Category: CCON Outlook

Outlook Climate Art

Climate change art can help people connect on many levels with the challenging topic. We find ourselves asking what role does art play in communicating climate change and helping people express their fears, anxieties, and hopes.

We want to bring attention to an approach that we have found very exciting that uses data and art. Jill Pelto, both a scientist and artist, will be hosting a data-art workshop in the Fall of 2022 in collaboration with Long Island School in Maine with students who are utilizing Climate Change Observatory sites developed on Oceanside Conservation Trust’s (OCT) conserved properties.

Quahog_Square.jpegReplanting Resilience_website(left).jpegJill Pelto: Science-Art Collaborations

Watch and listen to Jill Pelto’s story below and visit her Instagram and website to learn more about her work.


“I am a climate change artist and my passion is constructing new ways to communicate science through art. Scientific research and data fuel the content of my artwork. I create pieces that raise awareness about interesting and important environmental topics. The key topic in my portfolio is climate change data: melting glaciers, rising sea levels, and the increasing use of renewable energy. I hope to cover both positive and negative issues that depict the reality of our current ecosystem.

Art is a uniquely articulate and emotional lens: through it I can address environmental concerns to raise awareness and inspire people to take action. I view art as a powerful platform to ground climate change discussion in everyday life and culture. My goal is to collaborate in order to reach a broader audience. I want to team up with fellow scientists, artists, and people from any discipline.

Nature is fascinating and beautiful, and I hope you will help me fight to preserve it!

I enjoy collaborations and commissions that help share climate stories in new ways. I have teamed up with scientific research groups, conservation organizations, and small businesses to use new platforms to communicate environmental change.” ~ Jill Pelto


Outlook with Laura Bither

Outlook explores variables that shape and influence individuals relationships with nature and how they seek to inspire, adapt and reimagine what conservation can look like moving forward in a world where Climate Change is affecting a broad range of human and natural systems.

Laura Bither, Regional Youth Hub Coordinator with JustME for JustUS

—-What are you passionate about and how does that play out in your work:

My passion is climate justice and outdoor accessibility for all. The Scarborough Marsh Climate Change Observatory (CCO) site is ADA-accessible, which is a necessary and obvious step in inclusivity. The restorative benefits of nature are especially vital for folks who are combating ableism, white supremacy, settler colonialism, and capitalism in their everyday lives because of the identities they present.

I’m thrilled about the participatory model of the Climate Change Observatory Network (CCON). In a place like the Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center that gets a lot of tourists, visitors develop only a transient, transactional relationship with the land. Bringing in a program that fosters in visitors an intentional engagement with the land is crucial as we adapt to climate change and reframe our relationship to the land to be one of reciprocity rather than of extraction.

In my roles this past summer as the Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center Environmental Education Intern and the Maine Environmental Changemakers Community Organizer I created and authored a project on climate change and sea level rise. By focusing on the stories of youth and fisherfolk – those typically left unheard in the traditional environmental movement – I centered on the challenges Maine coastal communities face and their visions for a climate-resilient future. A digital version will be posted to the Maine Audubon website, and a physical display will be mounted next spring on the front of the Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center.

In my current role as the Regional Youth Hub Coordinator with JustME for JustUS I am driven by a mission to create a strong youth-led network of civic engagement and climate justice work in rural Maine. I feel incredibly lucky to work with an organization and leaders in the climate justice movement to shift power toward a shared goal of equity and justice for all Mainers. Through a series of political power trainings and micro grants to support youth projects, we are dedicated to supporting the awesome civic engagement and climate justice work that youth are putting forward. We must center youth voices in policy and planning as we reimagine our future with climate change.

POEM: vacationland by Laura Bither

Outlook with Sami Wolf

Outlook explores variables that shape and influence individuals relationships with nature and how they seek to inspire, adapt and reimagine what conservation can look like moving forward in a world where Climate Change is affecting a broad range of human and natural systems.

About the author: Daphne James is a rising senior at Bates College studying Environmental Studies with a concentration in human culture, gender, and the environment. She is currently a summer associate working with the Southern Maine Conservation Collaborative.

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Scarborough Land Trust’s (SLT) stewardship director, Sami Wolf, to talk about her journey in conservation, SLT’s Climate Change Observatory sites, and how COVID-19 has impacted conservation in Maine.

Sami grew up in Vermont where her passion for nature was fostered by the changing seasons and open access to open spaces. It was threats of developing farmland in her hometown that inspired her to be involved in environmental training and conservation, leading her to be a summer associate at the Southern Maine Conservation Collaborative, grad school in Ireland, and eventually work back in Maine. Now at Scarborough Land Trust she applies her ecological training to strike a balance between the needs of wildlife and the needs of the community. 

We spoke about the importance of outreach and connecting with the local community and how being apart of the Climate Change Observatory (CCO) Network helps facilitate this connection. Sami expressed her love for the project and appreciation for the CCO site’s ability to help people visualize and better understand the environmental changes occurring in Maine due to a warming climate. She explained the visibility the project enables and that it emphasizes the importance of taking a “half step back to realize climate change is happening in Maine because [you] can see it happening right here in Fuller Farm.” Scarborough Land Trust currently has two CCO sites, one at Fuller Farm Preserve and one at Blue Point Preserve.

Sami engages with both sites frequently and believes they can help document climate change trends over time. She visited Fuller Farm in the spring and saw snowmelt, streamflow and a waterfall, but by the time she returned in June the stream was bone dry. Observations like Sami’s, are being captured by crowdsourced photos at the CCO site. An individual simply takes a photo by placing their device on the picture post bracket and emails the photo to Chronolog. Chronolog integrates the photo into the CCO site’s time lapse video, and instantly sends a reply email back to the individual with the time lapse video and information about the CCO site project. The observational data is made publicly available on a website for easy access, allowing people to witness for themselves the environmental changes occurring at the site.

As we spoke about the disheartening changes in the Maine landscape due to climate change, I asked Sami about what she is hopeful for in the future. Sami shared with me the spike in attention and acknowledgement of the crucial role conservation plays at the town level in Scarborough. She accredited this rise of interest to COVID and people noticing what is around them and wanting access and maintenance to those green spaces. Sami said, “The community has felt an electrified charge, there is a lot of fire behind it, everyone sees and feels the need for green space post COVID, and have seeked an interest in wildlife and conservation. Folks are coming to bat for climate change and conservation.” It is really exciting to hear about the increased interest in conservation and how after a long hard year people are eager to support and continue to protect green spaces, especially in functional ways. Sami shared that the attention is not just natural enjoyment, but “to mitigate the twists and turns of natural events”.

The Climate Change Observatory Network (CCON) is a photo monitoring program designed to work with environmental organizations and communities to assist with the observation, measurement and documentation of long-term climate change trends. Using participatory tools and collaborative partnerships, the program brings people with various perspectives and knowledge together to co-learn about climate change and adaptation. The CCON encourages participation in climate change study, develops an interest and community ownership in climate action, and inspires collaboration amongst community stakeholders to develop adaptation strategies and solutions.

Learn more about the Climate Change Observatory Network and how you can get involved.

If you are an organization who is interested in joining the CCO Network and developing a Climate Change Observatory Site and/or interested in partnering or collaborating on a project, please do not hesitate to get in touch