National Geographic publishes feature on grad student, artist – J. Pelto

University of Maine graduate student Jill Peto was included in the National Geographic series, “20 Under 30: The Next Generation of National Park Leaders.” The feature on Pelto, titled “This artist turns dull data into art — and a call to action,” focuses on her environmental artwork that convey climate change in North Cascades National Park. For the eighth consecutive summer, Pelto has accompanied her father, glaciologist Mauri Pelto, to the Washington park to monitor glaciers. Pelto began creating watercolors based on graphs to illustrate the changes seen in her father’s and other scientists’ work in ways people outside the scientific community could understand, according to the article. “Normal people will often gloss over the graphs in a scientific paper, even though the figures tell a really important story,” Pelto said. “My role as an artist is to engage people emotionally in that story.” Pelto graduated from UMaine in December with a double major in Earth science and studio art, as well as honors. In the fall, she will pursue a master’s degree in the School of Earth and Climate Sciences.