It’s a dream come true – a magical story of how restoration can transform an exhausted site into the world’s largest captive rainforest and greenhouse, showcasing plants which have changed the world, connects culture and communities and has even been called the 8th wonder.
The 21st century will provide enormous challenges to society: providing food and energy to the increasing population growth alongside with climate change. But the Eden Project doesn’t believe in doom and gloom, they believe in revitalizing the world, repairing the damages that we made and above all to respect nature. By constructing the largest greenhouse in the world, in the site of an abandoned quarry, they wish to demonstrate that change everywhere in the world is possible. The Eden Project is an educational charity that believes in spreading the awareness of change for the future and demonstrating to the world the endless possibilities that we can create for a safer future.
Where it all began….
Whilst Tim Smit was restoring the Lost Gardens of Heligan he released that plants could be made more interesting by weaving human stories and tales of adventure around them, allowing the audience to develop an emotional bond between plants and to understand their significance and the idea of the Eden Project was born. He wanted to list and exhibit the plants that have changed the world.
The Eden project therefore began as an act of regeneration, by purchasing an exhausted 60 meters deep clay pit consisting of no water and soil. Water was harvested from the rain; 83,000 tonnes of soil was composed from waste materials with the help from Reading University, giant dome conservations packed with the largest diversity of captive plants and eco-friendly buildings raised from the land magically bringing the site back to life. The visitor center was opening in 2000, allowing the public to engage and witnesses the adventure of the Eden project to begin, with the whole site being opened in March 2011. To watch a time lapse of the growth of the Eden Project click here.
Today, the Eden project sows, grows and exhibits plants for food, fuel, medicine, entertainment, materials, music and beauty to educate visitors on the dependence we have on plants and why they need preserving. Stories across the site explain the different types of land-use, people and systems worldwide that utilize plants to keep the world going.
What you can see:
Crops that provide fuels, food, medicines and materials can be found in the outdoor biome, including products used for beer, tea and a field of lavender showcasing how they have shaped the world and why we need to conserve them. This is also the home to the WEEEman – a giant constructed from waste electrical equipment and fantastic mud sculptures.
This holds the largest rainforest in captivity. Here you can learn how rainforests keep humanity alive and how to conserve them. Trekking your way around the rainforest, you get to adore the different layers that compose the forest, finished with a magical delight of a top glass platform view that provides a rare and spectacular sight of the rainforest from above. Mini educational displays of Malaysia, tropical south America and West Africa add a twist of culture and captivation.
This glass roofed building is the entrance to both indoor biomes, where you can find exciting shops and delicious food. Workshops are also in operation so you are always learning something new.
The Mediterranean Biome
This is where you can admire the wonderful sights, scents and stores from the Mediterranean, South Africa and California. This biome explores the future climate challenges and how we need to act before conditions become uncontrollable. Scattered throughout are some remarkable and unique artworks that shouldn’t be missed.
This is an exciting and fulfilling educational center that allows you to explore the services that plants provide, the world’s largest nutcracker, how communities can adapt to the needs of the 21st century, a fun way to play with recycled products and an intriguing view of the seed – a 75 tonne sculpture carved from Cornish granite.
Today the Eden project has the four main projects:
Projects for Places – New landscapes, new lives
Projects for People – Building stronger communities
Projects for People – Harnessing and cultivating talents and skills
Projects for Climate – Climate revolution
There are many fun and simple ways to help support these fantastic projects, including visiting the Eden project itself, gift aiding your admission fee, becoming an Eden friend, making a donation, volunteering or simply registering for their newsletter.
A large round of applause for the Eden Project, who celebrated their 10th anniversary last year, by which time had welcomed 12.8 millions visitors, had grown the largest rainforest in captivity and helped economic regeneration in Cornwall and overseas.