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Changing Climates, Changing Minds

Maybe it sounds like bad sci-fi, but I'm writing today because of an extraterrestrial alien. Forget mind-control beams or flying saucers: My alien involved an eighth-grade science project in which everyone designed an ET evolved to a specific foreign environment. I mark that assignment as the moment I started taking writing seriously — which shows how deeply one project can affect a person.

In a similar way, artist Rebecca DiDomenico is trying to influence young students at the Watershed and Horizons schools. Given three climate-changed environments, students were asked to draw or paint an animal that could survive in those climates. "It's important to look realistically at what's happening to the planet," says DiDomenico. "However, human nature requires hope to inspire action."

Shape Shifters, which opens today at 5 p.m. in the Canyon Gallery at the Boulder Public Library, 1000 Canyon Boulevard, is a taste of both worlds. The two-part exhibit features photographs from National Geographic photographer James Balog's work on the Extreme Ice Survey — visually documenting glacial melt — side by side with the futuristic imaginings of the students, which are cut out and pinned to look like specimens.

In addition, two- and three-dimensional works by high-school students address their concerns with climate change. These works include futuristic landscapes and animals made from recycled material.

"We're trying to take a more positive look at climate change," says DiDomenico. "There's so much doom and gloom. If everyone gives up, there's no hope for the future." Admission is free. For more information, call 303-441-4397 or visit
Oct. 19-Nov. 25, 2007


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