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The Salmon School is an international merger of art and science, in service to all trying to do good for Salmon, Salmon peoples, and the cold clean water on which they depend.


Wild salmon serve as the keystone species driving ecosystem function across hundreds of millions of hectares of forests and wetlands in Asia, Europe, North America, and the Arctic. And these salmon watersheds are hugely important in the drive for a net zero global carbon balance. The 18 most important salmon watersheds in the North Pacific store an estimated 6 billion tons of carbon and counting–more than three times the annual emissions of the United States. By accelerating the locally-led protection and restoration of these rivers, we can mitigate climate change and boost salmon runs that are so important to communities on the ground.


As temperatures rise, wild salmon populations and the communities that depend on them are under increasing threat. Local and regional organizations are rapidly deploying adaptation measures to prevent salmon from going extinct—including streamside forest restoration, removal of dams and other barriers, and improved protocols for industries like agriculture and forestry. The most important outcome of all this work is further protection for cold, clean water–which is fundamental for the survival and climate adaptation of fish, wildlife, and people.


Salmon School is a human ecosystem made up of diverse stakeholders—scientists, artists, politicians, advocates, Indigenous peoples, NGOs, and communities—working to ensure that wild salmon and the rivers they call home are here for many generations to come. The installation is sourced from artisans from four continents, and more than three dozen community, scientific, and conservation organizations that have come together–many for the first time—as part of the School partnership. This collaboration mirrors the collective, grassroots-driven approach that the world must take to combat climate change and achieve the goals of COP26. Climate change knows no boundaries, and neither do salmon. Everyone has a stake in salmon health because they are the embodiment of healthy rivers and oceans. The energy behind School reflects both the urgency and the hope of this moment on Earth.



Art has often created the space for thought provoking discussions on tremendously difficult topics. Glass production and glass as art are no different, especially considering the challenges of climate change we are facing today. In fact, we believe that glass art production represents a mirror image of the damages we have collectively inflicted upon the landscape. It also has taken important steps toward improvement, modeling like so many other entities, a path forward.


From its early history of clearing forests to fuel glassblowing furnaces, then using coal, to transitioning to the present day use of natural gas and electricity drawn from hydropower (predominately built on major salmon producing rivers) — these glass art pieces mirror the evolution of our impacts across the landscape.


And Salmon School embodies the need to begin shifting those practices and the associated harm — pulling together scientists and communities, creating climate friendly solutions, and growing our technological capacity to make energy efficient improvements.


Salmon School also reflects the many reasons we need to take real action today. Making hard choices means taking leaps forward and making the investments necessary to implement the climate solutions necessary for ecosystems across the world.

This project used both recycled and batched glass. But we fully recognize that glass production is energy intensive. It is an industrial process, and in that way this sculpture raises the important question of where energy sources are coming from and what actions are being taken to improve their efficiency, to eliminate the use of fossil fuels as an energy source, and the need to address current energy producing impacts — such as the impacts of hydropower on salmon and salmon ecosystems.

This installation's life cycle energy consumption produces about 38 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions, equal to the emissions of four households over one year in the United Kingdom. The glass was made over 4.5 years, echoing the lifecycle of salmon. The majority of emissions come from transporting the glass for exhibition.


To offset these emissions, Salmon School has invested in a tree planting program on the river Tweed. Five hundred meters (545 yards) of riverbank will be planted in the spring of 2022, using native species to improve conditions for juvenile salmon.


The tree planting project we are supporting does not negate our collective need to take deeper action on all climate fronts today.



Salmon School is a unique human ecosystem made up of diverse stakeholders all working in concert to ensure wild salmon and the rivers they call home are here and healthy for generations to come. We’re actively seeking politicians, philanthropists, NGOs, educators, and Indigenous people concerned about our salmon to join Salmon School and help us advance this important work. 

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