COA Volume 7 | Number 2 | Fall 2011
The College of the Atlantic Magazine
Front Cover Marketa Doubnerova ’13 “In the middle of a great city, like Paris, one wishes for a little bit of green wilderness.” Watercolor on paper. Back Cover Andrea Molina ’13 “El Arbol.” Ink on paper. These images were created during a COA term in Vichy, France last spring with art faculty members Dru Colbert and Nancy Andrews. Nine students studied French, French film, and created artistic travel journals, or carnets de voyage. The images on the front and back covers were shown at exhibits in Vichy in May and at the college’s Ethel H. Blum Gallery in October.
COA is published biannually for the College of the Atlantic community. Please send ideas, letters, and submissions (short stories, poetry, and revisits to human ecology essays) to: COA Magazine College of the Atlantic 105 Eden St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609 email@example.com
Letter from the Editor Just as COA was being formed, the generation of 1992—President Darron Collins’ generation—was being born. Like the college, these children came into a chaotic world. Nineteen sixty-eight, the year Les Brewer answered Father Jim Gower’s question about what could be done for the people of Mount Desert Island with the definitive, “Let’s start a college,” was the same year Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated. It was also the year students shut down Columbia University, the University of Chicago went on strike, and the University of California Berkeley erupted. Education was in total upheaval—and by 1970 the unthinkable happened: at Kent State University four students were killed by members of the Ohio National Guard. While protests against the war, against segregation, against authoritarianism, and for women’s liberation continued, while Ohio’s Cuyahoga River actually caught fire due to the pollution within, a quiet group of COA’s first trustees and founding president Ed Kaelber pondered just what kind of education was needed for those troubled times. Clearly this college would need to train students to fathom, and work to resolve, some of these terrible rifts—not only for humans, but also for the plants and animals that were here long before we were. A college devoted to viewing the world as an integrated whole didn’t only make sense—it seemed essential. Much of this magazine is devoted to the alumni of our middle generation, the men and women who—whether in Switzerland, Hawaii, or Maine— were born with COA. As COA’s founders were exploring education, the generation featured in these pages were infants beginning to examine their world with eyes and ears and tongue and hands. What is ultimately so brilliant about COA is that the approach favored by our founders is focused on encouraging and channeling the adventurousness, curiosity, and enthusiasm that is so apparent among children, and so likely to be educated out of adults. Read through the profiles of Darron’s generation at COA, and the celebration of Lou Rabineau, COA’s third president, who led us through those years. The original COA mission—based on a passion for learning and doing, and basic respect for the world and for each other—is clearly embodied in this middle generation, those who have come of age along with the college.
Donna Gold, COA Editor
Printed on recycled paper with vegetable-based inks on equipment using 100% wind-generated power.
Photo by Julia De Santis ’12.
The faculty, students, trustees, staff, and alumni of College of the Atlantic envision a world where people value creativity, intellectual achievement, and diversity of nature and human cultures. With respect and compassion, individuals construct meaningful lives for themselves, gain appreciation of the relationships among all forms of life, and safeguard the heritage of future generations.
Letter from the President 2 NSSE Survey: COA Students are Constant Learners
Notes from the Classroom 5
The College of the Atlantic Magazine Volume 7 | Number 2 | Fall 2011
Bronwyn Clement ’13 on Karen Waldron’s Nature of Narrative
Behind the Eyes 6 An excerpt from a comic book by Nancy Andrews
Rebecca Hope Woods
Rich Borden Lynn Boulger Ken Cline Julia De Santis ’12 Danielle Meier ’08 Jabulile Mickle Molefe ’14
“Sauntering Towards Bethlehem” 7 An excerpt from from an essay by John Anderson
COA’s Capital Campaign 8 Donor Profile: The Maine Brewing Company
Bill Carpenter designer
J.S. McCarthy Printers Augusta, Maine alumni consultants
Jennifer Hughes Jabulile Mickle Molefe ’14 Julia De Santis ’12
Jill Barlow-Kelley Dianne Clendaniel
profiles by sarah haughn ’08
President Darron Collins ’92
A Conversation with the New Ms. Frizzle
Intimacies of Artifice
An interview with Bronwyn Clement ’13 Diana Papini Warren ’92 Heather Sisk ’93
From Sharks to Spills
How to Become a Loving-Kindness Secret Agent
A Head Full of Legs
The Art of Strategic Ambivalence
Aristotle Goes to Jail
Mark Tully ’92
Richard Emmons ’92 Leslie Jones ’91
Jeremy Norton ’91
Education on the Rocks
Bridget Mullen ’91, MPhil ’93
Darron Collins ’92 Sarah Baker
dean of development
Jean de Marignac ’91
dean of admission
Plants, Pages, and Passersby Clark Lawrence ’91
associate dean for faculty
Andrew Griffiths academic dean
associate dean of student life
associate dean for advanced studies
coa Board of Trustees chairman
William G. Foulke, Jr.
Leslie C. Brewer
Nikhit D’Sa ’06
Elizabeth D. Hodder vice chair
Amy Yeager Geier
Alumni Artists 30 David Vickery, Jr. ’89 and Joshua Winer ’91
Short Story 34 Our Weekend on Shelter Island by Eric Wolf ’93
Monhegan Woods by Patti D’Angelo Juachon ’92 Sweet Honey and You by Jeff Wells ’92
What’s New and What’s Good 38 Louis Rabineau: COA President 1984–1993
Oral History 40 Steve Thomas Director of Admission 1989–1998
Suzanne Folds McCullough Sarah A. McDaniel ’93
William N. Thorndike, Jr. Jay McNally ’84 Philip S.J. Moriarty James M. Gower Samuel M. Hamill, Jr. John N. Kelly Susan Storey Lyman William V.P. Newlin John Reeves Henry D. Sharpe, Jr. Clyde E. Shorey, Jr.
Phyllis Anina Moriarty Hamilton Robinson, Jr. Walter Robinson Nadia Rosenthal Marthann Lauver Samek Henry L.P. Schmelzer Joan Van der Grift Paul Van der Grift
Alumni Notes 42 Faculty & Community Notes 46 Q&A with Ben Hitchcock ’15
COA in Our Hearts
By Julia De Santis ’12 and Donna Gold
Philip B. Kunhardt III ’77
Ronald E. Beard
George B.E. Hambleton
David Hackett Fischer Sherry F. Huber Daniel Pierce Helen Porter Cathy L. Ramsdell ’78 John Wilmerding
Cody van Heerden
Letter from the President Our college, depending on where you put its origins, is about four decades old. This issue is dedicated to our college at forty and to the alumni from my era: the late eighties and early nineties. Most of us from those times are also in our fifth decade and it seems appropriate to reflect on where we are in this life stage. Looking to reacquaint myself with the COA classroom experience in preparation for this piece, I sat in on visiting faculty member Robert Parker’s photovoltaics course on the first floor of Turrets. Honestly? It was a perfect COA class. About ten students, staff (Andy Griffiths), other faculty beyond Robert (Jay Friedlander), and a group of COA friends (including Willy Osborn, Steve Hinchman and former faculty/ president Steve Katona) all sat huddled around a table. It was dialoguedriven; it exhibited no disciplinary boundaries but drew on many disciplines; it was focused on problem solving; it demonstrated just how focused and motivated our students are, how deep their knowledge is, and how much they care. Like I said, it was perfect. Coming out of that class I thought through our unique niche around photovoltaics and did this thinking alongside faculty member Dave Feldman who summed it up like this: “Big schools with more resources will be able to out-green us: UC Davis can build a net-zero-energy dorm complex for up to four thousand students. Nor is it likely that COA will push technical boundaries and develop new types of solar cells. But what we can do extremely well is give students educational experiences in and outside the classroom in planning, siting, financing, purchasing, installing, and communicating about photovoltaics. It is hard to imagine another college where students can help plan and carry out renewable energy projects in discussion with the college president, CFO, director of buildings and grounds, and donors. This is interdisciplinary, project-based learning at its best.” That kind of learning is at the core of so many COA experiences, whether it’s Jeff Miller (my old resident advisor, by the way) changing the transport world through bicycling and walking, or Heather Sisk crafting facial prosthetics and changing the way we think about art and science, or today’s students working on everything from a documentary on Maine artists to photovoltaics. It’s a vertical integration of thought that has piercing consequences for our world at small and large scales. Enjoy it!
Darron Collins ’92, PhD
2 | COA
Survey: COA Students are Constant Learners COA education in the top 10% of all colleges surveyed We say we engage students. We truly believe our form of hands-on, intensive, student-faculty involvement is how people learn best. But how do we know? Fortunately, one of the most highly regarded means of assessing a college education also endorses our approach. The National Survey of Student Engagement, or NSSE, offers an objective assessment of how students are learning in colleges in the United States and Canada by asking first-year students and seniors some eighty questions about their college experience. This isn’t a ranking. We don’t know how specific other schools do. But we do know how we did. And we know that COA did better than the top 10 percent of all schools who participated. For those who note such things, among the 751 colleges that did participate were eleven of the colleges ranked among US News & World Report’s top twenty-five, including Claremont McKenna, Colby, Colgate, Grinnell, Hamilton, Middlebury, and Washington and Lee.
COA is Interdisciplinary Yes, students integrate ideas from various courses in classwork:
COA Emphasizes Critical Thinking Yes, coursework emphasizes analysis: Yes, coursework emphasizes synthesis: Yes, coursework emphasizes application:
99% seniors 94% seniors 91% seniors
85% seniors 86% seniors 85% seniors
COA is Life Changing Yes, college life confronts strengths/weaknesses of personal views : Yes, education contributes to self-understanding: Yes, education helps develop personal values:
82% seniors 85% seniors 88% seniors
64% seniors 76% seniors 69% seniors
COA is World Changing Yes, education helps aid community welfare: Yes, education looks at solving complex real-world problems:
86% seniors 92% seniors
61% seniors 68% seniors
COA Offers a Strong Learning Community Yes, students often discuss class ideas with faculty out of class: Yes, students often discuss class ideas with friends, family:
67% seniors 91% seniors
41% seniors 73% seniors
82% first years 87% seniors 76% first years 88% first years
66% first years 71% seniors 63% first years 59% first years
COA is a Diverse Community
COA may be a small college, and have the reputation as a school of similar minds, but students confront ideas, people, and cultures quite different from themselves.
Yes, students are encouraged to contact those of different backgrounds: Yes, students work to try to see another’s perspective: Yes, students have serious conversations with those of different beliefs: Yes, students have serious conversations with those of different ethnicities: COA is a Cultural Community
COA might be on an island in Maine, but look at these stats!
Attended an art, dance, music, theater or other performance:
76% first years 39% first years
Yes, COA also does increasingly well in US News & World Report’s ratings, and folks at Princeton Review, Forbes, and other outlets praise us (placing COA high on lists of most beautiful campus, most politically active students, best value colleges, and more). But NSSE provides evidence that what Princeton Review describes as our “unique approach to academics” as offered by our “eclectic and brilliant” faculty, really does make a difference. Our education gives students the tools to move beyond COA to useful, compelling work. Full details of the report can be found on the NSSE website at: http://nsse.iub.edu. COA | 3
Rwanda Journey Dave Feldman heads to Kigali on a Fulbright
Photo by Julia De Santis ’12.
Math and physics faculty member David Feldman is off to Kigali, Rwanda in January 2012 to teach in the Department of Applied Physics at the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology, or KIST, thanks to a grant from the Fulbright Scholar program, the nation’s flagship international educational exchange program. “I expect that living for six months in Rwanda will expand my horizons in ways I can’t even imagine,” says Dave. “KIST is a new, dynamic, and growing institution; it sounds like an exciting place to work. I am certain I will grow as a teacher and am very excited about gaining new colleagues and friends.” Dave has spent five summers teaching at an international graduate summer school in complex systems in China, jointly sponsored by the Santa Fe Institute and the Institute of Theoretical Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Working internationally propelled him to apply for the Fulbright. “It was a great sight to see Chinese, American, and other students living and learning together for a month. Students in the program learn about each other’s cultures and countries, and form enduring personal and professional bonds that will lead to better science and better understanding between our countries,” he says. “I believe that this sort of exchange is among the most important diplomatic activities the United States can conduct, and I am proud that I was able to help make it happen. A Fulbright fellowship seems like an ideal way to continue this work.”
COA Welcomes New Faculty and Teaching Staff Heath Cabot Anthropology
Heath comes fresh from a postdoctoral position in Princeton University’s Program in Hellenic Studies and a PhD in cultural anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her BA is from the University of Chicago’s interdisciplinary undergraduate program, Religion and the Humanities. She has jumped right into COA, designing courses, supervising independent studies and senior projects, serving on committees. “I am so excited by the COA students! They bring unparalleled energy and openness to the classroom that makes teaching at COA extremely rewarding and— quite simply—fun!” 4 | COA
Education Studies Associate Director Linda, a teaching staff member, comes to COA with twentyeight years in public school education. That’s middle school, high school, technical school, and guidance. Linda is currently completing her doctorate in educational leadership at the University of Maine. “COA is pretty impressive,” she says. “This is a school that understands the world is complex and its students are willing to look at things through many lenses.” Having started out in a tiny, three-room schoolhouse, where multi-age, multi-discipline programs are a necessity, she feels she has come full circle.
Ryan Bouldin Chemistry and mathematics Ryan, a visiting faculty member, is focused on substance. Physical substance. Ryan holds a PhD from the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell and a master’s degree in chemical engineering from Tufts University. He is driven to understand how to create materials with less energy and in a more environmentally benign manner. His approach starts with the fundamentals of green chemistry and results in imaginative projects like transforming cashew nut shell oil into a flame retardant. “That’s nuts!” he says.
Notes from the Classroom Bronwyn Clement ’13 on Karen Waldron’s Nature of Narrative
Over the course of the term the class reads upwards of a dozen twentieth-century fictional works. Some are deliberately experimental while others are more subtle in their innovation, from Virginia Woolf and William Faulkner to Italo Calvino and Clarice Lispector. Each challenges our expectations of form, technique, and narrative strategy. “There are certain narratives or shapes we expect stories to take on, certain archetypal plots that have been taught to us since childhood,” explains Karen. These works push against those limitations of fictional prose, stretching the imagination; each emphasizes narrative technique, creating works rich in texture and form. As someone who loves fiction, I was attracted to the focus on close reading and the balance between individual and group analysis. We read each novel individually, then process and analyze the works through writing response papers and passage analyses. In class we test our analyses and place the texts within theoretical frameworks—we then retreat and reflect, returning to the novels to reread. Through such close analysis of the text and discussion of what it is doing, we become much more attentive to our own reading experience and how we extract and project meaning onto the texts. Nature of Narrative requires constant thought; it’s a full immersion of sorts. We read at a fast and demanding pace and often cover more than one novel a week. Yet depth of analysis is not compromised for the sake of breadth; in fact, depth is inherently created through the breadth of our reading. By reading Faulkner in the second week of term, we then have two months to build on our analysis of his work, comparing it to other texts and theories. “The pace of the class also means that we never leave a text exhausted. After our class
Photo by Julia De Santis ’12.
