There are quite a few “can’t miss” locations in the Adirondacks, and The Wild Center is at the top of that list! The Wild Center’s mission is “to ignite an enduring passion for the Adirondacks where people and nature can thrive together and offer an example for the world." If you haven’t been before, or haven’t visited lately, now is the time to plan an excursion. Two years in the making, The Wild Center’s new 3,000 square foot Climate Solutions exhibition is now open and ready to explore.
The exhibition encompasses four main areas; energy, food, the natural world, and action. Within the exhibition, you will find energy solutions that demonstrate how transforming our energy ecosystem by transitioning to renewable energy will result in healthier communities, cleaner air, water, and soil, and lower carbon emissions. You’ll also learn about solutions surrounding the rebuilding of our food system that focus on an equitable food system concerned with both people and the planet. A healthy and affordable food system uplifts farmworkers and communities and is attained by treating the land, soil, and waters with respect. The exhibit will also guide visitors through exploring ways that we can help build a livable future by supporting Earth’s ecosystems and becoming part of the solution by taking action on climate change.
Living Climate Solution examples
Real change happens when people put their skills in action. Within the Climate Solution exhibit, the inspiring stories of twelve individuals who live in the Adirondack North Country region are told. The encouraging stories of these passionate individuals provide examples of how science, technology and social change can be embraced and incorporated into the lives of others in support of taking action on climate change and becoming part of a climate solution. Meet locals like Neil Patterson Jr., Assistant Director, Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, and learn about Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and the relationship between Indigenous knowledge and scientific understanding to find ways to live respectfully in the world.
Leading with LEED
The Wild Center holds the distinction of becoming the first New York museum to achieve LEED building certification, the most widely used green building rating system in the world. In order to become certified to this standard, projects like The Wild Center must undergo a rigorous review process to prove that certification directives have been met. Holding a LEED certification doesn’t just show that a building adheres to specific requirements involving energy or water use, rather it demonstrates that the “big picture” has been considered. LEED certified buildings such as The Wild Center protect and restore water resources, reduce their contribution to global climate change, protect and enhance biodiversity and ecosystem services, promote sustainable and regenerative material cycles, and enhance individual human health and the quality of life of the community.
In addition to being constructed inside of a LEED certified facility, the Climate Solutions exhibit was created using sustainable practices. Phones used in storytelling interactives were procured from local thrift stores, recycled pallet wood was up-cycled as wall treatments, displays were created from repurposed audio/visual equipment and an old bowling alley lane was converted into a countertop in the Tinkering Studio of the exhibit. Signage was created with waste reduction in mind during its fabrication process, railings were constructed using repurposed materials, and flooring and wall treatments within the “Energy House” were harvested at the end of its life. Changes were made at the Waterside Café too; local and regional farms are supplying food in the spirit of a real-time climate solution.
Inspiring and empowering a new generation
The Wild Center is brimming with incredible talent, people who not only have a passion for the well-being of the local community, but who are tirelessly working toward building a sustainable future both locally and globally. One of the very inspiring individuals who is leading our youth toward their own current and future work and support of green initiatives is Jen Kretser, Director of Climate Initiatives. Jen leads the center’s Youth Climate Program, a remarkable and highly successful initiative aimed at empowering youth around the world to take action on climate change. In addition to its involvement in the United Nations Climate Change Conference and the Climate Reality Project, the Youth Climate Program has been recognized by the White House and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Focusing on empowering and motivating people, Jen comments on the new Climate Solutions exhibition at The Wild Center and about the importance of individual participation and working together toward a common goal. “One of the points we make in the exhibition is that education is a climate change solution. This is The Wild Center’s greatest contribution to helping to solve climate change. We have the opportunity to reach over 100,000 people a year and encourage them to learn and to get involved--each in their own way. Individually we can't do it all but each of us doing a piece of the work all adds up."
Jen was recently celebrated as the recipient of the 2022 Conservationist of the Year, a prestigious award granted by The Adirondack Council.
“The Release,” a painting by Haudenosaunee artist David Kanietakeron Fadden, is an interactive art installation that is part of the Climate Solutions exhibition. Visitors are invited to participate in finishing the painting by adding their own artistic detail to the brushstrokes.
Keep an eye on the (green) horizon
The Wild Center’s website currently shows a sneak peek into the new Climate Solutions exhibit. Soon, a new website will be launched that includes a comprehensive digital version of Climate Solutions that includes videos, resource lists, a virtual walkthrough, and a deeper dive into the science and storytelling highlighted in the new exhibit.
In addition to gaining access to the new Climate Solutions exhibit (and much more!) that is included with admission to The Wild Center, the museum offers a wealth of activities and special events that you won’t want to miss! View the organization’s Calendar Highlights and keep on the lookout for currently scheduled and upcoming special events. New events like the Electric Fest, scheduled for October 1, will soon be added to the calendar.
The Wild Center hopes that your visit inspires and encourages you as part of the growing community of people who are working toward addressing climate solutions and a more sustainable future.