Terminus: A Glacier Memorial Project

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What is Terminus?

Terminus is an artistic elegy, a river you could skate away on, a love poem to a changing planet.

(It's also an interactive map.)

Between 1982 and 2009, the number of glaciers in the Olympic Mountains shrank from 266 to 184. We know that number will dwindle further as the climate continues to change. The goal of the Terminus project is to immortalize glaciers of the Olympic Mountains through art. Each selected artist has created an original work as a tribute to their assigned glacier. As these glaciers melt away, the works of art will live on as a reminder that they were meaningful, and are still meaningful.

These are the original creations of the artists, and any views expressed are their own.

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Terminus Art

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A group of windwept people on a mountain, smiling together
Terminus artists hike with Bill Baccus and project coordinator Eliza Goode on Hurricane Hill.

Hazel Galloway

Terminus Events Summer 2023

We spent summer celebrating and mourning our glaciers through art, conversation, and community. At Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, the art was on exhibit through the summer. In August, thirteen of the Terminus artists joined us in the park, presenting short popup programs for park visitors and members of our local communities. The artists went hiking with scientist Bill Baccus, who had helped many of them know the stories and science behind the glaciers they were memorialzing.

Dr. Andrew Fountain presented his research on the glaciers of the Olympic Peninsula, which are projected to vanish by 2070 at the North Olympic Library Systems - Port Angeles Main Library. New PSU research predicts the disappearance of Olympic Peninsula glaciers | Portland State University (pdx.edu)

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is this an admission of defeat? Why aren’t you trying to stop the glaciers from vanishing?

Short answer: It’s more of an admonishment/warning/plea to us all to do just that.

Long answer: Fully stopping climate change and glacial melt is simply beyond the power of the National Park Service alone. While many national parks have taken what steps they can to reduce carbon emissions, the climate has no regard for park boundaries and these actions will be most effective combined with many, many others, large and small, worldwide.

NPS scientists have been conducting long-term monitoring of natural “vital signs” such as glaciers for many years. We share this data on the specific, measurable effects of climate change with those who do have the power to make legislative and policy decisions. Washington's National Park Fund supports this work.

The National Park Service also educates the public about the effects of climate change, which is where this project took root. Because dozens of Olympic glaciers have already melted, and more are likely to do so, we wanted to create an honest space to grieve that reality, and to hold the message that these glaciers mattered, and still matter.

Ecology can feel theoretical to many of us if our day-to-day lives seem somewhat removed from nature. That’s where art comes in – it can create a sense of immediacy, of personal connection. Terminus is a digital space where all are welcome to join in this important conversation, to co-create along with us and celebrate the natural world we cherish.

The application period has closed - can I still be an Artist-in-Residence at another national park?

Yes! Parks all over the country have artist residency programs, see a complete list here.

No, I have my heart set on being an artist for Olympic. Will you ever have another artist residency program?

Yes. We plan to launch our next park artist program in fall of 2023.

I don't want to make art right now, but I do want to do something about climate change. Where do I start?

Simply put, you start right where you are. That can mean making changes to how you eat, travel, and keep your home, or having important conversations, coming together with others, and being an active citizen. Here is a wonderful list of ideas to get you started!

Washington National Park Fund logo

Visit Washington National Park's Fund to learn how you can support Olympic National Park volunteer programs like this one!

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Last updated: July 15, 2024

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