December 10, 2018

Invasive Species Explored at CT River Museum’s Featured 2016 Exhibit Opening April 1

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The “Invaders” exhibit features original artwork by Michael DiGiorgio and explores the issues related to invasive species in the River Valley and local region.

ESSEX – The Connecticut River Museum unveils its 2016 featured exhibit Invaders: They Come by Air, Land & Water! on Friday, April 1. Invaders examines the threat of invasive species to the Connecticut River Valley, a region celebrated for its ecological and biological diversity. As the exhibit notes: “In many cases, the invasion resembles a classic monster movie that unfortunately has serious, real-life consequences.”

The museum commissioned accomplished illustrator Michael DiGiorgio to create original movie poster artwork that uses invasives in place of the classic monsters. The museum also collaborated with Channel 3 Eyewitness News to create fascinating “Orson Wells style” in-the-field interviews with invasive species experts.

Experts include Cynthia Boettner from Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, David Molnar from the Connecticut DEEP Marine Fisheries Division, Judy Preston from the Long Island Sound Study, and the museum’s own environmental specialist William Yule.

Invaders explores current threats through the themes of air, land and water. William Yule said, “Over the past four centuries of European and global contact, humans have intentionally and inadvertently introduced non-native life forms to this fragile ecosystem.” Of the dozens of invasive species explored in the exhibit, some of the highlights include Asiatic bittersweet that people often use in holiday decorations, and the beautiful purple loosestrife.

Also featured is didymo, known as “rock snot” which is often spread via fishing equipment. This asexual single cell organism likes cool, fresh water and can quickly multiply creating a thick mat on the bottom of riverbeds, destroying trout habitats.

There is also a laboratory that will allow children and adults to explore and identify invasive species through microscopes, specimens and fun activities. The exhibit closes with a “Call to Action” on the many ways the public can make a difference.  As the Museum Curator Amy Trout noted, “Once visitors can identify and understand these invasive species better, they can take action through prevention and activism.”

Executive Director Christopher Dobbs said, “The museum has a mission and a responsibility to lead in the preservation of the Valley’s cultural and natural heritage.” Dobbs was quick to note that the exhibit would not have been possible without the support from presenting sponsor, the Long Island Sound Study, and other dedicated sponsors that include Channel 3 Eyewitness News; the William and Alice Mortensen Foundation; the Rockfall Foundation; the Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of Tourism; the Community Foundation of Middlesex County; Saybrook Point Inn & Spa; the Edgard & Geraldine Feder Foundation; and the many supporters of the Connecticut River Museum.

The exhibit will be on view at the Museum in Essex until Oct. 10, when it will begin to travel to libraries, schools, museums and nature centers. Dobbs said, “We want it to be an ambassador of the museum and help spotlight this important issue.”

For more information on the exhibit, related programs, or to arrange a tour destination, contact the Connecticut River Museum (860-767-8269) or visit the website, ctrivermuseum.org.

The Connecticut River Museum is the only museum dedicated to the study, preservation and celebration of the cultural and natural heritage of the Connecticut River and its Valley. The museum is located at 67 Main St., Essex, and is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Photo Credit: The Connecticut River Museum’s 2016 exhibit Invaders: They Come by Air, Land and Water! features original artwork by Michael DiGiorgio and explores the issues related to invasive species in the River Valley and local region.

 

 

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