Messenger - Vol. 1, No. 3, Page 8
Spring 1992
A living eulogy to the Lenape

     Five hundred years ago while Columbus was preparing to depart for
the New World, tribes of Lenni Lenape  were hunting squirrels, deer
and rabbit from their winter camps in the woodlands of the Delaware
Valley. As the weather warmed and Columbus set sail, the Lenape, which
means "the common people," began their yearly migration to their
coastal summer camps. There, they fished and perhaps farmed a little
until the weather grew cold again.
     Recreating the annual migration of the Lenape from the piedmont
to the coastal plain, a group of University horticulture students
designed an 18-foot by 18-foot landscape display for the Philadelphia
Flower Show held in March. Titled "Eulogy for the Lenni Lenape," the
display uses only plants native to the mid-Atlantic region to create
an entrance to a nature center.
     The 15 students, members of the University's Horticulture Club,
incorporated a 10-foot by 4-foot pond and a cliff face in their
display. Ferns, grasses, reeds, azaleas and three full-size trees,
including an American Holly, were included in the modern landscape
that pays tribute to the past.
     The students spent hours collecting gumballs, leaf litter, seed
heads, logs and stones to make their display as realistic as possible.
After consulting the University's Department of Anthropology, they
decided to include appropriate artifacts such as animal horns and
stone chips from spearheads. The display also included signs
explaining the seasonal migration of the Lenape.
     "The display allowed the students to recreate a native ecosystem
while expressing their concern about the displacement of an indigenous
culture," says Gary Smith, landscape design professor. Smith and Susan
Barton, Cooperative Extension horticulture specialist, served as
faculty advisers.
                                        -Claire McCabe, Delaware '85 M