THE COLLEGE OF THE ATL ANTIC MAG A ZINE Volume 13 . Number 2 . Fall 2017
THE QUESTIONS WE ASK
The College of the Atlantic Magazine
Letter from the President
News from Campus
Philip S.J. Moriarty • Board Chair
THE QUESTIONS WE ASK
Faculty The Endurance of Questions • John Visvader
Question Queen • Karen Waldron
Stories • John Anderson
The Space Between • Nancy Andrews
The Forgotten. The Ignored. • Dru Colbert
Why Go On? • Colin Capers
Does it Sound Good? • John Cooper
Students My Summer with Großmutter • Maria Hagen '17
Something Good Will Come of This • Ursa Beckford '17
Nnimmo Bassey • Aneesa Khan '17
Artwork Melancholia • Sean Foley
Politics The Champlain Institute
The Bow Shop, an excerpt • Jack Budd '19
Poetry • Ite Sullivan '18
Books & Music
The Education of Congresswoman Chellie Pingree '79
This spread: The historic center of Nuremburg, as seen from the Imperial Castle of Nuremburg (see page 19). Photo by Maria Hagen '17. Front cover: Sean Foley, Curses and Oaths, detail, 2017, oil on canvas, 33"x28" The image is part of art faculty member Sean Foley's series Melancholia, an interrogation of depression (see page 30). Writes Sean, "This is basically the Irish flag behind the clover. Depression runs on the Foley, Irish, side of the family. The four-leaf clover was from a plant given to me by a dear friend to cheer me up on my birthday. I planted it and it died. But I saved the clover. Years later it became a subject in this painting."
COA The College of the Atlantic Magazine
From the Editor
Volume 13 · Number 2 · Fall 2017
Editorial Editor Editorial Advice
Donna Gold Heather Albert-Knopp '99 Rich Borden Lynn Boulger Dianne Clendaniel Dru Colbert Darron Collins '92 Lothar Holzke '16 Jennifer Hughes Amanda Mogridge Suzanne Morse Matt Shaw '11 Hannah Stevens '09 Bill Carpenter
Design Art Director
Rebecca Hope Woods
COA Administration President Academic Dean Administrative Dean Associate Academic Deans Dean of Admission Dean of Institutional Advancement Dean of Student Life
Darron Collins '92 Kenneth Hill Andrew Griffiths Chris Petersen Karen Waldron Heather Albert-Knopp '99 Lynn Boulger Sarah Luke
COA Board of Trustees Timothy Bass Ronald E. Beard Michael Boland '94 Leslie C. Brewer Alyne Cistone Barclay Corbus Lindsay Davies Beth Gardiner Amy Yeager Geier H. Winston Holt IV Jason W. Ingle Diana Kombe '06 Nicholas Lapham
Casey Mallinckrodt Anthony Mazlish Jay McNally '84 Philip S.J. Moriarty Lili Pew Hamilton Robinson, Jr. Nadia Rosenthal Abby Rowe ('98) Marthann Samek Henry L.P. Schmelzer Laura Z. Stone Stephen Sullens William N. Thorndike, Jr.
Life Trustees Samuel M. Hamill, Jr. John N. Kelly William V.P. Newlin
John Reeves Henry D. Sharpe, Jr.
Trustee Emeriti David Hackett Fischer William G. Foulke, Jr. George B.E. Hambleton Elizabeth Hodder Sherry F. Huber
Philip B. Kunhardt III '77 Phyllis Anina Moriarty Helen Porter Cathy L. Ramsdell '78 John Wilmerding
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. 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:
What makes us who we are? What drives us? How close can we get to another's consciousness? To their perspective? These questions drove me to incessant reading as a child, to anthropology as a college student, and to journalism after college. They also pushed me to ask unanswered questions of my immigrant grandparents and my parents. There have been other questions: Can there actually be justice for all? Can humans of differing cultures, ideas, and ideals learn to live with each other? Can we coexist with the natural world without destroying it? For years, these questions, and the search behind them, have been enriched by the passion of COA students—along with the staff and faculty I have worked beside. Such commitment, charm, and humor blossoms here! Just read the essays, the questions, the devotion present in this issue. But the questions that we have as children, as young people; the questions that live within us, cannot ever be placated. They propel our lives; they form us. For there is a quest, at least one, within each one of us. I am sure of it. And while such questions are seldom followed by answers, they must be heeded or we wilt inside. For nearly fourteen years, I have sought to know, to understand, and to reveal the beauty and mission of this college. I have been taught so much by so many here, and rewarded beyond any expectation. Now my journey must take a more personal form. As a journalist, as an editor, and as a writer, one of my greatest privileges has been to hear the stories of people's lives, then present these stories—not in my words, but in theirs—helping them to see their own lives. This is work I've done for communities, for individuals, and also for COA. From people who spent their lives cutting wood and driving buses, to creating computer code and building libraries, these stories have fed me; I long for more. And so, since I cannot be two people, I am retiring from this magazine to my own work, to enable myself to listen more, and to continue my Personal History efforts, helping families and communities record their stories. Coincidentally, Rebecca Hope Woods, the college's graphic designer, is also leaving. For nine years she has shepherded the visuals of the magazine. Beyond her amazingly swift design capacities and precise proofing skills, she has inched me on to become a more visual reader. Rebecca is someone who asks the most startling but basic questions, like why are you doing this? What are you trying to achieve? This letter is almost too difficult to write. I will miss COA and this magazine, which was launched quite casually one morning when Steve Katona, president at the time, said something to the effect of, I'd like you to start a magazine. What a gift! What a challenge! Just as COA is not like any other college, this magazine had to be imbued with human ecology, with interdisciplinarity, and with the overall humanity evident in the questions, the quests, that you will find from students, faculty, staff, and alumni throughout this issue. I have learned so much from this effort—from you, the readers, from this very special community, from its struggles and its triumphs. COA will always be a cherished part of my life, along with COA, the magazine. I can't wait to read and admire what the new editor and designer create.
COA Magazine, College of the Atlantic, 105 Eden St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609, or email@example.com.
WWW.COA.EDU Donna Gold, editor
From the President
Darron greets families and alumni on Thorndike Library's porch during COA's Alumni and Family Weekend welcome reception. Photo by June Soo Shin '21.
If you've read the facing page, you know that this is Donna Gold's last issue as COA editor. We will miss her dearly! I will miss her dearly. For fourteen years, Donna has bottled the essence of College of the Atlantic in the pages of this magazine. Her editorial direction has spoken to alumni, donors, friends, and prospective students in our distinctive accent, leaving a diverse readership with an intimate understanding of a very special place. One way she's made this publication reflect the ethos of the college is by building the stories and histories around a theme or a question. At COA we love questions. Human ecology is all about picking up a question as you would a stone, turning it over in your hands to bathe it in the light of different angles and varying perspectives. Where is this stone from? What is it made of? How did it get here? How might I use it? It makes sense that Donna's last magazine would be a question about questions. I'm teaching this fall. Seven faculty members, COA alumnus and trustee Jay McNally '86, and I are working with first-year students in a class called the Human Ecology Core Course. I didn't take on the responsibility lightly: could I balance what I needed to do as president with the demands of teaching? Halfway through the term, I am convinced it is a perfect use of my time. I have a home crew of thirteen students, but will get to know every single first-year because the home crews rotate through the instructors. There's a student from the West Bank, from Iran, from Peru, from The County (Maine's Aroostook County), and from nine other states in the United States. Their diversity in origin matches their diversity in interests. We wrestle with
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questions constantly, and the one I've been unable to shake involves skepticism and belief. At COA we place tremendous value on questioning and ask students to be wary when they feel steeped in certainty. The question I would add to the others outlined on page 11 is, Do we live our lives in a continuous state of doubt or is there room to truly believe? I'd need a lot more space than I have here to explain where I currently stand on that koan. Donna's a stickler on word count. On a more practical note, I've also asked what's next for the magazine following Donna's departure. After briefly considering a half-year pause, we've decided that there's just too much going on: faculty hires, a building project, students arriving, alumni off shaping how the world works. The magazine is a glue that holds our past together with our future and we don't want those things to come undone. So, we are excited to welcome Dan Mahoney as guest editor for our Spring 2018 issue. Dan is a poet and a writing instructor at COA. He has also recently revived the Bateau literary journal, bringing it to the college. It will be thrilling to see where he takes us.
Darron Collins '92, PhD
Kimberly López Castellanos '18 receives a prestigious Udall Scholarship for her work merging climate justice activism and communications strategies.
Christina Baker Kline, author of Orphan Train, discusses her latest novel, A Piece of the World, on the relationship between the artist Andrew Wyeth and Christina, the subject of his painting Christina's World, with art faculty member Dru Colbert.
A student-led Diversity Initiative opens community discussions to strengthen diversity on campus.
MAY Violinist Augustin Martz '17 performs concerts downtown at St. Saviour's Episcopal Church and the Jesup Library, and on campus in Gates, the Blum Gallery, on the North Lawn, and the pier. Senior project presentations examine HIV/AIDS, midwifery in Guatemala, the 17th century writer Aphra Behn, seeds, electric vehicles, tiny houses, whales at the South Pole, and more. Page Hill '17 creates a pollinator garden behind the Davis Center as her senior project.
JUNE Seventy-eight students from 25 states and 15 nations receive diplomas and flowers at commencement. Poet and essayist Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib offers humor and optimism as speaker. Darron Collins '92, COA president, signs the "we are still in" statement, pledging to sustain and expand efforts to mitigate climate change. His letter is published in the Hechinger Report.
JULY Talks abound throughout the summer, ranging from Lucas St. Clair, president of the private nonprofit that donated the 87,563 acres of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, to Muslim scholar and poet Reza Jalali, to trustee emeritus David Hackett Fisher on his upcoming book on African cultures in America.
BREAD & PUPPET THEATER COMES TO COA
COA hosts the memorial celebration for David Rockefeller.
SEPTEMBER The academic year opens with certified nurse-midwife Aoife O'Brien '05 speaking to most of COA's 350 students from 45 countries and 41 states. With the help of local restaurant Havana and Michael Boland '94, the Share the Harvest Farm Dinner at Beech Hill Farm brings $7,371 to Share the Harvest's mission of extending fresh, organic, and local produce to low-income Mount Desert Islanders. "COA is committed to making education open and accessible," including accepting undocumented and DACA applicants and "maintaining the privacy of all student records," writes Darron Collins '92, in an open letter to the community.
COA CLASS OF 2017
SELLAM CIRCUS SCHOOL CAMP
OCTOBER Gear up with the new online store from Allied Whale thanks to Siobhan Rickert '17. Tees, hats, bottles and more support turtle, seal, and whale stranding responses. Find the Allied Whale store at coa.edu.
