Art in Nature

Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve in Appleton, a 775-acre wildlife preserve and nature education facility, has recently become home to a tree root art piece that functions as a chandelier. 

Executive Director Randy Tuma says the root system comes from a northern white cedar that was found on the property. Bubolz is home to a white cedar forest that is disappearing due to how easily the trees can be uprooted and tipped over from the wind. The trees are also a favorite food of deer during the winter. The deer eat the new seedlings every year and this prevents new forest growth. Tuma says that this art piece is a way to “interpret what is happening and talk about it in the nature center.”

During the process of its creation, the root system was power washed at a car wash to remove excess soil and eventually got hung from the ceiling in the preserve’s lodge on the lower level. Bubolz wants to showcase the shallow root system and how easily the trees tip over from the wind due to these shallow roots. This chandelier is a beautiful lighting fixture but is also a great educational piece. 

Tuma has received very positive feedback thus far from visitors to the center who ask where it came from and if they would make more and sell them. If you haven’t been to the reserve yet, not to worry. The chandelier is a permanent fixture and may even inspire more natural art pieces. Tuma says, “In nature there is plenty of art that is more beautiful than anything we could ever come up with.” 

For more information on programming and events at Bubolz Nature Preserve, visit

Arts & Culture

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