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Art & Museums

Carnegie Museum's Anthropocene curator featured in fall events

Mary Pickels
| Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, 12:39 p.m.
Nicole Heller is Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s Anthropocene curator.
Nicole Heller is Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s Anthropocene curator.

Carnegie Museum of Natural History has appointed Nicole Heller its first curator of the Anthropocene , the first such position in the world, it says in a news release.

Anthropocene describes the current epoch, in which humans are a dominant influence structuring the earth system, the release states.

As its curator, Heller works with various museum sections to tell the epoch’s story, noting both the positive and negative ways that humans are changing the planet, how biotic organisms are responding, and what this may mean for the future.

On Sept. 26, Heller will be part of the panel discussion “Environmental Institutions: Representing Nature in the Anthropocene,” with Reid Frazier, energy reporter, The Allegheny Front and State Impact Pennsylvania, and Heather Houser, associate professor of English, University of Texas-Austin.

Dan Kubis, associate director, University of Pittsburgh Humanities Center, will host the 7 p.m. discussion in the Carnegie Museum of Art lecture hall.

Free tickets are available at eventbrite.com

On Oct. 25, Heller will host a “Book and Tour” with Tomas Matza, assistant professor in anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh.

Their 6 p.m. discussion will focus on a recently published essay collection titled “Future Remains: A Cabinet of Curiosities for the Anthropocene,” on Oct. 25.

Registration is required for the free event via the museum’s Meetup group at meetup.com

During both events, Heller will feature some of her recent research, which focuses on how to promote biodiversity in human dominated landscapes and in the face of increasing habitat loss, novel species introductions, and climate change. Her research over the past two decades has led her to challenge many traditional conservation practices promoting a separation of humans from nature. In contrast, her work focuses on integrated, climate-adapted practices designed to promote the natural resilience of ecosystems for improved biodiversity and human community outcomes.

Among Heller’s awards is a Google Science Communication Fellowship for her research on how to effectively communicate about environmental challenges, the release adds.

Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-836-5401, mpickels@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MaryPickels.

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