BAR ISLAND SWIMMERS PLUNGE INTO THE NEW YEAR
Family and Alumni Weekend hosts a screening of Burning Paradise, the award-winning movie on the indigenous ecology of southern Mexico by Greg Rainoff '82. Acadia National Park rangers and COA students collaborate for the spooky Nature of Halloween, a night of fun and finding at the Dorr Museum of Natural History with insect treats, genuine bones, and nocturnal creatures.
POP-UP ART AT OTTER CREEK HALL COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE
Photo by Ana María Zabala Gómez '20.
NEWS FROM CAMPUS
Greenest College. Again. Ratings Season: Sierra, Princeton Review, Washington Monthly, US News & World Report For the second year in a row, College of the Atlantic was rated the greenest college in North America by both Sierra, the Sierra Club's magazine, and Princeton Review's annual Best 381 Colleges. Sierra's ranking is based on a lengthy, comprehensive annual survey, reviewing the environmental commitment of 227 colleges and universities. "In the new millennium, concerns for the environment must be wedded to social justice and central to everything we do," said Darron Collins '92, COA president, in response to the Sierra notice. "Our students will lead the way in this effort, and the more they are directly involved with the hard work of creating sustainable campuses and communities, the more they will gain the skills and confidence to create the future we all deserve." In celebrating COA's status, Sierra mentioned COA's commitment "to diverting 90 percent of campus waste by 2025, … [and] its Hatchery, an incubator for sustainabilityoriented student enterprises such as [Re]Produce (see page 8). … Other students are engaged in an initiative to provide local farms and businesses with solar power financing consultations. Classes meet at adjacent Acadia National Park, on two organic farms, and twenty-five nautical miles south of campus at an island research station dedicated to the study of marine mammals." COA's sustainability efforts are outlined in a student-created energy
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framework, which has students partaking in the entire process of work, both on campus and in the community, from policy to preparation to implementation. "At COA we measure our success by how much students learn and by how successful they are at applying that learning out in the world," said Darron. "If we were 100 percent offthe-grid and carbon negative, but students didn't learn a thing in the process, it would not do us much good." In addition to celebrating COA as the greenest college, Princeton Review ranked COA as #2 in the category "LGBTQ-friendly," #8 in both "professors get high marks" and "most active student government," #10 in "most liberal students," #11 in best campus food, and #14 in "students study the most." In a narrative quoting COA students, the publication notes, "'Students don't just take classes,' they immerse themselves in experiences and in 'an intimate, friendly community' of doers and critical thinkers. … Students can't say enough about their professors,
who 'foster an environment open to discussion.' … Conversations extend outside classrooms all of the time; COA 'is a college and a community that demands cognizance, compassion, and trust.'"
"Conversations extend outside classrooms all of the time."
When US News & World Report came out with its rankings, COA was again placed among the top one hundred colleges, in the top twenty "best value schools," and as the liberal arts college with the sixth highest percentage of international students. Finally, COA was ranked in the top twenty of liberal arts schools by Washington Monthly, which asks, essentially, What do colleges and their alumni do for their country? Sierra's full ranking and each school's completed questionnaire can be found at sierraclub.org/coolschools.
Susan Letcher botanist In the spring of 2000, just about a week after she graduated from Carleton College, Susan Letcher, COA's new botanist, stood atop Mount Katahdin with her sister Lucy, beginning a hike from Maine to Georgia on the Appalachian Trail. A classical pianist and composer, Susan had taken a double major in biology and music. The time to choose was upon her. She pondered these paths as she walked the trail. Barefoot. "We'd always hiked barefoot, running around mountains in Acadia National Park," says Susan, who grew up on Mount Desert Island, graduating from MDI High School in 1995. "Barefoot, there's a deeper sense of connection—you experience the forest floor, the granite." It's a connection she's carried into her work as a botanist, exploring the granular diversity of numerous forests. But first there was the hike. When the sisters got to the end of the trail in Georgia, says Susan, "spring was just coming to the woods, the idea of leaving, of driving home on a highway when flowers were blooming on the forest floor, of going back to a mostly indoor life—I couldn't do it." They returned to Maine, yes, but on foot. Soon after, Susan began working toward her doctorate in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Connecticut. Plants have always fascinated her. "They're so different from us, and yet they have to resolve the same basic issues of how to make a living on earth—but without the power of movement or a central nervous system— things we animals take for granted." Hikes and garden work launched Susan's interest in plants; an internship at the MDI Biological Laboratory deepened her analytical abilities. "I loved the scientific process, figuring out how to ask the right questions, developing lines of inquiry 6
where one question leads to the next." Still, she preferred working with flora over fauna. "Cutting a branch is not like severing the limb of an animal," she says. For Susan, coming to COA meant leaving a tenure-track position at the State University of New York’s Purchase College. Beyond her longing for the island, the nature of the college has lured her: "the way students track their own path through human ecology as leaders and thinkers," as well as the expectation of plenty of time outdoors doing field-based teaching. And yet, Susan's research hasn't been in Maine, but in the tropics, studying the regrowth of forests in Costa Rica after such disturbances as the slashing of great swaths of trees for cattle ranches. She has studied more than thirty sites, noting the plants that return, how they relate to each other, their evolutionary history. Beyond seeking to understand the environmental forces involved in assembling communities, Susan hopes to apply that knowledge to restoration. "Plants are so amazing," adds Susan. "Pretty much any weird thing that you can think of, plants are doing. Their whole body surface is a receptor for the environment." They also communicate, she says. "If an herbivore starts chewing on a plant, volatile compounds are triggered and sent to other plants, and they'll start changing their chemical composition, preparing for attack." Susan hopes to take students to Costa Rica next year. But she also plans to bring them around MDI. Fascinated by diversity, she's been examining the immense array of lichens, mosses, and liverworts on the island. First though, she has another task, caring for her infant, born mid-October. COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE
Netta van Vliet anthropologist When Netta van Vliet applied for COA's visiting position in anthropology nearly four years ago, she was primarily following a directive from her advisor to search for jobs. She had remained at Duke University after receiving her PhD, and was teaching there, had friends, a home. She was quite content. Then Netta came to COA—and fell in love. "It's a stunningly beautiful campus," she says. Beyond that, she noticed COA's sense of democracy in action, "how people in structurally different positions interact," those working and eating in Take-a-Break, for example. "There was something about the quirkiness of everyone I met, and the place," she continues. "I was intrigued that someone in the arts, and someone else in the sciences, and an historian were all at the same table." But like so many who come to COA, it was her encounters with students that made the strongest impression. "I didn't realize how much I could enjoy teaching until I started here. Before, I didn't envision myself teaching at a liberal arts college." But COA was different. "The kinds of questions students ask really push me." When offered the visiting position, Netta accepted. When it was renewed, she accepted it again—twice. And when a full-time faculty appointment came up, she applied for that. "Teaching here reminds me why I'm doing what I'm doing." Netta's background is multinational. Her mother is Israeli, her father Dutch. Born in Canada, she soon moved to the United States. After spending time in Central America and Israel following high school, she completed her first year of undergraduate studies at the Hebrew
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University of Jerusalem. It was a year fraught with political drama, "events that likely influenced my direction," she says. Netta was at the peace rally where Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated. On another day, she held off joining some classmates on a crowded bus—and heard the blast as it exploded one block away. Later, she became involved in demonstrations against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. The next year she transferred to Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. While Netta has also conducted research in Guatemala, her focus remains on Israel and the Middle East. Her work centers on issues of difference—not only of class and ethnicity, but also sexual difference and its relation to other categories of difference, generated in part by the questions posed by various political contexts. How do people decide how to respond to violence? What is non-violence in a context that is already violent? When do people think it is right to violate the law in order to achieve justice? What are the genealogies of thought through which ideas of nonviolence, justice, and law take shape? And, ultimately, what does it mean to be human? These questions often do not have easy answers, but they demand a response, says Netta, whose own work is interdisciplinary, drawing on the fields of postcolonial studies, literature, psychoanalysis, and feminist theory. "Finding a good question can be at least as valuable as finding answers," she says. The questions keep coming. The responses, in part, can be found in such classes as Possession and the Human, Transnational Feminist Theory, Waste, and The Human Non-Human Interface.
Profiting from Waste
Summer in the Park
Solar in Ghana
Grace Burchard '17 and Anita van Dam '19 (left to right in photo) made news when they won a $5,000 cash prize from the University of Maine Business Challenge for their start-up, [Re]Produce, last May. The concept of [Re]Produce is to turn farm surplus into frozen food, increasing farm profits, reducing food waste, and enabling Mainers to buy local produce year-round. Forty-five contestants vied for the prize, which also includes $5,000 of in-kind services, all donated by Business Lending Solutions. The entrepreneurial pair are on a roll, having tied for first place at the 2016 Maine Food Systems Innovation Challenge at Bowdoin College. "With this win, we got a lot closer to making this dream a reality," says Grace. Adds Anita, "People are becoming more aware of food justice issues, and food waste is on top of that list." Having worked with COA's Sustainable Business Hatchery to develop prototypes and a business plan, the pair is now refining the plan as they seek appropriate processing facilities in Portland, Maine. In the meantime, they're attending the Clinton Global Initiative University and other gatherings to increase their understanding of hunger, food security, and strategies that consider the triple bottom line. "This is about taking our passions into the real world," concludes Grace.
Hands-on experience is fundamental to a COA education. So is time spent in Acadia National Park. A new Acadia Scholars program does both, funding a summer internship in Acadia National Park for two to three COA students. Noah Rosenberg '18 worked in communications in the park's Schoodic region over the summer. Gemma Venuti '18 focused on invasive plants management, measuring, plotting, and removing invasive plants with the park's exotic plants management crew. The work, said Gemma, "was fantastic. Fieldwork is what I want to do. Now, when I apply to jobs, I can confidently say, I'm able to do these things, and if you hire me I can do them for you." Noah created videos and wrote stories about Schoodic history, scientists, and park personnel for his internship, extending his interdisciplinary education. He recalls a day spent "with a group of educators, worm diggers, clammers, and park scientists, talking about intertidal uses. I really understood the importance of being open to what you don't know and listening to people. I might not have been able to understand these different perspectives had I just been a biologist." A grant from the Endeavor Foundation funds the program, which began with seed money from the Davis Conservation Foundation.
