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Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts (BA)
School of Art, Design and Art History
My Honors Capstone Creative Project, A Lens on National Parks Past and Present: Bringing Conservation and Climate Change into Collective Focus, examines the effects of climate change in Joshua Tree National Park, Glacier National Park, Assateague Island National Seashore, and Shenandoah National Park through the research of historical photographers who documented the parks in the past, interviews with key figures on the subject at each park, and my own photographic documentation of the parks. I was awarded James Madison University’s 2018 College of Visual and Performing Arts Undergraduate Research Grant to travel and pursue my proposed research and photographic documentation in Arizona, California, Montana, Maryland, and Virginia.
I first traveled to the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona in May 2018. I viewed relevant exhibitions and studied the original photographs and documents of Ansel Adams (1902-1984) and Mark Klett (b. 1952), who are renowned for their environmental activism and documentation of the national parks in the past. I then traveled, conducted current climate change research, and photographed Joshua Tree National Park in the Southern California desert in May 2018 and Glacier National Park in Montana in August 2018, both which stand to lose their namesakes and provide two very different visuals on the effects of climate change. I continued with similar studies in proximity to JMU at Shenandoah National Park and Assateague Island National Seashore in order to show local and regional climate change within parks closer to Harrisonburg. My project concluded in a solo exhibition to serve as a tool to educate and increase community awareness of this important issue facing our public lands. This exhibition took place in the Duke Hall Gallery of Fine Art at JMU from April 8th to April 13th, 2019.
Phillips, Megan, "A lens on national parks past and present: Bringing conservation and climate change into collective focus" (2019). Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current. 707.