MOUNT DESERT — It is no accident that the natural beauty of Mount Desert Island is preserved and accessible to the public. Understanding and protecting the island’s natural spaces, the larger ecology of Frenchman Bay and its connections to the world represents the work of many individuals and organizations. Despite the successes of past efforts, threats from climate change pose new challenges.
On Thursday, June 24, from 5-6 p.m., the Mount Desert Island Historical Society will host a free public reception to celebrate the opening of two new exhibits on the Somesville campus exploring the history of science on the Island and what science tells us about the impacts of climate change. The exhibits will be open to the public Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through September.
Summers of Science and Wonder chronicles scientific research and discovery on the island from Wabanaki stewardship to the presence of two research laboratories. While George Dorr was working to establish what became Acadia National Park, he was also appealing to scientists, encouraging them to spend summers here studying the natural environment and sharing their findings with peers and patrons. Thanks to Dorr, the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory and The Jackson Laboratory both grew from humble research outposts to year-round employers credited with discoveries that have transformed modern medicine. Visitors will learn about how student naturalists in the 1880s gave rise to citizen science, which continues to play an important role in understanding our environment. Summers of Science and Wonder is in the main building, accompanied by artifacts and historic documents and images.
This history becomes meaningful in the Selectmen Building with a new exhibit, Landscape of Change, which provides specific examples of how the island and Frenchman Bay are being affected by climate change. The Historical Society partnered with the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, A Climate to Thrive, Schoodic Institute, College of the Atlantic and Acadia National Park to pull data from historic records and compare it to modern observations as a means of measuring climate change. Ideas and solutions are offered, inspiring visitors to imagine a resilient future and become involved as citizen scientists. Public programs, citizen science workshops and events, and climate conversations will be offered throughout the summer.
To learn more, visit www.midhistory.org and click on Landscape of Change.
To RSVP for the reception, or for more information about the opening reception, exhibits or affiliated programs, contact Raney Bench at [email protected].