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Hidden Connections

The Forests exhibit takes you deep into Southeastern forests teeming with crucial connections – connections few people have noticed. Sure there’s the obvious food chain, but there is so much more beyond predator-prey. To spot them, you will have to probe past the barriers of bark or skin, observe under the soil, and imagine the power of instant or endless change.

Fire Feeds a Forest

Fire feeds a forest. Dead trees become nurseries. In the Forests exhibit, you can lift the flap to see who lives inside a dead log. Spy on a tortoise, a tree, and an entire ecosystem, all which require fire. Look into a plant to see how soupy goo turns a pitcher plant into a killer.

The Wood-Wide-Web

Beneath the leaf-covered soil in a forest, a quiet drama plays out – a drama scientists have just recently discovered. 

Trees are trading nutrients with fungi. The fungi is sprawled throughout the soil and trades with other trees. This web connects tree to tree to tree. It shows the critical connections that contribute to the health of the forest. 

In the Forest:

  • Climb inside a hollow tree modeled after the largest living tulip poplar in Alabama
  • Learn who eats poison ivy
  • Scamper out onto the shaky bridge to the get a squirrel’s eye view of the forest

Did You Know? 

Wild turkeys lack 3D vision, but they can see in amazing color. They have seven types of photoreceptors whereas humans have only four.