For the Landscape of Change website click here

Click here to view the recording of the Zoom event. 

Mount Desert Island Historical Society to launch collaborative Landscape of Change project

Local nonprofit organizations team up to examine the rich history of scientific exploration on Mount Desert Island in order to build a resilient future.   

BAR HARBOR, MAINE – For more than 140 years, Mount Desert Island has served as a magnet for scientific exploration. The fact that this beautiful natural resource remains accessible to all and continues to foster a culture where science is encouraged and thrives represents the work of many individuals and organizations. On Monday, April 19, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. the Mount Desert Island Historical Society, in partnership with five local organizations, will celebrate this shared heritage with an online presentation entitled Landscape of Change.

This virtual event will feature presentations from Raney Bench, Executive Director, Mount Desert Island Historical Society; Lawson Wulsin, Executive Director, A Climate to Thrive; Jasper White, College of the Atlantic student and GIS data development and mapping specialist; Caitlin McDonough MacKenzie, Visiting Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies, Colby College and Second Century Stewardship Fellow; and Catherine Schmitt, Science Communication Specialist with Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park.
In 2021 the Mount Desert Island Historical Society (MDIHS) is leading a community-wide conversation about the direct connections between human and environmental history, and building resilience in the face of climate change. Historic records are a vital resource in analyzing change over time. MDIHS cares for an important collection of logbooks written by a group of Harvard students between 1880 and 1890. Calling themselves the Champlain Society, the students catalogued MDI’s natural history and wrote reports on their findings, inspiring subsequent conservation efforts that led to the formation of Acadia National Park.
The Champlain Society logbooks underpin the Landscape of Change project, a partnership conceived of and led by MDIHS that includes Schoodic Institute, Acadia National Park, College of the Atlantic, MDI Biological Laboratory, and A Climate to Thrive. Focusing on birds, pollinators, seawater temperatures and levels, and weather, this partnership will analyze and publish historical records, record current data for comparison, and use the historic and current data to anticipate coming changes.
The public launch of Landscape of Change coincides with the spring 2021 edition of MDIHS’s acclaimed journal Chebacco, which presents the first three years of the Champlain Society logbooks edited by Catherine Schmitt of Schoodic Institute in its special Summers of Science and Wonder edition.

A hallmark of the project is the collection of more than 100 years of observational data from scientists and naturalists on Mount Desert Island and displayed on an interactive GIS map accessible from any mobile device. Members of the public can retrace the steps of early MDI scientists and naturalists and document their own observations of the natural world. This data will provide new insights into how the island is changing, and how fast.

An informational exhibit, ongoing lecture series and citizen science events will emphasize the goals of the project: to underscore the importance of proper stewarding of land, water and human history, and to inspire members of the public to utilize this unique data set action for today from the plant and animal data collections of years past.

Click here to view the recording of the Zoom event.