“I have always been interested in stories, in the shapes they take,” says Karen Waldron, faculty member in literature and minority, cultural, and feminist theory. “Nature of Narrative challenges students to really learn to read—to read closely and curiously—to think of language aesthetically and as something that is deliberately manipulated and manipulating.” This intensive text-based course delves deep into the human ecology of literary analysis and challenges students to examine how narratives create meaning and how we create meaning from narratives. The pursuit is deeply experiential.
discussions I always wish to re-read and re-examine the text,” says Katie Perry ’12. The discussions, presentations, and the texts themselves encourage continued learning, the hunger to read more, and read well. Essential to the course is the quest to understand how we use stories—from books, from friends, from media—to understand our lives, drawing from narrative theorists. “The class is about relationships and theory is about creating surface area with those interactions. You can imagine it like a dough ball,” says Eli Mellen ’11, Nature of Narrative TA and current MPhil student. “Theory squashes that dough ball and consequently creates more points of contact to analyze experience.” Theory provides different lenses to look through while analyzing the texts in an effort to better understand how narrative becomes incorporated into our being. Narrative is everywhere, it is more than simply how we tell stories, it is how we organize our lives, how we conceive space and time. This pursuit is personal and intense: Nature of Narrative is an experiential class. Each piece of literature is a field trip, each text an opportunity to delve into the molding of language and the effects of narrative. In reality, all reading is interactive; it is a dialogue between the text and the reader and one can argue that a novel can only be a novel when it is being read. COA | 5
Behind the Eyes These images are from the comic book Behind the Eyes by Nancy Andrews, faculty member in timebased art. It reflects her motion picture Behind the Eyes are the Ears. The comic, like the movie, follows the research of Dr. Sheri Myes and her revolutionary attempts to expand our perceptions and consciousness. The 25-minute DVD plus the comic book are available by writing Nancy Andrews, PO Box 142, Seal Harbor, Maine 04675. The cost is $20. 6 | COA
From “Sauntering Towards Bethlehem” by John Anderson … When I was still young enough to remember most things, my father took me to Ely Cathedral in England and showed me a great maze made in the colored stone slabs beneath the West Tower. He explained to me that this maze was based on medieval examples in France, where penitents would walk the maze on their knees over and over, with so many successful trips “counting” as a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He then looked at me with a serious expression and said that he himself felt that the pilgrims would have “gotten a lot more out of an actual trip to the Holy Land.” The lesson stuck with me: you could learn certain things—and gain a measure of grace—by simulation, doing things that were like other things or stood in for other things. At the same time, however, something was always lost. It wasn’t as simple as simply having had the experience but missed the meaning. Somehow the experience itself was the meaning. One can earn Brownie points in heaven by following a maze, but think of all the experiences that one misses! I suspect that a medieval priest would say that those experiences are things of this world and that the whole point of pilgrimage is to get to another world, but think of all the opportunities for deeds good and bad that the pilgrim who takes the actual road will encounter! Both may arrive at the same destination in spirit, but they will not, cannot be the same in experience or understanding. …Of all Thoreau’s writing I still find Walking the most engaging. Thoreau seems to know that he is writing for the ages, and he does his best to paint a picture that is both immediate and real (the neighbor in the “Stygian fen”) and abstract to the level of the sublime (“in wildness is the preservation of the world”). The title and central metaphor, however, are what really grab me. Thoreau is walking, and he wants us to walk with him. The entire essay is an invitation to get out, go do something, experience for yourself whatever may come around the corner, behind the hill. Early in the essay he engages in a bit of etymology, which one would like to be true, even if the professionals have ruled otherwise. Thoreau dwells upon the verb “to saunter.” He suggests that sauntering is a very particular type of walking that is both essential to the true traveler and also has a touch of the divine: a saunterer, he suggests, is literally a sante terre on a journey to the Holy Land. It is here that I find the intersection of a small boy and his father in Ely Cathedral staring at a maze, and natural history, writing, and the value of experience. Thoreau would have had little time for walking a maze as a surrogate for a true pilgrimage. He wants his reader out of doors, on the true highways and byways of the world, drinking in and recording everything that we see and feel, and organizing it in some sort of coherent scheme. The Holy Land that Thoreau is approaching is literally transcendental—he is dying—and also very real and present. The entire essay is filled with “every day” imagery that most of us simply skip over. Thoreau thinks much of swamps and common wildflowers. He is less interested by the more or less predictable variety provided by human gardens, he wants the wild. He seems to suggest that at every turn we are at the edge of another and in some way grander world that is on the one hand subsisting quietly, unobserved, next to us and at the same time is constantly threatening to break through our conscious selves. Excerpted from John’s essay in The Way of Natural History, edited by Thomas Lowe Fleischner, Trinity University Press. 2011. www.wayofnaturalhistory.com. Photo by Benjamin Drummond. COA | 7
COA’s $32 Million Capital Campaign
Investing in our greatest strengths By COA Dean of Development Lynn Boulger
d! e s i a r on i l l i m 26 $ y d a Alre COA was a visionary institution when the first students arrived forty years ago to partake in this new experimental college on the coast of Maine. Over the last four decades, a lot has changed. We have increased our student population ten-fold, expanded our campus, acquired two farms and two island research stations, gotten a little grayer, and a lot more well known. But one thing has not changed: COA continues to hold true to its ideals and mission.
To lead COA to an even greater level of excellence, in January 2010 the board of trustees voted to undertake the largest capital campaign in our history. The goal: to enhance the college’s core strengths: faculty, students, academic program, and learning environment. Unlike many campaigns which focus on buildings and sports arenas, COA’s Life Changing World Changing campaign supports the growth of the academic program and keeps tuition affordable.
What will COA achieve? Scholarships Goal: $12,000,000 Raised to Date: $9,733,000 Scholarships are COA’s lifeblood, supporting almost 85 percent of our domestic and international students. COA is committed to making a human ecology education affordable; we are doing our best to ensure that financial limitations do not create 8 | COA
a barrier to those students who clearly should be enrolled—whether from rural Maine or Mumbai. Davis United World College Scholarships COA is one of the five pilot schools of the Davis United World College Scholars, with Princeton, Wellesley, Colby, and Middlebury. Since 2001, one hundred sixty-five Davis scholars from seventy nations have studied human ecology at COA. These are students like Yiftusira Wondimu ’11 from Bishoftu, Ethiopia, who was one of only five students from her country chosen to attend a UWC in her year. While at COA she was one of the first students accepted into a demanding internship program at the innovative Ragon Institute, where scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT and Harvard work together to understand how the AIDS virus impacts the immune system.
Partridge Foundation Scholarship The Partridge Foundation believes in the value of local farms for local food. In August, the foundation committed one million dollars to the college’s Food Systems Program; threequarters of that will go toward scholarships for students from rural New England interested in farms and farming. Noted Sarah Baker, COA’s dean of admission, “Students visiting COA light up when they learn about the college’s food systems program. They’ve visited other colleges that have farms, but COA is the first school they’ve encountered that integrates farming with food systems in such a thoughtful and comprehensive way.”
“The greatest educational experiment in recent history.” – Darron Collins ’92, COA president
Broadening the Curriculum Goal: $7,500,000 Raised to Date: $5,724,000 Adding academic programs at a school with a faculty of thirty is transformational. Given COA’s interdisciplinary approach, each addition impacts the entire college, offering the possibility of new, transdisciplinary classes and perspectives, such as the following: The Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Chair in Earth Systems and GeoSciences There has never been a more important time to understand the dynamics of earth science and global systems. Now, thanks to a matching fund donation by Northeast Harbor summer residents Anne and Robert Bass, COA is well on its way to getting a position in Earth Systems and GeoSciences. “The Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Chair in Earth Systems and GeoSciences will enable College of the Atlantic to add a new discipline in an important field,” Robert Bass told us. “The addition of a new professorship will add both depth and breadth across COA’s curriculum.” The position will offer field-based courses and labs in geology and earth sciences, particularly in climate science, earth systems and the environment, environmental chemistry, and energy and natural resources.
Supporting Faculty Goal: $3,750,000 Raised to date: $2,500,000
Photo by Julia De Santis ’12.
COA is endowing three current faculty positions. The most recent one is: John Visvader, Richard J. Borden Chair in the Humanities John Visvader, COA faculty member in philosophy, is now the holder of the Richard J. Borden Chair in the Humanities, named for longtime COA professor Rich Borden, faculty member in psychology and former dean. “I am honored,” says John, “especially since it is a chair named for Rich.” Even before John joined the COA faculty in 1986, the two professors had been attending Society for Human Ecology conferences together, talking about the COA | 9
New Faculty Chairs COA faculty members are defined by commitment: To their discipline, to their students, and to working with each other to create COA’s collaborative learning environment. Endowed faculty chairs continue to allow COA to expand our faculty, bringing new programs to students, strengthening and diversifying our current ones. (Read previous announcements of chairs in past COA issues at www.coa.edu/ magazine.)
The Allan Stone Chair in the Visual Arts »» »»
$750,000 left to raise Chair: Catherine Clinger
The Partridge Chair in Food and Sustainable Agriculture Systems »»
Chair: Molly Anderson
The David Rockefeller Family Chair in Ecosystem Management and Protection »»
Chair: Ken Cline
The Richard J. Borden Chair in the Humanities »» »»
$140,000 left to raise Chair: John Visvader
The Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Chair in Earth Systems and GeoSciences »»
$999,000 left to raise
This chair will be filled by a new faculty member when the funding is complete.
10 | COA
college’s singular mission and the importance of human ecology as an integrating discipline. The chair was established by two trustee families, alumnus and trustee Jay McNally ’84 and his wife, Jennifer; and life trustee Henry Sharpe and his wife, Peggy. The chair honors Rich’s shaping of the notion of human ecology in the international arena—work Rich and John have shared for decades.
R/V Osprey Goal: $1,000,000 Raised to date: $611,000. College of the Atlantic is aptly named. Not only is Frenchman Bay our front yard, COA’s campus includes two islands: Great Duck Island and Mount Desert Rock. Because of these remarkable assets, we have many marine-related programs, research opportunities, and courses, including Oceanography, Marine Biology, Ornithology, Piloting and Navigation, Conservation Biology, Ecology of the Winter Coastline, and Fisheries and Their Management. Our dedication to marine-related research is reflected in our partnerships with institutions such as Penobscot East Resource Center, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, the Maine Department of Marine Resources, and Marine Environmental Research Institute, to name just a few. To do this work, we need a boat or two. We are building a new boat, the R/V Osprey to replace the R/V Indigo. She will cost approximately $675,000 to build and require an operating fund $350,000 to maintain for a total of $1,000,000.
Connecting to the World Goal: $1,000,000 Raised to Date: $25,000 Bringing the world to COA—and COA to the world—through expanded teleconferencing capabilities, presentations, and conversations. Information technology makes our world smaller and more accessible. The capacity for our students, faculty, and alumni to access other people and information resources is limited only by our imagination. To keep COA current with the ever-changing technological landscape, we must upgrade our infrastructure and develop state-of-the-art learning environments, information technology, and global access in all classrooms.
“Aggressively interdisciplinary, intensely personal, immensely practical.” – Bill Foulke, COA board chair
Innovation in Education Goal: $2,000,000 Raised to Date: $2,000,000 Kathryn W. Davis Global Engagement Fund Towards Peace COA’s hands-on, experiential approach means that students work on real-world problems while they are still in college. To do this well, off-campus experience is essential. Our students will need to take their place in a world in which climate systems are global, markets are international, and solutions must reflect understanding from many stakeholders. Kathryn W. Davis, now 104, recognized the importance of personal connections in the journey toward peace when she crossed the Caucasus Mountains on horseback at the age of twenty-two. She has given COA a challenge grant to fund travel by students when their research, internships, or projects lead them away from campus, whether in the US or elsewhere. “The most important objective of international education and engagement is world peace. It is the best legacy we all so fervently desire. I am honored that COA will recognize my deep commitment to promoting international education and peace by naming the fund the Kathryn W. Davis Global Engagement Fund towards Peace.” A big thank you to all who have contributed so far! For more information on the campaign, go to www.coa.edu/coacapitalcampaign or call Lynn Boulger, dean of development, at 207-801-5620.
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Ales for Whales: Maine Brewing Company gives 1% of profits to Allied Whale By Donna Gold This is the story of how a rained-out vacation made for a very special connection between a Portland brewery and COA’s Allied Whale. Several autumns ago, David Kleban came up to Acadia National Park to go camping and hiking with his wife Heidi and their young daughter Zoe. Then it rained. Instead of hitting the trails, the family headed into Bar Harbor, where they discovered the Bar Harbor Whale Museum.* Lured by the brilliant white whale skeletons hanging in the window, the family found itself delighted by the many interactive exhibits that packed the small museum. At the time, David was working as a financial analyst in Portland. Next to being with his family and adventuring outdoors, he loved hanging out with his brother Daniel, a lawyer with a passion for brewing beer. Then David had an inspiration. Why not switch things around? He asked his brother whether he wanted to spend his life in an office or in a brewery. In 2009, they launched Maine Brewing Company. While not fully letting go of their day jobs, they purchased a fifteen-barrel vat known as a brewhouse—a huge steel cylinder where the hops and grain are mixed—and an even larger fermenter where the beer sits while the yeast does its work. After testing and retesting their recipes, they began brewing, then bottling. I met David one October afternoon in his Portland brewery, now containing five spotless, gleaming, stainless steel vats, each about as large as the mixer of a cement truck. We talked about David’s love of beer, his fascination with whales, and his connection to the environment, fostered during his childhood in Toledo, Ohio. David had been a member of a local organization known as the Naturalist Scouts, taking hikes and camping, and also helping to maintain local parks. Raised to care about the world around them, just brewing beer wasn’t enough for the brothers. Their beer carries a message: “Do what’s right.” This corporate motto is announced on their website and inscribed on their beer labels. And they follow it, getting their electricity from wind power and donating their used grain, yeast, and grain bags to 12 | COA
local farmers. “We knew from the get-go that we wanted to give back,” says David. While trying to figure out how best to do that, he stumbled upon the website for One Percent for the Planet, an organization that makes it easier for businesses to give a percentage of profits to environmental causes. Browsing the website, they found that among the certified organizations in Maine was one connected to the very museum that had brought a smile to Zoe’s face. They now donate a percentage of the profits from one of their beers to Allied Whale, and a percentage from another to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. “I have a thing for animals that don’t have a say,” comments David. “Especially the highly intelligent animals.” The ale that connects to Allied Whale is called Zoe. Another beer is named Lunch, after a finback whale followed by Allied Whale since 1982. Maine Brewing Company is small, hands-on. The day I visited, Daniel was busy driving a little red forklift; David was working the phones. Between their two fermenters, they net about 1,500 barrels a year. In the beer world, their resulting 46,500 gallons of beer is about as tiny as COA’s student body. “We are really small,” emphasizes David. “We don’t have aspirations to get big.” Sounds like a perfect match! *The Bar Harbor Whale Museum is currently closed due to construction on its former site.
Photos top to bottom: Bridget Mullen ’91, MPhil ’93, and Jeremy Norton ’91 meet with school children during an education class that took them to New Zealand; Jenny Rock ’93; Jeff Wells ’92; Leslie Jones ’91 (left) with Cynthia Chisholm ’86 who was working in alumni relations and special events; Lou Rabineau with friends; Darron Collins ’92. Photos courtesy of the College of the Atlantic Archives.
