Darryl Benjamin is teaching “5010: Contemporary Food Systems,” a graduate-level course in the College’s Master of Sustainable Food Systems (MSFS) program – and he’s recently published a book titled Farm to Table: The Essential Guide to Sustainable Food Systems for Students, Professionals, and Consumers. The book was published by Chelsea Green and co-authored by Lyndon Virkler, dean of education at the New England Culinary Institute. “I am thrilled that the MSFS program continues to attract thought leaders in sustainable food systems for the benefit of our students and the food system changes they are leading in their own communities,” commented prof. Robin Currey, director of the MSFS program. Praise for the book includes this rave from Peter Hoffman, chef and owner of Savoy and Back Forty restaurants: “What took me twenty years to figure out, you can learn by spending several hours with Darryl and Lyndon’s terrific book. Succinct without being superficial, yet in-depth without being wonkish, Farm to Table is an invaluable tool for chefs who are curious about food beyond the edge of their plates.”
Professors Sam Edwards (environmental studies and animal conservation and care) and Vance Jackson (psychology) recently presented their research “Refugee Resettlement and Community Conflict: Using Dispute Resolution to Preempt Conflict” at Cyberweek 2016. This annual conference brings together experts from around the world on technology assisted dispute resolution. Sam and Vance’s presentation was part of a panel on “Online Dispute Resolution and Community Conflict: How can ODR move beyond resolution to reconciliation?” Jens Hybertson (environmental studies) assisted in the preparations and is helping moderate the online discussion. View the archive of their talk and online discussion here.
GMC was well represented at the “Deep Change for Climate Justice” conference held October 15-16 in White River Junction, Vt. The conference was dedicated to “creative dialogue, learning the story of this emerging movement, understanding our role in this story, and moving towards networking, collaboration, and action.” The keynote speaker was Sherri Mitchell who was born and raised on the Penobscot Indian reservation in Maine and who brings an important perspective to climate justice issues. Sherri is a practicing attorney and the founding director of the Land Peace Foundation, an organization dedicated to the global protection of Indigenous rights and the preservation of the Indigenous way of life. GMC students Ellen Sanders ’19, Elizabeth Martrirosian ‘20 and Truman Cressey ’18 joined chaplain Shirley Oskamp participating in the conference and joining discussions focused on transformational activism.
Prof. Jason Derry (communication studies) specializes in rhetoric, ethics and media studies, primarily within the subfield of environmental communication. Jason’s Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Denver investigates media influences on children’s agency in response to climate change, within popular film and science discourses. He holds a master of arts in environmental education from Goshen College in Indiana, where he says his formal training “was highlighted by moments such as catching frogs with second graders, leading wild edible hikes, and sitting in a tree dressed up as a great horned owl to teach children about the nocturnal raptor.” He earned his B.A. in English/writing at Spring Arbor University in Michigan. In addition to academics, Jason has experience in the broader environmental movement as a community organizer, advocate, policy writer and naturalist. He is the founder and project manager of the environmental children’s book company Oakenday Press. Recent publications include works focused on elephants, pangolins, and women in STEM.
An interdisciplinary environmental designer, prof. Andrew Keller (REED) is a licensed architect, urban planner and builder. His recent academic destinations include Yestermorrow Design/Build School (coordinator, Ecological Design in the Built Environment), Norwich University (adjunct professor, School of Art and Architecture), and Vermont Technical College (adjunct professor, Landscape Design & Sustainable Horticulture Program). Devoted to the principles of ecological design, Andrew believes that theory and practice are inseparable. “In other words, critical thinking and making are both necessary tools to advance resource conservation and increase personal and environmental awareness,” he explains. Andrew is the principal of Andrew Keller Design in Montpelier, Vt. and has twin 8-year-old girls. A former ski racer, he’s reluctantly put his straight skis away and tried shape skis. In an attempt to combine the two, he annually sleds down the 4-mile access trail on Mount Moosilauke in the White Mountains. Andrew holds master’s degrees in architecture and in city planning from University of California, Berkeley.
