These lakes have seen profound changes since the time of Birge and Juday. Cottages and year-round houses came to dominate nearly all available shorelines, exotic species invaded many lakes, and the climate began to get warmer and drier. Many of these changes are evident only if you look at old photos or long-term data, but the change is accelerating. What will these lakes be like when our descendants visit in 50 or 100 years?
In 1981, to understand the causes and consequences of changes to natural ecosystems, the National Science Foundation established the Long-Term Ecological Research program. The lakes and surrounding landscapes near UW’s Trout Lake Station were chosen as one of 25 U.S. sites devoted to the intense, sustained study of long term ecological change. Then, in 2010, a group of scientists and artists joined to explore the nature of change in the northwoods. This exhibit is the product of that collaboration.