Some hundred kilometres above Berlin is the Schorfheide-Chorin Biosphere Reserve, a fairly well-preserved natural area that used to be a state-owned hunting ground. Right in the middle of the reserve is a building shaped in the form of an enormous tree-stump. In here, people can learn about the soil, peat and water of the region.
All the information is displayed through three different exhibits: a soil profile built in a wall, a marsh area and some impressively large drops of water. The drops are made from steel and they hang freely in the air. A talking tree tells about the history of the forest, especially to children. A bird’s nest, so large you can sit in it, is equipped as a research area. If you feel like it, you can explore the local area by bike, but you might also want to row a boat that actually moves across a fishing pond. Or you can simply let your fantasy roam in the most idyllic spot of the exhibition or at the temporary exhibition about the forest.
The people of the Schorfheide-Chorin Biosphere Reserve demanded high standards for the design of this exhibition. The exhibition had to be artistically appealing to attract adults, but it also had to be attractive to children for whom ‘nature’ is akin to ‘boring’. I later read a comment in the guest book by a child from Berlin who wrote, “Despite it being all about green stuff, the exhibition wasn’t boring at all.” That’s still a negative response of course, but also proves that the exhibition achieved what it set out to do.