Climate Futures

A New England-based art installation has expanded to Trustees properties on the North Shore to illustrate how climate change impacts may affect marshes, infrastructure, beaches, habitats and more. “Remembrance of Climate Futures” uses signage with future-facing language to paint a picture of local projections.

“The impacts outlined on the 15 signs spread out across seven of our North Shore properties draw on data used in our State of the Coast report for the North Shore region as well as the statewide Climate Vulnerability Assessment,” noted Cynthia Dittbrenner, Trustees Director of Coast and Natural Resources. “Sometimes these projections can seem abstract and far away, but when you apply them to familiar sites, it’s an eye-opening visual of what kinds of changes may happen in just the next few decades.”

The project is the brainchild of Tom Starr, a public artist and Professor of Graphic and Information Design at Northeastern University. In 2021, Starr received funding from the Essex County Community Foundation to expand Remembrance of Climate Futures with 15 new partners such as The Trustees and the City of Salem.

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The signs can be found at the following Trustees properties: Coolidge Reservation (Manchester-by-the-Sea); Greenwood Farm (Ipswich); Hamlin Reservation (Ipswich); Crowninshield Island (Marblehead); Gerry Island (Marblehead); Old Town Hill (Newbury); and the Crane Estate (Ipswich). Each sign includes a scannable QR code for more information about the site as well as the “trail” as a whole. To see the locations, explore the map below.

To see this in Google Maps, click here.

“As stewards of our lands for the future, The Trustees is the ideal partner for this project as they are making the reality of climate change tangible by connecting their many members and visitors not only to the effects of climate change but also to their efforts to address climate vulnerability,” said Starr.

“We are excited to be a partner on this project as the impacts of climate change are already being felt across our North Shore properties,” said  Carole McCauley, Crane Estate Engagement Manager. “We feel we have an outsized responsibility to communicate with our visitors not only about these changes but about the very difficult decisions being faced by landowners and natural resource managers like us, today and in the future. These signs will cause people to stop and think about coastal vulnerability and society’s response to it in a new way.”

The Trustees is the largest private owner of protected coastline in the state and began publishing an annual State of the Coast report in 2020. This report presents analysis of the statewide coastal impacts of sea level rise and storm surge as well as the potential for adaptation, region by region. Now in its third year, the report’s projections are based on publicly available data, interviews with town leaders, and evidenced-based reports from private and public organizations and agencies as well as independent research. The inaugural report looked at coastal impacts on the North Shore in 2020 and was followed by a report detailing projections for the Islands—Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and the Elizabeth Islands—in 2021. The third report was published September 2022, focused on the South Coast communities bordering Buzzards Bay and Narragansett Bay.

View List

  1. Crane Beach Bathhouse (Ipswich)
  2. Argilla Road (Ipswich)
  3. Crane Interdunal Swale (Ipswich)
  4. Crane Beach Boardwalk (Ipswich)
  5. Cedar Point (Ipswich)
  6. Choate Island (Ipswich)
  7. Crane Beach entrance (Ipswich)
  8. Crane boat dock (Ipswich)
  9. Old Town Hill (Newbury)
  10. Hamlin Reservation (Ipswich)
  11. Hamlin Reservation (Ipswich)
  12. Gerry Island (Marblehead)
  13. Crowninshield Island (Marblehead)
  14. Greenwood Farm (Ipswich)
  15. Coolidge Reservation (Manchester-by-the-Sea)
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