Prehistoric plants growing at Eden

August 22, 2014
Author: Tom

Discover a lost world of dinosaurs at the Eden Project this summer. Get ready by reading our dino-themed Blog articles!

The plants shown below have been around for millions of years, and we’ve got examples of all of them growing at the Eden Project. During our Dinosaurs Unleashed event, you can follow a trail around Eden to see all of them!

Outdoor Biome

Soft tree fern, Dicksonia antarctica

Prehistoric plant called dicksonia antarctica tree fern

These ferns come from Australia and can reach 15m in height. However, they still weren’t tall enough to keep out the way of the big plant-eating dinosaurs. The big veggie dinos chomped through about 500kg of plant material a day.

Wollemi pine, Wollemia nobilis

Prehistoric plant called wollemi pine wollemia nobil

Fossils of this prehistoric tree showed it was around in the Jurassic era, 200 million years ago, when Stegosaurus and Iguanodon roamed the earth. Scientists thought it was extinct. In 1994, David Noble, adventurous rock climber and forest trekker, spotted an unusual plant in a very remote spot of temperate rainforest in New South Wales, Australia. It was identified as a Wollemi pine – it  wasn’t extinct after all!

Dawn redwood, Metasequoia glyptostroboides

Prehistoric plant called dawn redwood metasequoia

Although the one at Eden is only a baby, these trees can grow to a height of 60m – that’s higher than our Rainforest Biome! The T. rex walked among these giants back in the late Cretaceous period 67 million years ago. The trees were thought to be extinct until, in the 1940s, explorers found a whole forest of them in China.

Magnolia ‘Star Wars’, Magnolia grandiflora

Prehistoric plant called magnolia star wars

Magnolias and their close ancestors were around in the Cretaceous period (142 to 65 million years ago). These plants were around before bees existed so beetles pollinated them instead.

Ginkgo, Ginkgo biloba


This tree is sometimes called a ‘living fossil’. Fossils of its ancestors go back 270 million years to the Permian times when trilobites were alive. It almost became extinct in the wild, but was luckily maintained in Chinese monastery gardens – so we still have it today.

Rainforest Biome

Giant hare’s foot fern, Davallia solida

Prehistoric plant called Giant Hare's Foot

This Australian fern is named for its furry ‘feet’ at the base of its stems!

Stag horn fern, Platycerium bifurcatum

Prehistoric plant called Stag horn fern

Surprisingly, these ferns never actually needed soil to grow. Instead, they clung to rocks (and to big trees today) and made their own soil as old leaves died. Naturally occurring from Indonesia, and grown in places as far as the coastal regions of New South Wales in Australia, this ephiphyte plant has a dramatic exotic appearance, as well as being widely used today in tropical gardens.

Cycad, Dioon spinulosum

Prehistoric plant called giant dioon spinulosu

The cycads and their look-alike ancestors have been around 280 million years and have survived several mass extinctions.

Dutchman’s pipe, Aristolochia gigantea

Prehistoric plant called dutchman's pipe aristolochia

These plants with their scrambling leaves and massive drooping flowers were around when dinosaurs roamed the earth. In the Cretaceous period (142 -65 million years ago) the early flowers had arrived, with many pollinated by insects too – just like flowers today. The Aristolochia’s smelly flowers attract flies, which get trapped inside and covered in pollen before the flower lets them out. Once used as medicines in Brazil, these types of flowers are now known to be poisonous!

Black pepper, Piper nigrum

Prehistoric plant called Piper nigrum

The first ancestor fossils of the pepper family were found in Colombia. These fossils originated from way back during the Cretaceous period (145–100 million years ago). After the dinosaurs died out plenty of new things happened to the world’s climate, affecting places all over the world. In South America, the Andes mountains grew up, while the Amazon rainforest first sprang into being, and lots of different pepper species eventually started to grow and grow.

Mediterranean Biome

Horsetail restio, Elegia capensis

Prehistoric plant called Horsetail restio

These plants were also around in the late Cretaceous period (145–100 million years ago) and grew in Gondwana, which was one of the supercontinents that made up the earth millions of years ago. This type of plant could well have been a tasty snack for the Ankylosaurus and Triceratops.

King protea, Protea cynaroides

Prehistoric plant called Horsetail restio

Plants in this family are found in South America, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Some of these plants’ ancestors date back 65 million years to when South Africa was a tropical forest.

