A tribute to trees - The Montréal Space for Life opens its new Arboretum interpretation trail at the Botanical Garden with guest of honour, renowned botanist Francis Hallé

MONTREAL, June 13, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - The Montréal Space for Life celebrates the opening of the Botanical Garden's new Arboretum interpretation trail on June 14, 2013, at 10 a.m. in the company of Mme Josée Duplessis, member of the executive committee and responsible for sustainable development, environment, large parks and green spaces. Dedicated to an exploration, both sensory and cognitive, oh the multiple facets of trees, this trail was inspired in part by the work of internationally renowned botanist Francis Hallé, deeply humanist, who will be the guest of honour at the opening.

« This trail offers our residents a new opportunity for a fun healthy educational and interesting outing for both young and old alike. Montreal is lucky to have institutions like the Botanical Garden that we have chosen to develop since they allow us to develop certain skills. I encourage everyone to take advantage of this unique experience", said Josée Duplessis.

Trees as living beings
The new interpretation trail winds through the heart of the Botanical Garden's Arboretum, the 40-hectare space that is home to approximately 7,000 trees in some 30 collections. Visitors are invited to learn more about these magnificent plants at stations dotted along the trail where they experience the vital functions of the tree—for example, how do trees eat? How do they breathe and stay standing up? How do they differ from other life forms? Other stations answer questions such as where does each species live, and why? Other modules illustrate the place of trees in different ecosystem. The visitor will be dazzled by the beauty of the Arboretum and inspired by the vital role played by trees in our lives and in biodiversity of the Earth.

"This approach highlighting the Montréal Botanical Garden Arboretum is unique. It explains the complexity and beauty of trees to our visitors and once again fits in with the bold interpretation means developed by the Montréal Space for Life and particularly by the Garden's entertainment team. " - Gilles Vincent, Director of the Montréal Botanical Garden.

Francis Hallé: Botanist and activist
As a co-founder of the famous Radeau des Cimes canopy raft and leader of its expeditions until 2001, Francis Hallé has specialized in studying the architecture of vascular plants and has dedicated his life to researching tropical plants, particularly low-altitude rain forests. He has furthermore carried out eight missions to study the canopy of equatorial forests.  In addition to authoring 18 books—including the popular Plaidoyer pour l'arbre [Advocacy for the Tree] published in 2005—in 2012, Francis Hallé also contributed to the film by Luc Jacquet entitled Il était une forêt [Once Upon a Forest], which was submitted to the 2013 Cannes Festival jury. Mr. Hallé has received numerous honours and distinctions, including the David Fairchild Medal for Plant Exploration for his work in tropical botany.

"Francis Hallé's presence among us is highly significant. His approach is both intellectual and highly poetic—emotive even. It is in line with the Montréal Space for Life mission of helping humans live better with nature. This translates admirably in the Arboretum walking trails." — Charles-Mathieu Brunelle, Executive Director of the Space for Life.

Initiated in 2009, the project was made possible thanks to the financial cooperation of Québec's ministère de la Culture et des Communications, the Société des Amis du Jardin botanique de Montréal and Air Liquide.

"Air Liquide Canada is proud to be associated with the new Arboretum interpretation trail at the Montréal Botanical Garden. Like trees, we transform the air around us to share its riches," stated Bernard Gladu, General Manager, Québec Region, Air Liquide Canada. "As the roots of Air Liquide Canada go back over a hundred years in Montréal, it was natural for us to wish to be involved in a project that is so important for the city and in line with our values of innovation, promoting the environment and the development of knowledge."

Francis Hallé will also be giving a talk in the Botanical Garden's auditorium on June 13, 2013. Entitled Plaidoyer pour l'arbre [Advocacy for the Tree], this event will take place at 7:30 p.m. as part of the Space for Life Lecture Series.

The Space for Life, the largest natural sciences complex in Canada, brings together the Biodôme, the Insectarium, the Botanical Garden and the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium. Together, they are committed to preserving and enhancing biodiversity and invite local citizens and those around the world to join this bold, creative and urban global movement.

Montréal Botanical Garden Tree House
4500 rue Rosemont, corner of 29th Street
Friday, June 14, 2013, 10 a.m.
Nearby parking

SOURCE: The Space for Life

For further information:

Diane Pinard, Communications Coordinator
The Space for Life

François Ouellet, Communications Assistant
The Space for Life

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