Nature's Wisdom

Nature's Wisdom: An environmental exhibit uses the natural world to illustrate how human habitats can be improved.
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Inspect an ant colony and you’ll realize the way we humans make our living spaces isn’t so different; the earthen structures reveal chambers for sleep, work, and storage.

There are also similarities between the insulation techniques of birds’ nests and some energy-efficient homes.

These and other striking parallels between houses and animal structures are the topic of “Sustainable Shelter,” an exhibit that opens this month at the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville. The critters’ quarters demonstrate how humans are merely recycling innate building methods, though often in an unsustainable manner. The exhibit examines the life cycle of a house and offers interactive elements, such as a build-your-own sustainable home activity and a suspended terrarium where people can peek inside a living biosphere. Educational lightbulb and water usage displays inform people about the far-reaching impact of energy and water consumption in the home and also provide feasible ideas on how to live more sustainably.

“I hope people walk away with tools and techniques to reduce their energy consumption that are not terribly expensive,” says exhibit specialist John Bubany. “Just changing simple things can make a huge difference.”                  


"Sustainable Shelter"             
September 24-January 2
N.C. Arboretum, Asheville
(828) 665-2492 www.ncarboretum.com

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Photographs provided by the N.C. Arboretum, courtesy of the Bell Museum of Natural History