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Paradise Lost? Climate Change in the North Woods

In May of 2006, 20 artists, 7 scientists and 6 educators met to learn about climate change and the potential role of art in increasing public awareness of science. The artists subsequently created pieces including paintings, sculpture, poetry and music reflecting their perceptions of the science of climate change, its impacts on northern ecosystems and the actions that can be taken now to lessen those impacts.

These pieces were assembled into an exhibit along with related scientific information and visuals. During the exhibition tour, educators visited middle and high schools in each community prior to the exhibit's arrival, involving students in science and art activities focusing on climate change. Students created artwork to be included with the exhibit in their community. A reception and panel discussion was held in each community at the opening of the exhibit. Local organizations with an interest in climate change were invited and encouraged to hold other related events, using the exhibit as a focal point.

There were three broad themes running through the exhibit and related educational programs:

  • Global - Provide an overview of climate, historical and recent changes and impacts of greenhouse gases.
  • Regional - Highlight what is unique about northern ecosystems, which elements are sensitive to climate changes, and what changes can be expected.
  • Actions - Provide an outline of the challenges and also the opportunities to change and reduce our carbon footprint. 

Visitors were provided with ideas for individual actions they could take, simple changes they could make, and illustrations of the impact of those changes.

Teaching Climate Change

Paradise Lost? Teaching About Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region is a dynamic website built to link concepts, activities, videos, art and science together for K-12 teachers. It is a work in progress, but feel free to visit and stop back often!


The catalog, which is available for download from the link below, features the entire collection of artists and their work, plus scientific data.

PDF icon paradise_lost.compressed.pdf

Anna Courtier, PhD

Director of Community-Based Learning
Contact Info

(608) 265-5526


Room 104F

445 Henry Mall

Madison, WI 53706

I earned my PhD in geophysics from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and my BS in geology and geophysics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Before coming to WISCIENCE, I taught general education and geophysics courses at James Madison University, and later served as the Science Outreach Coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
At WISCIENCE, I coordinate service-learning coursework for undergraduate and graduate students and oversee the service peer leadership students. I also serve as the director of the Adult Role Models in Science program (ARMS), which supports many partnerships between the university and surrounding communities.