Allspice, Calycanthus occidentalis

Prehistoric plant called allspice calycanthus

This interesting looking flower was around at the end of the Cretaceous period and smells a bit like bubblegum. It’s used in some perfumes and, despite its name, is actually poisonous.

Sago cycad, Cycas revoluta

Prehistoric plant called sago cycad cycas revoluta

Ancestors of this plant were around 270 million years ago, even before the dinosaurs ruled the earth. Like lots of other plants, this one is very, very poisonous. If it’s eaten, it’s even likely to cause death.

Hard fern, Blechnum spicant

Prehistoric plant called hard fern, blechnum spicant

Ferns like this have been around for up to 350 million years – that’s way before the dinosaurs! These ferns were one of the first big plants to live on land and helped make oxygen, which made the land ready for other life to start living too.

Dinosaurs Unleashed at Eden Project, 21 July – 16 Sept 2014, Become an explorer, enter the Crater of the Tyrant King, find the escaped dinosaur, and much more! Click to find out more


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Dinosaurs, Plants
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Fossils: a beginner’s guide

August 18, 2014
Author: Emily Ould

Discover a lost world of dinosaurs at the Eden Project this summer. Get ready by reading our dino-themed Blog articles!

Without fossils, we would know very little about the prehistoric animals that lived millions of years ago. They are the keys to unlocking a lost world. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that, once, enormous dinosaurs walked the earth just like we do!

Early fossil finds

When people started to unearth fossils they didn’t realise that what they were uncovering had lain buried in the ground for millions of years. Gradually, as more fossils appeared, people had to accept that there must have been something before us – in fact, it was a huge variety of creatures, including dinosaurs.

Eventually, scientists discovered that fossils could tell us all sorts of things about a dinosaur, from the way it moved to how it behaved around other species.

On average, a new dinosaur species is discovered around every 10 days.

A picture of a fossilised dinosaur brain

This fossilized brain belonged to a dinosaur with a thick skull, Pachycephalosaurus wyomingensis (‘thick-headed-lizard’). It may have used its head as a weapon in combat with other dinosaurs.

So, what are fossils?

A fossil is the remains of a plant or animal – such as a dinosaur – preserved underground in layers of mud and sand for millions of years, until eventually it hardens and turns into rock – and there you have it – a fossil!

Even though dinosaurs were around for 165 million years, it is thought that only a tiny percentage of them have been found. This is because, for an animal to become fossilised, it has to become buried pretty quickly before its bones are scattered by scavengers or before its body just decays naturally.

If we didn’t have the fossil record, we probably wouldn’t even be able to tell if anything before humans ever existed. Roughly 700-800 species of dinosaur have been discovered so far. Who knows? There might even be a dinosaur fossil buried in your back garden!

Fossilised dinosaur eggs

These are the fossilised eggs of a Rhabdodon dinosaur. All dinosaurs, like birds today, laid eggs. We think these fossils look a bit like the Biomes at the Eden Project!

World-famous fossil hunter – in Dorset!

Mary Anning, an amateur paleontologist, lived in Dorset in the 1800′s and found her first dinosaur fossil when she was just 12 years old. She is known to have discovered the marine reptile, the ichthyosaur, and the nearly intact skeleton of a massive plesiosaur. She made scientific history in her discoveries, changing the way people thought about the world by discovering that some dinosaurs also lived under water as well as on land.

The stretch of the Dorset and East Devon coast where Mary Anning famously made her fossil discoveries is so scientifically important that it is now a World Heritage Site. Known as the Jurassic Coast, it is open to the public, allowing them to find their very own fossils too. It’s a coast rich with findings, from ancient fish to prehistoric poo!

Find out more about visiting on the Jurassic Coast website

Fossilised dinosaur poo

From fossilised dinosaur poo like this, scientists can find out what dinosaurs ate and how much. The scientific name for fossilised dinosaur poos is ‘coprolites’. In Greek ‘kopros’ means ‘dung’ and ‘lithos’ means ‘stone’.

Fossil hunting tips

  1. Beaches are often good places to find fossils because the sea constantly erodes things away.
  2. Fossils can be hard to spot so be extra patient and keep your eyes peeled when trying to find them! You never know where one might be.
  3. A toothbrush is always handy when looking for fossils. If you see a fossil buried in the sand lightly brush away at the edges of the fossil to uncover the remains.
  4. Use the fossil finder on the Jurassic Coast website to help you identify your fossil finds.

