Reiman Gardens is one of the largest public gardens in the state and serves as the entrance to Iowa State University and the city of Ames. The Nature Connects show is part of Reiman Gardens’ 2012 Some Assembly Required theme. The 27 sculptures make up 14 displays and were created from nearly 500,000 Lego bricks. Kenney and his team built the exhibit in 8 months and made use of MEK (methyl ethyl ketone), an organic “welding agent” also referred to as “polystyrene cement” to connect the Lego pieces together permanently.
Ranging in size from 6 inches to nearly 8 feet tall, the sculptures are representations of how interconnected nature is. For instance, the water display features lily pads, a frog and a koi fish, which is meant to show how ecosystems rely on diversity to survive and thrive. The fox and the rabbit demonstrate how healthy and balanced populations are maintained; the rabbit provides food for the fox and the fox keeps rabbit populations at optimum levels to preserve their shared habitat. The bumblebee represents the connection that plants and pollinators and how important this relationship is to encourage new growth. And the gardener discusses how our activities have deep-rooted and often permanent impacts on our planet.
Nature Connects opened April 14th and will be on display through Sunday, October 28th.
Images ©Reiman Gardens and Sean Kenney