Thanks to a $10,000 Projects for Peace grant and the efforts of Sara Lรถwgren '20, a primary school in east Ghana now has ten solar panels and four new computers, offering affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy, plus information technology instruction. Sara, who hails from Sweden, connected with Sakyikrom United Primary School or SUPS in Ghana's Eastern Region when she co-led a group from her high school, United World College Red Cross Nordic, to help fix its roof. While there, she learned that school leaders longed for energy that would be sustainable and reliable. As one teacher explained, SUPS students are among the poorest in Ghana. Few homes have electricity, let alone computers. But now, with energy and computers at the school, students can hope to gain computer literacy and thus also consider higher education. Additionally, enrollment will likely increase, allowing SUPS to join the state food program that provides a daily lunch for students. Projects for Peace was created in 2007 by philanthropist Kathryn W. Davis. To celebrate her hundredth birthday, she committed one million dollars to fund one hundred student projects in the hopes of increasing peace through grassroots actions. The projects continue. Says Sara, "Investing in schools benefits an entire community."
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COA's New Board Chair Philip S.J. Moriarty: Keeping the Magic Flowing by Donna Gold "I'm a matchmaker," says Philip S.J. Moriarty, who this summer became the chair of College of the Atlantic's board of trustees. Having begun his career in admissions at Yale University, his alma mater, Phil moved to human resources at the noted advertising company J. Walter Thompson before launching the Chicago executive search consulting firm of Moriarty/Fox in 1974. Connecting people, assessing strengths, understanding risks—and helping others do the same—has been Phil's life. So when COA was searching for a new president, nearly seven years ago, Phil chaired the committee that ultimately hired Darron Collins '92. Phil is still proud of his involvement in what he calls this "terrific" choice. Academic communities are something of a home to Phil, whose father served as the Yale swimming and diving coach for forty-four years, "always learning, always probing," despite never attending college. In addition to serving as an ambassador through sport, the elder Phil Moriarty coached the US team in the 1960 Rome Olympics. Later he published ten volumes of poetry. As the eldest son, Phil was the first in his family to enroll in college. Phil came to know COA in the early 1980s when Robert Ramsey, his former supervisor in Yale's admissions office, came to Maine to consult with then-president Lou Rabineau on how best to move the young college forward. Phil remembers being intrigued by how imaginative, creative, and pertinent COA was. Years later, his friend and summer Northeast Harbor neighbor, the late trustee Alice Eno, reintroduced him. With her
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encouragement, along with that of former board chairs Sam Hamill and Bill Foulke, Phil became a trustee in 2005. The match evokes Phil's own college career. When it came time for him to choose a major, he was interested in too many subjects to focus on a typical course of studies. Instead, Phil chose Yale's new offering, an interdisciplinary major in American Studies. "It captured me because it was multi-disciplinary, including economics and history and art and political science and literature." "COA is an extension of my passion," says Phil. "I am intrigued by its newness, the opportunity to continue to learn, and the educational model of human ecology—self-directed, interdisciplinary, and practical." Enumerating the college's specialness, Phil emphasizes its mission and geography, and "the remarkable people that work here—the great faculty, devoted staff, dedicated leaders—and my generous and thoughtful colleagues" on the board of trustees, as well as the "participatory approach to governance." And then there's the students, "their tremendous potential. I'm always in awe when I hear them speak so eloquently, without any trepidation, on point, articulately—and to trustees. How intimidating can that be? I couldn't have done it at that stage in my life. You know they're going to find the right path and be successful as they carry COA's mission into the world." Phil pauses. "There's something else too, I've often referred to COA as the little college that could … and does. It really does." As chair, Phil follows Will Thorndike, who led the board from 2012 to 2017. "He was terrific," says Phil. "Valued by his fellow trustees, a great partner for Darron, and a wonderful salesperson for the college to the world beyond campus." As to Phil's goals, they're simple: "Keep the magic going."
We know that COA is a mission-driven institution. That mission is not just words on paper. It f lourishes in the hearts and minds of every member of the COA community. We care. We inquire. We persist.
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What creates a dream? Samuel Evans '21
What does it mean to be human and alive?
Do you love yourself ? Sara Anderson '21
Khorshid Nesarizadeh '21
What keeps me engaged as a positive inf luence? Toby Stephenson '98, staf f
What are the connections between nature and human creativity? Bill Carpenter, facult y
How are we bodies together, surviving towards death? Izik Dery '17
How does the college develop a sustainable f inancial model, balancing the budget while maintaining the idealistic qualities and goals upon which we were founded? Andy Grif f iths, staf f
How do I use my life to help reduce the amount of suffering felt by others while still maintaining my own health, given my disabilities? Elizabeth O'Leary '03
How can I help? Amanda Mogridge, staf f
What do you want to contribute to this world? Sahra Gibson '17
How do we turn what is inside out and bring what is outside within as effortlessly as water f lowing in a self-sustaining circle of transformation? Deborah Wunderman '89
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How do you create a world that simultaneously builds environmental, social, and economic abundance? Jay Friedlander, facult y
Can we sustain the ecological needs of soil, plant, animal, and human within the bounds of available on-farm resources, or will external inputs be required? CJ Walke, staf f
If the rainforests are the green lungs of our planet, and the ocean is its blue heart, how much of your heart do you want to protect? Melissa Chan '18
What does it mean to listen and to learn? Jodi Baker, facult y
How do we choose our commitments when every arena in society is under attack? Etta Kralovec, former facult y
How can I express myself authentically and strive to understand others so we can best connect? Jacqueline Ramos Bullard '07
How can we create a more meaningful economy, one that is just and sustainable, and also recognizes that work is more than earning moneyâ€”it's a space to fully express our humanity. Davis Taylor, facult y
How dare the representative of a leading nation aff irm that climate change doesn't exist and also provoke the political climate to initiate nuclear war? Mariana Cadena Robles '17
Does who we are now ref lect the premise upon which we were founded? Marie Stivers, staf f
What is the next right action? Morgan Hildebrecht '17
How might we create the language, institutions, and power structures for a culture in which peace would not be obscured but be experienced as a constant and vibrant presence? Gray Cox, facult y
How can we rethink our world and ways of being by examining in detail other places and times that reveal how others have made their way in the world? Todd Little-Siebold, facult y
What is the relationship between microbes, our body's ecosystem, and that of microbes and humans on the planet, and how do we learn to understand that? CJ Kinton '84
What makes COA what it is? Jill Barlow-Kelly, staf f
What is human ecology?
The Endurance of Questions John Visvader, faculty member in philosophy Ever since childhood I've felt that there was a certain freedom in knowing things. Being alive was like being in a strange city without knowing your way around. Everything seemed amazing and mysterious at the same time. Having a map gave one the freedom to find one's way about, to make the place your own, to know where it was worth going and how to get there. I spent a lot of time finding out how radios, clocks, and automobiles worked by taking them apart and putting them back together. There seemed no end to the whys and hows of things. But finding a familiarity with practical things still left unanswered the great orienting questions of childhood: Who am I? What am I? What is this place I'm in? As I got older these kinds of questions became more specific but their answers remained elusive: What is the basis of human nature? How does consciousness fit into a material world? What is the nature and origin of the universe? The questions, put in this form, could be pursued academically, and so my schooling was split between psychology on the one hand and physics and cosmology on the other. The pursuit of these questions by means of these disciplines seemed to approach the answers only asymptoticallyâ€”approaching closer and closer but never quite making contact. It seemed that the kind of explanation that worked for clocks didn't do much for the bigger questions. Midway through college, I discovered that both religion and philosophy were comfortable with unanswerable questions, though religion concentrated on finding ultimate answers while philosophy thought the questions were more important. Some philosophers felt that each generation, as a condition of their humanity, had to deal with the same or similar questions but work out answers appropriate to their time and circumstances. There were enduring questions but not enduring answers. In terms of the original analogy of the city, there were good and bad maps of each city but no master map that would get you where you needed to go wherever you happened to be. Nonetheless, mapmaking remains a necessary and noble pursuit. This view does not imply a radical relativism but rather expresses a deep pluralistic contextualism. I've found this approach to these kinds of questions both humbling and in an important senseâ€”freeing.
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Question Queen Karen Waldron, faculty member in literature and theory Several years ago, a student called me the Question Queen. I realized that most of what I do in class is pose questions: questions of my own, questions in response to student questions, questions in response to student comments, questions in response to my own comments. With words or without. Questions are the life force. We all have different questions and much of my work involves helping students find their questions, often hidden within, because that's how I learned. I'm sure I was one of those children who constantly asked Why? My questions were cosmic, not practical, though I was always outside, learning the shapes of trees, the feel of dirt, the patterns of bird song. When I had my first f lat tire my dad had to teach me to question the earthly realm, not just abide there. In school during the sixties, I had come to focus on the nature of the universe, existence, faith, pain, and suffering. My Why is the sky blue? questions had rapidly developed into ones about racism, pollution, and war. In college I discovered the root of these in questions about time and consciousness. How should I abide, embodied, in a broken world? Was there any earthly place for healing? My culminating project at Hampshire College was all about the tension between poetry and philosophy in T.S. Eliot's work. I read it all, but especially Four Quartets. From Burnt Norton: Time present and time past Are both perhaps present in time future, And time future contained in time past. From Little Gidding: We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time.
From The Dry Salvages: But to apprehend The point of intersection of the timeless With time, is an occupation for the saintâ€” No occupation either, but something given And taken, in a lifetime's death in love, Ardour and self lessness and self-surrender.
Time. Place. Consciousness. Embodiment. The Four Quartets are each named for places. Maybe that is how we abide. Places shape and teach us their own particulars while time and consciousness are vehicles of our questions. The poem expresses the place; the place inspires the poem. The wells of wisdom in each seem infinite. Where and how do we apprehend the point of intersection of the timeless with time? I read Jung; I read theology; I read philosophy. I went to graduate school not only to read more novels and poetry and theory, but also to keep asking questions of them. Literature manifests a consciousness of truth in time that probes the deepest levels of the mind and questions what it means to be aliveâ€”embodied in a particular place, at a particular time. Discovering the mind of the novel and then rereading that novel at different times and in different places becomes as rich an experience as knowing a person: endlessly fascinating, both finite and infinite. As Jorge Luis Borges was so apt at narrating, the human consciousness can imagine infinity, can feel infinite, but we live and die in time. Every one of our students is a human consciousness living in a finite body. Consciousness, like the universe, is endless. My questions help me to live there while my body sends down roots to place and acknowledges time.
