Walking in nature clears my head, energises my body and gets me in touch with some of what’s really important to me.
- Being thankful
- Being kind
- Living in the moment
- Living creatively
Late last year an idea to create a thankyou-themed walkway in Christchurch took another step torward being a reality when Dr. Colin Meurk offered me a section of the Christchurch 360 Trail for the project.
Our Thankyou Trail is here, somewhere
Dr. Meurk is a senior ecologist at Landcare Research, a government research institute specialising in understanding, protecting and sustainable use of terrestrial environments and resources. Read more about Colin …..
His special interests are biogeography, ecological restoration and design, landscape dynamics, urban ecology, subantarctic islands, conservation biology, integration of biodiversity into cultural landscapes, and citizen science. He has major involvements with community restoration projects in and around cities (Travis Wetland Trust President, Quail island Trust Board Member, Ernle Reserve restoration committee, Maronan kanuka restoration adviser), is a board member of The 50Degrees South Trust, and promotes integration of biodiversity within production landscapes. He has received many awards in recognition of his applied conservation work.
Dr. Meurk and his team have spent the last 25 years developing the Christchurch 360 Trail, a 135km walkway which links existing trails around the edge of the city. The walkway connects the coast, volcanic hills, and Christchurch streams. It showcases the amazing diversity of our landscape and invites us to go out and play in it. Find out more….. www.christchurch360trail.org.nz
What if we took a pathway that was already a beautiful walk in nature and enhanced the experience with artworks, signs and sculptures to invite further appreciation for the wild wonders of our existence.
I am imagining a pathway that has elements of some of the world’s great paths, parks, and sculpture walks. Let’s cast the net as widely and creatively as possible before we begin to worry about how to do it or how to pay for it.
Here are some juicy ideas we can draw from
The Highline in New York City – where the old overhead railway line that snakes through the city has been transformed into the most gorgeous inner city nature walk with sculptures and seating along the old tracks / one in Germany]
[Pic of Guell Park in Barcelona / pic of Giants House in Akaroa]
Where artistic flair and creativity can be channelled into making seating, sculptures to invite rest and contemplation, …..
I imagine the Thankyou Trail becoming a monthly pilgrimage [like a mini-El Camino] where we can walk to recharge our vitality, creativity, and reconnect with what we appreciate.
[pic of local art works by Jane Downes, Ian Lamont]
Let’s have beautiful sculptures by local artists to inspire and stimulate along the path
Lets have collaborative works – like artful seating that has been a team effort by local schools or community groups. Sponsored works where local businesses can partner with emerging artists.
Or pieces that are ‘works in progress’ where we can add something to them
[Felix Gonzalez-Torres ‘Candy Spills’ / crayon rubbing taken from the 'Badger' bronze plaque on the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Nature Trail]
or take something away. Rather than piles of lollies at the x in London. I was thinking of a steel image in relief that children can taking a paper rubbing of. There could be several of these along the trail that together form a composite picture.
Lets have interactive pieces that invite us to play, listen, touch
Quotes along the way can lead into mindful contemplation, or trigger a moment of appreciation.
Join in the fun
There are so many ways we can make this a wonder walk
And, it has already begun.
Currently I am taking small walking groups out each month to explore the 360 Trail so we can consider which section would be best for creating the Thankyou Trail.
You are welcome to join in the trail-blazing, art-creating and fund-raising. Let’s make this a beautiful pathway to help the healing of Christchurch. Follow the progress or get in touch with Melanie Mayell, the trail’s Creatrix
• Use your fingers – Follow on Facebook: www.facebook.com/thankyoutrail
• Use your legs – Join in one of our monthly walks
• Get excited – Join the conversation, submit art proposals, funding ideas, partnership opportunities: