Terminus: A Glacier Memorial Project

A purple watercolor map of the Olympic Peninsula, with the word "terminus" across it in an inky serif script.
Connecting science, art and stewardship through creative volunteer service learning opportunities.

ESRI and NPS/S. Wilhoit, E. Goode


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 is to immortalize glaciers of the Olympic Mountains through art. Each selected artist will create 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.

 

Preview Terminus Storymap

Follow this link to see what the site will look like, including a preview of the gallery map, photos of the glaciers spanning many decades, and a visualization of the change in glacial ice over time.
 
A purple watercolor map of mountain landforms, with blue shapes to represent glacial ice. Glaciers are labeled in graceful script with "Hoh," "Hubert," "University," "Jeffers," and "Humes," and have purple snowflake icons.
 
Color VIP logo in green and blue with NPS arrowhead in center


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.


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!

 
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Washington's National Park Fund green logo

Visit Washington National Park's Fund to donate to Olympic National Park's volunteer and youth programs like this one!

Last updated: January 27, 2023

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