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The BBC's Civilisation: Part 5 of 13—The Hero as Artist with Sir Kenneth Clark (1969). https://youtu.be/h5fjKgI1ljM
What Are the Stories We Tell Ourselves? John Anderson, faculty member in ecology and natural history I have always wanted to be a teacher. I remember one of my earliest COA advisees saying that the thing she liked best about her second four years at COA was "watching John learn how to teach." I am not very good at it, but I am still trying. I sometimes think that there can be no higher high than when a class really zings, when you realize that you have gone ten minutes over and nobody seems to want to leave. Of course, there is also the lowest of lows—classes that crash and burn and send me away cursing myself and obsessing over lost opportunities and my complete inability to make a point or keep to a thread of argument. I suspect that the one can't help but having the other, and if I ever feel that I have really "learned how to teach" it is time to quit. I love research and cannot imagine not doing it, but research alone isn't enough. Part of that is that I lack discipline. If I am honest, I agree with John Steinbeck and his best friend, the ecologist Ed Ricketts: I go because I am curious, and my curiosity is perhaps overly wide for modern science. I am just as interested in why there was once a Bay of Gulls on maps of Mount Desert Island as I am in the feeding range of the herring gull, but I also want to know why the United States went into Vietnam, when the first humans reached Australia, and what Alexander the Great thought of the Romans. This sort of variance suggests the mind of a dilettante, a charge that I should perhaps plead guilty to, but I justify it with my obsession with stories. I think it no accident that one of the earliest things we say to each other is Tell me a story. Stories are us, we are made of them, and as they change so do we. Here is a story of what drives me: In the days when color television was very new, and we had only one friend who had a color TV, Sir Kenneth Clark hosted a wonderful series on Western civilization. Every Thursday we went along to the Manns to watch Sir Kenneth walk us through the glories of three thousand years of art and architecture. At the very end of the series he looked straight into the camera and read Yeats' great prophetic poem, The Second Coming. Then he told us what he himself believed—a lovely short speech that began, "I believe that order is better than chaos, creation better than destruction. I prefer gentleness to violence, forgiveness to vendetta. On the whole I think that knowledge is preferable to ignorance, and I am sure that human sympathy is more valuable than ideology." Then he turned and walked away, and the camera backed off and backed off, and I saw that he was walking through a great library and was going to put the book back on its shelf. I realized then (I was probably only eight at the time) that what I wanted to do was to read every book in that library. I want it still. 14
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The Space Between Nancy Andrews, faculty member in performance art and video production One thing that drives me as an artist is a need to make things: films, drawings, objects, assemblages, music, animation— forms vary—as a practice to keep me grounded in my realm of sanity. The process and engagement with making delivers me into what Mircea Eliade calls ritual time—a time that releases me from the world of the everyday into the world of mystery and transformation. Often my work with images, ideas, and materials is more intuitive and instinctual than intellectual or purposeful. Once the work has developed, I can make more sense of what it means. It is like dreaming—I create dreams while asleep and then examine them and gain understanding while awake. I am not saying that I go into some sort of trance in the woods. I research, read, learn, investigate, collaborate, and all of that is fodder in the process of making art. The questions that engage me center around the grey areas between binaries, like death and life; human animals and nonhuman animals; artificial and real. I am fascinated by the nature of reality and perception. I gravitate to big questions: What's it all about? and What does it mean to be a human animal? and What gives my life meaning?
Nancy Andrews, sketch on Anatomy by John Fotherby, 1729–30.
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The Forgotten. The Ignored. Dru Colbert, faculty member in arts and design What does not get looked at or acknowledged? What is willfully ignored? How does the disregarded align with notions of the aesthetic? A great deal of the world is overlooked, most of the time, in varying degrees. If not, it would be difficult to concentrate on anything amidst enormous sensory distraction. But what is chosen as something to ignore? Stories speak of the nature of humans. What stories have not been collected? What stories are not being told? What is ignored in individual lives, in psyches, in cultures? I deal with these questions in my work as an educator, in work I do with cultural institutions such as museums, and in the idiosyncratic work that I make as an artist. I have sought to bring forth stories of people and events that were previously hidden or submerged, whether they are part of our national story or tiny events that have unfolded in
microenvironments such as under bluestem prairie grass, or in the town of Otter Creek, Maine. In my current artistic practice, I have been collecting evidence of humans in the form of discarded or lost things, while also documenting plant life along the dead-end road where I live. These gatherings range from f lattened beer cans and cigarette butts to botanical specimens and collected sounds. Each object becomes a touchstone of the very particular story that brought it there. The discards of humans are as much a part of the ecological makeup of a place as plants, animals, and geological material, telling tales of often overlooked lives and stories.
Dru Colbert, 2017, found object assemblage, digital print. As a part of her current studio work, faculty member Dru Colbert is exploring relationships between aesthetically disparate realms by pressing the seemingly worthless refuse of human-ness into botanical specimen arrangements. 16
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Why Go On? Colin Capers '95, MPhil '09, lecturer in writing, literature, and film Why go on? I know to some this sounds like a desperate question, at best a cynical and at worst a despairing query to resort to. But it's a fundamental question—fundamental for contemporary Western thought but more than that, primal, rooted in the preverbal. It is Hamlet's question, more concisely stated and without the simplistic duality. The question need not be a dark one; fear of death and taboos against the embrace of one's own mortality need not taint our perspective. I see cinema and literature as realms in which we may collectively investigate other ways of framing human thought and experience—on this and all questions that intrigue us. The foundational inquiry of all disciplines can be read as variations on why go on and its attendant questions: How go on? Why begin? How begin? Why end? How end? These questions inform any creative act (and I, for one, would hope for a world in which all acts are creative). Of course there are those, from Primo Levi to Kurt Vonnegut, who offer compelling evidence across the spectrum of despair to optimism that there is no why at all, or at least no use in asking it—not to mention the Buddhists who would also question the spectrum I just invoked. I tend to be wary of the questions' implications of meaningfulness, but as long as we are wary we may proceed. These questions inevitably lead me to Samuel Beckett, whose characters, from Murphy who "would never lose sight of the fact that he was a creature without initiative" to the unnamed voice of Fizzles 4 who "gave up before birth." They are also at the heart of my interest in his work. His radical, ongoing reduction is what first spurred me to become suspicious of narrative. Stories can become traps when we fail to recognize that they are contrivances, procrustean beds to which we subject all that lies beyond our ability (or desire) to comprehend. Jonathan Heron and Nicholas Johnson, in a Journal of Beckett Studies discussion of genetic literary criticism (which reviews the history and variants of a given text, attempting to reconstruct the author's process), ask "How Caricature of Samuel Beckett holding a book, by Edmund S. Valtman (1969). Courtesy of the US Library of Congress. does an actor hope to produce a fulﬁlled performance without full consciousness of an accurate source text?" I think this is the dilemma which faces the human ecologist: in a world with so many variables, how do we choose a course of action? But the belief that we have an "accurate source text"—a clear, true, unchanging map for how to proceed—blinds us to the pesky, unsightly, human bits that may make that text "inaccurate." And if we are uncertain as to how, the question why naturally follows. Ultimately, questions of going on fascinate me for two reasons. Firstly, everyone has a different answer, and in encouraging individual discovery of and engagement with these answers, we encourage a richer range of human knowledge and experience. And secondly, the asking—why go on—every day in itself affirms the possibility of an answer.
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Photo by Rob Levin.
Do I have a quest? Yeah: Does it sound good? John Cooper, faculty member in music I sit at the piano, my baby grand, downstairs. All my great ideas come from sitting at the piano. I find a melody, a motif, a chord. Some musical subject emerges. Mostly it's just emotion—I'll play a melody and it'll bring a smile, a memory, sometimes a tear. It could also be a rhythm. Being a jazzer, I think of rhythm as a melody without the notes, rhythm adds gait, pattern, pause. I'm not trying to tell a literal story, it takes a life of its own. The hardest thing is not coming up with too many ideas. When I get that basic idea, I try to remain true to it. I go upstairs where I have a keyboard and computer. Everything builds. I can't take the jazz out of my compositions because I've listened to, analyzed, and played it all my life—or the Beatles, or the Beach Boys, or Steely Dan, or Coltrane, or Shostakovich, or Prokofiev, or Sibelius. In composition, there are vertical and horizontal aspects. Once I have an A theme, a B or C theme comes in as a contrast. Legato to staccato, major to minor, smooth to angular. That's the horizontal. I draw in the listener. There's the melody—it's in the f lute now. Vertical is the chord, the harmony, the minor and major sounds. What I have now is the melody and bass line, and enough harmony to determine what the composition is going to be. That takes about a week. And with that there's the f lexibility to go anywhere. With a large work it takes another month to bring it to fruition. If you want to move forward, you've got to try new things. Working on the synthesizer, and the many sounds it delivers, gives the timbre but not the balance. On a computer, the f lute can be as loud as a trumpet. So up to the day of that first rehearsal, there's that anxiety, wondering whether my clarinets were going to cut through, and so on. Or maybe I'm struggling with a transition. And you have to know when to stop. I can sit at the computer and add counter lines, harmonics. At some point I'm just doing it for effect. You can get so hung up with creating music that is so harmonically rich—all those instruments to write for—that the melody gets lost. You've got to be careful that what you add doesn't take away from the piece. Sometimes you have to say, Enough. Every time is a little different, that's what's fun, exhilarating—and scary. You're opening yourself up: Is that what this person is really about? 18
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Senior Projects My Summer with Großmutter THE QUESTION: How was an entire country convinced that deporting people based on their religion, sexual orientation, political beliefs, or physical ability was acceptable or even necessary? THE RESPONSE: My Summer with Großmutter: I Didn't Understand What Happened Then; That's Why I Remember by Maria Hagen '17 with Annemarie Hagen In 2016, Maria Hagen '17 spent the summer living in Nuremberg, Germany with her grandparents, her Großmutter and Großvater, "as a way for me to answer questions about the time during and after World War II in Germany," the country where Maria was born, but not raised. Maria's grandmother was born in 1935, a year after Adolf Hitler became Germany's president, in addition to his role as chancellor. Maria wanted to know about a child's life under Hitler, but also how a nation in ruins from war grew to be the most powerful country in Europe. How did people respond to the harsh conditions of destruction and poverty? How did they rebuild? "Understanding this seems to me to be the only way to stop a similar movement in the future," Maria writes. The following excerpts are from her senior project essay.
A relative's home in Neuhaus, Germany where Maria's grandmother evacuated to in 1942 with her mother and twin sister, escaping the Allied bombing of Munich. All photos courtesy of Maria Hagen '17.
