New name, renewed commitment
Introducing Woodwell Climate Research Center
Founder Dr. George Woodwell preparing to cut the ribbon for the launch of Woodwell Climate Research Center, flanked by Board Chair Joe Mueller (left) and President Dr. Philip Duffy (right).
After 35 years as Woods Hole Research Center, we have become the Woodwell Climate Research Center. This shift honors our visionary founder and provides a clear sense of the Center’s continuing mission to advance climate research that drives real-world change. Along with the new name, Woodwell Climate is unveiling a new logo mark and launching a new web platform.
“I could not be more proud of the work we’ve done and the impacts that we’ve had as Woods Hole Research Center,” said President and Executive Director Dr. Philip Duffy. “But the simple fact that carbon dioxide continues to accumulate in the atmosphere means we need to do more. To do that, we need a name which is unique and which conveys that we work on the most important challenge facing humanity.”
The new identity comes as the result of a deliberate, data-driven process that started nearly two years ago. A team of Woodwell Climate staff and board members, working with Moth Design and 43,000 Feet, and in constant consultation with the full staff and board, conducted a thorough discovery process and recommended the name Woodwell Climate Research Center to more clearly communicate our focus on climate change, and to honor our founder, Dr. George Woodwell.
“What we do now and in the next several years will determine our collective fate. We believe that this moment calls for an intentional re-commitment to the values and mission at our Center’s core,” said Joseph J. Mueller, Board Chair of Woodwell Climate Research Center. “We are thrilled to announce that we will now be known as the Woodwell Climate Research Center, to honor Dr. George Woodwell’s long-standing vision for the Center, and to signify a promise and a call to action for that ethos to guide our work as we rise to meet the unprecedented challenges facing us at this critical period in our history.”
Above: Dr. George Woodwell at his desk in the original Woods Hole Research Center building (left) and more recently at the campus whose purchase and renovation he led (right, photo by Daniel Webb).
“The greatest threat in the world—the issue of environment, politics, and economics—is now the crushing issue of climatic disruption on a global scale,” Dr. Woodwell said. “The work we do here works its way into economic systems, and determines the effectiveness and the utility of political action.”
Dr. Woodwell founded the Center in 1985, envisioning an organization where top researchers would work to address the most important questions in environmental science, develop evidence-based solutions, and engage decision-makers across sectors of society. He has pioneered multiple areas of ecological research, and was one of the first to raise the alarm about climate change. His 1986 testimony before Congress outlined many impacts of climate change that were then hypothetical, but which have become realities. That testimony, and Dr. Woodwell’s career of connecting science and society, has inspired many of Woodwell Climate’s staff.
Lives and welfare and aspirations, wealth, poverty, and the future are all tied together in aspects of the research we do.Dr. George Woodwell, founder
“It is truly astonishing to reread that testimony today—something I’ve done more than once,” said Dr. Duffy. “There is no one who better embodies our values, our mission, and our passion. As we position this institution for its next phase of impact and success, it is ‘fitting and proper’ that we should rename it in honor of our founder, George Woodwell.”
With the new name also comes a new logo: A curving edge that may connote the Earth as seen from space to some, or the upslope of rising carbon emissions and global temperatures to others.
“This mark conveys the global reach of our science and the urgency of the climate crisis,” said Chief Communications Officer Dr. Heather Goldstone.
The website has also been updated to tell the story of our science—and scientists—in new and compelling ways.