Each year the seeds of some of the 170 trees that survived the nuclear bomb of 1945 are collected in Hiroshima. These seeds have been sent to almost thirty countries, and since 2012 they have germinated and grown in the Botanical Garden of the Universidad Austral de Chile, in Valdivia. From this initiative, we generated a digital platform with educational activities, www.legadoverde.cl.

Illustrations by Catalina Bu

www.legadoverde.cl is a website that offers activities for children ages 6 to 12, accompanied by a set of instructions for teachers and parents regarding their implementation in both the classroom and household settings. The activities are aimed to teach children about finding peace through nature and promote creativity as a means to grasp historical processes, develop empathy, and better understand the human-environment relationship. All graphics and illustrations were made by Chilean illustrator Catalina Bu, and designers from Fauna design studio.

Our team developed three different activities: “The unexplored journey of a plant” challenges students to imagine, draw, and write the adventurous rescue mission of a plant of their choosing and its safe travel to a new home – another country or even the moon – children are prompted to identify the various resources needed to ensure the plant’s survival; “Story of a Seed” guides children through the basic phases of seed development and plant growth; “Correspondences for Peace” is an activity that fosters empathy and speaks to our ability to overcome difficulties.

Green Legacy Hiroshima is a joint initiative of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research and the NGO ANT-Hiroshima, dedicated to spreading the seeds of trees that survived the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945, during World War II. The initiative has sent seeds as peace ambassadors to more than 27 countries: Chile was one of those selected, receiving the seeds in 2012 under the care of the Botanical Garden of the Universidad Austral de Chile. Thanks to the efforts of the Botanical Garden’s team – Mylthon Jiménez-Castillo, scientific director of the Botanical Garden, and Patricio Torres, of the Institute of Environmental and Evolutionary Sciences – these seeds have successfully grown into small trees which continue to grow today.

One of the trees planted in Chile, an Ilex rotunda (Kurogane holly or round leaf holly), was sent to the Cerrillos National Center of Contemporary Art to accompany the announcement of the Green Legacy Hiroshima initiative and the launch of this website. As part of the event, one thousand paper cranes were made by people who had visited the center within the month-long period during which the tree was displayed. The folding of cranes is an activity inspired by the old Japanese tale of Sadako Sasaki (1943-1955): Sadako set out to make one thousand paper cranes – senbazuru – hoping that these cranes would cure her of her leukemia, caused by nuclear radiation. The paper cranes, due to the folkloric story, have become a symbol of peace in Japan.

The tree and paper crane exhibit, as well as numerous workshops available on our website, were made free and open to the public for the entire month of September 2018.

*A project led by Fundación Mar Adentro with the collaboration of Universidad Austral de Chile, UACH Botanical GardenNational Council of Culture and the Arts of Chile, and the Cerrillos National Center of Contemporary Art.

Maya Errázuriz, our project coordinator receiving the plant alongside SAG (Agricultural and Livestock Government Services) in Cerrillos Activity pack distributed during website launching The first strings of the senbazuru Beatriz Bustos O., our Director of Art, Culture and Education together with the Embassador of Japan in Chile and the Director of the Cerrillos Center, Beatriz Salinas, during the opening ceremony of the launching event The first paper-crane workshop carried out with kids from local schools National Center of Contemporary Art Cerrillos