Mural in progress by pilot workshop participants Donna Costello, Tan-lin Li, Lulu Yang Chen, Jill Sigman, and Rishauna Zumberg, and facilitator Dani Cole.
Participants move with a
Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)
On October 30, 2022 participants in jill sigman/thinkdance's Social Justice Movement Lab gathered in Prospect Park by an American Linden (Tilia americana) to participate in "Tree Time," a 6-hour pilot workshop and immersive experience, facilitated by Dani Cole. Prior to the workshop, participants were given materials detailing Prospect Park's and Brooklyn's ecological history, past and present stewardship in the area, and current threats to tree existence and persistence in urban areas.
Dani led a tree identification and cultural history walk of immediate surroundings, inviting participants to greet each tree through their bodies and senses. Dani shared focused information on natives American Linden, Sugar Maple, Black Oak, Northern Red Oak, and Black Tupelo, including their common associations, ecological effects, and various indigenous and colonial uses. Dani offered prompts for movement exploring "tree time," drawing from texts regarding Prospect Park’s history and Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass, including a chapter on Franz Dolp’s tree stewardship.
Participants also used mediums of visual art-making and co-created a small mural reflecting on the intersections of trees and social justice, serving as a communal ground for processing, interconnectivity, and action.
A mediation on "tree time" through decaying fall leaves found on the ground by Tan-lin Li
An interpretation of "tree time" using chalk pastels
by Rishauna Zumberg
The pilot workshop concluded with street tree education and stewardship in Flatbush. Dani guided participants in common street tree care steps including litter pick up, weeding, cultivating the soil, mulching, and watering, learned from her work as an NYC Super Steward Street Tree Care Captain. Participants were invited to share their wishes for the future of the Red Oaks cared for that day through movement and left the workshop empowered to care for trees on the streets they reside.
American Linden (Tilia americana)
Site of workshop