Blogs for September 2017

Craig packs chainsaw to help Florida garden recover from Irma destruction

Posted on Thursday 21st September, 2017

Craig packs chainsaw to help Florida garden recover from Irma destruction

The Eden Project has sent a tree specialist to Florida to help a famous botanic garden recover from the ravages of Hurricane Irma.

Tropical arborist Craig Lewis has taken a chainsaw and ropes with him to The Kampong, part of the National Tropical Botanic Garden, to assist the big clean-up operation. He landed in Miami last night (Wednesday) and will spend a week helping with the clean-up.

The garden, in Coconut Grove, Miami, is celebrated for its fascinating array of tropical fruit cultivars and flowering trees. It suffered extensive damage earlier this month when the storm tore through its trees, felling many and bringing down power lines.

Eden Project Director of Life Sciences Dr Mike Maunder is a Trustee of the National Tropical Botanic Garden and was Director of The Kampong until joining Eden.

He said: “Eden has a close relationship with NTBG and when we heard of the damage it was clear we had to help. Collections of plants are uniquely vulnerable to extreme weather and it is imperative that the repair is performed by horticultural experts. Craig will be joining the superb Kampong team.”

Craig Lewis was chosen as Eden’s chainsaw-carrying ambassador due to his extensive work in the tropics and expertise working at height.

Craig, who lives in Bodmin, Cornwall, and who has worked at Eden for 12 years, said before setting off: “I’m ready to help. The damage to The Kampong looks quite horrific. A lot of iconic trees in the garden have been uprooted and others have been seriously damaged.

“There are roads blocked and paths caved in. I will be helping by surveying the standing trees, taking branches off where needed to make them safer, and cleaning and tidying the whole area.”

Craig will be using skills honed in the rainforest in Indonesia where he worked for Voluntary Services Overseas. He has also worked in Miami in the 1990s and helped clear up after a previous hurricane.

Named for the Malay or Javanese word for a village or cluster of houses, The Kampong is the former estate of Dr David Fairchild, the famed botanical explorer who travelled throughout Southeast Asia and other tropical regions collecting exotic plants to feed the U.S.

NTBG holds one of the world’s great tropical plant collections in its gardens in Hawai’i and Florida, including an extraordinary collection of endangered species.

The Kampong contains collections from Southeast Asia, Central and South Americas, the Caribbean, and other tropical locales, with a special emphasis on tropical fruits, including candle fruit, peanut butter fruit, egg fruit, cocoplums, and over 50 varieties of mango.

Photograph: Craig Lewis with his chainsaw and climbing equipment in the Eden Project’s Rainforest Biome.

New nature-based programme for grandparents and grandchildren launches at Eden

Posted on Wednesday 20th September, 2017

New nature-based programme for grandparents and grandchildren launches at Eden

Deep Roots New Shoots is aimed at mobilising the time and talents of older people and is the first time a visitor attraction is putting on targeted sessions to support grandparents.

Through storytelling, outdoor play, craft activities and exploring the site, Eden is hosting the nature-based activities to allow grandparents, grandchildren and volunteers to connect with Eden and each other.

The unique programme is supported by the innovation charity Nesta and the Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) through the Second Half Fund.

Sessions are devised by Eden’s education team and designed specifically for grandparents and under-fives so they can get ideas for outdoor and imaginary play and meet other grandparents with their grandchildren.

Now Eden is looking for volunteers aged over 50 who can offer their time to support the drop-in activities.

All the Deep Roots New Shoots sessions are included in the general admission charge and take place at 11am and 3pm from Tuesdays to Fridays during school term-time.

Anyone with a background in education or working with children would be particularly suitable for the voluntary roles which involve narrating, facilitating play and working with other volunteers.

Emma Tolley, project coordinator for Deep Roots New Shoots, said: "We recognise the important role grandparents play in supporting their extended and working families and we’re thrilled that they are coming here and using Eden to support their childcare. Now we want to support grandparents better with specific, targeted activities and celebrate what a brilliant job they are doing.

“Through Deep Roots New Shoots we are providing a safe and inspiring space where grandparents and their grandchildren can come, feel welcome, play, engage and meet others. This programme for grandparents is unique and could lead the way for other visitor attractions across the country to put on more activities specifically for this important visitor group.”