Keeping safe while fossil hunting

  1. Make sure you keep an eye on the sea and try to go hunting when the tide is out so you don’t get cut off.
  2. Be aware of cliffs or rocks that might fall from above and never dig into the cliff itself.
  3. Make sure somebody knows where you are at all times so you can get help if you need to.

Dinosaur footprint

This is a footprint of an unidentified small late Jurassic or early Cretaceous theropod found in Sussex.

All the fossils pictured on this page can be seen in the Dig Deeper exhibition at the Eden Project’s Dinosaurs Unleashed event.

If you find any fossils then let us know in the comments section below. We’d love to hear about them!

Dinosaurs Unleashed at Eden Project, 21 July – 16 Sept 2014, Become an explorer, enter the Crater of the Tyrant King, find the escaped dinosaur, and much more! Click to find out more

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Dinosaurs, Education, Science
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Meet the dinosaurs – and their friends and relations

August 8, 2014
Author: Emily Ould

Discover a lost world of dinosaurs at the Eden Project this summer. Get ready by reading our dino-themed Blog articles!

Dinosaurs and their friends and relations, who lived from around 230 to 65 million years ago, came in all shapes and sizes. Some had feathers, others had fur, and a handful even lived in the sea. Not all were as ferocious as the Tyrannosaurus rex; some were tiny mammals which ate slugs and snails and looked just like a badger. Read on to discover the differences between them, see which was the fastest, the brightest, the heaviest – and even who ate who!


Tyrannosaurus rex

Drawing of t-rex to scale

The fact that Tyrannosaurus rex means ‘tyrant king’ says it all. This lethal killer had the most powerful bite of any land animal ever, with its jaws opening 1.5 metres to expose teeth the size of bananas that could tear flesh and crush bone. However, while the T. rex was able to run 18mph in a straight line, this dinosaur wasn’t very good at turning around.


Drawing of diplodocus to scale

The Diplodocus measured the length of three buses! With eyes on either side of its head to watch out for predators, this dinosaur could live for up to 80 years. A true herbivore, it ate nothing but leafy greens. However, it’s thought that the creature would sometimes swallow stones to help digest all that bulky vegetation.



The Stegosaurus probably wasn’t the brightest of dinosaurs, as it had a brain the size of a tangerine in a body the size of a bus. This slow-moving creature was in fact a herbivore, eating plants with small, flat teeth. However, when attacked, the stegosaurus would use its four-spiked tail to warn off predators.


Drawing of iguanodon to scale

You’d most likely have found this stocky-looking Iguanodon foraging in the greenery, for it ate mostly trees and shrubs, grinding them up with its specialised back teeth. The dinosaur’s five-fingered hands were thought have been helpful for grasping food – just like we can! The large spike on each thumb would also have been useful for defending itself from predators.



The Triceratops is believed to be one of the last ever dinosaurs to become extinct. It probably spent much of its life alone. Weighing as much as an average car, it had an enormous head measuring a third of its body size! It walked on four powerful legs to help carry this heavy build. Amazing fact: the average Triceratops, a hungry herbivore, would have gone through 800 teeth over its lifetime.


Drawing of deinonychus to scale

The Deinonychus is famous for its ‘terrible claw’, a talon on each toe used to attack and pin down prey. This agile scavenger and hunter also had very keen eyesight and sported some 70 curved teeth that could bite through bone! It’s thought that the dinosaur moved in packs to capture prey.

Other reptiles, mammals and birds


Drawing of an ichthyosaur to scale

This marine reptile is thought to have evolved from an earlier land reptile. The Ichthyosaur is believed to have been warm-blooded, to breathe oxygen, and to give birth to live young – so, much more like a whale than a fish. The carnivore ate things like squid and fish.


Drawing of plesiosaur to scale

The Plesiosaur lived underwater and weighed up to 12 tonnes. With a diet of snails, crabs, squid and other small sea animals, it’s thought that this dinosaur swallowed pebbles to help digest its food. This marine reptile gave birth to its offspring whilst swimming! A Plesiosaur fossil unearthed in Dorset, UK, in 2009 is the largest ever found.


Drawing of didelphodon to scale

This ancient mammal was very like a badger. The Didelphodon burrowed underground during the day, sneaking out at night to track down things like snails and insects. Its powerful jaws and huge bulbous teeth were designed to crush its prey, which is thought to have also included young hatchlings.


