The Greenwich High School sophomore and Seaside Center volunteer, who lost his battle with cancer in 2019, planned a career working on climate change mitigation. He saw as his life’s mission the urgent need to spread awareness of the risks caused by global warning, and to seek solutions to address the impact that climate change is having on both a global and local level.
Luke contacted the Make-A-Wish Foundation about installing a climate change education exhibit at the Bruce Museum Seaside Center. He wanted the exhibit to focus on sea-level rise, the impacts on Long Island Sound marine life, and most important, to inform people on what actions they can take to halt global warming.
With Luke’s input, and advice from his mentors at the Environmental Action Club at Greenwich High, the Bruce Museum crafted a plan to create an interactive, multi-media exhibit at its Seaside Center education facility at Greenwich Point Park. Working with the Meyers family and our community partners, on December 6, 2020, the Bruce Museum launched a crowdfunding campaign to help raise funds for the Luke’s Wish Climate Change Education Exhibit. The goal was to raise $26,500 by January 15, 2021, to fully fund the exhibit and to support future Seaside Center climate-change educational programs.
“The response to Luke’s Wish was wonderful, and we truly thank all who supported the campaign,” says Dr. Daniel T. Ksepka, the Bruce Museum’s Curator of Science. “The crowdfunding website received donations from more than 150 individuals and families, which is a great testament to Luke’s impact on the community.”
The first $15,000 in donations was matched dollar-for-dollar by Sustainable CT’s Community Match Fund, an innovative funding program that supports community-led sustainability initiatives. The Luke’s Wish campaign also received a number of gifts from members of the Bruce Museum and others from across the community, from a $10,000 grant from Make-A-Wish Connecticut to a highly successful bake sale organized by Greenwich Academy students and Luke’s fellow Seaside Center volunteers.
The Luke’s Wish exhibit will have a permanent home at the Bruce Museum Seaside Center at the Innis Arden Cottage in Greenwich Point Park. Luke’s classmates in the environmental club at Greenwich High are now researching carbon-reducing actions for the interactive part of the exhibit. “One component of the digital interactive exhibit will show Greenwich Point and the surrounding area today, and then let visitors see how sea level is predicted to rise under scenarios where we either keep our carbon emissions steady, make minor cuts, or make bold choices,” says Kate Dzikiewicz, Bruce Museum Science Curatorial Associate and Seaside Center Manager.
“Sea level rise can seem abstract, but when you are standing literally a stone’s throw from the ocean, it will make the reality of what we are facing more startling,” Dzikiewicz adds.
The Bruce Museum is currently exploring options that will enable the Seaside Center to open to the public this season, after last year’s closure due to the pandemic. The new Luke’s Wish Climate Change Education Exhibit is on track to be completed by late summer.
“We are honored to be part of this project – and hopeful that Luke’s message will inspire visitors to make bold, personal choices to combat global warming,” Dr. Ksepka said.