Profiles by Sarah Haughn ’08
There’s a powerful quality to having an alumnus as president. Darron Collins ’92, COA president, is what we are. He embodies it, he’s had the COA experience—staying up late wrestling with the meaning of human ecology, puzzling over the most significant senior project, playing guitar, and kayaking every nearby river. This feature provides a context for Darron’s presidency. Like Darron, like COA itself, these alumni have taken their place in the world as scientists, lawyers, educators, artists, counselors, academics, and a myriad of other professions. For those who still wonder what one does with a degree in human ecology, the following profiles hold a few answers. It is a tribute to the founders that they have created a generation of young leaders so ready and willing to take the helm, and so very committed to the ideals of human ecology. – Donna Gold
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President Darron Collins ’92 An interview with Bronwyn Clement ’13
Our new president likes to tell stories almost as much as he loves rivers. No wonder he seems to be able to weave some river analogy into every talk he gives. Many of us know he traveled on a Watson Fellowship after leaving COA, and then headed to Tulane University for a master’s in Latin American studies and a PhD in anthropology. We also know he spent a lot of time in Mongolia doing environmental conservation work with the World Wildlife Fund. What we wanted to know was how he got there? What were the stories behind these adventures? The following is an excerpt from a talk with Darron in October. Bronwyn Clement: Where did your passion for rivers come from? What drew you to the idea of river conservation? Darron Collins: I always loved the outdoors but I grew up in New Jersey, which you don’t normally peg as “Oh, he was born on the banks of some great river…” My mom loved the Photo by Julia De Santis ’12. outdoors and would always bring me outside. Apparently I almost drowned in a river when I was little. We were just goofing around and I seem to remember I fell through the ice; something like that. As a child I was a terrible swimmer. I definitely remember being seven years old and my neighbor had a pool and I was terrified of jumping in the water, even the shallow end. My daughters, on the other hand, have been jumping into water since they were infants. So I can’t say I was born a fish or grew up loving water or swimming, that wasn’t me. In the summers between sixth and seventh, and seventh and eighth grades I went to the Vershire Outdoor School, an outdoor wilderness camp in Vermont. We did climbing, hiking, and canoeing and I remember that being pretty formative in loving rivers. High school summers I spent out west. I worked for the Student Conservation Association—it’s for high school students to work in the national forest or park system. I worked out in Challis National Forest, in Idaho, building fences. I spent another summer backpacking out west. I loved the outdoors, and I really liked, more than rivers, the adventure, the idea of an adventure… To be honest, it was Raiders of the Lost Ark that made a big impression on me. I was eleven when it came out; my aunt took me to see it. I remember that sense of adventure, that sense of awe. Then in middle school, in health class, when they start teaching about the birds and the bees and everything else, we had a discussion about who you would imagine your best match to be and what their characteristics would be and I said, “A girl with a sense of adventure.” I remember that very clearly. The girl that I liked at the time thought that was really stupid. 14 | COA
Rivers are perfect for adventure: they’re fast, they move. I can’t cross a river without thinking, “Where does it start? Where does it end?” Maybe there’s some of that Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer-type thing happening. Bronwyn: How did COA fit into your love of the outdoors? Darron: One of the main reasons I was drawn to COA was the place, the beauty of the park, and the water. I loved that it seemed like people were interested in spending as much time outside as possible. At COA I met Ken Cline [faculty member in law and environmental policy]. I was here before he was, but in my sophomore year I got word that Ken had been out in Oregon and knew how to kayak. I cornered him and said, “I want to learn how to kayak.” So we went out to Echo Lake to practice rolls, because if you want to kayak you’ve got to learn how to roll. In my junior year, we started doing trips on the Union River, and that’s when I started taking environmental law and policy, on top of my courses in science. Ken helped me get an internship with the Oregon Natural Resources Council, now called Oregon Wild. I spent the summer between my junior and senior year in Oregon, a kayaker’s paradise. I worked four days a week and spent the three-day weekend paddling. My comfort and my confidence with rivers skyrocketed. Bronwyn: And the Watson Fellowship was an extension of that? Darron: Yes and no. My Watson was looking at the large-scale impact of dams, of hydropower, and the cultural and ecological impact of those types of projects. That took me to New Zealand, then Chile, then the Amazon basin. I totally fell in love with Chile. I was in the Bio-Bio River Valley which is in central Chile; it was a world-class whitewater river slated to be dammed by a World Bank-funded hydropower project. The river wound up being dammed. Then, in the Amazon Basin I was looking at oil exploration in the Ecuadorian Amazon. That Watson year got me keyed up on Latin America; I learned to speak Spanish fluently. In fact, I spent another year oaring baggage boats on river trips after the Watson, mostly in Chile and some in Labrador and Quebec. I worked with a stellar group called Earth River Expeditions. There was part of me that wanted to be a river guide. I was around all these guys that were probably in their thirties or forties, I was twenty-three or so, and they had spent their lives guiding some of the craziest rivers
in the world, but they had also given up a lot to do it. They didn’t have families. That was a fork in the road, there was a choice to be made, should I go the more academic path or live the adventurous life of a river guide? And, well, I wound up getting a PhD in anthropology and it was the right choice—I met my wife at Tulane and now I’m here. I probably wouldn’t be president of the college as a river guide. Bronwyn: You’re passionate about rivers and yet your dissertation was something entirely different? Darron: Correct. My dissertation was on a group of Mayan speakers in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, the Q’eqchi Maya; it was an ethnobotanical dissertation. The Q’eqchi had been migrating out of the highlands into the lowland tropical forest partially because of political violence, but mostly because of a lack of land, and not being able to grow enough corn to be self sufficient. I was interested in how these people were adapting to a completely new botanical world. Those were two amazing years, one of them with my wife. It was very interesting to be a married couple in a Guatemalan village. The adventure quotient was real high. Bronwyn: One of the many ethical discussions within anthropology is the issue of demonstrating gratitude, how to give back to the community where you lived and worked? Darron: That’s a great question. In terms of the question of respect and mutual trust, I was fully committed to learning Q’eqchi and interacting with people from their standpoint rather than my own. Second was developing a platform based on respect. The fact that I had my wife there, and we lived as a family, and I purchased food from local people, and compensated people for their time, helped develop that sense of trust. My father and I wound up building a church for one of the communities I lived in. My father actually ended up moving to Guatemala and starting his own non-profit, From Houses to Homes, building homes for locals. So in a sense I’ve given back through my father and actually, he has given back way more than I have. And there were still more stories, with Darron’s enthusiasm evident throughout our conversation. His office is filled with mementos from different parts of his life, along with family photos and plenty of books. He frequently gets up to take one off the shelf, illustrating our conversation with ethnographies, a visual presentation handbook, a letter from John Anderson. I know the stories could easily continue—and clearly they will, as will the adventures, but now they will inextricably be bound to the stories and adventures that are COA. COA | 15
A Conversation with the New Ms. Frizzle
Diana Papini Warren ’92 conducting water tests with schoolchildren.
Diana Papini Warren ’92 on Technology, Democracy, and Education in Hawaii
On any given day you are likely to find Diana Papini Warren guiding kindergartners as they collect data along a transect line, traipsing with teenagers through Hawaii’s wetlands, or training hundreds of K-12 instructors across the state to teach science with renewable energy in mind. From playing Ms. Frizzle’s tech-savvy doppelganger as developer of Maui’s Educational Digital Bus program to designing energy-based science curricula for Hawaii’s public schools, Diana has spent the past decade championing her conviction that kids are powerful. She believes kids can make real change when equipped with authentic opportunities to investigate their world. And she knows this cannot happen unless their schooling actively encourages them to engage their environs. “Kids are not going to end up being active citizens in their community if they’re not fully participating in their lives as they grow into young adults,” says Diana. “I think that’s why I was turned on by authentic scientific inquiry: it’s letting kids ask their own questions and come up with their own answers.” Courseswork on Dewey’s concept of democratic education with former education professor Etta Mooser (now Kralovec) was pivotal. Dewey 16 | COA
conceptualized school as a site of social influence and ideally of social reform. He pioneered experiential education and was a crucial proponent of academic freedom. Also informing her work is Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed. She finds exhilarating and relevant his idea that you must “question your reality in order to embrace it and change it, to make it yours and to make a difference.” Channeling Dewey and Freire, Diana continues to explore and implement innovative approaches to science in public education. For the past three years, she pioneered an initiative known as Geotech for Hawaii Schools. This work promotes the use of GIS, GPS, and remote sensing equipment in K-12 education through teacher trainings. Diana developed the initiative under the auspices of Women in Technology, a workforce development project geared to encouraging girls, women, and other underrepresented groups into what are now known as STEM careers—in science, technology, engineering, and math. The initiative draws steam from its conviction that kids, regardless of demographics, need the tools to become decisionmaking leaders in their communities. In addition to implementing geospatial technology in public schools, Diana has spent seven years as
a professional development and curriculum specialist facilitating workshops for science teachers. She focuses primarily on developing science curricula with a renewable energy theme. The state of Hawaii plans to produce and utilize 70 percent clean energy by the year 2030. To this end, Diana has developed modules and kits with models of sustainable energy devices so that teachers can engage their students in solving genuine challenges. Through two statewide networks the seminars have trained over two hundred teachers; thousands of students have participated in hands-on projects. During one investigation, students analyzed wind energy, collecting data and adding to a discussion of undersea cables for windpower. They also conducted audits of their classrooms for energy efficiency, developing conservation plans based on their findings. This curriculum is now being translated into the Hawaiian language. Diana hopes such work continues to burgeon, “not just to get sustainable for the islands, but to nurture the human side and honor that part of it too. I am still totally a human ecologist,” she says, “I’ve never lost my passion for education, for true, empowered leadership and effective decision making in our communities.” When Diana is not participating in the democratic reform of Hawaii’s public school system, her revolutionary work as a mother keeps her heart grounded and her mind on fire. “My goal has truly been to transform education in Hawaii in a positive way that is going to empower kids to be better leaders and make better decisions. I feel like I’ve achieved that so far. But I am at a place where my priorities are shifting. I’m ready to catch my breath, and soak up these sweet moments with my children.”
Jeffrey Miller ’92 Birthplace: Hollywood, California Current Home: Washington, DC Work: President/CEO, Alliance for Biking & Walking Senior project: Bicycles in Acadia and MDI: Planning and Education What are the core principles guiding your life? When you find your way to help change the world, live and breathe it, but keep it fun and find ways to connect with others. None of us will solve the world’s problems just doing it by ourselves, but by modeling, influencing others, and working at it, we just might be able to inspire change in others. (I’m still trying to figure this one out, big-time.) If you could tell the world one message what would it be? Ask yourself before you go there (anywhere): “What is the best way to get there?” Twenty-five percent of the time your answers might include walking (25 percent of all trips in the US are one mile or less); 50 percent of the time your answer should be biking or walking (yep, even in our sprawled-out, over-built, highway-obsessed, gas-guzzling country, half of all trips are three miles or less). Think critically about your transportation decisions; by simply questioning the best way to travel, you may find you don’t need to drive two tons of steel every time you want to go somewhere. If you could teach a course at COA what would it be? Human Ecology in Motion: The past, present, and future of active transportation
Diana Papini Warren ’92 and her family.
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Intimacies of Artifice Heather Sisk ’93 on Acrylics, Silicone, and the Human Spirit “Skin may be our largest organ, but the human spirit is larger.” – Heather Sisk ’93 A resident in the art and anatomy of facial prosthetics, Heather Sisk knows that bodies are not inevitable. For her patients, people disfigured at birth or by illness or injury, the organs she crafts allow a sense of return to social normalcy—to work, to play, to love without fear of being viewed unsightly. Her trade is one of rigorous finesse, rendering synthetics such as silicone and acrylics into flesh. The science of anaplastology—literally, the study of that which is formed anew—occurs in an intimate clinical environment. But sculpting a human eye, ear, or nose demands much more than technical expertise; it requires a sense of personhood. Spending hours and years working with a cancer patient, a veteran, or a survivor of domestic abuse, an anaplastologist learns the moods and modes of being that inform her patients’ everyday lives—from talk of weather to memories of war. Stories are embodied in each part she produces. From this social space emerges an organ both artifice and original. “Once you have spent time with such an individual you begin to lose an objective sense of what is ’normal’,” Heather says. “I believe this is so because you are in relationship. It is surprising to me sometimes when patients respond with such gratitude and tears in their eyes when I deliver a body part that is essentially fake. But they are out in the world encountering strangers daily, and it speaks loudly to how important it is for us to appear acceptable to others. There is a real sense that appearing whole assists the patient in feeling spiritually okay and well with the world around them. I think a definition for ’human being’ is to be in relationship.” Heather’s interest in human relation and her journey to anaplastology began with her COA senior project, a study on the use of masks as vehicles of transformation across religions. Transferring from Earlham College, Heather found inspiration in the intersections among philosophies of science and art, as well as the culture of museums. After graduation she pursued museum studies, working at natural and cultural history museums in Arizona and on Mount Desert Island. After also working at the MDI Water Coalition, Heather realized she needed to address injustice from the perspective of individual suffering. This realization led her to a degree in theology, 18 | COA
during which she interned as a hospital chaplain at an outpatient oncology clinic. The difficult and very rewarding internship confirmed her interest in working directly with people, but not in an ordained capacity. As she finished her dissertation, she shifted from pastoral counseling to spiritual direction. Encouraged by the confluence of spiritual and bodily healing, it did not take her long to discover her niche—a residency program in facial prosthetics, offered through the Bronx Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Columbia University. When finished with her three years as a resident, she will qualify as a licensed practitioner. She envisions utilizing her license not only clinically, but also to volunteer with organizations such as the International Confederation for Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery Foundation. She specifically resonates with their Women for Women initiative, which provides pro bono restorative surgery to female patients suffering from socially excluding bodily trauma. As a site of synergy for her pursuit of art and her training in pastoral care, the field of anaplastology provides Heather ample opportunity to practice her art, her science, and her spirituality. “I am very fortunate to have these patients in my life,” she reflects. “They teach me daily about the resilience of the human spirit. They humble me, reminding me of the mysterious nature of our bodies, our existence— and that beauty is by no means only skin deep.”
Plants, Pages, and Passersby Clark Lawrence ’91 on the Care and Cultivation of a Centuries-Old Italian Castle Among those who adore the Italian countryside, few conjure images of factory farms. Yet according to Clark Lawrence, curator of the nineteenth century, neo-Gothic Castle of Galeazza, industrial agriculture defines the landscape—seeming almost to parody the once ubiquitous parterres of sixteenth and seventeenth century horticulture. “Here in Emilia-Romagna—and all of the Po Valley for that matter—we’re surrounded by immense fields and factory farms of cattle and pigs,” he says. “In this area thousands of acres of perfectly flat land are planted with one crop or another, mostly corn or wheat, and they are grown by using massive quantities of chemical fertilizers and insecticides.” In distinct contrast blooms forth Clark’s garden—a tangle of intention and accident both. Though primarily the curator of an extensive library within Galeazza’s walls—where for eight years Clark has hosted reading retreats, courses, concerts, art exhibits, parties, book presentations, and theatrical events—Clark now exercises his focus on the tending of plants over the turning of pages. The transition is one of sheer necessity as the castle’s doors and windows grow choked with ivy, vines, and wisteria. Given Galeazza’s location distant from Italy’s more storied realms, Clark cultivates the garden grounds without formality of ornament. “Here I can create a softer atmosphere reminiscent of English gardens, and I can try to imbue the place with a peace that other gardens around here don’t
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Sabrina in the garden at Galeazza.
have,” he explains. “I can also make it a place of great biodiversity. Tree frogs sing by the pond. The flowerbeds and borders might not be perfectly clipped or weedless, but they are starting to fill up with plants and trees that visitors have never seen before. This is the only garden for miles around where fireflies and butterflies can still be found.” Clark’s COA experience introduced him to his love for the Mediterranean, not from Italy but Greece. His senior project chronicled one hundred Greek sculptures and vase paintings created over eight centuries. “I was obviously biting off more than I could chew, but it tasted good, anyway. By not going to graduate school and continuing my art history studies I spat out a bit, but the taste remains and becomes refined just the same, and my love of Greek art and archaeology lingers.” From the mythos of Greek and Italian ruins, Clark has forged a life and many loves. Growing ever more interested in the ethos of plants over people, he realizes—much in the COA spirit—that “by the end of it all, you are just about to begin.” While he plans to persist as the host of reading retreats, Clark also hopes to see the garden’s growing reputation continue to attract visitors from across the country and around the world. 20 | COA
And of Galeazza’s immediate future? “The castle’s next individual art exhibition, opening in the spring of 2012, will feature works by COA graduate Dina Petrillo ’89,” announces Clark. “Yes, COA is very much a part of Galeazza, and I’d love for the connections and collaborations to continue!”
Katherine (Kate) Clark ’91 Birthplace: San Juan, Puerto Rico (My father was working in the public health service at the time; we moved back to Boston when I was two years old.) Current home: Cambridge, Massachusetts Work: Employment attorney at a Boston law firm Senior Project: Comparative Analysis of Four National Park Management Plans The core principles guiding my life: Striving for meaningful and satisfying work that is aimed at problem-solving while maintaining family and community connections that allow me to feel that I am important to those around me.
