All posts by George Divoky

2022 Seattle Update

March 15, 2022 Town Hall Seattle

Reception at 6 pm with presentation at 7 pm

Attendance requires proof of vaccination and mask except when eating or drinking

Watch it on our YouTube channel

We are happy to once again have an in-person event in Seattle at Town Hall Seattle but glad the presentation will also be available on YouTube for live streaming and later viewing on our YouTube channel. The evening will begin with an in-person reception starting at 6 pm and we look forward to sharing light fare, beverages and conversation with old and new friends. The in-person and virtual presentation starting at 7 pm will include an overview of George Divoky’s half-century on Cooper Island documenting a melting Arctic and his experiences informing the public, government, and media of the magnitude and immediacy of climate change in the region. He will be joined by science educator Katie Morrison and expeditionary artist Maria Coryell-Martin, who visited Cooper Island in 2019, and will discuss and share the lesson plans and art they have created to inform students and the public about Arctic change.

Katie Morrison and Maria Coryell-Martin
Watercolor of Cooper Island field camp by Maria Coryell-Martin

There is an increasing awareness of current and anticipated devastation from the impacts of global warming and climate change and the need for governmental programs to address the threat. The current Netflix blockbuster Don’t Look Up uses the analogy of an approaching comet to parody the institutional and cultural inertia of government, media, and the public in addressing an existential threat. No analogy is needed for Divoky, who has studied a colony of an ice-dependent seabird, the Mandt’s Black Guillemot, in Arctic Alaska for 47 years. Loss of Arctic sea ice has led to a 90% reduction in colony size since the 1980s and its likely disappearance by mid-century.

Number of Black Guillemots breeding on Cooper Island and Chukchi Sea September ice extent

View video of our February 2021 Update

We cancelled our 2020 update last March just as the potential danger of large social gatherings was becoming clear. While social distancing protocols in early 2021 prevented us from having our usual in-person evening of socializing and discussion, we were able to hold a virtual event from Town Hall Seattle on February 11. A video, which includes an option for closed captioning, is available on YouTube and by clicking the image below.

Like most everything else in the last 12 months the presentation required overcoming a number of stumbling blocks. It appeared for awhile that I would have to wear a mask while giving the talk – until a plexiglass barrier was found to place in front of the podium. Unlike the congenial atmosphere and camaraderie typical of our regular annual updates, I presented to an empty 850-seat auditorium with only Katie Morrison, board chair of Friends of Cooper Island, in attendance.

A major benefit of this year’s event was that its online virtual nature allowed for a much larger and geographically diverse audience. We plan to have future updates be both in-person and online. While the online video is nearly 90 minutes long, the slide presentation ends at 1:09. Questions from the audience read by Katie make up the remainder of the video.

The presentation includes a short clip from the video of Joe McNally’s visit in 2019, where he retook his 2001 image of me standing on sea ice just north of the island. Joe’s entire 14-minute video has some great drone imagery that shows what Cooper Island really looks like and is well worth watching.

Looking forward to being able to see our friends and supporters at the our next update. Many thanks to all of you that have followed and maintained our research over the years.


Town Hall 11 Feb

Looking forward to our virtual event on Thursday, February 11. While we will miss the socializing and camaraderie of our usual Seattle events, the virtual platform will allow for a more geographically diverse audience.

You can register for the free event by clicking on the image above or this link. After a presentation about last summer’s findings and an update our our research, there will be time for attendees to submit questions and comments. Hope to see you there.