Watchtree Nature Reserve appointed MGH Consultants through competitive tender to develop interpretation for inside their visitor centre as well as an external panel for their 'Elemental Garden' which discussed the sustainable energy source of wind power.
Our work covered the development of a large format map-style orientation panel for the entrance lobby, the four main habitats of wetlands, hay meadow, woodland and hedgrerow as well as highlighting visitor facilities and the history of the site. These panels were printed onto a crystal laminate to avoid glare and reflection and were mounted onto foamboard with split-batten fixings. The external panel was manufactured in multiguard glass-reinforced plastic inset into a galvanised and powder-coated tray style lectern. The lectern choice steared clear of the common A1 format and looked to establish a conservative house style that was sympathetic to the natural surroundings, in the understanding that further interpretation may happen around the site and when it does it would be ideal to use the same house style.
A number of site visits allowed us to explore and understand the site whilst taking detail images for use in the creation of hand-drawn icons for the maps and for the panel headers. We then developed the subject storyboard and accompanying text in consultation with the large board of directors and with the Reserve Manager, using stock images by Laurie Campbell, a pre-eminent natural history photographer inter-mixed with images taken by enthusiastic reserve volunteers and amateur photographers. We felt a mix of images and illustrations would create panels with impact, that would draw people in to the visitor and encourage them to get out and around the reserve. All the illustrations on the panels were hand drawn by us from reference images.
Having completed the project on budget we are extremely satisfied with the results and with the very positive feedback we have received from the board of directors.