Conway School of Design visits The Fisherville Mill for a Canal Restorer Workshop

Last week, the LSL together with JTED hosted the Conway School of Design’s Ecological Design master’s class in an afternoon workshop at the Eco Machine site.

Gene Bernat, site owner, and JTED went over the working concepts and science behind the Eco Machine and canal restorers, and students went on to design and construct their own canal restorers from oil absorbent booms, flowering bulbs, iris rhizomes, seed heads and other plants from the site.

“The design and materials are totally unique to my knowledge and represent an adaptive use and innovative evolution of the canal restorer concept,” states Bernat.

The advantage to the design produced by Conway is the ubiquity of the materials, and therefore the ability to replicate the product.  Oil booms, which have been observed to trap oil while serving as a plant substrate, are available everywhere.  The plants that are added to the booms are local, according to the rules of biomimicry.

The bulbs were added as an experiment to evaluate the ability of the Eco Machine to produce flowers that are commercially viable.

A big thanks to Conway for coming out and contributing to the development of the project and the clean-up of the Blackstone Canal.

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