From Sharks to Spills
All Things Marine with Jean de Marignac ’91 Before the advent of the Davis United World College Scholars Program, Jean de Marignac was one of the few students to study at COA from abroad. Jean found the school during a year he spent in the United States on a high school exchange from Switzerland. When he learned of COA’s unique pedagogy and the accessibility of marine biology research, he knew he would attend. “From a very young age I was fascinated by the marine world. I grew up in a landlocked country,” he says. Summers he’d go to his grandmother’s home in southern France; winters he’d watch Jacques Cousteau. At COA, he realized, “I couldn’t just be a scientist; I had to be able to communicate with others. The interdisciplinary nature of COA was really special in that way.” Jean’s childhood connection to the sea stems also from his love for sharks. During his time at COA he worked with former president and biology faculty member Steve Katona and spent time in the Bahamas studying lemon sharks. For his senior project he wrote the research paper “Site Attachment and Homing of Juvenile Lemon Sharks,” then continued this focus into his graduate work. But Jean has not always loved sharks. His interest in the often-misrepresented creatures began early, and “started more as being very afraid of sharks. I was always afraid to go in swimming pools or bathtubs for fear a shark would come and get me. Then I found some books and I saw some documentaries. I realized that as people we know so little about them and that’s, in part, why we fear them.” Public misinformation and his own curiosity inspired him to spend a large portion of his career in the crucible of his phobia. Jean’s research took him seaward in vessels to gather data on lemon sharks, and chest to chest with the species he grew to adore.
spill response in the Gulf of Mexico. Initially he conducted surveys with a Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Technique team, mapping oil distribution on the shorelines and providing clean-up recommendations to the spill’s incident command center. Most recently, Jean served as chief scientist for NOAA’s Natural Resource Damage Assessment initiative on offshore, mid-water zooplankton surveys, gathering information to assess the environmental cost of the spill. While this work requires a high level of circumspection, especially compared to academic research, Jean was surprised at the cooperative and congenial nature of the team on this politically charged project. “We were able to follow protocols. There was not much room for controversy. Maybe somebody would say there was 50 percent oil and somebody would say there was more like 55 percent. It was more small differences.” Only when the team returned to the command center, and needed to estimate the extent of seepage from the well, did he note that cooperation was not always as good. “Working on the response of such a large-scale environmental disaster that touches so many people with conflicting points of view and interests, I realized how critical communications among the different groups involved is. We need to develop a language that allows us to understand each other.”
Recently, Jean has drifted away from shark study to work with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA. As part of the research team with California’s Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, he designed and led studies of marine ecosystems. Using underwater robots and submersibles, he characterized and monitored deepsea habitats and communities. He also conducted fish, sea bird, and marine mammal surveys. By tracking changes over time, the team is hoping to determine the effectiveness of marine protected areas and monitor the health of the sanctuary. For more than a year, though, Jean’s NOAA work has been with the Deepwater Horizon oil COA | 21
How to Become a Loving-Kindness Secret Agent Mark Tully ’92
A widely quoted proverb from Winston Churchill suggests if a man is under thirty and not a liberal he has no heart, and if over forty and not a conservative he has no brains. If anyone can disturb such reductive logic with Bodhisattva-like compassion and endearing crankiness it is Mark Tully. Community organizer, arts activist, improv actor, teacher, and radical faerie, Mark’s life work lovingly contradicts the inevitability of repressive political binaries. watercolors as political insight... No one talks like that. So there we are, with each other, blessed be. Sarah: How did your time at the college prepare you for your life’s work? Mark: The COA experience cultivated the capacity for empathy and solidarity; an assumption that those were the primary skills in our primary role—as Mark Tully ’92 helps the Str8 Up youth group in Woonsocket, Rhode Island build large props to allies to everyone and protest restricted access to prophylactics in poor neighborhoods. everything. I got to spend my professional career going into community organizing projects Sarah Haughn: How did you find the college? and coalitions, working to connect and coordinate Mark Tully: COA’s course book was being passed people—especially through blending arts into around the hippies in my high school, who all of political organizing. COA led me directly into my course worshipped the curriculum, but we assumed work, equipped rather well to serve as an ally. The that something as anti-establishment as politics level of intentional communication at COA alone and philosophy could never be part of a “legit” builds invaluable skills in dealing with the variety of institutional curriculum. So we blew it off as a kooky and obviously unaccredited enclave. I was choosing people in this world and their perspectives. between majoring in theater or chemistry—and ended up so confused I went nowhere. Our friend Sarah: And where has the journey led? Kim Courchesne [Paola] ’90 went in ’86, and half a year later was on the phone yelling “Get Up Here!” Mark: Meiklejohn [Don Meiklejohn, former faculty So I came up, and was sitting in on Don Cass’ member in political science] wanted me to be a organic chemistry class. The discussion of amino acids rapidly transformed into one asking which lawyer, Etta [Mooser, now Kralovec, former faculty animals are harvested for amino acids to provide for member in education] wanted me to teach, and then the scientists. Don got an order book out that had Alesia [Maltz, former faculty member in history] the animal- and human-organ sources and prices, said I should wage my philosophy and activism and a riotous discourse ensued. That decided it for through the arts. She was right, but it took me fifteen me. years to get here. My first job was with ACORN Sarah: COA has stuck to your ribs then, so to speak? working in Dorchester, Massachusetts, and I kept with neighborhood organizing—in the Bronx, Mark: You just can’t talk to people out here like then leading citywide programs in San Francisco. I we talk with each other. All possibilities and brought arts activism in as I could and in the process perspectives on the table; refusing even activist took a master’s in human ecology at the University orthodoxies; musing about things like the link of Edinburgh. between the diet and music of a culture; citing 22 | COA
After I exchanged professional organizing for a life, I worked a lot more helping youth and community groups manifest props and puppets and skits to color and activate their protests and gatherings. Five and a half years ago I came home to New England with an approaching-forty conviction to try and build and thrive in a life based in the arts. Within weeks I became involved with Playback Theatre. Playback takes people’s told stories and improvises a version of them using many forms, abstract to very literal. The power of this ritualized gift to the teller is really hard to overstate. It is being used to help Afghan refugee boys integrate into Holland, it’s being used in prisons and schools, and in elderly housing in New Orleans and Haiti. I’ve been in a troupe for three years now, working mostly with the elderly, youth, grieving families, and social work students, and gathering often with playbackers from around the country and world. I’ve just scored a personal gig teaching Playback to middle-schoolers in the regional YMCA’s antibullying programs. The personal affirmation of my work cannot be exaggerated. What’s more, my troupe got a grant so we Actually Started Getting Paid! For Interpersonal Improvisational Theater! Ridiculous. Sarah: Your dramatic work continues to grow. Have you explored other kinds of storytelling in addition to improv? Mark: I also got sucked into the Providence filmmaking scene, rather against my will, and now find myself in four projects and learning editing. The music-making/DJing program is getting clearer, and writing is miraculously ensuing, albeit mostly through reading.
Sarah: What would you share with the COA community as it begins a new chapter with alumnus Darron Collins at its administrative helm? Mark: Three things: 1. Being an underappreciated human ecologist often goes hand-in-hand with being right, which holds the danger of becoming an underappreciated jerk. As an attitude check, dig that there’s a lot of fabulous connections and movement happening everywhere, and growing. So get over yourself, and be loving. You can be out there doing the good work while also being a crank about everything and switching jobs as your tolerance and passions and ability to be of use transform. 2. Some of the issues you’re aware of that are manifesting at a critical level right now, and the paradigms you’re transcending, and the hotoff-the-press tactics and best-practices you’re studying—won’t make the news, be adopted by the Movement, or gain any significant research for at least ten years, if ever. You’ll be pushing thresholds your whole life. Of course that gives you the freedom to just drop out for a decade and still emerge a highly relevant player. Bonus. 3. Be very, very, very, very kind to yourself. Really. Do not punish yourself over what you could be doing, or the gaffes. In every situation, personal to political, that you perceive failure, realize the magnitude of vision and intention that you brought into that space. That kind of magic echoes forward, and will blend with others to manifest awesome things, forever. Seriously.
Sarah: And how does your work with interpersonal improv build into your everyday life? You mentioned belonging to the Vermont collective of Radical Faeries… Mark: Right. We’re an international tribe of radical queer spirits, building sanctuary among ourselves and focused on healing each other and the world through actively manifesting love and empathy and solidarity. The primary COA-related thing about the faeries is that the consciousness and discourse defy any orthodoxy, of any stripe, always in search of the radical—fundamental. So it’s been a real COA homecoming for me, after all these years of insisting on interdisciplinary consciousness within academics, politics, and art. I am home.
Mark Tully ’92 on campus during his COA years.
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A Head Full of Legs The Human Ecology of Fruit Flies, Ethics, and Patent Law with Richard Emmons ’92 As a tenacious teen working with loggerhead sea turtles on Georgia’s barrier islands, Richard Emmons was not about to shift from sea to shore only to bury his head in the proverbial sands of academia. His college experience would have to be one of hands-on research from the start. Enter College of the Atlantic and biology faculty member Steve Katona. “I remember the first trimester I was at COA, I was taking a marine mammals class with Steve Katona and the second or third week of class he announced that he was looking for volunteers to help necropsy a blue whale that had washed ashore on one of the outer islands. I think almost everyone in the class volunteered. It was an amazing experience that I still remember vividly. I don’t know of any other college in the country where students at the undergraduate level would have been able to participate in this type of research.” At the college, Richard worked primarily with science professors Bill Drury, John Anderson, Steve, and former visiting professor Don McCrimmon. It was Don, through his affiliation with the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, who steered Richard from field research toward laboratory science. Studying with Don as an undergraduate at COA, Richard realized the work he wanted to do was better explored in a lab setting. With Don’s assistance he was awarded the prestigious Pew Fellowship to spend a summer learning laboratory techniques from the renowned professors Franklin Epstein and Patricio Silva at the Harvard Medical School. After his fellowship, Richard spent three semesters away from the college as a visiting student at Emory University in preparation for a PhD program at the Washington University School of Medicine. Eventually earning a PhD in developmental biology, he studied how a fertilized egg forms the various tissues, organs, and structures that make up the adult animal. Richard’s dissertation contributed crucial research to developmental biology by identifying and characterizing a master regulatory gene called “spineless-aristapedia.” The gene distinguishes the leg of a fruit fly from its antenna. According to 24 | COA
Richard Emmons ’92 and his daughter Kali.
Richard, if this gene does not function correctly the fly develops a pair of legs protruding from its head. “One of the first questions I always get about my graduate research is: Who cares about fruit flies, anyway? COA has one central theme: we are all connected. As it turns out, this is more true than anyone would have ever imagined. One of the central paradigms to emerge from developmental biology over the last thirty years is that most multicellular organisms are ‘built’ from the same genetic pathways that have been co-opted and recycled and adapted through evolution,” Richard explains. “The same gene that helps create antennae in flies is also present in humans, although it has a different name—aryl hydrocarbon receptor—and plays a different role by sensing and destroying certain toxic chemicals. The antennae of the fly play an important role in the fly’s ability to sense certain chemicals. During evolution, this chemical sensory ability has been co-opted and modified in humans to serve another role; however, the underlying genetic pathway is the same. I like to think of evolution as the classic hot-rodder of the fifties and sixties, pulling parts out of different engines and car bodies, and seeing how they could be reassembled in a new form.” Not only has Richard made a hot-rod life of evolutionary study, his own professional life has also evolved remarkably. From his early field research on loggerhead sea turtles to laboratory studies on fruit fly and cancer genes, he boasts a prolifically successful career in the sciences. Yet after nearly two decades of vanguard scientific research, Richard has dramatically altered the course of his career from hard science to patent law, a leap both ethically necessary and personally gratifying.
“I went on to do a post-doctoral fellowship at the Harvard Medical School, where I studied a group of genes required to prevent cancer,” he explains. “However, toward the end of my graduate career, and throughout the course of my post-doctoral fellowship, I became progressively disgruntled with the academic research community after experiencing and witnessing several cases of gross ethical misconduct on the part of senior faculty, which were overlooked by the various universities in question because the respective faculty members were tenured. From my standpoint, such behavior was at odds with the basic principles of science. At about this time, I also began to realize that I was more interested in solving problems than creating problems, which is the central purpose of scientists conducting basic research.” With this epiphany, Richard decided to accept a position as a technical specialist in the intellectual
property group of Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP, a major Boston law firm. Having passed the US Patent and Trademark Office bar exam, he is now a patent agent. Working days at the firm, Richard attends law school at night in pursuit of his JD, which he anticipates receiving in May. He credits, among others, Anne Kozak, faculty member in writing, for teaching him how to communicate effectively. “Writing has been a constant theme in my life as a scientist, and it is an essential skill in my life as an intellectual property professional,” he says. “I still look back on my time at COA with fondness,” Richard reflects. “It’s a wonderful and unique combination of faculty and students who have truly combined to be greater than the sum of their parts. This type of synergy is hard to find anywhere, and should never be taken for granted by the few who are lucky enough to experience it.”
The Art of Strategic Ambivalence Walking the Political Line with Lawyer and Conservationist Leslie Jones ’91 While it was certainly not collegiate athletics that drew soccer aficionado Leslie Jones to transfer from a formal, old Bostonian school to wily, young College of the Atlantic, once settled she found an academic community that encouraged her toward a law career in which she still flourishes. Leslie has worked with The Wilderness Society since 2000 and has served as its general counsel since 2006. She is currently on loan to the United States Department of Agriculture, or USDA. Key to her career and process was a 1989 session of mock international climate change negotiations with Ken Cline, faculty member in law and environmental policy at COA. “I represented a ’developing’ country that wasn’t about to let the red, white, and blue tell me that I couldn’t foul the world in just the way they had simply because in the ensuing two hundred years we’d learned more about greenhouse gases. These days, I’m told that one of my strengths as a COA | 25
counselor of law is putting myself in the shoes of the opposing side. Go figure.” Even today, Leslie’s role in the mock negotiations informs her approach to the labors of law and lobbying. To Leslie, the lines distinguishing two sides of an argument must be understood in order to accomplish a common goal. The danger of likeminded communities, Leslie believes, is a myopic sense of confidence in one’s perspective, an insularity that allows no space for dialogue with a diversity of opinions and agendas. As a lawyer and lobbyist, Leslie practices her activism by placing herself in the shoes of those with whom she may not concur. “Sometimes I lobby people I like and whose opinions I respect, sometimes not so much. Often the latter encounters are more interesting, certainly more challenging. And, I suppose, this is another lesson of COA: while you may know that you are in the right, that’s immaterial. What matters is figuring out how your world view fits in their world view and how to make the two synchronize to meet your goals.” Leslie’s passion—landscape conservation—finds her now interacting with both public land managers and private landowners who together form the basis for true landscape scale conservation—conservation that transcends ownership boundaries. “Public parks and forests are one of our greatest shared legacies,” she notes, “but they represent only a portion of land that needs to be consciously maintained and protected.” In this sense, Leslie’s work continues the legacy of Acadia National Park’s founders, who donated the nation’s largest gathering of private land to be converted to a national park benefiting all of us. It is this work that brought her from The Wilderness Society to the USDA as a special advisor on landscape conservation and “America’s Great Outdoors”—a conservation initiative of President Barack Obama. After graduating from COA, Leslie worked on cultural landscape protection for the National Park Service. She then went on to receive a JD and a master’s in environmental law from Vermont Law School. More than two decades after her epiphany in Ken’s climate course, Leslie understands and practices her human ecology as a ubiquitous necessity. “The very fact that I find human ecology, well, quite ordinary, is why it’s something special,” she writes, “That anyone couldn’t see the connections between place and those that inhabit it ... that to me is what is exceptional.” 26 | COA
Jenny Rock ’93 Birthplace: Troy, Maine Current home: Dunedin, New Zealand Current position: Lecturer in Critical & Creative Thinking, Centre for Science Communication, University of Otago Senior Project: Sequence Polymorphisms in the Sodium Potassium ATPase Gene of the Spiny Dogfish Shark (Squalus acanthias) What are the core principles guiding your life? and If you could tell the world one message what would it be? Aesthetics Govern Paradigms. The sensory stimulation from our environment directs our neuroprocessing—aesthetics drive our cognition. So what we sense and enjoy guides how we think, and what we know and value. Paradigms are our transient narratives, no more, no less, in the sciences and the humanities ... the ramifications of this extend limitlessly ... and are both fearsome and freeing. I treasure the fact that the cool rough granite that surrounded my study is affecting my thought process and aesthetic, still.
