A suitcase carries the knowledge of the forest: a pedagogical tool that invites you to explore the biocultural identity of the Andean Araucanía

Through listening, memories and sensory exploration, the “Memory of the Forest” suitcase immerses us in the flavors and knowledge of the native forest of the La Araucanía region, where we can discover various stories related to wild foods. Inside, there is a sound postcard with stories of women collectors, fanzines and objects created collectively that value the experiences of different generations that make up the biocultural heritage of the Andean Araucanía.

Pine nuts, hazelnuts and the wide variety of seeds that we know today, as well as the knowledge related to their care and preparation, are the result of ancestral practices and knowledge transmitted from generation to generation. These foods constitute part of the biocultural heritage of La Araucanía, whose diversity is related to the experiences of its inhabitants and the health of the ecosystems.

The design and production of this suitcase, by Estudio Repisa and Ina Diseño, reflects the result of a research and collective work entitled “The memory of the forest”, which dates back to 2021. The first stage of the project was carried out by the biologist Constanza Monterrubio and our foundation, as part of the Bosque Pehuén Residencies program. Through workshops, interviews and various actions with the local community, this initiative has aimed to raise awareness and value the biocultural food heritage of Curarrehue.

The result of this research and collective work has been deposited in the suitcase “The Memory of the Forest”. In this memory repository, there is a variety of objects that invite us to explore the biocultural richness of the forests of the Andean zone through the senses, offering a new perspective to appreciate the diversity of cultural identities that inhabit the territory. This experience also prompts us to reflect on the profound interconnection between the health of our bodies and the health of forests.

What does the suitcase carry?

When we open the suitcase we will find various formats on multiple levels. The Sound Postcard The Memory of the Forest, available through a QR code and headphones, addresses the food tradition of this area, which has been influenced and nurtured by the women gatherers, who through their practices, recipes and preparations have preserved a deep knowledge about the territory.

“The foods that make up the cuisine of a certain territory tell us about its soils, climate and cycles; of its history, the people who have gone, those who were displaced, those who have arrived, and those who prepare the ground for those who will come,” says Constanza Monterrubio in the text “Interdependence, food, memory and territory” of the collaborative book “With/living: art and ecology in education.”

To rescue these memories, interviews were carried out with women collectors from the communes of Panguipulli and Curarrehue. Silvia Navarro Manquilef, Sudelia Neculpan, Olga Vázquez and Catalina Meza, share their memories about the wild foods found in this territory through a sound postcard that can be heard through an audio device integrated into the suitcase. memory of the forest.

“I thank Mapu for everything you see while walking, it gives you health, life, and food. Before we didn’t have so many resources. We ate through nature, only what was planted was eaten, we saw beans, we ate beans,” says Catalina Meza in the sound postcard.

In the suitcase we also found the Fanzine “The memory of the forest”. Thanks to the collaboration with the artist, editorial designer and director of the Estudio Repisa platform, Sandra Marín, this fanzine was created inspired by the experiences and stories rescued in the sound postcard “The memory of the forest.” The eponymous project aimed to transfer this knowledge to book format, with the aim of diversifying its use and being a tool to be used in other pedagogical spaces.

Likewise, in order to activate the same publication, a fanzine workshop was developed, in which boys, girls, young people and older adults from Curarrehue participated in a learning experience and collective memory through the making of a collaborative book called “ Act of Peace, a second of nature”, which is also available in the suitcase. In these pages we will find various ways of relating to nature, food and practices such as harvesting, manifested through exploration with stains and drawings. To bring this book to life, artisanal pigments and pastel pencils were used, made by Pigmenta Lab from the collection of natural samples from Bosque Pehuén.

The Memory of the forest at the Science Festival (FECI)

On October 3 and 4 we will participate in the Science Festival (FECI) in La Araucanía, where among other activities, we will carry out the workshop “The Memory of the Forest” in the Faculty of Pedagogy Library of the Villarrica Campus of the Catholic University. The workshop seeks to generate an instance of collective creation and meeting between young people and adults, which facilitates co-learning and the connection with biocultural memory, through the creation of a collective book around harvesting and the relationship with our forests. , in whose preparation materials from the forest floor, native plants and lichens will be used.

In this regard, Manuela Méndez, learning director of our foundation, highlights the importance of generating meeting spaces to activate biocultural memory. “When we aim for biocultural conservation, we not only address the habitats or species, but also the knowledge and practices that allow conservation. Memory is alive, just like a seed, where information is stored and is activated when sowing,” she said.

The “Memory of the Forest” suitcase will be installed at the meeting at the disposal of attendees and will then be moved indefinitely to the Municipal Library of Curarrehue, in the region of La Araucanía, in order to become a pedagogical tool for schools and training spaces.

We thank Ina Diseño for the preparation of the suitcase who pointed out: “we are happy to collaborate with the creation of this container of forest knowledge and be part of this project.”