Drawing of Quetzalcoatlus to scale

The Quetzalcoatlus had an enormous wingspan – nearly as long as a bus! It’s not known if this pterosaur could fly, but fossils suggest it was the largest flying animal ever to have lived. While it’s thought to have been a glider, it also moved around on all four legs – which is how it stalked prey. This tended to be fish and even small dinosaurs. The creature surprisingly had no feathers like birds today, but fur!

Dinosaurs Unleashed at Eden Project, 21 July – 16 Sept 2014, Become an explorer, enter the Crater of the Tyrant King, find the escaped dinosaur, and much more! Click to find out more


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Dinosaurs, Education, Fun

Infographic: where does rubber come from?

August 7, 2014
Author: Kathryn Nichols

The Amazon is the only place on earth where rubber trees grow in the wild. Follow our infographic to discover the journey wild rubber takes from the inside of a tree to the soles of your shoes, giving local families a livelihood and keeping natural rubber trees standing.


Infographic by Kathryn Nichols.

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Education, Environment
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How to designosaur

July 30, 2014
Author: Kathryn Nichols

Discover a lost world of dinosaurs at the Eden Project this summer. Get ready by reading our dino-themed Blog articles!

A new species of dinosaur is discovered on average every ten days. Why not have a go at designing your own? This is a simple kids’ craft activity you can try at home or at school.


You will need:

  • 2 sheets of A4 card
  • a printer
  • scissors
  • a glue stick
  • colouring pencils or felt tips

What to do

  1. Download our Designosaur template and print it out onto two sheets of thin A4 card. Make sure you select “fit to printable area” in your printing settings.


  1. Choose a head, neck and four legs and decide whether or not your dinosaur is going to have spikes along its back. Get creative and draw your own if none of the designs quite fit your dino’s personality.
  2. Colour these in, along with the body. It’s believed that dinosaurs were brightly coloured – to help them attract mates, so be as inventive as you can!
  3. Carefully cut along the solid black lines.


  1. Take the body and fold into shape along the dotted lines. Glue along the flaps and stick together.


  1. If your dinosaur has spikes, fold along the dotted lines in alternate directions, so that each flap folds the opposite way to the flap before it. This will help your spikes stand upright. Glue the spikes to the back of the body.


  1. Next take your neck, fold it in half and glue it to the inside of the rounded end of the body.
  2. Take both sides of the head and glue together onto the end of the neck.
  3. Finally glue on your four legs to the triangular area on both sides of the body. Your dinosaur can either stand upright or on all fours. You may need to experiment with the positions of the legs. If you bend (not fold) the feet away from the body, it will help your dinosaur stand.

Unleash your dinosaur!

We’d love to see your designosaur, so share your photos or stop motion animations with us on Facebook or Twitter, using the hashtag #DinosUnleashed. There are some great apps available to make creating stop motion videos easy. We’d recommend Animate it! for iPhones.

Dinosaurs Unleashed at Eden Project, 21 July – 16 Sept 2014, Become an explorer, enter the Crater of the Tyrant King, find the escaped dinosaur, and much more! Click to find out more

Creativity, Design, Dinosaurs, Fun, How to
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Local GCSE art students exhibit their work at Eden

July 22, 2014
Author: Emily Ould

The Spiral Garden behind our Core Building at the Eden Project is treasured by visitors for its relaxing atmosphere and ability to reconnect them with nature. Over the past week it has been used as a beautiful setting for an exhibition of art by students of Penrice Academy in the nearby Cornish town of St Austell.

Artwork made with plastic screws on log

Thirteen talented Penrice Academy students have been given the exciting opportunity to showcase their artwork at Eden. Not only has their work been presented to the public in a natural, eco-friendly environment, but it will also be assessed as part of their final grade for their upcoming GCSE examinations.

Through this exciting garden exhibition, the students are getting great exposure for their projects, with people from all over the world seeing them. The exhibition is a pleasant place for visitors to come and relax whilst taking in the surroundings as well as giving the students a place to come and proudly see their art exhibited.

Getting back to nature

In the spiral garden you can explore all your senses whilst taking in your surroundings, with things to touch, smell and see from all around.

With a spiral floor design, a pleasant shaded area where you can relax and tempting hidden pathways, this garden is the perfect place for visitors to admire students’ artwork. The pieces are exhibited in a shaded area within the garden, showcasing art from intricately designed structures to a giant hovering dragonfly!

