Led by artist Nicolás Dumit Estévez Raful and John Butler, this WALK will help participants connect viscerally with local trees, while developing a deeper understanding of the role of the riparian forest in Van Cortlandt Park.
During this experiential walk, participants will be guided through an unfolding series of performative exercises seeking to kindle one’s intimate relationship with trees. Walk and talk therefore go hand-in-hand with each other as we pursue as a group our path through Van Cortlandt Park, in the Bronx, and then move on to forge one-on-one connections with specific elms, oaks, maples, and dogwoods, among the other species in the area. We will have the opportunity to join in the goings-on of our tree through different breathing approaches, move to the dance of the branches while finding bonds between the sentient being in-front of us and our bodies, disclose orally or in writing a personal conundrum to our tree while using silence to receive advice from our listener, and open up to the possibility of forging a lasting friendship with the tree we have befriended.
Friends of Van Cortlandt Park ecological project manager John Butler will help participants understand the relationship between tree heath and overall environmental health, and will discuss efforts to restore the riparian forest in Van Cortlandt Park.
During the last 25 years Nicolás Dumit Estévez Raful Espejo has been teaching, writing. collaborating, learning, dancing, walking and performing in the Bronx, thus generating a rare archive of the goings on in the borough that includes: videos, photographs, documents, memorabilia, audios and embodied experiences.
John Butler is a cartographer and stream ecologist. He is currently the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park’s Ecological Project Manager and a graduate student at City University of New York (Lehman College). He has worked for the past five years in urban conservation project management within the public land system, securing grants and running stewardship projects.
Butler blends together a passion and understanding in the field of ecology with map design and development abilities to build representations that tell the stories the raw data does not easily do. He plans to continue down the path of creating cartographic pieces as additions to his work in land conservation and biogeography.
Accessibility: Please note that the 242nd street subway station does not have an elevator. There are multiple bus routes with stops near the station. Regarding accessibility of the route, this walk will primarily be held in Van Cortlandt Park along gravel/dirt trails. The walk will likely veer off the trail into grass, and may go into wooded areas. The precise route is still being planned; route accessibility will be confirmed closer to the date of the walk