Above: Off the Ends, intaglio collograph print by Jenny Rock ’93.
Aristotle Goes to Jail
Jeremy Norton ’91 on Addiction, Happiness, and the Grateful Dead If one were to inquire from Jeremy Norton where he imagined himself ten to fifteen years after graduation, he might have mentioned political organizing, education, or the hermetic enclave of neo-Aristotelian philosophy. Clinic work at a community corrections center? Never. Jeremy did spend important time laboring in his predicted arenas. During a COA internship he organized Patrick McGowan’s 1990 campaign against Olympia Snowe, one of that year’s closest races. Then, with help from David Malakoff ’86, he worked for an environmental magazine in DC, and later found his way into student teaching at Washington’s now-famed Bell Multicultural High School.
“I became more conscious of the politics of skin color than I ever had before,” he says. “I was concerned that COA was a bourgeois, white kid experience. I needed to go, as a human ecologist, to people who really deal with the consequences of environmental degradation. My mentor [at Bell] gave me economic and political frameworks for human ecology. It isn’t just white kids who feel bad about whales and dolphins. It needs to be an economic struggle, a struggle about women, and the workers of the world, and people of color, as well as the environmentalist. It needs to be about praxis.” From Bell, Jeremy headed to Houston, Texas where he coordinated The Earth We Share, the summer youth program launched by Mae Jemison, the first
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black woman in space. The program promotes science to teens through experiential exploration. Jeremy went on to study philosophy at Dartmouth College where he grappled with his demon: addiction. His master’s thesis examined Aristotle, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Dartmouth’s Friends in Narcotics Anonymous, or NA. He applied the philosophers’ ideas to NA’s twelve-step program, specifically examining Aristotle’s eudaemonia— living the good life—and Aquinas’ ideas of faith, hope, and charity, to the lives of those struggling with addiction. Jeremy now finds himself on the other side of the law, working for the Dukes County sheriff’s department on Martha’s Vineyard. As program director for the Community Corrections Center he helps clients navigate the legal consequences of their drug and alcohol abuse. Oddly enough, he feels that his history with substances led him there. “My own experiences allow me to feel comfortable with a population of people who are in trouble or are unsuccessful by society’s standards ... I don’t judge them. I’ve been there. As they say, we go from Yale to jail.” His current work at the center’s community day reporting program incorporates evidence-based processes such as motivational interviewing. As a counselor, Jeremy openly listens to clients in a manner that leads them to their own resolutions regarding their addictions. While the strategy has far higher success rates than older punitive approaches, Jeremy admits the work can be both tremendously tedious, and discouraging. He also recognizes how difficult it is to measure success.
Dartmouth for ten years. Currently in its fourteenth year, it is the longest-running Dead show in history. The band means a lot to Jeremy; it even brought him to COA, after hearing friends on the road talk about “this really cool environmental college up in Maine.” Now, even in his professional career, the people he counsels recognize him for his radio show. In many ways, life has come full circle.
Education on the Rocks
Bridget Mullen ’91, MPhil ’93 on Academics and the Class Divide Growing up in the tiny island community of Vinalhaven off the coast of Maine, Bridget Mullen left her home “rock” as a high school junior to attend COA. Her departure marked the beginning of a nearly decade-long matriculation, during which she earned her BA and MPhil in human ecology. At age seventeen, she was only two years older than the college itself. “I had a ton of growing up to do and it was a privilege and a lot of fun doing it there,” she says. Bridget dabbled in education, history, and public policy—eventually becoming certified to teach high school social studies. She distinctly remembers former education faculty member Peter Corcoran’s New Zealand seminar course. Life-changing was the experience of trekking abroad, learning about the country’s school system. “It was an eye-opener on a number of levels: Perspective; Assumptions; Limits; Appreciation. We met interesting and generous people—and it was an amazing, talented group of COA people.” It was on
“I have to say no to people maybe for the first time. Too often I see people who come from dysfunctional families where there was way too much permissiveness and bad boundaries. I have to tell them, ’You’re making unhealthy decisions. We have to intervene and make decisions for you—not because there’s a law, but because it’s about your health and about your drag on society when you’re using. Your family is hurting. You’re not productive or employable.’ I have to help them understand that every action has an impact on society, friends, family, and most importantly themselves.” When Jeremy is not counseling clients at the center, he hosts the Grateful Dead podcast “Shakedown Stream with Jer Ber” on mvyradio.com, a successor to “The Night of the Living Dead” which he hosted at 28 | COA
Bridget Mullen ’91, MPhil ’93. Photo courtesy of Bowdoin College.
this trip that she discovered her life partner, former COA outdoor program staffer Chris Kenoyer. Bridget is also one of the college’s first graduate students, mentored by Etta Mooser, former education faculty member. Her thesis investigated drop-out rates among students in Maine’s public school system. Through her research and Etta’s guidance, Bridget found Upward Bound—the federally funded educational program providing an introduction to college-level learning to youth from low-income backgrounds. The program makes undergraduate study more accessible to students from characteristically disadvantaged or isolated communities.
Amy Toensing ’93 Birthplace: Irving, Texas Current home: New Paltz, New York Work: Photojournalist Senior Project: Country Veterinarian, a photo essay If you could tell the world one message what would it be? Follow your heart.
Says Bridget, “COA gave me not only the tools that I needed: grant writing, teaching, problemsolving, teamwork, but also a passion for addressing the class divide. I was hardly more fired up than I was when I read Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed or when I saw Cornel West or just about any afternoon in [former political economy faculty member] John Buell’s class. On some level, every day I channel that anger into this work.” As the director of Bowdoin College’s Upward Bound program, Bridget works with students originating from communities much like her own Vinalhaven roots. Though Bridget is hopeful about the potential of such programs, she worries that access to education is only growing more difficult, especially as the middle class shrinks. “I think we all know this on some level, whether it’s intellectually or through hard experience—the growing gap between rich and poor is having a devastating impact on us as individuals and as a larger society. I’ve seen access to education shrink exponentially in just these last two decades. When I first started this work, when students engaged with us and did what they needed to do, a college opportunity awaited them. Now, the students that I work with who are incredibly bright, have paid their dues, taken tough courses, jumped through all the right hoops—they get into the University of Maine ... and the unmet financial need is so large that they simply cannot go, even with merit-based scholarships.” As she works to heal the gap, Bridget has one wish for COA—that it maintain its commitment to financial aid that ensures that the COA student body is representative of the larger world, “helping all COA students understand, care about, and address the class divide in relation to their work in the world, whatever that might be.”
Dan Farrenkopf ’93 Birthplace: Cape Ann, Massachusetts Current Home: Sullivan, Maine Senior Project: Concrete Pots as Landscape Sculpture Work: Potter/Designer, co-founder of Lunaform If you could teach a course at COA what would it be? I would enjoy teaching and learning within the framework of a Sustainable Materials Survey course, a straight-up architectural-type materials course with a philosophical thread of patterns of consumption and usages. Given just a few moments, one can imagine the numerous directions such a study could take. In ten weeks, whoa, we could cover a fair bit of ground.
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COA Alumni Artists
David Vickery, Jr. ’89 My work is about the merger of nature and culture; an attempt to make sense of our place in the world. This work emerges from an intuitive viewpoint which was informed and expanded during my time at COA. I look at interior spaces and our imprint on the landscape with an eye for the imperfect, quirky, and sometimes elegant adaptations we’ve made in order to live here. Above: (left)Trapezoid Sun, oil on panel, 18”x15,” (right) Hawkes Plaza, a 1962 sign for a former TV/radio business in Westbrook, oil on panel, 18”x15.” Opposite: Dormer, Monhegan cottage, oil on panel, 34”x24.”
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Joshua Winer ’91 To be perfectly honest, I struggled for some time with the very idea of calling myself a landscape photographer. I wanted my pictures to matter, to mean something, and I felt that images made of “just” the natural environment weren’t enough. Thankfully, I had teachers who knew better and through conversations with many of them I was introduced to what I would call a more modern or even postmodern understanding of the way that landscapes function as cultural mirrors, able to reflect our values and actions. In that context I was able to explore a completely new idea of what the landscape means, what it has to tell us about ourselves and how that relates to so much of what COA teaches about the interconnectivity of our everyday lives. These photographs are made within landscapes that exist for brief, sometimes momentary spaces of time; they are generally not places that we imagine a landscape photograph should be either seen or made. They are mostly industrial and by many standards should not be expected to represent the picturesque. Yet they all share a shape, a symmetry that is at once clearly manmade and also outside of us. Piles, stacks, hills, mounds, and certainly mountains are ancient and iconic symbols and forms that have been linked to our sense of self and place for centuries. These modern day ziggurats are everywhere and nowhere, both fleeting and timeless. They are, in many ways, the ultimately modern landscape.
Photographs from top to bottom: 42°23’12N,071°02’10W, 32”x40;” 42°23’13N,071°02’09W, 32”x40;” 42°23’12N,071°02’10W, 32”x40.” These photographs are from Josh’s Chelsea, Massachusetts portfolio, taken at a waterfront site where salt is imported for industrial uses. All images are shot on 4x5 color negative sheet film and output as Type C prints. They are titled using global positioning system (GPS) coordinate data taken from a portable GPS receiver at camera lens position.
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Our Weekend on Shelter Island By Eric Wolf ’93 I would like your permission to dream with you for a while. Let’s pretend that we were both nine together. Maybe you’re nine already. I remember it was fun to be nine. I hope your nine was as fun as mine. I hope when we were friends I invited you out, out on a long drive from the city. Out past all little towns on the way, past the pie shop, out to Greenport, where we’d drive up and join the line of cars waiting for the ferry. We couldn’t just wait for the ferry to come; we’d have to go and watch for it. We’d get out of the car and run across the old rail tracks, past the old railroad station, out on the old rotten pier where no boats have docked for years. We’d stand there, looking out at the water in Long Island Sound, breathing in the smell of warm tar on the dock, and we could see the other side, the Shelter Island side. We could see the ferry coming— it was so far away. We could hear the seagulls and smell the salty air; we were so excited just to be there. Maybe my little sister would tag along; she would be five that year when I was nine. My mom 34 | COA
would say, “Watch out for her!” and we’d keep an eye on her and make sure she was okay. Then the ferry would come and my parents would yell, “Come on, come on! Get back to the car!” and we’d run, racing back to the line of cars waiting there. We’d all pile in, sitting and waiting for the ferry to come. It wouldn’t get there for another ten minutes. If we were lucky, we would be the first car in the line. We’d drive on the ferry and my dad would park right there in the front of the ferry, so that he could pretend the entire ride across the sound that he was driving the ferry. He would pretend to crash it, and we’d get nervous. “Oh no! I wanna drive! I wanna drive!” We’d finally pull up; the ferry would let out a long horn. It would slow down and dock and the great counterweights would be brought to bear. The ramp would come down, and the cars would come off the ferry, passing the giant oak trees that had stood there for a hundred years, then the empty long-term parking lot. Up we would drive, into town. We would drive past the tennis courts, and then we would see
the old drugstore. Many a fine day was spent in that making sure that each one was clean. Then my drugstore with its silver chrome counter where we father and mother would spend a lot of time cutting got root beer floats. Then we’d drive past The Cook, them up, while we would go swimming. the only five-star restaurant on the island, past the I would pull out my snorkeling gear, and post office and out past the Tuck Shop. Of course I would show you the part of the entire property any child on Shelter Island knows that the Tuck I knew the best. It wasn’t the part from the front Shop is the place to go. They have video games and door to the water but the part in the water about a ice cream. Oh! It’s the best place to be on the island. hundred feet out into that saltwater creek. I would And then we’d drive that long road through go in the water, and I would show you where each the forests and the old dump on the left, and on the of the scallops hid. And we would catch them in our right the single marina, the one not anywhere near nets; they were so cute—their little shells with the the water, which I never really understood. Out ridges built in. They would open up their shells—if past the trees until the trees came to an end and the you put your hands together now, put your fingers cornfields began. We’d drive out those long corn together, and imagine it opening up a little bit, all fields until we took a right, then we would find a little eyes peeking out, that’s exactly what they little community of houses that had been built back would look like, with one hundred eyes peeking in the 1960s. There in that little square we’d find out at you. When you hunted a scallop, you would our house. My parents have rented it from this nice reach for it underwater and it would shoot out this older couple, telling them that it was just them and little stream of water. It would move about three a few of their friends. Then they told every single feet, which is a great defense against its natural person they knew. All of them got together and put enemy, the lobster, but doesn’t work against human money in to rent the house. In the beginning it had beings. We’d just go pick them up. They were so been just me and my sister, but over the years it cute—and delicious. We’d put them into our basket. became a whole gaggle of families with kids. Then if we were feeling really brave I If you and I were nine there would be at would show you where the crabs lived—the spider least five other kids there all younger than we were. crabs, the giant monsters of the deep. We’d swim We could tell them right up to the dock what to do, where and there, underneath to go, and what to the deepest pylons of Maybe if I took a real liking to you, I be. We’d play games the neighbors’ dock, would show you my secret place—that together all day, and we would find a we’d bike around the spider crab. Not tasty tree on the left side of the yard out by loop—about threefor eating, but very quarters of a mile monstrous! We’d poke the beach. It’s still there today. around—over and it with a stick. over again. We’d bike And if we round and round and were in the mood round, we’d have races and all sorts of things. And and if my father asked us, we would walk to a spot because we were oldest, we would always win. further down the edge of the creek on the other Sometimes I’d let you win, and sometimes you’d let neighbor’s property, which had no dock on it. There me win. we would find mussels, black and purple and blue. On Saturday afternoon, my mother would They couldn’t run like the scallops; mussels are say, “Let’s go to the library.” We’d all get on our bound in place. We’d pick just the biggest ones and bikes and we’d bike out to the library. It would be leave the rest to grow bigger. quite a ride for us; we’d be so tired and hot. We So we’d take the mussels and the scallops would run in the door and that hot summer day back to my dad, and he would wash them in water would fade away on the cool stone floor of that and put them in a steamer to cook them up. Later library. The librarian would look at us and tell us that night, we’d have a little butter and pasta with to shush, and then we would be really quiet as we those scallops. Ohh! So good! Fresh scallop tastes went in and picked out all the children’s books that nothing like the scallops we have in restaurants. It’s we wanted. more like a little pat of butter by itself. After dinner We’d go back outside with all those picture would be the best part. My father would take his books and pile them into the baskets of our bikes. pride and creation out of the oven—an apple pie! Then we’d bike over to that ice cream shop there in And we would share with you one glorious piece— the center of the town. Not the Tuck Shop, not as maybe with a scoop of ice cream from the Tuck good, but it was right there and close by. We’d each Shop. buy one cone, and with that new energy we’d bike Then that night, before we went to bed, we all the way home through the cornfields and the might go stand outside and look up at the stars. They forests. would seem so bright! There just weren’t that many Assuming it was late in the summer or lights on the island. early fall, when we got home my dad would say, On Sunday morning we would say, “It’s “Let’s gather up some apples.” We’d run around the time to go sailing.” We would go out in a little apple trees and we’d gather up huge piles of apples, rubber dinghy with plastic oars out to the little blue COA | 35
sailboat, the Blue Grundel. We’d all pile in the boat and leave the dinghy behind. We’d sail out to the bay and spend the day wandering here and there, in a little sailboat like a bunch of refugees. Seeking, seeking to never, ever, go home again. A sailboat is the most perfect combination of wind, sun, and silence you have ever experienced. We would fly across the bay, one turning tack at a time as if in pursuit of a dream, until the sun started to lower itself in the sky. Maybe, if I took a real liking to you, I would show you my secret place—that tree on the left side of the yard out by the beach. It’s still there today. It had a branch, a low branch that only a child under thirteen could handle. Anyone older would break it. I would pull myself up, then pull further up to the higher branches, and then you’d have a chance to pull yourself up, too. We could stand there, where no adults could ever catch us. And we could pretend that we were pirates on a sailing ship or sailors of old on a clipper ship going around the Horn of Africa. Or we could pretend we were in a fort or that we were Robin Hood’s men up in the tree, waiting to ambush our first pick of the day. But soon enough Sunday would end and it would be time to go home. And my mother would call us, and my father would pack the car, and we’d all tumble in for that long ride back home. We’d drive the car past those fields of corn, out past the trees, till finally we got to the ferry. As the ferry would take us away from the island, old forgotten worries would arise again, the coming week’s troubles returning and the island fading away. Time is not a friend of mine; Shelter Island, like my life, has moved on in new and unexpected directions. I am sorry to tell you that the apple trees around the house were cut down long ago. The Tuck Shop is still there—filled with teenagers every weekend. So is the drugstore, but The Cook closed down years ago. There is another restaurant there
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now; I don’t know if it’s any good. The post office is still there and the hardware store. But the forest and the fields of corn, they grew houses. And the scallops, they are no more. For the houses brought septic fields and septic fields leaked out nutrients, and the nutrients flowed into the ocean, feeding the red plankton, and the red tide, which took all the oxygen, was born. No oxygen meant fewer fish and no scallops or mussels either. There is talk that someday they may come back. I’ve yet to see them when I swim. The tall oak trees that have greeted visitors at the ferry landing for over a hundred years are gone—wiped out by a hurricane in the nineties. All those birds on that long spit of beautiful, fine sand next to Greenport are also gone; that sandy point is covered with houses. So I think perhaps the island is no longer the island that I knew. The truth is that you can’t go home—because home does not stand still in the river of time, but is bent and battered, an old person who was once young. That doesn’t mean that you can’t find a place like this. Your little piece of heaven may be just around the corner from where you live. Seek and you will find. Protect and it will last. Forget and it will not. Eric James Wolf ’93 (Weikart at COA) lives in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where he is a professional children’s storyteller focusing on environmental themes. After graduating from COA, Eric received an MS in environmental education from the Audubon Expedition Institute, accredited through Lesley College. In 2010 his podcast series, The Art of Storytelling with Brother Wolf Show, received an Oracle Award for Distinguished Service to the National Storytelling Community. It is available at www.artofstorytellingshow.com. His website is www.ericwolf.org. Illustrations by Alice Anderson ’12.
