Beaver Pondering Lodging

Beaver Pondering Lodging is a living-willow sculpture on habitat loss for wildlife, and for humans.

Lead Artists

Carmen Rosen | Artist, Founding Artistic Director of Still Moon 

Willoughby Arevalo | Artist and Mycologist 

With Joe Boyd and many many community participants.

2024 Special events

World Wetlands Day & Imbolc | Friday February 2, 1:00 – 4:30 PM

Completion Celebration | Friday, April 19, 1:00 – 4:30 PM

Location

On the northwest corner of 3185 Grandview Highway (near Rupert Skytrain Station, just northeast of the Superstore) | Map.

Beaver Pond(er)ing Lodging: a giant beaver woven from living willow

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Willow tools and weaving strips

Still Creek Floodplain

The Grandview Highway Corridor was once a thriving wetland habitat in the Still Creek floodplain that was created by numerous beaver dams. In the 1950’s Still Creek was culverted, narrowed, and the wetlands were filled in and paved to make room for businesses and transportation corridors. This destroyed habitat for not only beavers, but many other mammals, birds, and fish. Neighbourhood children could no longer swim and fish in the ponds, eat berries, or bring trilliums home to their mothers. In spite of the devastation a remnant habitat still exists, and periodically beavers to make a go of living in the urban creek.

The Sculpture’s Story

Beaver Pondering Lodging interweaves the ancient tradition of willow weaving with community-led stream bank stewardship. Our sculpture is woven from living willow (Beaver’s favourite food), and is a tribute to the habitat building, diligence and collaborative spirit of Beaver. 

The unaffordable housing crisis has pushed many neighbours to live in tents and aging RV’s along the edge of the stream. Beaver and The Dodge Lodge are pondering each other and the loss of secure habitat for wildlife and humans.

Still Moon hopes this project continues to inspire conversations about place and to care for the land, the water and each other.

Fruiting Bodies Sculpture "Ted" - Photo by Bea Miller (Apr 2019)

Conceptual drawing: A beaver climbs up the stream bank, curiously noticing an RV that is parked on the lawn.

Community Conversations

We meet folks from all walks of life and parts of the world when we’re working on site. People often stop to exchange stories, feelings, thoughts and knowledge with us about lived experiences, housing issues, local history, weaving traditions, and nature experiences.

We have received warm feedback from many Indigenous neighbours who see the project reflecting cultural values as exemplified by Beaver. These conversations have been one of the richest aspects of the project. We’ve learned so much! Still Moon hopes this project continues to inspire conversations about place and to care for the land, the water and each other.

World Wetlands Day and Imbloc Celebration

Process

2021: Research

We learned about the site, planting and growing willow, researched willow weaving techniques, and learned from weavers, knowledge keepers and community members Alastair Heseltine, Sharon Kallis, Kim Creswell, Jolene Andrew, Cease Wyss, Ben Goldfarb and Oliver Kellhammer.

We prepared the site by digging out invasive blackberries and reed canary grass and hauling out obscene loads of garbage.

January to April 2022: Beaver

We harvested cuttings from native willows from wild areas and basketry willows from Mountain View Cemetery’s Infant Memorial Garden, with support of Marina Szijarto. We planted the native willows around an internal frame made of wood from wind damaged trees supplied by Parks Board arborists. We wove these willows into the form of a beaver using the European basketry willows to hold up the native species. We planted a diversity of native plants around the site. Dozens of community members came by to help out.

January to April 2023: Lodge

We created a three dimensional outline of the Dodge Lodge RV with more wood from wind damaged street trees from Parks Board arborists and the very special black maul and purple willow from Mountain View Cemetery’s Infant Memorial Garden.

We worked on improving the soil and planted nettles and wildflowers inside the lodge.

January to April 2024: Completion

We are completing the creation phase of the project, filling out and detailing the Dodge Lodge.

Lead Artists are on site working most Thursdays and Fridays between 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM. 

Ongoing

The living willow sculptures will continue to grow and change. We will tend to them with summer watering and weaving in new growth. We hope Beaver and the Dodge Lodge will eventually become self-supporting and thrive for many years. As the neighbourhood densifies and changes we hope Beaver Pondering Lodging reminds us to make room for the water, for rich wildlife habitat and for accessible human habitat for all. 

Project Funders & Supporters

Special thanks to the Real Canadian Super Store on Grandview Highway, and to the Vancouver Parks Board Arborists.