Teresa Coker’s Voices of Community class is reading works by Nobel Peace Prize winners. To help share their new knowledge, they purchased children books about Nobel Peace Prize winners and are donating them to the Poultney Elementary School Library.
As we see the first glimpses of spring, our thoughts naturally turn towards the cycle of annual renewal, spring planting and students, faculty and staff working on natural capital projects around Green Mountain College (GMC) and Poultney, Vermont. Of course that work never truly stops. Now is the perfect time to be inspired by the success of student work such as, Jean Lan’s Delicate Balance project Converting GMC Lawn Spaces into Native Plantings (2016) or Cate Brewster & Brianna Alimonti’s Invasive Species and the Natives They Out-compete (2015).
Larger plans are afoot. Biology professor Jim Graves is working to establish GMC as an arboretum by reforesting lawns without diminishing the benefits that lawns currently provide. Demo conversion plots were created last spring to model the benefits, adding to the numerous educational plantings on campus that create habitat for native flora and fauna. Jim has created a conceptual landscape plan to help students with ideas for campus plantings to design them to fit the overall arboretum plan—so reach out with your ideas!
What about the native plant nursery, that campus gem behind SAGE Hall? Started in 2002 with the need to grow plants for the restoration of floodplain forests along the lower Poultney River, the nursery moved to GMC in 2011. Today, the Nursery is a collaboration of GMC, TNC and the Poultney Mettowee Natural Resources Conservation District (PMNRCD). The nursery is a huge asset to academic programs on campus. Students have volunteered on the nursery to learn plant propagation and planting techniques, and the nursery has assisted many students projects by providing plants for campus plantings and restoration projects like Daniel Lang & Keelin Banks’ Poultney River Restoration Project (2015).
A number of other student projects have focused on increasing natural capital on campus and in our wider bioregion. These include Cullen MacAndrew’s Harvesting Rainwater project, 2016), and Carl Diethelm’s project to decrease the campus waste stream, Auditing Waste at GMC (2016).
ADE 3007 Winter Mountain Travel students braved -10°F in the heart of the Adirondack Park the weekend of March 10, 2018. Deep cold and low humidity made for extraordinarily starry skies. The students are to be commended for their skills, resilience, and service to one another.
Ten GMC students, along with Dr. Valorie Titus (Natural Resources Management) volunteered their spring break time in South Carolina at the Francis Marion National Forest, joining researchers from the Amphibian and Reptile Conservancy (ARC, a division of Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation). This dream team of wildlife rockstars included Golden Boardley, Olivia Broadrick, Bailey Fluet, Seth Heirs, Caele Gardella, Julia Gosslein, Christian Owens, Kyle Patterson, Izzy Schmidt, and Mariena Sciarra.
The GMC crew were responsible for assisting with wildlife surveys, particularly for reptiles and amphibians, in wetlands and post-burn longleaf pine habitat. While the weather was chilly, the crew were able to observe a number of species, including the tracking of an eastern diamondback rattlesnake, a large male that has been part of the research in the FMNF for over a year.
A little rain didn’t stop the fun, as they were able to observe a number of amphibian species that are difficult to find during dry times. The students also added a small monetary donation to ARC at the end of the trip to help with some of the many project expenses. This is the 3rd year that Dr. Titus has taken students to assist with this project, and keep getting invited back. Dr. Titus plans to return spring break next year.
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.
This spring break, natural resources management prof. Valorie Titus and eight GMC students including Julia Allen ’19, Anya Beale ’18, Torie Cowell ’16, Tynazha Jones ’17, Sarah Lucas ’17, Megan Muller ’16, Jacob Phillips ’16, and Kaitlin Phillips ’16 travelled to South Carolina’s Francis Marion National Forest for a second year of volunteering. Working with biologists from the Amphibian and Reptile Conservancy, USFS, and South Carolina DNR, students in the Southeastern Ecology Field Trip class participated in a week-long search for herpetological fauna and conducted small mammal trapping. The class uncovered some interesting data on the habitat preferences of some small mammals, including the Hispid Cotton Rat, and documented a slew of important (and rare) reptile and amphibian species. The students even added an important snake to the study, an Eastern Pine Snake, now fitted with a radio transmitter and lovingly named “Theodore.” This snake will be monitored for the next few years and will provide much needed ecological data for the proper management of the fragile Longleaf Pine systems of South Carolina. We look forward to heading back to help again next year, so if you’re interested in going, stay tuned!
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.
Prof. Sam Edwards (environmental studies) just had his chapter “The Right to Privacy Is Dying: Technology Is Killing It and We Are Letting It Happen,” published in Ethical Issues and Citizen Rights in the Era of Digital Government Surveillance (February 2016). This chapter explores the erosion of the right to privacy through the advances in technology. The chapter concludes with predictions about possible paths the United States can take to rectify the imbalance created by this erosion of privacy.
Prof. Vance Jackson (psychology) will present a program titled “Changing Minds” as part of the local Science Pub series on March 6 at 4 p.m. at the Iron Lantern in Castleton. Persuasion is central to so many areas of our lives, from politics and marketing to personal relationships. Vance discusses the science behind the art of persuasion. He will present different models of persuasion, touch on the psychology behind each, and give us tips for improving our own persuasive skills. The Science Pub series, organized by Castleton Free Library Friends, is a free gathering of people curious to hear short, informal lectures by local experts.