By BEN WESTCOTT
Plans are in the works for a new climate change exhibition at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake.
“Solutions: Voices from the Frontlines of Climate Change” will launch in June of 2021. Now in development, it is intended as a solutions-oriented way of sharing with the natural history museum’s 100,000 annual visitors the sorts of climate messages it already develops with youth climate summits, retreats and green building conferences.
“We use our building as a teaching tool all the time,” said Jen Kretser, director of climate initiatives at the Wild Center.
“The research shows that most people in northern New York State understand that climate change is happening, but it can be really hard for people to connect with solutions,” Kretser said.
“We know that we want to highlight how climate change impacts our local economy and public health, for instance our winter tourism or the rise in ticks in the area,” Kretser said, “but we want to make sure we focus on doable solutions, because most people can’t visualize what that might look like.”
The center will spend the next year developing the program based on climate solutions that are working, Kretser said.
The staff is developing the exhibition with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, state climate officials, the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s Center for Native People and the Environment, and Project Drawdown – a consortium of climate researchers. A grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supports the work.
Kretser envisions the exhibition highlighting between 15 and 20 climate solutions that have regional value, probably including local and regional initiatives such as composting, food-waste education and renewable energy.
“The impacts we have here in the Adirondacks are going to be different than what’s happening in western New York or New York City,” she said. “The question is, how can we help make those impacts feel local and relevant so that people understand that there are solutions at hand that we can deploy to help us draw down on carbon and reverse the worst impacts of climate change?”
Kretser noted that the exhibition will be geared toward fostering youth engagement. “We intend to have a maker’s space in the center of the exhibition, giving kids an opportunity to work on solutions, tinker and innovate.”
The Wild Center will host three climate change solution summits prior to the exhibition opening in 2021. These summits crowd-source ideas for the exhibition.