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PAR ADES "Once, just once, did we go to a parade. Mutti, my mother, wanted to see Mussolini, il Duce," recalls Maria's Großmutter, Annemarie. She and her twin sister, Ruth, were living in Munich at the time. Mutti, says Großmutter, "probably wanted a reminder of her life in Milan, a happy time, except for the death of her first baby days after its birth. Mutti took us to a store owned by a friend and we stood in the window. We could just see Mussolini and Hitler go by, saluting. And then they were gone and we went home. That was the extent of our political education." Großmutter pauses, pouring coffee, then continues, "The Hagen side of the family was completely different. Großvater was constantly surrounded by politics. His aunt brought a stool to every parade so that she could see over the crowds. And she was not the only one who did that." WAR Having watched a movie with her grandparents that glorified young Turkish patriots, Maria relates her distress over "this pride in military power, so abundant in the United States. I am angry at the need for power, for killing, and disrespect for lives that aren't American." Großmutter looks at Maria and replies, "Americans have never had a war at home. They don't remember what it is like to sit in a bomb shelter and watch the latch jump higher and higher with each explosion while the old lady next to you keeps saying der nächste Schlag wird den Kindern die Lungen rausreißen, the next blast will tear the lungs out of the children." In 1942, with Allied bombs threatening Munich, Annemarie and Ruth, just seven years old, f led to Neuhaus, a village north of the city, with their mother, leaving everything behind. Their father was not with them. He was on the front, fighting for Hitler. "I was shot at once by an American Tieff lieger, a strafer, a low-f lying aircraft with guns," Großmutter tells Maria. "I was on my way home from school. I had my Schulranzen, my school bag, on my back. I was walking along the field. I was almost home. He f lew so low I could see the little cap on his head. And he fired at me. I threw myself into the ditch. He shot at a child with a school bag."
Top: Annemarie Hagen, or Großmutter, in Nuremberg, Germany, 2016. Bottom: Annemarie Hagen in the 1960s.
EXPECTATIONS The twins were suddenly former city girls with nothing to their names, dependent on their country relatives for everything. And their family had ignored the expectations of what a German girl should be under the Nazi regime; rules disseminated in newspapers, in cartoons, on placards, and advertisements:
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Deutsche Mädchen tragen Zöpfe. German girls wear braids. Notes Maria, "The twins had missed the announcement and stood out with their short brown bobs. When the war ended their hair was finally long enough to braid, but by that time all the other girls wore bobs." Deutsche Mädchen weinen nicht. German girls don't cry. "And they tried, but they had lost everything and they missed their father. Everything was strange and they never fit in." BLUEPRINTS Continues Maria, "The house was big, but by the end of the war, when refugees from the east were put up in the house as well, twelve people shared the one toilet on the second f loor. Eight people shared the one downstairs. There was no toilet paper, so Mutti tore up old architecture magazines to use instead. Annemarie would sit on the toilet trying to piece together the pages so she could examine the blueprints. The paper was thick and heavy, and the articles and prints so fascinating. But as soon as she had two pieces together someone would knock. Locking the door was strictly forbidden." "At night, sometimes, you could see the moon over the field when you stood on the toilet lid," says Großmutter with wonder in her voice. "I would wake up Ruth and we would balance there, gazing at the moon. Everyone thought we were crazy." ESSAYS "Großmutter found out much later that Neuhaus, with its Protestant population, voted entirely for the Nazi party in the 1930s." writes Maria. "The next village over, which was Catholic and Jewish, was less predictable than the Protestant towns. They were more likely to understand what was happening, and what the Nazi Party meant for them. "In school, der Nazi Gruß, the Nazi salute, was held for hours," recalls Maria's Aunt Ruth. "You thought it was over and then you just had to keep holding your arm up." Adds Maria, "Schoolchildren were presented with information about their Jewish peers, all of it false. They wrote essays about it, repeating back to their teachers the lies and prejudices they were taught." Later, Maria finds similar essays in a Nuremburg museum. "There is one essay, a single sentence in unsteady cursive, proclaiming that Jews are dirty and stink. It was written by a six-year-old. I almost throw up. I understand why Großmutter does not attend these exhibitions."
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Food stamps from the 1940s, allowing for 1,200 calories per day. This amount could cause an average man to lose about two pounds a week.
Stolpersteine, commemorative brass plates, literally "stumbling stones," a work in progress created by the artist Gunter Demnig, to be placed in the sidewalk outside the last address of choice of the victims of National Socialism. To date there are more than six hundred such markers in Germany, and many more throughout Europe. The artist cites the Talmud saying, "a person is only forgotten when his or her name is forgotten."
UNCLE JOHANNES Großmutter's Uncle Johannes was a minister, but because he had a Jewish mother, he could not get a good position in a church. Writes Maria, "He found a job working with the Jewish population in a small town instead. The only way to help them was to get them out, so Johannes arranged for them to get fake passports, organizing ways for them to sneak out of the country. It was dangerous work, especially in a small town. "Johannes finally received a ministry position in a small village, but under surveillance from the Nazis. The farmers in the village all knew what he had done, and they often brought him new people when they showed up in town: "'Pfarrer, Pfarrer, hier ist wieder einer.' Father, Father, here's another one. "One night, when Johannes and his wife had already moved their child's bed away from the window so she would be safe if someone decided to throw rocks through the glass, Johannes heard something outside. He went downstairs to see what was going on. Outside he saw his neighbors standing at the edge of the property. "One of them came and told Johannes: 'We are keeping watch, halten Wache, in case they try to take you away.'" In Munich, alongside others who stood in resistance to the Nazi regime, there is a plaque honoring Johannes' memory. HUNGER "People bought food with stamps," Maria writes. "Each tiny square reserved a certain number grams of meat, butter, bread, or f lour for each person. Men were awarded the most amount of food per month while the rations for the elderly were often so small it was not enough to live on. Rations for a normal person amounted to 1,200 calories per day. If you lost the form with all the stamps, then Pech, there was no other way to obtain food. For people living on farms it was often easier to get by than in the cities where there was no way to grow a little food on the side. "On Saturdays, if the girls swept the town square, they got a free bun from the bakery run by their uncle. They were tough buns, called Gummiklößle, rubber buns, but when food is scarce, anything is good enough. "Sometimes the girls begged for fresh fruit. The family sent the children to the other houses 22
Annemarie Hagen and her twin sister, Ruth, in Nuremberg, Germany, 2016. COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE
to ask for an apple or two. After all, people are more likely to give hungry children food. Annemarie would talk while Ruth stood just slightly behind her. Annemarie hated having to ask neighbors for fresh fruit. Annemarie's mother made some money as a seamstress, continues Maria. "Sometimes her customers paid in eggs, or a liter of milk. Sometimes that milk had a bluish tint, giving it away as skim. Then Mutti was upset. Once she sewed for three days for one customer who gave her ten eggs. Annemarie thought it was an amazing amount of food and could not fathom Mutti's anger. "We never had anything fancy to eat, like carp, goose, or duck. But sometimes we had a pigeon. Our grandmother would stuff it to try and make the bird look bigger, but even then, with five people, a single pigeon isn't much meat." And so they scavenged. "We gathered every edible plant, brewed every herb into tea. Grains were roasted to make coffee substitutes." "I marvel at Großmutter," Maria adds. "Here we are, sitting in the sun with our feet up, sipping coffee and eating fresh Streuselkuchen that she baked this morning, piled high with whipped cream. The contrast leaves me breathless, but she just pours herself more coffee and offers me noch ein Stückchen Kuchen."
REMEMBER Großmutter says it's up to us. My generation. The young people. It's up to us to remember. Two years ago she took me to a protest. At seventy-nine, she stood for refugees in the cold. She remembered, three grandchildren stood with her. Remembering is the debt we owe the dead. Germany over all, Hitler said, and rose. America first, Trump said today, and rose. I went into the Holocaust Museum in Washington and remembered. His words were an insult to the people whose memories and stories are kept here. His supporters' presence, jarring and hypocritical. The next day I marched, one pink hat in the crowd, Großmutter's words heavy on my shoulders. "Remember," she says.
Maria Hagen '17 and Großmutter in the summer of 2016. COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE
Something Good Will Come of This
THE QUESTION: Who are the opiate addicts of Maine? THE RESPONSE: Something Good Will Come of This, a documentary film by Ursa Beckford '17 "My whole town became addictedâ€”people who drove the firetruck, the selectmen of my town. Last year alone, I attended seven family gatherings for overdose deaths, from southern Maine to Downeast, people that I can actually look back on and smile, knowing it was a good time."â€”Mike Bills, from Something Good Will Come of This Having focused on conf lict resolution and film at COA, Ursa Beckford '17 sought to create a documentary on Maine's opiate crisis for his senior project. Something Good Will Come of This is a striking, compassionate portrait of Mike Bills, a recovering addict. Through him we obtain a glimpse into the journey from legal prescriptions to heroin addiction that has overtaken not only Maine, but the entire nation. Ursa had been planning to create a film about the Restorative Justice Project of Belfast, Maine, an organization that seeks justice, rehabilitation, and reconciliation with the injured parties and the greater community. The project also works with a reentry center to provide therapeutic programing, educational opportunities, community service, and other approaches to recovery for addicts.
Then Ursa met Mike, an articulate and candid man now in his thirties who had spent years addicted to opiates. "The two of us got together for coffee," says Ursa. "He told me his story. It was a profound tale of loss and redemption. From that moment on, I knew I wanted to make a film that would capture Mike's story of addiction, providing hope about the drug crisis that is devastating families and communities across the country." The film has no narration, no music. It portrays Mike through his own words, along with those of his mother and a few others. Mike tells how his addiction began while playing soccer as a student at Maine Maritime Academy. After he suffered a concussion, he was prescribed three very strong narcotic painkillers. The high was like nothing
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Opposite: Mike Bills walks along the Searsport, Maine shore, not far from his home. Above: In the two years since Mike has been drug-free, he has become a skilled finish carpenter and a father. Says Mike, "Ever since I've had Finn, I've started to change my whole entire life to fit him. There's nothing else, there's no other priorities in my life, except him now." The film will be available on Vimeo and YouTube.
he had experienced before. Speaking in a near-monotone, Mike relates the thefts from family, friends, and strangers to feed his addiction, and speaks of a felony conviction that led to his imprisonment while his grandfather, the man he most looked up to, was dying. Juxtaposed with recollections from Mike's mother, who vowed never to give up on him, we hear how Mike spent three days on life support in a Bangor emergency room, having been pronounced dead of an overdose, then revived. Most importantly, the film chronicles Mike's recovery through the reentry center and the Restorative Justice Project. He now seeks to help young people avoid self-destruction. His voice intensifying just a bit, Mike says, "Do you realize that right now, there are only ten detox beds in the whole State of Maine? Do you realize right now there are only thirty male community-status reentry beds?" This, when Maine suffered more than one drug overdose death a
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day in 2016, more than double the statistic from five years before. "That just blows my mind," continues Mike. "When other states and other countries are proving that therapeutic communities—giving a convict, a felon, an addict, purpose to do better, giving them training, giving them their responsibility back, letting them get their life back on their own, they're earning it—works." Rather than criminalization, Mike adds, "if we humanize addicts, if we give them their own voice, we can solve the crisis." Thanks to Mike, notes Ursa, "you don't simply get to know a recovering addict. You get to know a person. There's a line near the end of the film that I think illustrates this. While discussing how he's doing now, Mike says, 'Today my days are really good. Every addict has setbacks, just like everybody I guess.'" —Donna Gold
THE QUESTION: If people struggling under great odds and danger could persist, what's my excuse?
