Poetry Center and Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill Present Future Climate Proverbs Events


A series of programs and installations on January 29th will engage how Tucsonans perceive the changing weather of the desert through #futureclimateproverbs

Tucson, Arizona. January 25, 2022 [updated]— The University of Arizona Poetry Center, part of the College of Humanities, and the Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill are excited to present a new collaboration exploring weather lore and our shifting environment as a result of climate change. The partnership will include a community workshop on writing weather proverbs – turns of phrase that help people to predict shifts in weather, such as “Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight”. The partnership will also feature an interactive weather proverb installation on Tumamoc Hill, and will culminate in an event on the Hill where visitors can screenprint a novel weather proverb on a shirt or tote bag.

Beginning on January 29th, 2022, people walking the Hill will be invited to complete open-ended proverbs about local weather conditions. These installations, placed along the walking path, will feature prompts that invite participants to note the climate around them and to finish the proverbs with the patterns they observe. The slate boards feature prompts composed by project lead Jonathon Keats and local poets Raquel Gutiérrez and Ofelia Zepeda in English, Tohono O’odham and Spanish.

On January 29, from 9 am to 1 pm, the Poetry Center and the Desert Laboratory will host a Future Climate Proverb screenprinting day. CREAM Design & Print will be on site at the Tumamoc Hill boathouse to ink proverbs onto t-shirts, tote bags, and more.  200 t-shirts will be distributed for free on first come, first-served basis, and participants are also invited to bring their own light-colored shirts and totes to the event to be printed with weather proverbs from the participants at no cost. 

From 11am-1pm, Keats will be offering drop-in weather proverb workshops in the Tumamoc Hill boathouse for those interested in creating their own.  

“This project brings together the observations and knowledge each of us have for the changing world around us,” said Ben Wilder, Director of Tumamoc Hill. “From the workshop to the chalk proverbs that will be on the Hill this Spring to the Future Climate Proverb screenprints, we are really looking to see how our community engages with the seasons of the desert.”

Through this partnership, the Poetry Center and the Desert Laboratory will engage the long tradition of weather proverbs. “By looking backward and forward simultaneously, we hope to provide new ways for people to see the changing weather in Tucson and around the world,” Keats explains. “In order to counter complacency about climate change, we need to be sensitive to shifting baselines. Recognizing the mnemonic power of language and lore in all societies throughout history, this initiative will enlist creative expression as a practical tool to support our future wellbeing.”  

More information about this project is available at https://tumamoc.arizona.edu/tumamoc-institute/future-climate-proverbs


A unique combination of culture, science, and community, Tumamoc Hill is an 860-acre ecological preserve in the heart of Tucson, home to the Desert Laboratory since 1903. The Hill's name derives from the Tohono O'odham place-name Chemamagi Du’ag—Horned Lizard Mountain— which signifies the profound cultural importance of this site. The Desert Laboratory undertakes research in diverse disciplines to better understand and communicate the future of life in the desert. https://tumamoc.arizona.edu/