Meyers.

Sophie Twichell, Executive Director of Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods, said she encourages families to attend. “Because it’s only an hour long, and because of all the fun characters in the play, it is a wonderful introduction to magic of theater,” said Twichell. “Attendees will revel in the outdoor experience, which ends just before sunset.”

Brushwood Center, along with the Lake County Forest Preserves, is partnering with Citadel Theatre (based in Lake Forest) for the first time to present outdoor theater at Ryerson Woods.

“This is our first outdoor Shakespeare theater ever, and we’re happy to be doing it at Ryerson Woods,” Meyers said. Meyers said the actors are being directed by one of the best: Frank Farrell, a Chicago director and actor.

“Bringing Shakespeare to Brushwood Center furthers our mission of nurturing art, nature and discovery,” Twichell said. “We are thrilled to be partnering with a theater company based right here in Lake County.”

Tickets are available for three shows beginning at 6:30 p.m., August 1, 2 and 3. Pre-registration is recommended. Registration deadline is July 31. In the case of inclement weather, the production will be held indoors, with limited seating available.

For more information and to obtain tickets, call 847.968.3321 or visit www.brushwoodcenter.org. Brushwood Center is located at: 21850 N. Riverwoods Rd., Riverwoods, IL 60015.

 

About Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods

Through innovative arts programs presented against a backdrop of stately woods where pre-settlement flora and fauna still linger, Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods seeks to build an environmental ethic in our region by offering multiple points of entry for the public to connect with nature. Brushwood Center is a nonprofit organization.

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WHAT TO READ: Identifying Plants

Glenn Adelson, PhD, leading an Introduction to Botany class at Ryerson Woods in the spring of 2014.
Glenn Adelson, PhD, leading an Introduction to Botany class at Ryerson Woods in the spring of 2014.

We recently invited our friend and frequent nature seminar instructor Glenn Adelson, chair of the Environmental Studies Program at Lake Forest College, to share his favorite books for identifying plants in our region.  Here are four books he recommends you have on your bookshelf and with you in the field to get familiar with our region’s flora.

 

PCRjacket_blowupFloyd Swink and Gerould Wilhelm, Plants of the Chicago Region, 4 ed.

We are very lucky to have a book like this dedicated to our region. The habitat and plant associates information is essential. It will be frustrating for a beginner to try to key plants out, but it is well worth the effort to learn. Make ample use of the glossary while learning.

 

Sunflower-FamilyThomas Antonio and Susanne Masi, The Sunflower Family in the Upper Midwest

The Compositae (also correctly called the Asteraceae) is the flowering plant family with the most species in flower in our area in the summer and fall. This book provides an easy to use set of symbols, based upon inflorescence color and presence or absence of disc and ray flowers to get you to the species you’re trying to figure out. Excellent photographs and nice natural history essays.

 

wildflowers_of_wisconsin_and_the_great_lakes_region_by_merel_black_emmet_judziewicz_0299230538Merel Black and and Emmet Judziewicz, Wildflowers of Wisconsin and the Great Lakes Region

A very good companion to Swink and Wilhelm, as you can often talk yourself into believing you have the right plant when using a key. I often check the pictures and descriptions in Black and Judziewicz immediately after keying out a plant in Swink and Wilhelm, because it’s far more difficult to talk yourself into a mistaken identification when you have a picture in front of you.

 

Carol Gracie - Spring WildflowersCarol Gracie, Spring Wildflowers of the Northeast

An astonishingly beautiful and deeply researched book treating many of our woodland spring wildflowers. Its strength is the amount of depth given to each species it treats, which leads, of course to its weakness, which is how few species are accommodated. The macro photography is the best I’ve ever seen in a botany book.

 

IMG_8376Glenn will be teaching “Flora of the Autumn Prairie” this fall.  Classes will meet three consecutive Tuesday evenings (5:30-7:30pm) starting September 9. Participants will explore the profusion of yellow and purple wildflowers dominating the late summer prairie. We’ll learn plant biology, as we investigate the wide range of aster, goldenrod, mint and sunflower species, as well as the prairie grasses.  We’ll also explore the relationship between plants and their environments. Includes field trips to other preserves.  To register, click here (scroll down to Sept. 9).  Glenn will also be teaching a nature seminar on “Endangered Species & Endangered Languages” in October.

 

 

Glenn Adelson leading a Summer Flora class in summer 2014.
Glenn Adelson leading a Summer Flora class for Brushwood Center in summer 2014.

Glenn Adelson is the chair of the Environmental Studies Program at Lake Forest College, Chicago’s national liberal arts college. He teaches several field botany courses, as well as Evolution, Ecology, and Environment; Endangered Species and Endangered Languages; The Environmental Connections between Chicago and New Orleans; Introduction to Environmental Studies; Troubled World Geography; Botanical Imperialism; and Poetry and Nature. Glenn taught for fifteen years at Harvard University, where he became the only Harvard teacher to twice win the campus-wide Levenson Award for teaching. Glenn has a Ph.D. in organismic and evolutionary biology from Harvard and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.