Artwork made of plastic cups

Great opportunity for students

For the students to experience what it’s like to have their artwork exhibited in a real life setting instead of simply at school is a real achievement to be proud of. This is the first time GCSE students have had the opportunity to do this with the Eden Project.

Eden Education Development Officer, Bran Howell, says, ‘We’re really keen to work closely with schools and partnership with them.’ By creating this bond with schools across the county we can work together to bring students and visitors closer to art and to nature – something that here at Eden we are very passionate about.

You can see this inspiring artwork at the Eden Project until 25 July 2014 in the Spiral Garden, where the exhibition is accompanied by all kinds of sensory information and intriguing plants and wildlife. Entry is included in admission to Eden.

Artwork made with bicycle wheel

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Art, Education
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Dinosaur facts for kids

July 14, 2014
Author: Tom

Discover a lost world of dinosaurs at the Eden Project this summer. Get ready by reading our dino-themed Blog articles!

What is a dinosaur?

What: Dinosaurs were a group of egg-laying land reptiles. Unlike other reptiles they had a hole in their hip socket, which meant they walked upright.

There are about 700-800 species known so far. A new species is discovered (on average) every 10 days.

Collage of dinosaur illustrations

When: Dinosaurs dominated the earth for 165 million years and were the most successful group of large land animals ever to have evolved.

Where: Dinosaurs lived in all continents across our planet, nearly from pole to pole.

The biggest dinosaurs

A new species of Titanosaur was discovered in 2014. Based on his thigh bone, he may have weighed around 77 tonnes, and measured 40m long and 20m tall. But that’s still not as heavy as the mighty blue whale, still alive on Earth, which weighs about 100 tonnes!

Here are some other HUGE dinosaurs:

  • Argentinosaurus (pictured below) weighed 70 tonnes (= 10 elephants or 6 London buses)

Argentinosaurus dinosaur plus human

  • Supersaurus was 35m long (= 14 Smart cars)
  • Sauroposeidon was 17 m tall (= 3 giraffes)

There were tiny dinosaurs, too: Epidexipteryx hui was the size of a pigeon!

More dinosaur facts for kids


Some of the large herbivorous dinosaurs ate up to a tonne of plant material a day. The Sauropods (4-legged veggies) couldn’t chew – they had rocks (gastroliths) in their stomachs to help grind up their food (like birds and crocs do today).

Hot air!

A Diplodocus with wind could fill a hot air balloon with one fart!

Diplodocus farting into a hot air balloon

The greenhouse effect

The giant Sauropods may have added to the ‘greenhouse effect’ of ancient Earth, giving off as much as 1.9kg of methane a day each. Herds of them could have produced similar amounts of methane as global natural and man-made emissions today (over 500 million tonnes).

Out clubbing

The plant-munching Ankylosaurus had a small brain and small eyes. He used his armour, including a massive club on his tail, to fight off T.rex.

Big teeth

T.rex had teeth the size of bananas, but unlike bananas they could rip flesh and crush bone! See a T.rex tooth in the ‘Dig Deeper’ exhibition at Eden’s Dinosaur Unleashed event.

Tyrannosaurus rex with bananas for teeth

Egg care

Dinosaurs laid 12 to 30 eggs at a time and incubated them under heaps of rotting vegetation (that warmed up like a compost heap) or sat on them like chickens do.

Light bones

Some dinosaurs had light bones, a bit like an Aero (but not made of chocolate) which meant they could be big without being too heavy. Birds have bones like this too.


Some dinosaurs were probably intelligent (like crows are thought to be). Stegosaurus had a brain the size of a tangerine (probably not super bright). Some Pterosaurs had big brains for body size (flying is a tricky business). And as for the ‘raptors’, pretty intelligent by all accounts.

Stegosaurus illustration showing brain size of tangerine

Warm- or cold-blooded?

Many were warm-blooded, so were able to remain active at night and during very cold weather (like us!).

Colourful dinos

Dinosaurs may have been brightly coloured to help them to attract a mate. Sinosauropteryx had ginger and white stripes. The Microraptor was iridescent like a black crow.

The dinosaur facts for kids shown on this page were taken from the exhibits at the Dinosaurs Unleashed event at the Eden Project.

Illustrations by Kathryn Nichols

Dinosaurs Unleashed at Eden Project, 21 July – 16 Sept 2014, Become an explorer, enter the Crater of the Tyrant King, find the escaped dinosaur, and much more! Click to find out more

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Dinosaurs, Fun
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Falmouth students design solutions for the planet and its people

July 7, 2014
Author: Hannah

If you’re looking for something to renew your faith in humanity, make sure you drop in to see our exhibition of sustainable products designed by graduates at Falmouth University.

