Like an Art Form
Senior Rose Robitaille lives in the tension between art and nature, intent on digging into the factors that give this tension form. At Green Mountain College, she has been able to combine artistic practice with an environmental focus.
Raised in the southern California coastal city of Santa Monica, Rose escaped the city by spending time in the surrounding mountains, saying, “The way that I processed things was I went hiking.” Her grandfather was an art collector and her mother is an environmental therapist – and they both influenced her development.
Originally arriving at Green Mountain as a fine arts major, Rose was drawn to the natural resources management program mostly through the strong relationships she developed. “I started reading articles and speaking with professors. Our faculty is incredible. Being able to have such a close relationship with them on such an intimate scale has affected me so much,” she says.
One such relationship is with her advisor, Prof. John Van Hoesen (geology). Under his guidance, she recently completed an internship at the Poultney-Mettowee Conservation District using GIS to computer map riparian buffer gaps along the Mettowee and Indian rivers to see the effect on phosphorous levels in Lake St. Catherine. “That was the first time in my college career that I’ve meshed my love of visual communication with natural resources,” she says. “It was like an art form for me.”
For Rose, her experience at GMC has been a liberal arts education in the fullest sense of the term. “I’ve come here and I’ve learned a lot of skills and created all these interests for myself, but they’re all in different directions,” she says. She has been offered an artist-in-residence position in western Germany, plans on applying for a Fulbright Scholarship to study the correlation between art movements and environmental policy in Sweden, and could pursue more GIS work in Wyoming after she graduates in May.
“There’s so many options,” she says, grinning brightly. “I don’t know what to do.”
By Ryan Dixon '11