THE RESPONSE: A graphic biography of Nnimmo Bassey, a Nigerian climate justice activist by Aneesa Khan '17
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Bouquet, 2015â€“2017, watercolor, gouache, ink on paper, 37" x 29".
Melancholia Melancholia, in my experience, is the lurking feeling of an impending depressive episode. It has roots in romanticism and the gothic, and is a more ref lective and poetic rumination on the individual's relationship to their physical and mental world than depression. The feeling of melancholy is the canary in the coal mine, portending a downward spiral or a deep philosophical reckoning with one's emotions. Navigating melancholy is an attempt to redirect a dive towards depression to more stable ground. The work on these pages serve as an attempt to visualize aspects of that downward spiral—the "invisible" disease of clinical depression—and to develop a visual vocabulary for future work. Part of the vocabulary is subtle and symbolic, enclosing paintings in aluminum frames, for instance, where aluminum (so common in the cookware of my youth) is increasingly found to be linked to various cognitive issues. Despite the assumptions of gloom or unrelenting sadness, depression is a multi-dimensional and contradictory illness that can often highlight moments of great beauty and wonder at a higher intensity of experience. This positive sensitivity contrasts with the melancholic temperament and often, ironically, intensifies the despair of the depressed person. It is a slippery, monstrous condition that can be fascinating, debilitating, and terrifying simultaneously. No matter how it manifests itself, depression is a condition of extremes and these don't exclude humor.
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The ruminations, self-doubt, fatigue, and emotional pain that accompany a depressive episode can reach a level of paralyzing intensity. On better days, dark humor becomes a f leeting temporary respite from the negative thought patterns. Previous to this exploration I had been interrogating wonder—in my artwork, in my classes, and as a curator. Depression is the opposite of wonder. Its darkness is an inward retreat from the world while wonder is an absolute engagement with the world. In researching wonder I was amazed to discover that there had been no thematic exhibitions and hardly any attempts to articulate wonder in relation to the visual. Likewise, while hundreds of writers have addressed depression, I have found a glaring lack of artwork that represents the vagaries of depression. The subjectivity inherent in both experiences resists iconic representations that often, unfortunately, results in horribly clichéd images in both respects. This body of work and research has become an intriguing challenge of developing a visual vocabulary—imagery for an abstract condition that is fundamentally un-representable. The work on these pages varies in appearance and media in an attempt to develop new, personalized, and unique visual analogues to the concepts of melancholy in particular and depression in general. —Sean Foley, art faculty member
Shivaree, 2017, panels from left to right: f locking on aluminum panel in aluminum frame; smoke (soot) on aluminum panel in aluminum frame; chromatic black oil (100 glaze coats of red, yellow, blue, and green) on aluminum panel in aluminum frame, 15" x 46". About this triptych, Sean Foley writes, "I wanted to do a black painting but not have it be clichĂŠ. The left-hand f locking panel is made of soft nylon that absorbs the light and appears perfectly matte. The middle panel is literally soot from a candleâ€”it's extremely fragile. The painting on the right is layered with color to create a chromatic black. It uses absolutely no black paint. The happy, rainbow associations of color cancel each other out to create a transparent field of paint that appears black. Technically, black absorbs all wavelengths of light and converts them into heat, so the object gets warm.
The Friendly Dark (After Chuck Jones), 2017, f locking, latex paint, plywood, 4' x 7' x 9". The title comes from a letter Samuel Beckett wrote Ethna MacCarthy: "My silly old body is here alone with the snow and the crows and the exercise book that opens like a door and lets me far down into the now friendly dark." Continues Sean Foley, "I want people to smile and make the association to Chuck Jones and Road Runner, which was my favorite cartoon as a kid. I have joyful memories of watching it with my late father who was Irish, like Beckett, and like him, suffered from the common Irish curse that is depression. Now a father myself, I watch Road Runner with my kids and think about my dad, and that resilient and indefatigable coyote who fails again and again, but is always back. When I see the piece, I see the pain of plowing through that wall of plywood that was meant for someone else. And then I laugh because all Coyote had to do was run around the freaking wall." 32
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Sidewinder, 2013â€“2017, oil on linen, 25" x 25". "I wanted to make a symmetrical image using a hybrid of bat faces, referencing the bat in Albrecht DĂźrer's iconic engraving titled Melancholia (boiled bats were once considered a remedy for melancholy)," writes Sean Foley. "The painting emerged from a longing for balance, an attempt to organize right and left brain trajectories. But no matter how hard I tried, I was unable to make a perfectly symmetrical painting by hand. I include the extended date range to ref lect the technical challenge of painting this in oil without smearing, and also not to hide the difficulty of creating it while in the throes of depression. Many works were abandoned as hopeless and picked up when I felt better. Doubt was a constant, but the simple formal idea of Sidewinder was something that allowed me to work when I was feeling uncreative." COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE
How did we get here? The Champlain Institute: Democracy in America By Matt Shaw '11 COA's inaugural Champlain Institute examined the constitutional questions behind current news—how the very words of the document shape our contemporary situation. Curated and moderated by Jef frey Rosen, president and CEO of the National Constitution Center and professor at George Washington University Law School, an array of inf luential leaders and thinkers discussed pressing issues of democracy with the community. Vibrant conversations pondering the Constitution's creation and how it fares after more than two hundred years of amendments, expectations, challenges, and changes, continued long after the packed presentations ended, during receptions, lunches, and discussion groups. What follows are summaries and some salient points of each presentation. While awaiting next year's program, see videos of most of this year's sessions at coa.edu/champlaininstitute. DAY 1 The Press and the Future of American Democracy As the week began, New Yorker Washington correspondent Ryan Lizza learned that his scorching call from Anthony Scaramucci had led to "the Mooch's" demise as White House communications director. Ryan brought the audience step-by-step through the call and his reporting, all of which went viral. Jef frey Rosen and Ryan then discussed the media's place in American democracy, how accusations of fake news undermine trust in journalism, the history of the media's role in covering politics, and the changes as technology speeds the news cycle to a froth. They also reminded everyone that the Constitutional Convention was kept private so that delegates would be free to compromise, and wondered whether today's insistence on transparency makes compromise—and so the possibility of bipartisan legislation— impossible. Returning to the Constitutional Convention, Ryan and Jef frey recalled how James Madison didn't want too much democracy—and catapulting from there to 2016, they noted that the more we have a direct democracy, the more opportunity there is for a populist takeover of the party system—contributing to where we are now. Trump could use social media to become the GOP nominee because the party system was democratized in the 1960s with primaries and caucuses 34
of fering direct access to the populace, circumventing the party establishment. While Democrats have superdelegates as a fail-safe, the GOP does not. Nobody wants to say the days of the smoke-filled backrooms weren't so bad, Jef frey and Ryan added, but why should the parties emphasize democracy if it leaves them open to a takeover? DAY 2 Anthropology and the Arts of American Democracy Jef frey Rosen joined Princeton University anthropologists Lauren Coyle and Lawrence Rosen (who also teaches at Columbia Law School) to discuss democratic forms elsewhere, thus challenging the assumptions that underpin our ideas of legitimacy, power, and authority. In reviewing legal structures in Morocco, where Lawrence worked, and Ghana, where Lauren did her research, they of fered competing cultural ideas of such notions as right, duty, and so-called corruption. Some of these understandings collide with typical American notions of law or liberal democracy; others resonate. As anthropologists often do, Lauren and Lawrence reminded the audience of the presence—and the implications—of myth and metaphor, even in law, even in the United States.
from the audience and across Maine. Since the National Constitution Center is nonpartisan, Jef frey's answers frequently presented several sides. Here's a sampling: Q: Is the originalist position valid? A: Supporters of originalism believe that the nature of a written Constitution is that it is supreme law. So if you have a conf lict between the supreme law expressing the will of the people, and that of the temporary representatives of the will of the people—the Congress— you should prefer the supreme law. Those against originalism see it as the dead hand of the past. Does it really make sense to say that the will of the people is better represented by the wishes of dead white men? Q: Are hyper-partisan politics a result of gerrymandering? A: I thought so, given the polarization resulting from our focus on primaries. But red and blue folks live in very dif ferent areas that are geographic and virtually self-sorting, creating pockets of highly partisan communities alongside each other. Q: Can the president pardon himself?
Live Radio Broadcast of Maine Public’s Maine Calling Jennifer Rooks, host of Maine Public's talk show, Maine Calling, discussed constitutional issues with Jef frey Rosen, answering questions
A: Like so many constitutional issues, this conf lict is unresolved. Some say that the president can't pardon himself on the grounds that no person shall be the judge in his own case, and no US COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE
president has issued a self-pardon. The argument on the other side is that the pardon power is limited in only one way, it extends to all cases except for impeachment, and some might think of that as grounds for impeachment, which is whatever Congress says it is. Pre-pardons are well established. Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon, and Jimmy Carter pardoned Vietnam draft dodgers.
between the three branches. It should be considered a miracle if a bill becomes law. Don't underestimate the power of states, Michael added. The states are laboratories for democracy, and where your voice is strongest. Because it's hard to change, the Constitution depends on who remains involved. Its vitality comes from participation.
Q: Is it dif ficult to be nonpartisan?
