Immersion, interaction, inspiration—how the unique Montreal Insectarium helps us reconnect with nature
Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 620 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festival, telecom expo, millets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.
The 2022 edition of the HEC Montreal Mosaic programme, held again physically for the first time after a two-year pandemic break, featured an insightful session on Nature, Diversity and Societal Inspiration. As guest faculty for the programme, here are some of my key takeaways from the inspiring venues and sessions.
In an opening address titled Reconnecting with Nature, Charles-Mathieu Brunelle, Deputy Director, Quality of Life, Ville de Montreal, urged citizens to think about the consequences of urban and rural development on nature.
Government policies and CSR commitments to nature are not enough–the only way to really preserve our environment is if all people fall in love with nature, Charles-Mathieu affirmed. “Each person has to find their song to bring out this commitment,” he added.
The unique Insectarium in Montreal was reopened to the public on April 13, 2022. It features spaces with designs inspired by nature, such as underground Alcoves, a Dome with 3,000 insect specimens, and a partially open Vivarium.
The creative process for the Insectarium’s design included a living lab, co-design workshops, and testing prototypes with citizens, according to Anne Charpentier, Director, Botanical Garden, Espace pour la Vie.
The team addressed a number of provocative questions. What would be a real significant experience to get closer to insects? If insects were to invite us into their world, what would the experience be like? How can space and architecture nurture this insect encounter experience?
In 1991, an initiative called Friends of the Insectarium was also launched to promote appreciation of the world of insects through cultural, educational, scientific and civic activities. The Insectarium provides digital and domain support to other partnering organisations.
Museums should do more than present facts–they should offer immersive experiences that foster human connection with nature at all ages, according to Maxim Larrivee, Director, Insectarium, Espace pour la Vie.
“The pandemic increased our need to connect with nature,” he said. Insects play an important role in nature as pollinators, defenses against predators, agents of the circular economy, and even as a source of food.
The Insectarium spreads its message through visitor programmes and support for education and research. “We aim to turn citizens into agents of change,” Maxim signed off.
Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and find new ways to protect nature?
(All photographs were taken by Madanmohan Rao on location at the Insectarium.)