Grandmother-of-four Laura Martin who volunteers for the programme said: “I have loved every minute, met some very lovely people and look forward to being here each time I come.

“I would definitely encourage anyone who has been thinking of volunteering. It keeps you active and you get to enjoy the benefits of being in this beautiful place. "

In addition to the drop-in activities Eden is running a series of six weekly sessions for grandparents in fields and woodland on its wider estate.

Little Eden for Grandparents is also funded through Nesta and DCMS and is designed to help grandparents who regularly look after their under-fives play and learn together through outdoor games, quests and treasure hunts, making and creating things and even campfire cooking activities.


All the sessions take place outside (weather permitting) at Little Carne Farm which is equipped with a tent, sheltered fire pit and portable toilet.

Places are currently available for the next six-week block starting on September 21 and which will run every Thursday from 1pm to 2.30pm until October 26.

Little Eden for Grandparents is free and no admission to Eden is needed but booking is required.

Sheila Mollard, who has enjoyed Little Eden for Grandparents with her five-year-old grandson Michael, said: “Little Eden was outdoor fun, fantasy and education for Michael. He had supervision and guidance from the well-prepared leaders which enabled me to enjoy the tranquil setting and time to relax with other grandparents. 

“It was a great opportunity to have hands-on outdoor fun with Michael and a wonderful jog down memory lane of playing outdoors as a child myself.”

For more information on volunteering or taking part in Deep Roots New Shoots or Little Eden for Grandparents go to or email

See full details of ticket prices on


Van Morrison at Eden Sessions on BBC iPlayer from September 23

Posted on Wednesday 20th September, 2017

Van Morrison at Eden Sessions on BBC iPlayer from September 23

One of the greatest concerts to be held at the Eden Project, featuring the legendary Sir Van Morrison, will be available to watch on BBC iPlayer from Saturday (September 23).

The Belfast-born singer and his band gave an unforgettable performance against the backdrop of the world-famous Biomes on July 1 this year.

The 30-minute programme Van Morrison: Live at Eden will be available for 30 days from midday on September 23 at

It will feature some of his all-time classic songs such as Have I Told You Lately, Here Comes The Night, Moondance and Brown Eyed Girl.

Sir Van is one of the most revered and decorated musicians of recent times. He was knighted last year, has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and has won six Grammys, a BRIT Award for Outstanding Contribution and the Ivor Novello Award for Lifetime Achievement.


He released his 36th studio album Keep Me Singing in September last year to critical acclaim and a top-ten berth in both the UK and US album charts. 

Eden Sessions promoter John Empson said: "Sir Van and his band's performance at Eden this summer was a night of pure musical magic that will stay long in the memory.

"It is great that millions of viewers will be able to enjoy some of the highlights on BBC iPlayer in what is the latest broadcast of some of our finest shows."

Born in 1945 as George Ivan Morrison, Sir Van was inspired by musical greats such as Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers, Muddy Waters, Mahalia Jackson and Leadbelly.

He was a travelling musician at 13 and singing, playing guitar and sax, in several bands, before forming Them in 1964.

Them established Van Morrison as a major force in the British R&B scene. His matchless vocal and songwriting talents produced instant classics such as the much-covered Gloria and Here Comes The Night.

After working with Them's New York producer Bert Berns on the beautiful Top 40 pop hit Brown Eyed Girl, released in 1967, Morrison moved to another realm.

Recorded over three days with legendary jazz musicians, 1968's Astral Weeks is a still singular album combining street poetry, jazz improvisation, Celtic invocation and Afro Celtic Blues wailing.

Sir Van continued to advance on his status as a game-changing artist through the decades that followed.

The breadth and reach of his collaboration work continued in 2015 with the release of his album Duets: Re-working The Catalogue. Featuring singers as influential and diverse as Bobby Womack, Gregory Porter, Mavis Staples and Michael Bublé, the album re-works songs handpicked from Morrison's catalogue of over 360 tracks across his career.

The Eden Sessions has its own free-to-view online TV channel ( featuring regularly-updated videos of some of the gigs' finest shows.


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