Avian Spirits

Thrasher 1 © Julie Meridian | Image courtesy Julie Meridian
Thrasher 1 © Julie Meridian | Image courtesy Julie Meridian

Group Art Exhibition Contemplates Bird Imagery

as Metaphors for the Human Spirit

 AVIAN SPIRITS

OPENING:  Sunday, July 13 from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

RUNS:  July 13 – August 31, 2014

 

Curator Franck Mercurio hanging fabulous bird portraits by artist Marlene McCauley.
Curator Franck Mercurio hanging fabulous bird portraits by artist Marlene McCauley.

To curate Brushwood Center’s latest art exhibition Avian Spirits, Franck Mercurio began with a famous Emily Dickinson quote: “‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers.”

“I used that as a starting point, how artists have been inspired by birds,” said Mercurio. He has gathered more than 40 pieces created by 14 artists, which include paintings, sculptures and photography for the exhibition that opens July 13.

The works will not only grace the walls of Brushwood Center in Riverwoods, but the scenic forested outdoors as well. Painted directly on the front lawn with environmentally safe products will be a work reflecting bird migration by the collaborative DOEprojekts. On the back lawn, visitors can view an unusual installation by Annette Barbier of waterfowl, feeding as they do with their bottoms up.

Visitation B © Steph Roberts | Image courtesy Addington Gallery
Visitation B © Steph Roberts | Image courtesy Addington Gallery

“I wanted to create something whimsical and explore why we give human characteristics to birds,” said Mercurio. “I chose artists who use bird imagery as metaphors for the human spirit.”

The Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods creates a theme each year used to unite its programs. This year, the theme is Extinction/Survival. Mercurio curated an art exhibition at Brushwood Center in spring entitled, Facing Extinction. “It was all about artists who respond to human-caused extinction and what people are trying to do to ensure survival,” he said.

Avian Spirits is intended to be lighter, more whimsical, more hopeful,” he said. “I want to have some accessible works for the audience as well as some challenging works, and strike a balance.”

One artist he chose is Molly Cranch, who creates colorful oil paintings of birds. “The imagery is really accessible. You can tell what types of birds they are, but there’s an anthropomorphic quality to the birds. They are almost human-like in their expressions,” Mercurio said.

The outdoor lawn painting might need a bit more explanation, he said. Labels will be placed with the installation to explain the symbols that relate to bird migration.

Passenger Pigeon wearable sculpture © Julia Kemerer | Image courtesy Helen Maurene Cooper
Passenger Pigeon wearable sculpture © Julia Kemerer | Image courtesy Helen Maurene Cooper

In addition, artist and Brushwood Center staffer Julia Kemerer created a series of wearable sculptures featuring extinct and endangered species. She collaborated with photographer Helen Maurene Cooper to showcase them being worn.

What brings all these art works together is how the artists have responded to “our affinities with birds in different ways, but often with whimsy, humor, and joy,” Mercurio said. “Avian Spirits aims to celebrate our relationships with birds.”

Avian Spirits opens July 13 and runs through August 31. The show is free and open to the public during regular Brushwood Center hours. A free opening reception will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. July 13. Mercurio will present a tour of the exhibition on August 23, preceding the 2014 Film Festival in the Woods, an annual outdoor film festival hosted by Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods.

Participating artists include:

  • Annette Barbier
  • Sarah Belknap and Joseph Belknap
  • Cosmo Campoli
  • Helen Maurene Cooper
  • Molly Cranch
  • DOEprojekts (Deborah & Glenn Doering)
  • Julia Kemerer
  • Barbara Koenen
  • Marlene McCauley
  • Julie Meridian
  • Steph Roberts
  • Dan Streeting

For more information, visit www.brushwoodcenter.org.  Brushwood Center is located at: 21850 N. Riverwoods Rd., Riverwoods, IL 60015.

 

Extinction-Survival_logo_final_OL_grey-orange-blue

The exhibition is part of the extinction |survival series of public programs being offered by Brushwood Center over the course of 2014. The series seeks to promote a broader understanding of extinction and species survival.  We’re exploring why extinction happened in the past and why it continues today, as well as celebrating success stories. Programs include book talks, art exhibitions, lectures and film screenings that will run throughout 2014.

 

Brushwood_Logo.smallAbout Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods

Through innovative programs presented against a backdrop of stately woods where pre-settlement flora and fauna still linger, Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods seeks to build an environmental ethic in our region by offering multiple points of entry for the public to connect with nature. Brushwood Center is a nonprofit organization.

 

BRUSHWOOD CENTER HOURS:

Monday to Thursday: 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Sunday: 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Or by appointment: 847.968.3308.

 

Avian Spirits is partially sponsored by a grant from:

FinalIAClogo