Acadia Centennial Science Community Working Group
An Affirmation of Shared Perspective
We are members of science-oriented organizations working together to advocate for science in, from and for Acadia National Park (ANP) as we join in the yearlong celebration of the park centennial in 2016. Each of our organizations is a partner in the Acadia centennial. In the centennial year, we will offer distinct programs on the role of science in the conservation of this extraordinary place. Together we will produce an Acadia Centennial Science Seminar Series to explore the legacy and future of science in Acadia.
Grounded in our ongoing collaboration with Acadia National Park, we have evolved a shared perspective that we affirm here:
The diverse ecosystems of Acadia National Park, surrounding communities, and the bounding waters of the Gulf of Maine—including boreal, temperate, subalpine, and marine systems—provide a distinct and perhaps unique environment in which to observe, document, and understand nature, inspire conservation, and inform science-based action on climate change and our rapidly changing environment.
This shared perspective is based on the convergence of many factors in the natural and human history of the Acadia region:
- Natural legacy. The geologic history of the Acadia region produced lands with compact elevation gradients rising from a complex seacoast and coast-to-inland gradients with many micro-climates. Naturally changing climates created within our region a broad and unique transition zone of the temperate and boreal biomes, home to diverse natural communities and plant and animal populations.
- Science and conservation history. Love of nature, place, and science compelled 19th century researchers to begin documentation of the natural history of Mount Desert Island. Their work helped inspire the conservation of ANP and started datasets on the evolving flora and fauna of our region. Leaders in ANP conservation, including founding superintendent George B. Dorr, envisioned the future importance of scientific inquiry for the region and contributed to founding of local scientific institutions.
- Human impacts on the environment. It is now broadly recognized and understood that use of hydrocarbons in modern societies drives changes in our climate system, creating one of our most significant conservation challenges. Human actions also cause a suite of other environmental changes—e.g., habitat loss and fragmentation, invasive species, and air and water pollution—that interact to increase the difficulty of preserving our natural and cultural resources unimpaired for future generations. Many organizations in our region work to understand and inform adaptation to climate change.
- Acadia National Park science research. Acadia National Park has been from its creation and remains today a living laboratory with a public mandate and staff capacity to observe, assess, and understand natural processes within the conserved domain. This mandate has endured for a century. More than 70 research projects take place every year within Acadia National Park, many exploring ecosystem dynamics relevant to climate change. The Acadia region has seen major investments in creating world-class scientific institutions, and citizen scientists are engaged in a broad suite of research initiatives in the region.
We believe that this convergence gives a special opportunity and responsibility to science in our region in our time. We aspire to orchestrate our growing scientific work in a broad framework, for the centennial year and the future. We will work in solidarity with all who study the challenge of climate change “in place” and embrace the promise of our specific place in building understanding of and resilience to the risks of climate change and other environmental changes.
Acadia National Park
College of the Atlantic
Fish & Wildlife Service Maine
Friends of Acadia
MDI Biological Laboratory
Schoodic Institute @ ANP
The Naturalist’s Notebook
Maine Sea Grant College Program at the University of Maine