Community Curators: Local is the New Global

Climate change is the defining issue of our world today, resulting in unpredictable weather patterns, rising sea levels, and loss of homes for humans and animals alike. Immediate action is needed to restore balance to our natural world. The 4th Annual Community Curators Exhibit will be on display November 7th through May 14th, 2024.

How has climate change affected our world? Through natural history collections such as ours, scientists and researchers can glean insight into its effect on a variety of animal species and our ecosystem. In this community curated exhibit, guests are invited to discover how climate change affects different species, and what communities and individuals can do. 


Meet the 2023 local community curators and the item they selected for the exhibit:


Pollinators

(Apis mellifera, Bombus pensylvanicus, Papilio polyxenes, Vanessa cardui, and Danaus plexippus)

We need pollinators to fertilize the plants that grow our food. Climate change threatens bees’ life cycles, butterflies’ migration routes, and the network of relationships that allow us all to live. Stopping climate change will keep the pollinators safe, and they will keep us fed.

Chosen by Steve Fischer
Mr. Fischer has lived and worked in Worcester for over 30 years. As the Executive Director of the Regional Environmental Council, Mr. Fischer is committed to making sure that everyone has healthy food to eat, grown in a way that can be sustained in the future. He is particularly proud of the Council’s farmers market programs, which help people in Southbridge, Webster, and Worcester overcome obstacles to food access.


Bald Eagle

(Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

As predators, Bald Eagles are affected when climate change causes problems for their prey. Fish are Bald Eagles’ primary prey, especially in coastal areas. When climate change alters ocean currents, this affects fishes’ migratory patterns. Eagles are forced to find other prey, like rabbits or rodents, which brings them into competition with other predators. Either the eagles lose and don’t eat, or they win and the other species lose out.  

Chosen by Dayson Hazard
Mr Hazard is a first year Massachusetts Bay student studying paleontology. Working on his grandparents’ farm in Louisiana, he saw how their sustainable Cherokee and Houma techniques avoided stripping the land of nutrients like industrial farms. His concerns about climate change are shaped by this personal experience.


Soft Coral

(Order Alcyonacea)

The tiny animals that build corals are distant relatives of both jellyfish and stony corals. Unlike jellyfish, they stay in one place and catch micro-organisms that float past. While stony corals build their homes out of calcium, soft corals build with protein. Heat stress from warming oceans causes them to “bleach,” just like their stony cousins.

Chosen by Ivonne Perez
Ms Perez is newly retired from a 20-year career at Worcester Public Schools, where she most recently held the role of Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer. She finds it soothing to be near the water, whether it’s Lake Quinsigamond or the sea, and feels that corals remind us to look below the surface of our daily lives into another world.


Ocelot

(Leopardus pardalis)

The ocelot is a mid-size wild cat. It is a predator, and one of the few species that can figure out how to eat armadillos. Historically, ocelots ranged from Texas to Brazil. Their American habitat is shrinking due to human encroachment and drought.

Chosen by the Greater Worcester EcoTarium Community
The people of Worcester founded the museum that would become the EcoTarium in 1825, creating one of America’s first organizations for the study of science and nature. In this spirit, we have chosen the vibrant, diverse community of the greater Worcester area to be one of our curators. In autumn of 2023, community members voted for their choice among never-before-seen specimens from our scientific collection.


Exhibit is included with admission.

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