From the very beginning, Keeping History Above Water has been about multiple perspectives on a single, vexing issue. That’s why back in the winter we invited students and emerging professionals to submit posters for projects related to conference themes. NRF is committed to fostering the next generation of preservationists and preservation-minded professionals, to be sure, but we also believe that these fresh voices will help us think creatively and concretely about possible solutions to the affects of sea level rise on historic coastal communities. The proposals we received in response were inspiring and impressive, and we awarded scholarships that will allow twenty-four students and young professionals to join the conversation in Newport next week.
Angelina Jones, a Landscape Architecture and Historic Preservation student at the University of Pennsylvania, submitted a proposal for design solutions to protect the smaller islands of the New York City archipelago. Her poster will present designs to address sea level rise, shoreline erosion, increased flooding, and storm surges on North Brother Island, roughly 20 acres of land in the East River that used to be home to a hospital, but is now a bird sanctuary.Tulane University Master of Preservation Studies candidate Nathan Lott will present on his work to develop a protocol for assessing the vulnerability of historic sites, using Fort Jefferson in the Florida Keys as a case study.
While the conference is primarily concerned with coastal flooding, Ball State University student Nicole Mudrack will help us to remember that landlocked infrastructure is not safe from flooding concerns. She’ll present disaster plans for four historic properties in Madison, Indiana that are threatened by increased flooding from the Ohio River.
We also received several proposals from closer to home. Genna Duplisea, Archivist and Special Collections Librarian at Newport’s own Salve Regina University, teamed up with Tufts University student Rose Oliveira on Project ARCC, an effort to mobilize the archivist profession to address climate change threats to archives and libraries. And proposals came from two classes at the University of Rhode Island: Will Green, Professor of Landscape Architecture and Austin Becker, a PhD candidate and Assistant Professor of Marine Affairs, proposed five different student-designed posters imagining a six-foot sea level rise in the historic port of Galilee, Narragansett. Meanwhile, a group of ocean engineering students offered their senior capstone project, which imagines and addresses the impact of a 100-year storm event in the coastal village of Matunuck in South Kingstown.
Perhaps our most pleasantly surprising submission, however, came from a junior at North Kingstown High School, Wyndom Chace. The school’s annual Democracy Night, a community service oriented event for juniors, led to the creation of her project, “Keeping NK Afloat,” which will address rising waters in her waterfront hometown.
We were thrilled to receive such creative, engaging proposals from students and emerging professionals around the country, and we’re proud to share their work during Keeping History Above Water. Be sure to stop by the poster display in the Marriott Ballroom during lunch break on Monday, April 11 for the chance to meet and chat up our special guests.
Clockwise from top left: Penn student Angelina Jones; Tufts University student Rose Oliveira; Ball State University student Nicole Mudrack; Tulane University student Nathan Lott
Scholarships were made possible through the generosity of the Felicia Fund and the van Beuren Charitable Foundation.