These young students have approached ‘sustainable design’ in its widest sense, dreaming up simple products that not only put less strain on the environment and protect biodiversity, but ones that make life more manageable for people, including the homeless, the autistic, and the visually impaired.

People viewing the exhibition at the eden Project

Products for people

Hannah Scoones’ Band-it, for example, is designed to help visually impaired people easily distinguish household products through touch and colour. The bright, grippy bands fit around things like tins of food in the kitchen, or toiletries in the bathroom.

Band-it prototype for visually impaired people

Kate Sargent has created a prototype to help the partially sighted get competitive! Her 5-4-1 race watch allows partially sighted to compete in sailing races. Worn on the upper arm, it features a loudspeaker and a contrasting LED display – all tested by Blind Sailing UK.

Race watch worn on a sailor's arm

Simeon Goodwin has placed people living on the street at the centre of his product. His neat little StreetPack includes a water container, health products, a hand-cranked powered radio and a light.

Catherine Reiser has focussed on individuals with autism, helping them to more easily sequence their daily life. Her Treasured Routine is a bracelet strung with beads displaying symbols of everyday activities such as brushing your teeth, having a shower, and filling the car with petrol.

Products for the environment

You can’t miss the impressive Kernow Karr at the start of the exhibition, a dinky hydrogen-fuelled car made of plywood. Designed by Ben Whitfield, Evian Davies and Elliot Beecham, the vehicle competed in the Shell Eco-Marathon this year and achieved an equivalent fuel-efficiency of 600mpg!

Then there’s Joe Costello’s Imminent City, a conceptual design for high density living in the future. The architectural models depict a society in which we live in tower blocks, fed by elevated farming platforms that ‘grow’ on the buildings like bracket fungi.

Architectural model

And finally, one for the birds: Aaron Breeze has manufactured Nest as a durable, low-cost birdbox for the declining urban sparrow population. Its bark-effect concrete face is designed to be ‘approachable’.

Sparrow approaching a birdbox in an urban environment

These innovative students have just graduated from a BA in Sustainable Product Design, part of the ZERO50 Sustainable Design Centre within the Academy of Innovation & Research at Falmouth University.

You can see their work in the Core building at the Eden Project until 29 August 2014 in a beautifully designed exhibition, featuring interactive displays that show students talking about their own work when you scan them with your smart phone! Entry is included in admission to Eden.

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Design, Sustainability

Interview with Simon Lee, conductor of Pixar in Concert

June 25, 2014
Author: Tom

We caught up with Simon as he prepares to conduct the Disney Concert Orchestra for Pixar in Concert at the Eden Project on Saturday 5 July. Set against the beautiful backdrop of our Biomes, the orchestra will perform music from Disney Pixar films in front of a giant screen displaying clips of the movies. This will be the only performance of the show in the UK this summer. Find out more and buy tickets online here.

Pixar characters

Why is the conductor so important to the orchestra?

Because an orchestra will have 70 opinions about how a piece of music should be played. One person, the conductor, gathers these opinions, adds his own and becomes the arbiter of the final result. He is a sort of musical traffic cop!

For someone who’s never seen a full concert orchestra perform, describe what it’s like…

The difference between watching an orchestra perform live as opposed to listening to a CD or iPod is the experience of actually seeing and hearing what all the orchestral instruments look like and sound like. There is also a certain majesty to 70 people playing the same piece of music, which is part of the live experience. There is nothing else like it.

What, in particular, are you looking forward to about playing at Eden?

I have never been to Eden before so I am very excited to go. My whole family has been so I am the last. I am sure it will be an amazing setting for this concert.

How does Eden compare to other venues you’ve played in?

Outdoor venues are always challenging which makes them more exciting. I am sure Eden will be no exception. If you haven’t experienced an outdoor concert then you are in for a real treat. The atmosphere is always very special.

What’s your favourite Pixar movie?

That is a very hard question to answer but I think I have to say Wall’E. I am also very partial to The Incredibles. I was fortunate enough to conduct part of the score with the BBC Concert Orchestra and it was a tremendous experience.

Which Pixar character do you think would be the best musician?

I think Woody from Toy Story would be a good musician. He is so charming, very organised and inspirational. Maybe, with a name like that, he would play the clarinet!

