What are the key ingredients of our desires for nature? To which form of nature do we want to contribute, now that cows and greenhouses are disappearing from the landscape?
In the course of a one year field research, Hunnie ('them' in local slang) designed and tested new forms of recreation and maintenance in De Bovenlanden in the Dutch Province of Utrecht. The polder is destined to exchange its agricultural function for a nature reserve in the context of a European wide plan to link ecological zones and allow flora and fauna to migrate and diversify. Hunnie's focus is the role of humans in relation to this man-made 'new nature'. Initiators and designers HenriÃ«tte Waal and Sophie Krier invested time into acquainting themselves with inhabitants and local clubs with very specific knowledge of the area. Fishermen, hunters, historians, geologists, biologists, dieticians, artists, water engineers were given the role of guides, while scientists and thinkers were asked to provide a reflective framework. New nature lovers from the surrounding cities were attracted through a series of seasonal Adventures, products and a field workshop related to water, clay, grass, fauna, wilderness and willow. Hence, Hunnie links 'them' from De Bovenlanden to 'them' who are about to discover it. Project Hunnie ran ahead of the Provincial realization plans for new nature. This has made it possible to implement insights from the fieldwork into the decision-making process. Waal and Krier will advise on the detailing and routing of paths and the role of recreational users in the area in the course of 2014. To ensure the durability of their ideas, the designers are currently looking into setting up a Hunnie Foundation with local and external experts as board members.
Explore, appoint and visualize the current natural and cultural potential of De Bovenlanden; Design and test new forms of nature experience and nature maintenance; Through the lens of our desire for nature, enable exchange between people/groups who don't meet in everyday life; Address the urgency of new exploitation models for â€˜natureâ€™ in the Netherlands with policy makers; Start a mentality change, particularly regarding the given ideas around paths/routes, the role of users and maintenance issues; Empowerment of users (hunnie, locals, farmers, city people etcetera) towards policy makers (Province and Staatsbosbeheer) by making local entrepreneurs and nature volunteers more visible in the transformation process of De Bovenlanden from a rural area into a new nature resort; Promote expertise through experience by equipping participants with skills and knowledge of their surroundings; Give another reading of the area (i.e. activate its hidden potential) through the knowledge and the products that resulted from the programme of adventures.
Characteristic guided walks to explore and imagine today's potential of De Bovenlanden: Fly Fishing, Hunting, Surviving, Clay Pits, Grass Watching, Willow Weaving, The Hatch, Whistling. In orchestrating these adventures, Waal and Krier linked the wisdom inherent in local activities to expertise in art and science. The knowledge that is released is then processed in custom made attributes for the future visitors of the area. Specially designed outdoor equipment. Custom made outdoor showcase in a farm yard where Hunnie products can be bought or borrowed by visitors and are permanently displayed.