Poetry Monhegan Woods
Sweet Honey and You
The leaves’ wet blinking; plum-skinned puddles; cursives of rain promising
In a dream I asked the fire how to be closer to you. There he sat in his bright and colorful suit, smoking and shimmering with tiny sparks. I made offerings step by step, like a new piece of choreography, exactly as he instructed me with his long finger. The copal went flaring up, smelling so strong and sweet. I dipped my hand in melted chocolate, brown and dripping, and I offered it with my hand in the flames. The chocolate fell, sizzling into his mouth, his coals. I piled on so much rich, moist, and pungent tobacco the fire smoked and smoldered as I willingly made the circular walk around it. And then I offered a huge piece of fatwood. Blazing heat shot out at me and cooked the ground on which we stood.
Patti D’Angelo Juachon ’92
unending squalls, stalled fronts, new pieces of air as strange and familiar as the gold vein of an early aspen in the green body of summer. My love for what dies and comes back is as irrefutable, as empty, as these woods after migration: no sound but a singing sung by no voice but a settling in the forest full of no trees but a great leaning and firmness of will, growing not high but into a light that neither rises nor sets but becomes what it touches:
Jeff Wells ’92
As I sat and asked for guidance, he cut my hand. My blood fell, the waters of thousands of rains coming through my heart, through my veins and out onto the ground in a perfect red puddle. Out of this puddle grew flowers which opened blossoms. One of the plants grew a brown bud and this one opened slowly revealing a larger than life honey bee which flew right up to my eyes. I lay my head back and this huge bee showed me its sweet and cunning tricks — honey is the path to this woman’s heart. She needs honey, chocolate, flowers, and the sweetness of your blood baked into breads, cakes and fragrant brownies. I returned from the dream spilling these letters onto paper. Like drips of chocolate, they spelled out my passion, my wishes to be closer to you, in front of the fire. To be under the Weather Beings as they dumped their rain through us. To be breathing our love alive again with the help of sweet, thick honey.
seedling spruce, shadowed sphagnum, hay-scented fronds offered like treaties to the country of everything I am not; while off the slackened path thick trunks sway as imperceptibly as planets in a slow-drying sky.
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What’s New and What’s Good Louis Rabineau COA President, 1984–1993 By Donna Gold Lou Rabineau came to COA to help us recover from major crises—a building had burned down, a president resigned, enrollment had plunged. Lou believed in COA, and found legions of others who did too, restoring our confidence in ourselves and our place in academia. This tribute to Lou, COA’s third president, who served during our middle years, is based on conversations with COA community members Rich Borden, Bill Carpenter, JoAnne Carpenter, Patricia Ciraulo ’94, MPhil ’05, Steve Katona, Anne Kozak, Susan Lerner, Cathy Ramsdell ’78, Lucy Bell Sellers, and Peter Sellers. Sadly, Lou died just after this issue went to press. We will have more in the spring magazine. Lou Rabineau loved to talk. During the nine years that he was president, if you walked anywhere near his door, he’d be likely to draw you in, eager to discuss your interests, his interests, the college, the connections between you. His old high school friend had become a translator of Dante. “Let’s talk about Dante,” he’d say to Bill Carpenter, faculty member in literature. Dressed in tailored suits and starched shirts fastened by cufflinks, he’d talk to students, to faculty, to trustees, to staff—and to his friends and contacts from a vast network of higher education savants. “What’s new and what’s good?” he’d ask one and all. And he wouldn’t limit himself to his office. As his great friend and former COA theater faculty member Lucy Bell Sellers recalls, “If you were on campus, somehow you would meet Lou. He was around.” Around and connected. You’d be in Lou’s office, discussing anything—an idea, a problem—and no matter how obscure the issue, Lou would know an expert. He would turn to the phone—this was pre-computer, of course—call his friend, and, says former faculty member and gallery director Susie Lerner, “That issue would get advanced right there.” Lou’s magnanimous love of discussion, his astute ability to engage experts in a wide variety of fields— especially higher education—and to fascinate them with COA, is generally credited with adding a range of effective individuals to the board of trustees in the aftermath of some difficult years. Higher education powerhouses came on: Ed Meade, Jr., who directed the higher education work of the Ford Foundation, and Frances Keppel, former US Education Commissioner, and dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, under whom Ed Kaelber, COA’s first president, served. Lou also brought in Leonard Silk, columnist and editorial writer for the New York Times, and Phil Geyelin, former editor of the Washington Post. “He was such a forceful and yet at the same time, polite and approachable, person,” says Peter Sellers, a mathematician at Rockefeller University and another trustee brought on by Lou. “You couldn’t say no to him.” The board respected Lou; “they felt 38 | COA
they had a man who really knew his business.” One daring choice was to increase the faculty— and raise their salaries—at a time when student enrollment was so low, there didn’t seem to be the need for additional personnel. Says Bill, a founding faculty member, “He made an investment in the faculty and it paid off with a reinvigorated curriculum and a sharp rise in enrollment and retention.” Enrollment, which was just above one hundred when Lou came on, more than doubled within six years to nearly two hundred and fifty. With these visionary moves, and his ability to rally and restore enthusiasm, Lou turned COA around. For a moment, let’s remember those troubled, transformative days, a time that Steve Katona, also a founding faculty member who served as provost under Lou and followed him as COA’s fourth president, calls “ultimate chaos.” Judith Swazey, COA’s second president, had resigned in June 1984; that previous summer, in July 1983, the college’s major building had burned to the ground. Enrollment dropped by a third. Lou, who received an EdD from Harvard University, had been the chancellor of the Connecticut Commission for Higher Education, and had served on the New England Board of Higher Education and the editorial board of the Harvard Educational Review. He accepted the challenge of COA as a consultant through his position as a senior vice president at the Academy for Educational Development. Hired for a year to get COA back on its feet, Lou later told an audience at a Commonwealth Human Ecology Council Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, “COA was too exciting a place to leave.” Yet unlike subsequent presidents, Lou didn’t come to COA as an environmentalist, or as a crusader for experimental education. He came as someone who knew education and cared about quality—and then fell in love with this unusual little college on the coast of Maine. Says Bill, “the quality that I remember most about Lou is that he was slightly amused by COA. In that amusement was also this wonderment that we were something new; his
underlying sense of humor also brought us some perspective when things seemed dire.” “We were sort of a hippie band,” adds JoAnne Carpenter, faculty emerita in art and art history. “What he did was bring a kind of excellence to the college. Lou made us more reputable.” It was something of an odd pairing: “We were the ’be here now generation.’ Lou wasn’t,” says Steve. He was thinking ahead, reviewing implications and impacts of any action. “He knew what life was like.” He also understood human complexity. Having received a BA and MA from the State University in Albany, Lou served as a code breaker in the US Army in World War II, undergoing special wartime training in languages at Yale University. Lou was present during the weeklong crucial battle to capture the Remagen railway bridge across the Rhine, allowing Allied forces to cross into Germany in March of 1945. According to Rich Borden, faculty member in psychology who served as Lou’s dean, Lou was with a unit that liberated one of the concentration camps. In 1975, he received an honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Yeshiva University. Lou knew that healing was needed at COA; he trusted it would happen by conversation— whether in the Turrets hallway or around his dining table at home. Patti Ciraulo was both Lou’s assistant and a student. She remembers how Lou would always take the time to explain the philosophical underpinnings of his decisions; she—and others—might continue to disagree, but they would understand his thinking. The legendary parties hosted by Lou and his wife Mona, an education professor at the University of Maine Farmington, renewed a tradition of strong friendships between faculty and trustees. The conversations, recalls trustee emerita Cathy Ramsdell ’78, were unforgettable. On campus, Lou instituted Lou’s Place, a dessert cabaret with tablecloths, candles, and performances by students, faculty, and staff. Lou’s jokes stole the show. He once told Rich that if he hadn’t gotten into education, he might well have become a bartender. His methods worked. Anne Kozak, faculty member in writing, remembers the reaccreditation visit just after Lou came on. He won the respect of the entire team, netting COA a great review. A multitude of important events happened during his tenure, including Lou’s influence in getting a Title III grant to improve and strengthen the academic quality of institutions of higher learning that enroll a large percentage of low-income students. With the help of Rich, Ted Koffman,
Photo courtesy of the College of the Atlantic Archives.
COA’s then-director of government relations, and others, the college received three Title III grants, for a total of $2.5 million. To put that into perspective, at Lou’s inauguration in 1984 he announced the largest single gift the college had received up to that date: $400,000 from the Pew Memorial Trust. In looking back over the tenure of this urban, and urbane man, Steve reflects on the young college he had been hired to oversee: “When the college started, there was a sense of a divide between nature and people. Nature was good, and people weren’t. Lou, when he came, wasn’t a nature person, he wasn’t an experimental person, and he wasn’t an environmental person. He was a people person. And in the end, of course, it is all about people, because without the beneficial efforts of people, the beautiful stuff simply will not survive. If you can work with the people, and get the right people working with you, you can set up the situation in such a manner as to bring success. Lou knew that in his heart.” COA | 39
Oral History Photo courtesy of the College of the Atlantic Archives.
With this issue’s focus on the college’s middle years, we decided to check in with Steve Thomas, COA’s director of admission from June 1989 until September 1998, who is now director of admission at Colby College. The new Kaelber Hall had been dedicated the summer before. The student residence Blair/Tyson had not yet been built. With enrollment at about 180 in a new campus designed for 250, COA was still in recovery mode from the 1983 fire. Donna: What was it like coming to COA? Steve: I remember thinking at my interview, “This isn’t like any other place I’d ever worked … but I really love these people and I love the mission.” And I went with my gut, like I hope kids do when they visit. I remember walking down the driveway to Turrets my first day, walking into this sort of fairytale stone castle. I literally had to pinch myself. I did. I pinched myself! And then I learned all of the intricacies of COA. Well, I began to learn. One of the things that was really difficult was that I don’t think we had room for maybe forty kids on campus, for student housing. I remember saying to Lou [Rabineau, COA’s third president], and to [trustee] Ed Blair. “I can explain to a parent why we don’t have a gym. But I really can’t explain why we don’t have a place for students to live. That just doesn’t fly with them.” I didn’t feel like you had to have a room for everybody on campus, but you had to have a room for the first years, and for most of the second years. There were other problems. We didn’t serve many meals. I said, “Call me crazy, but I think we’ve got to have a meal plan of some kind!” You could get soup and bread, but there were no dinners. There wasn’t anything organized. You had to give the people what they wanted, and they wanted good food. One of the great things is you go from 1989 where we’re serving a pot of soup and bread, to 40 | COA
maybe five years later, COA is number one in the country for food at any college. Donna: And then Blair/Tyson was built? Steve: It really changed everything. Now we were sort of a destination college instead of one where— get an apartment downtown, you’re on your own, sorry. Which is fine after you’ve been there for a year, but the parents certainly don’t want to hear that for their 17- or 18-year-old kid—no matter how independent they are! So, we began this talk about integrating student services, and it was decided that I would become director of admission and student services. Because as an admission person, you had to be able to promise something and then deliver. And if you didn’t have control of things like housing and food and orientation and activities, you couldn’t really deliver on very much. Donna: So was that was the first time COA had student services and counseling? Steve: Oh, we had it. We had had housing, food, orientation, counseling—but it didn’t report to one person. We slowly put all those units together. When I left, it split into different things. I think that the housing, probably more than anything, held back the growth in numbers. Once you took that off the table as a barrier, people looked at COA very differently. We went from 180—I don’t know how many years this took, three
or four years, maybe more, but we got up to the 250, 260 mark. Donna: How did it happen? Steve: The school was becoming more well-known, for one thing, and so the niche that COA had was becoming more well-defined. … And we went to more data-driven admission. I think that helped us identify the right people; when you combine that with the integration with student services, COA became a really compelling story to tell without too many barriers for people to say, “I want to go there, but: But you’re on an island. But you don’t have any housing. But you don’t have any food.” We took the buts away. Then you began to attract people who really could more purely identify with the philosophical mission of human ecology. I remember, maybe the third or fourth year before orientation, I said to Donna MacFarland [now associate director of admission and student services], “I think I know just about everybody who’s coming in this class. There might be ten kids I don’t know; I bet I can find out who they are during registration and introduce everybody at the orientation, by sight.” So, I kind of figured it out. We worked so closely with these kids that I did all—whatever it was, eighty-five?—with their town. I remember Millard [Dority, director of campus planning] came up and said, “You got everybody’s name right? That’s unbelievable.” So the next year, everybody came to watch—and there were more kids! And there was all this pressure. I did it for four or five years. Donna: And you also did the Bar Island Swim? Steve: Well, I felt like if I’m going to get them all revved up, I’ve got to jump in the water. But it would be one of the more suffering things I would do. One year a writer from Yankee Magazine came up. He wanted to be in the swim! I said, “Oh, God! He’ll be out in like, three seconds.” ’Cause it’s so freaking cold. This little skinny guy shows up and he jumps in. He was all excited—he’s going to really experience it and write about it. He was out of the water in like ten seconds. You know what the title of his article was? “Skinny Guys are the First to Freeze.” Donna: Tell me about the UWCs. You visited before there were the Davis scholarships? Steve: Yes. What happened was Parker Beverage, who was the dean here at Colby, he and I were good friends and he said to me, “Would you be interested in an international trip? There’s this new United World College up in Norway. Do you want to go up there?” Nishi [Nishanta Rajakaruna ’94, now COA botany faculty member] was the first international student
to whom we offered financial aid, and after Nishi got there, I thought, COA’s ready for international students. It turned out that we were only the second and third American admission directors/deans ever to be at the Nordic UWC. They’d just opened. And they were so excited to see us. This was where we learned that Shelby Davis had pledged forty million to the United World Colleges, primarily for scholarships to US colleges. I came back and I went into Steve Katona’s office and told him the whole story. And Steve said, “That’s great. Why are you telling me this?” I said, “Because he lives in Northeast Harbor.” And he goes, “Say no more.” Donna: And Darron worked in admission? Steve: My goal was to hire all the COA Watson winners after they came back, so he came back and worked for us for a year. I hired Jeff Miller ’92, too. Both had such compelling stories to tell and were such great examples of what this education could help you imagine. I liked Darron right away. He was such a sharp thinker, and so sensitive, down-toearth—he’s just right there with you. I got to know him and then discovered that we had grown up very close to one another in New Jersey. His parents owned this restaurant/bar called Collins, two blocks from my father’s insurance office. My father used to go up there for lunch all the time. Donna: You bike, right? Did you bike a lot at COA? Steve: Craig Greene [late faculty member in botany] and I were always riding up Cadillac. Our goal was to coast all the way down to the COA pier and into the water without ever once pedaling. Which you could do if you were really crafty. That was the great thing. You could invent your own adventures. Of course the students were way beyond anything we were doing. I didn’t even want to know what they were doing. I would occasionally find out because there was no dean of students, so the really bad disciplinary stuff would end up on my desk, somehow. It would come to Ander Thebaud, who worked in student life, and she’d say, “I think you’d better talk to…” They were just way out there. Donna: You admitted them, so you were responsible. Steve: Exactly! I’m going, “I should have seen this in the app!” It was a really wonderful time in my life, I hated to leave the community, but my daughter Bailey was born with spina bifida and I felt that we needed to be closer to civilization. Really the community couldn’t have been more supportive. I get emotional just thinking about it. I loved the people I worked with. I loved working at COA. It was a place I really felt like I could be myself. I was very, very happy. COA | 41
1979 This past June, Detroit Repertory Theatre produced Andrea Lepcio’s play, Looking for the P o n y . She was delighted to learn recently that the Rogue’s Gallery dubbed Lisa Lauren Smith as best actress for her performance in the play. Andrea is at work on a number of other projects. Room 16, a musical about G. Gordon Liddy, E. Howard Hunt, and the events surrounding Watergate, was recently showcased at Bound for Broadway. Tunnel Vision was workshopped at Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre. Andrea has been selected as one of six writers to participate in Groundbreakers, a developmental playwriting lab. She is also enjoying serving as the Dramatists Guild Fellows program director and working with ten exciting emerging writers. Harlem is home, but Andrea and partner Lynn love spending as much time as they can on Mount Desert Island.