Which is your favourite part of the Pixar in Concert show?

I am very much looking forward to conducting The Incredibles. I just love it’s supremely ‘jazzy’ but contemporary score.

How important is a good score to the emotional resonance of a film?

Music conveys the psychology of the drama. Whilst a character is saying one thing, the music can describe what he is thinking or feeling. This applies to all films, not just animations. For example, the last fifteen minutes of ET has about four lines of dialogue. The story, mood, emotions, atmosphere are all conveyed by the music. Audiences are taken on an incredible emotional journey. That is the magic of film music.

How do you think the audience will feel when they see Pixar in Concert at Eden?

To see your favourite animation characters on the screen, enhanced by the presence of a 70 piece orchestra, will hopefully be an experience that will only make you love them more. The Pixar movies appeal to every generation and this will be a fabulous event for the entire family. What a great way to introduce your children to live music!



Don’t miss Pixar in Concert at the Eden Project on Saturday 5 JulyFind out more and buy tickets online here.

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Events, Music
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Teacher training on the beach

June 24, 2014
Author: Hannah

It was a tough gig, but someone had to do it… In glorious sunshine, on Polzeath Beach in North Cornwall, whilst a pod of dolphins leapt around the bay, Eden’s Schools Team ran a ‘Teach on the Beach’ session for around 20 teachers and educators from across the South West.

Teachers rockpooling

The aim was to provide teachers with the knowledge and confidence to use their local blue spaces as a learning tool for subjects across the curriculum and so provide the opportunity for thousands of pupils of all ages to engage with this living environment.

Eden is passionate about supporting teachers to get outside more with their pupils, as regular access to the natural environment is now acknowledged as having significant benefits, including improved attitudes to learning, educational attainment, better health and a sense of well-being, and enhanced social and life skills.

The beach is such a rich, varied and dynamic environment that can provide learning opportunities for a variety of ages and abilities of students, across a range of subjects. Our day included science, technology, poetry, story and drama!

Schoolboy with a crab in his hand on the beach

We love to work with an overarching narrative that links all the various learning activities together, and motivates students to complete their tasks successfully – and we find the same approach works with teachers too! Our narrative – or story – for Teach on the Beach centred on the beach’s ‘mermaid guardian’, who had disappeared during the winter storms and now needed to be contacted and tempted back to Polzeath by the teachers through a variety of quests.

Here are a couple of our favourite quests from the day. Try them with your own class.

The Sea Anemone Game

Adult sea anemones are stuck in one place, so they can only eat things that float or swim past. Their bodies are composed of an adhesive ‘foot’, a cylindrical body, and an array of tentacles surrounding a central mouth. The stinging cells on the ends of the tentacles are triggered by the lightest of touches, causing them to fire a poisonous filament into their passing victim, which is then guided into the mouth by the tentacles.

To play this game in your class you need a big bendy bucket per team (the mouth), a good collection of small plastic balls (the food) and blindfolds for everyone. Each team is arranged around their bucket in concentric circles. When it’s feeding time, the team puts on blindfolds and sticks up their hands, waving them about (tentacles). The task is to capture the food (plastic balls) as it’s ‘fed’ into the anemone by working the team’s ‘tentacles’ to get as much food to the mouth as possible.

We rewarded the winners (and losers) with some vegetarian sushi rolls wrapped in nori – an edible seaweed from Japan.

Junk rafts

Teachers’ competitive tendencies came to the fore once again when we challenged them to build a mini raft using junk materials we’d sourced from our local Scrapstore. The raft was a last-ditch attempt to track down the missing mermaid, and had to be built to a scale that could be crewed by our trusty outdoor learning companions Captain Ken and Brigadier Barbie.

Schoolteachers with mini rafts on a beach

Some stylish craft were fashioned and the race down the stream was hotly contested. You could try this in school as an activity to give pupils the chance to explore floating and sinking, making predictions (an important scientific ability), as well as the design and build skills to make the rafts float and hold together.

Teachers told us that the day made them feel more confident about teaching outdoors, particularly for curriculum-linked activities such as poetry. Vicky Davies, who runs the Forest School activity at Berrycombe School in Bodmin, explained that she’s now keen to extend the children’s outdoor experience to a different environment, broadening their knowledge of other habitats.

Teach on the Beach was developed and supported by Ecover Blue Mile and Natural Connections

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Education, Play
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