Christina Roy Ryan (communications studies) was appointed over the summer as instructor of graphic design. At GMC she will split her time between teaching and working as a designer in the College’s communications office. Christina has extensive experience in the classroom and in the design industry. Since 2007, she’s worked as media design and development manager at The Home Service Store where she produced marketing and support materials for national home improvement programs. She also worked as a senior graphic designer at LMW Design, Inc. in Rutland. As an adjunct professor at Castleton University, Christina has taught a wide variety of courses in publication and advertising design, typography and computer graphics. She holds a BA in fine arts from the Rochester Institute of Technology.
This is year three of Green Mountain College’s tick research project led by prof. of biology Bill Landesman and funded through a $75,000 grant from the Vermont Genetics Network.
“We are trying to understand how the risk of acquiring Lyme disease in nature varies from place to place,” explained Bill in the WCAX-TV story.
GMC students under Bill’s tutelage spent much of the summer collecting ticks in several locations near campus, tracking population size and using DNA analysis to find the bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi, which causes Lyme disease.
“After it starts feeding, the bacteria will multiply and grow in the gut. Once a critical threshold of bacteria is reached, they are able to make their way into the salivary glands and ultimately into the host, which could be a person or another animal,” Bill said.
Bill also gave an in-depth interview about his research on WCAX’s Across the Fence, which aired August 4.
The great 19th-century American poet Emily Dickinson was known as a hermit, never venturing far from the confines of her Amherst, Mass. homestead. But Wednesday, September 14, the so-called “virgin recluse” will dominate the stage at Ackley Theater in William Luce’s classic one-woman play “The Belle of Amherst.” Prof. Paula Mann, director of the College’s theater program, plays Dickinson in this ambitious one-woman performance lasting 80 minutes without intermission. The show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are free for GMC students, staff and faculty.
Dickinson (1830-1886) was largely unrecognized in her lifetime, and treated as an eccentric loner and lovelorn spinster.
“Yet she was a modern woman who, instead of being victimized by the constricted social mores of the time, created the life she wanted in order to fulfill her life’s work, which was her poetry,” Paula remarked of the poet. “Also, her issues in the poems are very modern themes, wrestling with why we’re here on this earth, what comes next, and the ecstasy and desolation of love, life and death.”
This is a reprise of Mann’s performance last spring at The Oldcastle Theatre. She is also performing the play Saturday, September 17 at the Dorset Playhouse at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the box office in Dorset at 802-867-5570 or online.
‘Tis the season! Adventure, excitement . . . and tick checks. Biology professor Bill Landesman discusses the prevalence of the black-legged tick in our region, and the connection to Lyme disease, on Vermont Public Radio. Listen to the full program here.
For more on Bill and his research, visit here.
Prof. Steven Fesmire (philosophy) will speak in two sessions at the upcoming Centennial celebration of John Dewey’s classic Democracy and Education, first published in 1916. In one presentation, Steve will criticize the increasing industrialization and corporatization of American education, and in another talk he will explore the importance of public philosophy in a democracy. Full details of the April 7-8 event in Washington, D.C. are available on the John Dewey Society website at http://www.johndeweysociety.org/conferences/2016-washington-d-c/de-centennial/.
In his role as the Regional Coordinator Author (North America) specializing in adaptive governance, resilience, and ecosystem services and management, Prof. Jacob Park (business) participated in a high level policy workshop in Washington DC on March 21-22 to discuss the next stage of the United Nations Environment Program’s Global Environment Outlook 6 initiative. To learn more about the project, visit http://www.unep.org/geo.
Prof. Laird Christensen (English and environmental studies), has published a feature essay in Edge Effects, the online journal of the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Culture, History, and the Environment. This article, “Notes from the Great Transition,” reflects on balancing his hopes as the father of a young son with the challenges of preparing adults for the uncertainties of a changing world through GMC’s new graduate program in Resilient and Sustainable Communities. “Notes from the Great Transition” is available here.