DAY 4 The Future of Equality in American Democracy Kenji Yoshino, a constitutional law professor at New York University School of Law, discussed questions of equality, drawing on research from his most recent book, Speak Now: Marriage Equality on Trial. There's no one way to understand the Constitution, he said, reminding us that the original Constitution did not protect equality; such notions evolved over time. The Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth amendments established equality following the Civil War (earlier Michael Gerhardt had noted that the Bill of Rights originally only applied to the federal government, not to states). Current debates pit formal equality, which gives no assistance to minorities and references a discrete amount of time, against the concept of antisubordination, repairing the negative impact of discrimination on members of disadvantaged groups, and thus viewing equality within a stream of time. In shifting from remediation to diversity, he added, universities see minorities as bringing gifts not grievances. Reminding us that the meaning of words changes over time, Kenji explored the use of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include protections of sexual orientation. Kenji noted that "sex" in Title VII wasn't meant to include the LGBT community but current arguments take the logic that since
A: It is. But if we read the nation's founding documents, we will rise out of the political echo chambers created by social media. DAY 3 The Constitution and the Future of American Democracy Attorney Michael Gerhardt, a constitutional law professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, discussed how the concept of We the People has been redefined over time. The US originally had the Articles of Confederation, which provided for only weak national powers. Under it, there were no federal courts, nor even an executive branch. The president merely presided over Congress. When the Constitution was framed to replace the Articles of Confederation, direct democracy—one person, one vote—was suspect. As a result, Congress is not structured to maximize democracy. Only the House of Representatives was originally directly elected by the people. Until 1913, senators were chosen by state legislators. Even now, the House remains bounded by institutions that keep the populace from overriding the rest of the government— it originates bills, but needs Senate agreement before they are passed into law. The framers, continued Michael, created a government designed to be dysfunctional, requiring compromise COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE
sexual orientation can't exist without sex, sexual orientation discrimination is discrimination on the basis of sex. DAY 5 What Would Madison Think of American Democracy Today? In the final session, Jef frey Rosen discussed the state of the checks and balances that support our democracy, noting that in considering the First Amendment, there's no more urgent question than the balance between free speech and equality. There's a growing movement on campus and online to ban hate speech. Does that encroach upon free speech? If the Supreme Court considered it today, we would have a near-unanimous decision saying Free speech cannot be banned. And yet, in the 1927 case, Whitney vs California, a woman who denounced racism and lynching at a socialist party rally was convicted of encouraging folks to join the outlawed socialist party, even though she was not a party member. Though the Supreme Court upheld her conviction in a 5–4 decision, currently the dissent, written by Justice Louis Brandeis, is more in favor. He argued for complete freedom of conscience and opinion; that the rights of speech are natural and unalienable. Jef frey ended the week with an homage to slow, thoughtful, faceto-face discussion, saying that reasonable people can have thoughtful, reasoned arguments on all sides of an issue. "We need to think together about ways of slowing down public deliberation, making time to have the kind of deliberations we've had here, and allowing our representatives in Congress the space and time they need, creating enclaves of compromise, beyond partisan terms." Digging deep, listening, he promised, leads not only to greater knowledge, but also to optimism. 35
The Bow Shop AN EXCERPT By Jack Budd '19
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It rained through the whole week. Students and faculty alike ran like Olympians, hoods and folders held about their heads as shields, with the downpour like a constant volley of liquid arrows. Soon there were no leaves on the trees and still the water came down, wave after wave, until late Saturday afternoon when it abruptly ended. The last echoes of thunder still rolled over the hills as the puddles soaked through the soil and disappeared into unknown reservoirs. The stars were the first light from above to reach campus as the students and faculty made their way around the mud and muck. While everyone else left the dorms for open mic night, I stood in the field, watching the blinking eyes of the universe open from above the atmosphere. For a while I thought about the students starting their skits, and the boys and girls about to sing the same songs they always did with their dinky hipster stringed instruments. My pocket rumbled, I reached inside to pull out my phone; on the screen was the picture of Zoe wearing my blue flannel shirt. I could see that she had ripped the shirt pocket. Just got here. Parked next to road. I turned away from the sky and went back down the path through the bushes. I could feel myself getting nervous. A week had passed and she hadn't changed her mind. I had nearly convinced myself she wouldn't come back but now I was about to see her, just the two of us this time. Her black SUV was parked near the dorms. I felt an intense desire to hold on to the moment, which felt like trying to keep a grip on a rock in
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the middle of a river rapid. My feet sped me forward. She came out of the car and turned. When I caught her eye, I felt a surge of energy crest over me, a spark that started in my stomach, arced through my lungs and caused my face to flash into a smileâ€”which scrambled some ungrounded circuits, tempting me to chase that feeling right to her. Would we hug? This would be our second-ever interaction. My arms started to rise when we were still a good distance from each other, but thankfully I acted quick, put one arm down, and waved with my open hand. "Silas!" She gave a little wave back and then held up her finger, went to the back of the vehicle, and waited while the trunk door opened automatically. I came around the side as she pulled out my borrowed shirt. I wasn't sure if I should hug her or something, but I stood awkwardly until she handed my commandeered shirt to me. "Thanks," I said. "Thanks for letting me borrow it," she replied. Had she always sounded this way? I had thought about our brief interactions over and over for the past few days, had I already forgotten the sound of her voice? "Want to walk? There is someplace I want to take you," I found myself saying. "Sure. Let me just lock up." I nodded and waited as she pushed on her keys and the car flashed twice, locking. "Could you hold these? My jacket is in the car. No pockets." I looked her over. She had on a grey tank top and a black pleated skirt that ended just before her knees. She clearly had thought out what she was wearing with an elegance that drove my imagination
into embarrassing situations. I couldn't take my mind off what she might look like underneath and I tried to not stare, so I distracted myself by putting my flannel shirt on. I could see the tear along the bottom of the pocket, which came apart more when I stuck my finger through it. We walked across the parking lot, filled with empty faculty cars. No one would go looking for me, and even if they did, they wouldn't go all the way down to the Bow Shop to check. I felt her brush against me as we walked and her hand slipped into mine. "Where are we going?" "Cliff'sâ€”my advisor's office. We call it the Bow Shop. It's a workshop, but for bows." "Like wrapping presents?" "Oh, no, like archery bows. Arrows. That sort of thing. I'll show you." I squeezed her hand and she squeezed back. Passing the granite rock that marked the entrance to the woods, Zoe talked about her week at school. I wanted to tell her about my first days at public high school, when being forced to go to a boarding school only happened in YA novels, but before I had a chance to tell her, we had arrived at the Bow Shop. It seemed to be hanging from the stars tonight, instead of a shed half-sunk in the soft ground. Zoe gasped. "I wish I'd brought my camera," she said. I walked forward and flicked on the lights. The room was suddenly bright and Zoe walked around examining the melted candle wax, saws, and long bows that hung from the ceiling, sweeping her hand against the table tops, upsetting a stack of wood chips onto the floor. "You make these things?" she said, pointing to the finished bows.
I nodded. "Where's yours?" Even though my bow still lay unfinished in the corner, I pointed to one of the finished ones Cliff always used as an example. She gasped and held it in her hands. "This is beautiful. How'd you make it?" "Took a while. Actually, do you mind if I turn the light back off? If the faculty look this way and see the light onâ€”" She nodded. I turned the light off, but really we didn't have to. Open mic was going to last at least until ten; even if a faculty member went outside, the Bow Shop was deep enough in the woods that the light wouldn't make it through the trees, despite the absence of leaves. "Check this out," I said. I reached around in the dark, found the ladder to the loft and Zoe's hand. Guiding her to it, she climbed the rungs wordlessly. I had spent the last week looking for a place to take Zoe where no one would find us, so I had hidden all the stored cardboard boxes and snowshoes underneath the building. Should someone go to the Bow Shop, no one would think to look for us here.
a pale moonglow came, accompanied by stars. "Isn't it crazy," said Zoe, "how entrancing and unsettling the vastness of the universe can be?" This threw me off. I was thinking about when I would kiss her. Zoe kept talking. "It's like an ocean carrying off planets with castaways, lost except for their light. I really wish I brought my camera." I sat upright and nearly hit my head against the ceiling. "Except they're not even there." Zoe sat up with me. "What do you mean?" "Well, the stars aren't really there anymore. They're light-years away and even then, it's not like we are seeing them as they are now. Some of those stars have been dead for millions of years." Zoe shook her head. "Not all of them. Just because those worlds and stars are gone, doesn't mean they don't still matter. They are not lost entirely because their scrap of light is flung out into the dark, however many years later. Some still exist, and anyway they all still have a message in a bottle that's only
Was this the person I would spend the rest of my life with? I followed her into the loft. Zoe was looking upâ€”there was a skylight in the roof that I had never seen before. I leaned all the way back and let my hands cradle my head as I lay down. Zoe did the same. It had been dark all week as I had snuck down here to clean and rearrange, but now
just now washing up on our shore. They aren't forgotten. I'm cold," she murmured, so I took off my flannel and handed it to her. She smiled and said, "I thought I just gave this back to you." "Hey I'm not warm either. Keep complaining and I'll take it back."
"We can share. Here." She moved closer and I put my arm around her waist. I wasn't all that cold, but I could tell that she wasn't either. I realized that she was talking but I wasn't listening. I couldn't believe what I was about to do, but I concentrated, held out my hand, and placed a finger on her mouth. She stopped speaking and I leaned forward to meet her. The next few moments felt both an eternity and an instant, then we were back outside, her hand in mine. I felt more alive than I had ever felt. She was beside me now laughing into the night. I was grinning like an idiot and couldn't stop. We ran out onto the field and I felt breathless and tender for Zoe. She laughed and pulled my hand forward. Soon we were in the parking lot. I worried that she was trying to make me take her to my room, but as I turned towards the dorm, she pulled my hand in the other direction. At the car she stopped me and threw her arms around my neck. We were kissing again. I could feel the tug of her lips on mine, the indication of how much she wanted me, and this time I didn't feel bashful and pressed my body against hers, letting her know how much I wanted her. I held her waist, feeling her back arch over. She was up on her toes, which brought her mouth a little higher than mine, but I didn't care. We were both short. Everything felt so right and natural. Eventually, she let go and we separated. I felt the chill in the air now. We pulled out of the parking lot and went down the driveway, going past the bright light in the windows of the auditorium, but when we turned down the road, the buildings faded into the darkness. It didn't feel like breaking the rules. I was simply out for a ride with Zoe. Was this the person I would spend the rest of my life with? I watched her slow at the crossroads, come to a full stop, and ease the foot pedal forward till we sped up again. Was she this good at everything? Here was where I would
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sit for the rest of my days, slightly to her right and buckled in place. It all felt very grown-up, although it also felt like I was being driven by a parent. Zoe drove better than mine did anyway. She was seated firmly behind the steering wheel, hands at nine and three, eyes focused ahead, the headlights like an extension of her gaze, illuminating the rolling hills of rural Vermont with a fixed floodlight. "Oh shit, forgot the stuff at home," she said, suddenly pissed off. I waited a moment and she frowned, still looking forward. "I guess we can just pick up some on the way." "That works for me," I said, not knowing what she was intending, but excited all the same. It was mystery date of sorts. This is one of things I was supposed to expect from a new relationship, surprises and new experiences. Zoe had already decided where we were headed and I was her accomplice, like it or not. We slowed down and she indicated to turn at a gas station. Then I saw Cliff's truck and Cliff heading towards the pump. We were pulling in right next to him. "Stop. Turn back," I said, trying not to shout. I unbuckled, sliding down the seat. "What's wrong?" "That's my advisor. He can't see me off campus." "You guys can't go off campus? How short is your leash?" she said with a smile. "You don't get it. Back up slowly." "Well, that would just draw attention to ourselves, wouldn't it?" I could see the mischievousness brightening her eyes. I took a deep breath and watched Cliff step out and twist the gas cap out from the rusted red metal. He was right there. Zoe turned the engine off and with a glance I knew there was no persuading her. She took out some folded bills from a cup holder and said, "Why don't you go in and get something for us to eat, and I'll get some gas. There's a plastic bag at your feet, get whatever you want. Or
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you can cower in the back seat if you like." She was testing me. I doubted she even needed gas. I took the money and bag while she unbuckled. I watched as Zoe approached the pump across from Cliff. She turned, blowing me a kiss. She was clearly enjoying whatever expression was on my face as I got out. I looked at Cliff to see if he was turned this way, but he was staring out at the night sky, barely visible from the gas station's neon glow. I was thankful that he was being introspective; if I was caught out here at this hour, I would probably be on the first bus down the coast before sunrise. I got out and hurried over to the store, not daring to turn back. "And a lighter!" Zoe yelled behind me, which made me quicken my pace to a jog. The door opened inward and I was greeted by the air conditioning, which made the small crowded room seem like stepping into a refrigerator. I went through the stacks looking for things that seemed healthy and sophisticated, but there wasn't much in that category. Besides, it wasn't like she would drive me back to campus if I bought junk food. It was a gas station after all. I walked to the counter with an armful of sodas, chocolate-covered nuts, chewy candy, potato chips, and a large can of iced tea. Setting the items down, I picked two lighters, orange and red, from the displays by the register, along with a pack of mint gum. I watched as the cashier, a girl not much older than me, rung up the items and I wondered if I should get cigarettes. Did Zoe even smoke? I thought for a moment until I realized that it was her money anyway, and if she didn't smoke, I could keep them in my pocket and no one would be the wiser. "Is that everything?" "A packet of the blue ones too, please," I said, pointing to the cartons behind her. She rang up the total and counted through the bills. "You're short."