1984 Amy Sims drove to Los Angeles in 1989 to attend graduate school for architecture, and completed the program in 1993. After twelve years of working for a commercialbased firm, she brought her sustainability practice and human ecology background to a fledgling company in Santa Monica, LivingHomes. The company is committed to a high level of sustainability and is continually doing research to create better prefab homes for less cost and with a more beneficial ecological footprint.
1991 Dan DenDanto’s business Whales and Nails has two projects nearing completion. He and Courtney 42 | COA
Vashro ’99 are constructing a disentanglement mannequin for the NOAA Fisheries Service. The mannequin will be used to assist in training people who respond to entangled whales. They are also articulating the skeleton of “Stumpy,” a fifty-foot female right whale, along with that of her fetus. The skeletons will be prominently displayed in the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences’ new Nature Research Center which is scheduled to open in the spring of 2012.
1992 Darron Collins left his job at the World Wildlife Fund and moved with his family to Maine to become the President of College of the Atlantic!
Will, the son of COA’s late faculty member in botany, Craig Greene. Seven years ago Jeff and Will hiked Katahdin with Bo Greene and other friends to scatter some of Craig’s ashes on one of his favorite mountains. This time they climbed up Cathedral and crossed the Knife Edge. Jeff can be found on Twitter at: @JeffreyBCMiller.
1993 Eric Wolf (Weikart) is currently touring Hawaii as a storyteller where he has been featured in the talk story festival and has performed in school, library, and prison shows. He could use an agent if any of you know one.
Patti D’Angelo Juachon and Jim Juachon welcomed all 6 pounds, 13 ounces of Logan Eliana into their lives on June 29. They are rediscovering the wonders of life together in El Sobrante, California. Marla Fugazzi writes, “After spending the last five years in North Carolina, I am very pleased to be returning to Maine. I’ll be working as a nurse in the OR at Eastern Maine Medical Center, and I can’t wait to come home. Maine is where I belong, and I’m looking forward to enjoying all this area has to offer and seeing fellow COAers again! So glad I held on to my wool sweaters and long underwear!” Jeff Miller was recently elected to the board of America Walks, a coalition working to improve federal and local policies for pedestrian safety. He hiked in Baxter State Park this fall with
Margaret (Youngs) Coleman writes, “Our daughter, Lilianna Coleman, was born last August. I recently left my farm manager job at Chewonki to spend more time at our place in Whitefield, Maine growing food and taking care of Lily. I am doing part-time work at Hidden Valley Nature Center in Jefferson and my husband Chris teaches fourth grade.”
Children of Heather Dority, and Deirdre Dority and Adam Bishop ’00 (and grandchildren of staff
member Millard Dority) proudly represented COA at the Rockland Lobster Festival this summer. Pictured are (center) Molly, 2, daughter of Heather, with her cousins Greta, 9, and Simon, 3. Mike and Lynne Staggs toured the UK and Germany and visted with Kelly Dickson, MPhil ’97, and Miriam Broady ’87.
1997 This year Rebecca Hancock worked as first mate on the Stewart J Cort for two month-long stints while the permanent first mate was on vacation. She writes, “this represents an increase in pay, but more importantly, greater responsibilities and new challenges!” This fall Jesse Kowalski curated Villains and Heroes: The Comic Book Art of Alex Ross at the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. He offers tours to any COA people in the area before January 8, 2012. (COA took him up on the offer to host a group of COA alumni and friends on the evening of November 29.) One Maine educator’s dedication to the environment is out of this world. Challenger Learning Center of Maine Education Director Jennifer (Weston) Therrien was named a NASA earth ambassador in September and travelled to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. With earth scientists investigating climate change, she studied how to effectively communicate these issues to the public. In addition to sharing resources with teachers, this spring Jennifer will organize an Earth Day event at Challenger Learning Center of Maine in cooperation with NASA.
1999 Clown, cardboard crafter, teaching artist, puppet builder, and parade practitioner Beth
Nixon has a new website for her Ramshackle Enterprises, www.ramshackleenterprises.net. Beth creates puppet shows and pageants with communities of all kinds, from folks in addiction recovery and mental health centers, to schools, camps, senior centers, churches and protests. She’s also been touring her own solo clown act and working on a new collaboration about fracking, houseboats, and accordion music. Beth, her partner Joshua, and their toddler Ida Rye live in West Philly in a cardboard castle and welcome visitors.
and lace from her mother’s and Nick’s mother’s wedding dresses. Nick and Chelsea live in Los Angeles, California where Nick is a writer and Chelsea works at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
2001 Ben and Kate (Caivano) Macko are the proud parents of Juniper, COA’s first third-generation baby! Kate, who is the daughter of Helen
2000 “It was a big year for us,” write Shawn and Sarah (Cronin) Keeley ’05. “Shawn began a new job with the Institute for Sustainable Communities in January and we moved twenty minutes outside of Montpelier, Vermont to a sweet spot on the Hancock Brook, just downhill from the Worcester Mountain trailhead. Sarah is beginning to take doula clients again and homeschooling Noah, 6, with Aliyah, 2, close by. We spent most of our weekends this summer building a chicken coop, restoring a cabin, exploring the brook and woods, getting to know our new neighborhood. We hope to make it to MDI before too long.” Chelsea Mooser married Nick Confalone on September 24 in the old mining town of Bisbee, Arizona where her mother,
’80 and Roc Caivano, former faculty member in architecture, grew up on campus and has returned here as the Sustainable Business Program Administrator. Juniper Helen Macko arrived at 4:33 PM, on September 6, just in time to start the school year!
Shawn and Ardrianna French McLane welcomed their daughter Annabel on July 12. Brianne (Press) Jordan and her husband Brian are expecting their first child, a little girl due on January 6, 2012.
2003 former education faculty member Etta Kralovec, lives. In true COA fashion, Chelsea made her own wedding dress from vintage silks
Amanda Hollander is moving off-island for the first time since graduation. She’s starting new adventures in Portland. COA | 43
Alumni Notes When she’s not managing the lively film production company she works for (www.personafilms. com), Maria Skorobogatov is spending quality time training her cat to use utensils for the dinner parties she one day envisions having. She has plenty of room in her NYC apartment to host any COAers needing a couch to crash on, or kitty to snuggle with.
Mukhtar Amin and Sarah Hurlburt (’02) are proud parents of Salim, born September 16, 7 pounds 8 ounces and 19 inches long. Everyone is healthy and very happy.
2005 With colleagues from the Field Museum, Laura Briscoe spent three weeks in Fiji collecting bryophytes, ferns, and lichens and helping to set up long-term ecological monitoring plots as part of a grant funded by Conservation International. She writes, “Aside from a few nasty allergic reactions, it was a fantastic trip. We collected several new records
for Fiji, and many probable new species. I myself collected what is sure to be a new species in the genus I am studying for my thesis, so I will be describing it and giving it a name!” Danielle Byrd started rosebyrd designs, a one-woman show 44 | COA
focusing on refined wooden utensils, with hopes of expanding to larger sculptural pieces and fine furniture. This winter she will build a larger body of work to sell through galleries and craft shows. She can be found on Facebook or via her website, www.rosebyrddesigns.com. Aoife O’Brien recently graduated from Columbia University with an MS in nurse midwifery. Now a certified nurse midwife, Aiofe is back in Maine looking for work, but is prepared to relocate if needed. She writes “Yes, I am very, very happy to be done and finally, finally a midwife! It’s a quest I started during my time at COA apprenticing with Julie Havener, CPM, and Anna Durand ’86, CPM, and seeing my first birth of the child of fellow COA classmate Jennifer (Wahlquist) Coolidge ’03, about seven years ago.”
2006 Deodonne (Dustin) Bhattarai coauthored an article on the right to housing that came out in the October issue of the Clearinghouse Review. She is currently serving as the Human Rights Law Fellow for Northeastern University’s Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy with the Human Rights Law Network in New Delhi. She and Ranjan Bhattarai ’04 visited family in Nepal and celebrated the fall holidays. Amy Hoffmaster and Eamonn Hutton ’05 were married September 3 in Cape Neddick, Maine. Amy has a new position as the program design manager for the National Program Department at Citizen Schools, which partners with middle schools to expand the learning day by providing
apprenticeship opportunities for children in underserved communities across the country. Eamonn is at Sasaki Associates in Watertown, Massachusetts in their urban design studio.
2007 Juan Hoffmaister concluded his master’s at Stockholm University, and is currently a candidate for a post-graduate degree in international law from the UNITAR/University of Geneva. He is working as negotiator on climate change and other development-related processes in the United Nations, including as lead negotiator on adaptation for the G-77, an alliance of over 130 developing countries. He is also a research fellow for the Third World Network and an associate researcher for the Stockholm Environment Institute.
2008 Andres Jennings reports, “I am now living in Prague for my third year, working as an English teacher for Air Navigation Services of the Czech Republic. I teach air traffic controllers, technicians, and administrative directors. I’m often traveling in Europe and saw ten countries just last year. It’s been fantastic. I’m planning on moving to Brazil next year to teach for the Brazilian government and prepare for the 2014 World Cup. Life is good!” Kate Tompkins is surviving her first year of medical school at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill as part of the class of 2015.
2009 Sarah Short Heller and Sam Heller were married on August 6. Sarah shares, “It was a truly magical day and we were lucky to have so many close friends and family there to celebrate with us. Here is a photo of all the COA alumni present including Nick Jenei, who married us.” (Left to right: Nick Jenei, Linda Mejia, Sarah Jackson, Jessica Woiderski ’08, Sam Heller, Sarah Short
Heller, Jonathan Carver, Laura Howes, Dominique Walk)
2010 Sasha Paris has summers as an
spent two interpretive
ranger at Acadia National Park, introducing visitors to Mount Desert Island’s landscape and wildlife. This year, she created and presented seashore exploration programs at the Dorr Museum’s touch tank with Virginia Brooks ’12 and three local high school students, and served weekly as a park naturalist aboard the Dive-In Theater of Ed Monat ’88. Between seasons she volunteers at science museums in her hometown of Ithaca, New York.
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COA | 45
Faculty & Community Notes “Want to help save the humpback whale? Pick up a camera and start taking pictures,” says Allied Whale fluke matcher Gale McCullough. So begins the CNN piece, “How Flickr Can Help Save the Whales,” posted after a conversation with citizen scientist Gale, following her appearance at the Pop!Tech conference in Camden, Maine in late October. John Anderson, the William H. Drury, Jr. Chair in Ecology and Natural History, is the treasurer of the Natural History Network, whose primary goals are to articulate and promote the value of natural history and promote the individual and collective practice of natural history. The network has created a multimedia website and recorded some of John’s comments at http:// histories.naturalhistorynetwork. org/conversations.
On Great Duck Island, John supervised the research work of Aly Pierik ’14, Kate Schlepr ’13, Robin Owings ’13, Matt Dickinson ’12 and EcoLeague student Amanda Posey, thanks to support from the National Park Service Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit and the Drury Research Fund. In addition to their own research, they were studying the impact of sea-level rise on Maine seabird colonies. In the fall, students Jordan Chalfant ’12 and Anna Stunkel ’13 studied migratory songbirds and raptors on Great Duck as Acadia Fellows, a joint program of the park service and COA. Kate, Matt, and Amanda are presenting their work as singleauthored papers at the international Waterbird Society meetings in Annapolis in November, along with 46 | COA
John, who will present a summary access path, and completing various building and painting jobs. of the sea-level rise study. Molly Anderson, the Partridge Chair in Food and Sustainable Agriculture Systems, along with Suzanne Morse, Elizabeth Battles Newlin Chair of Botany, accompanied seven COA students to Witzenhausen, Germany, for a Future of Food Summer Academy, where they cofacilitated an interdisciplinary session. Molly also planned and is conducting a distance-learning course, “Redefining Food Systems Efficiency,” with participants from Germany, England, Finland, South Korea, Argentina, Ghana, India, and COA. The course focuses on innovations that are promoting greater sustainability in food systems by sharing what people are doing from seed to sewer in students’ respective geographic regions. Molly also submitted an invited paper to the Journal of Rural Studies, “Beyond Food Security to Realizing the Right to Food in the US.” Meanwhile, she writes, “we are honing down the strategic goals for an integrated COA farms plan and starting to use the new Peggy Rockefeller Farms for vegetable production, permaculture fruit production, research, and a public access trail.”
