Climate Change and the Salem Maritime National Historic Site

September 18, 2016 - December 2016




Resilient Landscapes of Marblehead and Cape Ann

What is human resilience?

Resilience is something you realize you have after the fact.

Resilience is something all humans have inherently. It resides in our inner core and can sustain us in times of need. Resilience is often fostered by adversity. We see this in children who have grown up in hard circumstances. And in adults who have learned hard life lessons. Resilience gives us determination to endure and survive.

What is landscape resilience?

As two artists we have been exploring the idea of resilient landscapes for the past two years. In 2016, with funding from Applied Materials and Essex County Ecology Center, we produced an exhibit on silk of paintings and photography on the Cape Ann Quarries and Climate Change Resilience. It was produced at Quarry Dance 5 in Lanesville, MA, in conjunction with Windhover Center for Performing Arts. (See Resilient landscapes, as defined by The Nature Conservancy, preserve biodiversity and sustain natural strongholds. They help us endure and survive as humans. But they need care, maintenance and management in order to sustain these special qualities. Unspoiled open spaces and landscapes are part of our legacy to our children and grandchildren.

We will look at landscape resilience in Marblehead and Cape Ann through two different lenses. Our approach to landscape resilience will be showcased through silk paintings, photography and accompanying text. We will show how the pockets of conserved natural spaces located at the shoreline and within the urban environs of Marblehead, play a critical role in helping sustain community resilience. They provide breathing spaces within dense development, and environmental corridors. They help both humans and nature itself survive. We will illustrate how the Cape Ann Quarry landscape sustains biodiversity and natural strongholds to create climate change resilience, as described by The Nature Conservancy. Again, this gives nature and humans a chance to survive.

We will also look at the resilient landscape through the lens of stories from Marblehead and Cape Ann which illustrate an ‘emotional geography’ rooted in family, folklore and local histories. Our memories of places of our childhood root us to our beloved landscapes of the present. We will illustrate with silk paintings and photography many natural areas in both Marblehead and the Cape Ann quarries, which have deep meaning for some – but perhaps are secrets for others. Only through knowledge of our local natural areas can we truly appreciate the importance of conserving and maintaining these important areas; once lost to development, they are gone forever.
As part of the Exhibit we will organize an afternoon of stories related to Marblehead and Cape Ann’s Natural Areas: Risks and Resilience,” to be held at MAA, on May 21, 2017, 2 - 4 pm. Marblehead storyteller Judith Black, Leslie Bartlett and Susan Quateman will tell the stories.