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New and Natural Sculpture at Anita Purves Nature Center Focuses on Renewal

July 12, 2023 04:46 PM

Normally a dead tree (called a "snag") means a chain saw takes the tree down and hauls it away. But, thanks to a grant award, a chainsaw made a snag part of public art at Anita Purves Nature Center.

The project is Tree-newal: Art within the Cycle of Life. Artist Bill Baker from Top Notch Chainsaw Carving made the art. An Urbana Arts Grant funded the project.

The sculpture is at Friendship Grove Nature Playscape. 

In writing the grant proposal, Savannah Donovan, Environmental Program Manager noted, "This project brings new life from the death of an approximately 150-year-old oak tree which stands on the edge of the Friendship Grove Nature Playscape at the north end of Crystal Lake Park, next to the Anita Purves Nature Center and nearby Busey Woods. The “snag” (standing dead tree) is being transformed into a sculpture that represents the diverse urban wildlife that live among us such as owls, raccoons, opossums and deer."

She added, "The medium for this sculpture is a white oak tree that sprouted around the year 1873, just 40 years after the City of Urbana was officially founded. It was a direct descendant of the 'Big Grove' of oaks and hickories that made this location so appealing to early settlers."

The park district will dedicate the work later in September, people can view and enjoy the sculpture now. The park is open from dawn to dusk. 


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