In August and September, COA’s Ethel H. Blum Gallery exhibited an installation by Nancy Andrews, faculty member in time-based art. The installation, Beauty Sleep, featured drawings, video, giant Rorschach blots on fabrics,
sculpture, and a 1950s educational film loop of a man calling, “Fear, Rage, Love,” and writing those words on the chalkboard while a large white rat runs through a wire maze. Her latest film, Behind the Eyes are the Ears, was screened in July at the Maine International Film Festival. Nancy also presented the talk “Changing Course,” about her current work as part of an evening for Maine-based artists and others seeking to explore new ideas and approaches to creative change. It was sponsored by Artists in Context and the Maine Arts Commission. The gathering launched AIC’s effort to highlight and connect creative practices in Maine that intersect with fields such as health, nature, Thanks to the endowment from the and justice to offer new ways of understanding and acting upon the Peggy Rockefeller Farms, Molly seemingly intractable issues of our was able to hire Neil Oculi ’11 and time. Adelina Mkami ’11 to work on the farm doing soil analysis, starting a The Wooden Nickel, written by vegetable garden, repairing and faculty member in literature and moving fencing, mapping pastures creative writing Bill Carpenter, has with GPS, establishing a public been optioned for film by Mitch
Waxman and 4AM Productions. J Miller Tobin, who directed How You Look to Me with Frank Langella, along with some popular television episodes, will be the director; his wife Cara Haycak is currently writing the screenplay. In November, a staging of Bill’s poem “The Husbands” was performed at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall as part of its Opera Shorts program. The score was written by composer Tom Cipullo and performed by The Remarkable Theater Brigade. Additionally, Bill’s essay on Leo Connellan, “Review of The Maine Poems,” appeared in Fair Warning: Leo Connellan and His Poetry, edited by Sheila A. Murphy and Marilyn Nelson, and published by Printed Matter Press in 2011. In September, Dru Colbert, faculty member in visual communication, three-dimensional art and design, and museum studies, gave the keynote address “Nourishing the Seed, Establishing Roots” at the Maine Art Educators’ Conference at Haystack Mountain School of
mathematics and physics, gave a presentation and led the Education for Energy Literacy panel at the annual meeting of the Association for Environmental Studies and Science in Burlington, Vermont. Their presentation was called “Numbers not Adjectives: Helping Students Understand Energy.” Also at the conference, Anna gave the presentation “Rewards and Challenges of Hands-on Renewable Energy Projects for College Students.” This summer Anna and Dave co-led a workshop on sustainable energy for area K-8 science and math teachers, “The Science and Mathematics of Sustainable Energy” at COA. The workshop was funded by a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Education program. “Energy Intuition for Elementary Educators,” Anna’s invited article on the workshop, appeared in the September/October issue of Connect, a journal for K–8 science and math teachers.
A grant from Efficiency Maine Trust supported Lisa Bjerke ’13 in the spring, Phil Walter ’11 and Janoah Bailin ’14 in the summer, and Carly Segal ’13 this fall to work with Anna on research related to a renewable energy demonstration project at Beech Hill Farm. This involved an insulation project, the installation of a heat pump, organizing student participation, Crafts in Deer Isle. The conference, outreach, and documentation. which included K-12 teachers from across Maine, was themed “Seeds Dave Feldman was second author of Inspiration.” She also led the on the article “Local entropy and design team for the new exhibition structure in a two-dimensional “Indians and Rusticators” at the frustrated system,” with M.D. Abbe Museum. The exhibit will Robinson and S.R. McKay in the continue through the summer of journal Chaos, volume 21:037114. 2012. Also on the team were alumni Dave worked with Kate Shlepr ’13 Betts Swanton ’88 and Danielle and Lisa Bjerke ’13 on a research Meier ’08 (assistant director of project in spring and summer of admission for recruitment design & 2011. Kate was supported by a fellowship from the Maine Space communication). Grant Consortium, and Lisa by In June, Anna Demeo, lecturer the Rothschild Student/Faculty in physics and mathematics, and Collaborative Research Fund. Kate, Dave Feldman, faculty member in Lisa, and Dave analyzed long-
term daily weather data in Maine, looking for statistically significant changes in precipitation and temperature over the last century. The Sustainable Enterprise Hatchery, which SharpeMcNally Chair of Green and Socially Responsible Business Jay Friedlander oversees, held a press event with the US Department of Agriculture to celebrate a grant that has funded the hatchery for two years. Participants displayed their work and Nick Harris ’11 demonstrated a portion of his Gourmet Butanol process. Attending were representatives from the offices of our congressional delegation as well as USDA staff. The story resonated with the media, leading to coverage from Maine to Texas. Jay’s first business case, Leap Into the Void, on whether a new entrepreneur should abandon a secure job and leap into an uncertain new venture, was published by Babson College and is listed on the European Case Clearing House. He also published an editorial in MaineBiz: “Innovation Nation? The US Needs to Embrace Sustainability or Get Comfy in the Dust.” In June, at the International Council for Small Business 2011 World Conference in Stockholm, Sweden, one of the largest international gatherings for entrepreneurship education, Jay presented the co-authored paper “Sustainability: A Paradigmatic Shift in Entrepreneurship
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Faculty & Community Notes Education” and chaired the session on The Making of Soci(et) al Entrepreneurship. While in Scandinavia, he and Lisa Bjerke ’13 explored the Samso Energy Academy run by Soren Hermansen of Denmark, who spoke at COA in 2009. At summer’s end, trustee Nina Moriarity and former trustee Lisa Nitze hosted a brainstorming and problem-solving session with some forty people advising the hatchery-connected businesses of Jordan Motzkin (’10) and Nick Harris ’12. Finally, Jay, his wife Ursula, and kindergartner Max have bought a house after an exhaustive three-year search.
Botany faculty member Suzanne Morse continues to manage the community garden with its forty gardeners. Last spring her Theory and Practice of Organic Gardening course developed a garden for the food pantry, flowers for development, a bean seed-saving project, and a small kitchen garden for the kitchen. That’s despite persistent deer pressure and the re-emergence of clubroot impacting the brassicas. At The Future of Food symposium in Germany, in addition to the session with Molly Anderson and students, Suzanne led a workshop on “Participatory Action Research.” Suzanne is currently on a leave to co-teach a master’s course, Agroecology: Action Learning in Food and Farming Systems, at the Life Sciences University in Aas, Norway. Students, including Juan Olmedo ’12, work with farmers and communities seeking to increase organic food production and consumption.
Yucatan, has another daughter! Montserrat joined husband Mix and daughters Mariana and Michelle on September 22.
Chris Petersen, faculty member in biology, has become active in several organizations working on downeast Maine natural resource use and conservation. He has joined the board of the Somes-Meynell Wildlife Sanctuary, and represents COA on the steering committees of the Frenchman Bay Partners and The Downeast Research and Education Network. He also supervised six student internships over the summer: Jesse Karpinnen ’13 and Gloria Kahamba ’12, who had INBRE grants for work at the Jackson Laboratory; Yuka Takemon ’14 and Alice Anderson ’12 at Penobscot East in Stonington, with grants from the Long Cove Foundation; and Marina Garland ’12 and Kate Ross ’12 based out of Bar Harbor to work on downeast COA’s coordinator of international Sean Murphy, assistant director of fisheries, thanks to a grant from student services, who came to information technology, performed NOAA. COA as Kylee Allen, is now Kylee Nishanta Rajakaruna ’94, faculty Gies. She was married in COA’s member in botany, is the coFarrand Gardens at 4:04 pm on author of a publication with Brett June 25, 2011. She writes, “What a Ciccotelli ’09, Tanner B. Harris spectacular day it was even though it ’07, and B. Connery: “A preliminary rained hard on and off. The magical study of the vegetation of vernal misty atmosphere prevailed as the pools of Acadia National Park, bagpiper led us down the aisle Mount Desert Island, Maine, USA,” on the patio above the Farrand Gardens. The rain let up just in a multi-instrumental electronic for Rhodora 113. December, 2011. time for our ceremony and some soundtrack to Fritz Lang’s 1927 Faculty member in biology Steve pictures.” Kylee’s husband is Ryan film Metropolis as part of the Ressel represented COA at the Maine International Film Festival Gies; when he proposed, a year at Reel Pizza in Bar Harbor in fourth annual EcoLeague Summer ago, an eagle circled overhead— September. The film, a classic Retreat held at Northland College several times. futuristic dystopian masterpiece, in Ashland, Wisconsin in August. He joined faculty from the four COA painter Mary Harney ’96 is the most expensive silent movie other EcoLeague colleges to discuss attended the National University ever made. Sean also performed and plan future joint initiatives. live soundtracks with Joe Perullo of Ireland, Galway, for a five’12 for a double feature of surrealist Over the past year, Steve also week summer school in June films at Reel Pizza in August: Luis worked closely with COA alum and July, where she studied Irish Bunuel’s 1929 Un Chien Andalou Timothy Spahr ’86, a game warden archaeology and Irish art. The and Salvador Dali’s 1930 L’Age for the State of Maine, to obtain a academic workload was intense d’Or. confiscated Gaboon viper for the but it inspired her to apply for the Dorr Museum of Natural History’s master’s program beginning next Karla Pena, director of COA’s teaching collection. This five-foot Spanish immersion program in the venomous snake, native to Africa, September. 48 | COA
Do you know a high school student who’s looking for a summer adventure?
Earn college credit while pursuing interdisciplinary study of Rivers, Islands, or Farms. www.coa.edu/sfi was found dead on a walking path in Saco, Maine in 2010. The Dorr Museum became the repository
of the snake following a legal case against its owner. The snake will be part of a new exhibit on the illegal pet trade. Since June, Doreen Stabinsky, faculty member in agricultural policy, international studies, and global environmental politics, has given several presentations on agriculture and climate change
policy, beginning with one in Masvingo, Zimbabwe, at the First Encounter of Agroecology Trainers in Africa Region 1 of La Via Campesina. Other venues include presenting at a meeting hosted by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy in DC, and also representing ActionAid International at the 7th SADC Civil Society Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa. In the fall, Doreen presented at a conference sponsored by the Canadian Coalition on Climate Change and Development in Ottawa, at an event sponsored by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy at the UNFCCC intersessional negotiating session in Panama, and at one hosted by the African Climate Policy Center and the UN Economic
Commission for Africa in Ethiopia. In addition, Doreen’s recent publications are: “Droughtinduced humanitarian crisis unfolds in Horn of Africa” in the South-North Development Monitor, reproduced in Third World Resurgence; “Fiddling with soil carbon markets while Africa burns,” a report commissioned by ActionAid International in September; and “Climate change impacts in Africa and the UNFCCC negotiations: policy implications of recent scientific findings.” That report, published in October, was commissioned by the African Climate Policy Center. With students Trudi Zundel ’14 and Graham Reeder ’13, Doreen wrote “Climate Change— Agriculture and Africa: A Primer, for the Surplus People Project, Cape Town, South Africa,” published this fall. Bonnie Tai, faculty member in education, attended the third annual meeting of the Education Circle of Change and co-led the workshop “Education: Creating an Owner’s Manual” with Dan Mahler ’10 at the Free Minds, Free People Conference. She also presented work in progress, “Challenges of extending critical exploration,” at the annual meeting of Critical Exploration in Teacher Education Group. Faculty and staff also engaged with community members throughout the summer during the popular morning Coffee & Conversation series organized by Laura
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Faculty members also participated in COA’s two Summer Field Institutes for High School Students. John Anderson, John Cooper (music), Helen Hess (biology), Sean Todd, and Karen Waldron led students as they explored the ecology and culture of Maine’s islands in Islands Through Time. Additionally, Ken Hill, academic dean and faculty 50 | COA
member in pyschology, Catherine Clinger, Allan Stone Chair in the Visual Arts, Ken Cline, and Steve Ressel were involved in the inaugural two-week program Rivers: A Wilderness Odyssey, in which student participants explored science, art, policy, and psychology on a nine-day Allagash River journey (photos below).
Photos by Julia De Santis ’12.
Johnson, annual fund director. Jamie McKown, the James Russell Wiggins Chair in Government and Polity, spoke with Pulitzer Prize-winning author and former trustee David Hackett Fischer on “Toward a History of Mount Desert Island.” Carrie Graham, manager of the George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History, spoke with Douglas Tallamy, chair of the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware. Karen Waldron, faculty member in literature and writing, talked with Charles Pierce, former chair of the English Department at Vassar College and retired director of New York City’s Morgan Library & Museum. Dave Feldman spoke with John Allen Paulos, Temple University math professor and author of the best seller Innumeracy. Steve Katona, former COA president, founding faculty member, and marine science expert, spoke with Allied Whale volunteer Gale McCullough. Bonnie Tai spoke with Phil Geier, executive director of The Davis United World College Scholars Program. Sean Todd, Steven K. Katona Professor in Marine Studies, spoke with philanthropist and marine conservationist Ann Luskey. Ken Cline, faculty dean and David Rockefeller Family Chair in Ecosystem Management and Protection, spoke with Acadia National Park Superintendent Sheridan Steele. Finally, Rich Borden, Rachel Carson Chair in Human Ecology, spoke with COA’s new anthropologist, Heath Cabot.
Alumni Weekend and Inauguration October 7â€“10, 2011
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Ben Hitchcock ’15
Occupy Wall Street By Julia De Santis ’12 and Donna Gold
Q: Why did you go down to Occupy Wall Street in New York? A: My first trip, the first weekend of the protest, I didn’t have any real expectations. I, like many Americans, feel frustrated about our economic system and the devastation it has created socially and environmentally; I thought the symbolism of Wall Street was a good place to voice those concerns. The energy was intense—there was a lot of intimidation by the police, but the weekend was incredibly empowering. Q: Empowering? How? A: I’ve been going to protests regularly since I was fourteen years old—anti-war marches, immigrants’ rights, environmental issues—this was my first experience with the consensus-based direct democracy of the general assembly, and the potential the assembly has to create community and a space where everyone’s voice can be heard, including those traditionally marginalized. It is revolutionary: we’re in an incredibly symbolic public space between the Twin Towers and Wall Street, we’re clothing and feeding and taking care of each other, and we’re staying until we can come to consensus about how to move forward with the direction of our nation… Q: Is it true that COA had an impact on the general assembly? A: When it first began, there were about a thousand people. We tried to have a whole assembly, but we couldn’t hear each other, so we broke into smaller groups. Lucas Burdick, a first-year student, asked our group whether they’d heard of a people’s microphone; that method of natural amplification has since become a hallmark of the movement. Q: So you returned to COA? A: Yes, and worked with other students to get Occupy MDI off the ground—a big part of this movement is about fostering positive connections within local communities, not just railing against corporate greed. During faculty retreat we traveled back to New York. It was amazing how much had changed. You’d wake up with people standing over you with a camera. 52 | COA
Q: What did you do all day? A: I spent a lot of time talking to people I would never have otherwise crossed paths with, from celebrities to the homeless. Beyond talking and marching, there is an enormous amount of infrastructure; everyone has a task: sweeping, garbage collecting, getting food, preparing it according to health codes. There are donations of food, clothing, camping gear—tons of inventory to log into the occupation’s warehouse. There’s a monstrous committee structure—dozens of working groups and caucuses had developed in as many days. This isn’t freeform anarchy; there is quite a bureaucratic system. It was very interesting to see it happen. Q: What do you hope will come of it? A: A big part of the movement is the process; the development of a new community model giving people who have never had a voice in corporate media or politics the ability to express themselves. That alone is a huge success. Everyone has their own hopes for the future. I’d like to see a restructured government and economy, a decentralized economy brought to a local scale, especially for rural communities. Q: Can you say what you learned? A: I found it fascinating to watch how humans interact, what people are capable of, and what happens when we distribute resources in a different way; it was fascinating to see all the people who were there to express their concerns about capitalism, racism, patriarchy, and other pertinent social issues. It gave me a lot of hope in people to see how well it worked; to see the common ground develop between the Occupy Wall Street people and the traditional labor movement. And it gives me confidence in humanity—confidence that what is now an international movement will continue. Above image: COA students join a march during the first weekend of Occupy Wall Street: Margaret Maiorana ’15 on drums, Ben Hitchcock ’15 (center), with sign, and Lucas Burdick ’15 (far right). Photo by John Stuttle, copyright Guardian News & Media Ltd 2011.
COA in our Hearts
Photos by Julia De Santis â€™12.
Before inauguration, Sarah Luke, associate dean of student life, distributed markers and plain manila tags around campus, asking those who were here to take a moment to write or draw something about COA on the tagâ€”a dream, a wish, a feeling, a memory. Would that we could include them all!
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NON-PROFIT U.S. POSTAGE PAID AUGUSTA, ME PERMIT NO. 121
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