Updated: May 24, 2021
The National Trust in partnership with Birds On The Edge is delighted to announce the approval of a planning application to build a temporary willow sculpture at the Trust’s restored land at Plémont.
The success and popularity of the Willow Toad in Waterworks Valley, which was recently disassembled, has encouraged the Trust to consider environmental art as a way to raise awareness on the plight of the Islands’ wildlife. The Trust’s next sculpture aims to highlight the precarious state of the Puffins of Jersey, the threats to their coastal habitats within the Seabird Protection Zone, and the ongoing efforts to save them.
The statue will represent two separate puffins facing each other and with their bills touching, also known as ‘billing’, which is a sign of recognition and partnership between breeding mates. The sculpture will be approximately 4m tall, 6m wide and 1.8 m deep.
The internal framework and footings are made of steel, to provide structural integrity against the prevailing winds. The steamed willow won’t degrade as quickly as fresh cut willow, and the lifespan of the sculpture is likely to be 2 to 3 years. However, the metal framework will allow for quick repairs to replace willow when required. The sculpture will be removed once the project comes to an end. The vast majority of the materials are sustainable and biodegradable, and metals will be re-used or recycled.
The sculpture will also play a major role in the community strategy of the Birds On The Edge Plémont Seabird Project. It is hoped that it will become a visual cue for other features planned in this area, such as an informative “Seabird Trail” between Plémont and Grève de Lecq, or to serve as a meeting place for events, exhibitions and public presentations. We also hope that the sculpture will be the focal point of an annual event which is being currently planned, which will celebrate the arrival of the puffins at the beginning of each spring.
This is part of a wider project aimed at improving the habitat and breeding opportunities for the puffin population of Jersey, which at the moment stands at four pairs.
Puffins can be seen in Jersey waters between the months of March and July, from the north coast footpaths. They are often found bobbing in the water with Razorbills, Fulmars and gulls.