top of page

Ecological CalendaRs: 
Finding Hope in the Face of Climate Change

September 13–December 31, 2021

Nevin Welcome Center, Cornell Botanic Gardens

Ecological calendars are knowledge systems to measure and give meaning to time based on close observation of one’s habitat. They reveal seasonal indicators that integrate ecological phenomena (such as the first snowfall, last frost, the flowering of a tree species, or the arrival of a particular migratory bird) with cultural systems. Understanding these relationships has enabled Indigenous and rural communities to anticipate weather and other seasonal processes, and thereby coordinate their livelihood activities.

Ecological Calendars: Finding Hope in the Face of Climate Change interprets and explains the significance of the Ecological Calendars and Climate Adaptation Project. The exhibition explains how the calendars were created by using a photographic narrative of the research project, prints of the ecological calendars created by the respective communities and the research team, and two installations of art inspired by the research. Furthermore, the exhibitions explore the potential for the use of Ecological Calendars to adapt to increasing uncertainty caused by climate change.   

Two installations of art inspired by and based on the research and knowledge of project participants will be on display as part of the exhibition. Werner Sun, an artist and particle physicist, who works with folded paper and digital prints, will suspend his mobile art piece from the ceiling of the Nevin Welcome Center lobby. The mobile incorporates images from the research project and artistically displays images of project participants as well as plants and animals of the project areas to communicate how ecological calendars visually represent the inseparable relationship between people and their habitat. Natani Notah, an interdisciplinary artist and educator from the Navajo Nation, combines both natural and synthetic materials to serve as a metaphor for coexistence. What that means is that latter cannot exist without the former. Through her sculpture, she will address the role of the human hand in responding to climate change. All the materials for the sculpture have been ethically sourced or collected over time. Once combined they form an abstracted representation of an ecological calendar. Color, shape, and repetition in the sculpture’s design mimics patterns in nature including symmetries and spirals that are visible in the overall structure as well as the detailed application of beadwork.  

The exhibition and art installations will be on display at Cornell Botanic Gardens’ Nevin Welcome Center from September to December 2021. Educational programs about Ecological Calendars will take place alongside the exhibition for Cornell University students, faculty, local school children and the visiting public through the fall months.

Ecological Calendar for Roshorv, Tajikistan

Ecological calendar

Prepared by Anna Ullmann

Ecological Calendar for Sary Mogul, Kyrgyzstan

Ecological calendar

Prepared by Daler Kaziev

bottom of page