"Excuse me?" I said, offended. "Short. $14.13," she said defiantly, sounding irritated to talk any more than necessary. "Oh. Uh, without the gum. And the drinks. And I guess just one lighter also." She removed the orange lighter and the other items from the plastic bag. I waited a moment while she subtracted them from the bill. "Still short," she grunted. "$9.23" How could these things cost so much? "I'll pay it," said a familiar voice behind me. "Without the cigarettes." I stepped to the side while Cliff came to the counter, took out his wallet and handed the bills over as he looked at me. I met his eyes but he didn't say anything. I was in trouble, yet from the look he gave me, the trouble was just between the two of us. I made a mental note to remain busy in Cliff's presence for the rest of the school year, took the bag, and went back outside to the waiting SUV. Zoe looked as anxious as I felt. "Just drive," I sighed. "I wanted to stop him from going in, but I couldn't think of anything," Zoe said, flicking on the high beams and signaling to get back on the road. "I even texted you. Did you get it?" I felt in my pocket for my phone, which had two new messages. Both were from Zoe: Advisor alert! and He's behind you!!!! "Is he going to get you in trouble?" "No, I don't think so. It's okay anyway." "I'm sorry, I didn't mean for you to get caught. Is there anything I can do?" "Do you have a smoke?" "Yeah, I have a few, but this is Dad's car. Can you wait until we get there? I'm sorry." "No, it's fine. Want something to eat?" Zoe perked up. "Did you get something to drink?" I hadn't but I didn't respond. We drove until we came to a densely wooded area, where Zoe
parked on the street in front of a driveway. It was dark enough that I couldn't see the house, but I could see it was a long path up to something in the woods. I thought about asking where we were but I didn't want to pry; Zoe had been quiet for the last few miles. She turned off the engine and said softly, "Here we are." She put on a jean jacket, got a big quilt out from the back of the car, and we started to walk up the driveway in the dark. Zoe took out a pack of cigarettes and tossed them in the plastic bag I was carrying. She was struggling with the arm that was holding the quilt. "Can I carry that for you?" "No, thanks," she said, reaching for my hand with her free one, which was sweaty. I gave it a squeeze anyway. "I'm glad you want to do this with me," she said. "Thanks for taking me." The driveway curved up a hill as we came out to a flattened lawn with a few cars and a mansion. It had three stories, with columns at the entrance and a garage connected to rest of the house. It was massive, like nowhere I had ever seen. It was hard to believe that it was a house and not a museum. "So, this your place?" I asked, hoping it was true. Zoe shook her head. Were there tears in her eyes? I touched her shoulder. She pulled back and shook her head again. "I'm fine. I'm ready." "Zoe," I said, "What are we doing here?" Zoe looked at me. "Didn't I say? We're going to burn this house down. You bought the lighter, right?" She was putting down the blanket but I saw now that she had been carrying something under it. In her hand was a red plastic tank. "You did it, right?" "Did what?" I said, realizing what she meant as I said it. "You burned the building down at your school. You're that guy, right?" "What are you asking me to do?"
"Help me. You know how, right?" I was outraged at what she was saying. "What the fuck do you think I've done?" "Keep it down, can you be quieter?" "What do you mean, keep it down?!" Zoe raised her hands to quiet me. Then I realized why she wasn't letting me yell. "Zoe, are there people in there?" She paused for a moment. I knew then that this had been something she had been planning for a while. She looked guilty and motioned to be quiet again. I started yelling at her and a light came on somewhere on the second floor, then I was running down the hill, back the way we came. Halfway down the driveway I stopped, tore through the bag, and threw the food on the ground. I found the red lighter in the mess and tore through the packet of cigarettes. Down at the car, the doors were unlocked but Zoe hadn't followed me, so I took one of the cigarettes out of my pocket, lit up, and got inside. The smoke whirled about me in the darkness and I could almost feel it coat the upholstery. Screw her and her father. Why the hell was I here? Had she only kissed me because she thought I could start another fire? I wasn't anyone's pyrotechnician. After another cigarette, Zoe came down the hill and put the trampled food in the back seat. I could hear the gasoline settling in the plastic tank as she shoved it into the trunk. Then Zoe got in the driver's seat. We sat in silence. I stared straight ahead, but I could see her shaking in the corner of my eye. I didn't know if I should pity her or get out and start walking. After a while she spoke. "I'm going to drive you back now." "I'd appreciate it," I muttered. "This whole night was a mistake," she said. "I don't even know you." I snorted. "What's so funny?" "Funny? You think this is funny, asking me to burn a house down for
you? With people in it? Funny? You are out of your mind. Do you think I'd teach you how? Jesus." "Iâ€”I wasn't thinking straight." The interior lights above us went out. The car went back to pitch black, but I could tell Zoe was crying because of how her voice wavered. "It's all been too much. I need to bring you back now." "Who lives in that house, Zoe?" Instead of answering, she turned the key. The car started, lights illuminating the cigarette smoke and Zoe's teary cheeks. The dashboard's dials climbed up to their limits and came back down to rest at their individual measurements. I watched as the fuel gauge rose halfway and stopped, and I sighed and settled back into my seat. Zoe stuck her hand out and I passed her a loose cigarette, which she put in her mouth, lighting it quickly. She opened the window as we darted back into the night with the cold air whistling past. Slumped over the steering wheel Zoe hardly touched the brakes the whole way to campus. I barely stepped out of the car before she took off. I watched her get to the end of the parking lot and I could hear the tires spraying the gravel about. The open door banged against the side of the car until it latched as she turned the corner and disappeared beyond the hill. Someone grabbed my shoulder. Seizing the back of my collar and yanking hard, I was spun around to face my assailant. It was Townsend, my dorm parent, his bald head shining in the moon's glow, the stars reflecting off his glasses. He was practically slobbering. "Gotcha this time, Silas." He barked and howled, dragging me backwards across the gravel. As I was pulled along by my nape, I jettisoned the loose cigarettes from my pocket by tearing them up and dropping them while I kicked at the gravel. He would probably notice the smell on me, but if there was no
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evidence, I wouldn't be bothered about it. The real issue was how I was going to explain getting out of the car. He had seen me get out, that much was certain, but I struggled to think what else he might try to pin on me. Had open mic already ended? Townsend the Terrible practically whirled me around his shoulder like a ballroom dancer as he shoved me towards the building. I opened the door and held it open for him, but he grabbed my collar again and threw me forward into the common room. "My office. Now!" he shouted, loud enough so that just about anyone on campus that was asleep would be wide awake. He stormed up the stairs to his office. "Where's Kyle?" Townsend yelled from above. Some boys playing cards in the common room were on their feet. For some, Townsend had never been so angry, but I'd seen it before, although he had just broken into new decibels as he let out a noise from the stairwell that only barely resembled my name. The sound didn't seem to just come from his throat. I needed to find some sort of excuse, quick. Each step up the stairs to Townsend's office was a struggle. As my legs carried me higher, I could feel my heart sinking in my chest and my head getting lighter. I had to calm down. What did they already know? I was certain that Cliff wouldn't have told Townsend, at least not already. He practically hated Townsend as much as I did anyway. I sighed and entered the office. There was a barren desk with a swiveling chair that faced a beaten couch. In that couch there had been many young offenders over the years, and the fabric was just as torn as the sofas in the common room. Townsend stormed out as I sat down. I pulled out my phone, quickly changed the name Zoe to Aunt Zoe, and deleted the contact photo of her in my shirt. I could hear the boys scrambling out of the living room as Townsend descended the stairs. Then I tried to call her, thinking of getting Zoe to say
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she was my aunt and how she made an impromptu visit that had taken me by surprise, but it rang out twice. It was useless. That psychopath wasn't going to cover for me. She was trying to frame me for the fire, I realized, as Townsend, closely followed by his lackey Kyle, burst into the room.
wouldn't believe anything else I said. I took a deep breath, and then my cell phone rang on the table. It had to have been her. I had called her and she was calling back. I was done. Townsend picked up my phone and put it to his ear, his eyes not once leaving mine. I felt an urge to
"This whole night was a mistake," she said. "I don't even know you." "Search him," said Townsend to Kyle, turning away for a moment to rustle in the desk drawers. Kyle nodded and I stood; we had been through this before. All that he found was my cell phone and Zoe's money, both of which he placed in front of Townsend. I thanked myself for the foresight to remove the cigarettes in the parking lot. I was also thankful for Cliff buying the food because he had the receipt and I didn't. Townsend sat on his desk, put one ankle on top of the other knee, and wiped at his bald head, dampening his hand, which he shook off onto the floor. "Silas," said Kyle, "Why didn't you sign out?" "I didn't sign out because I didn't think I was leaving," which was true, and I was able to say so without letting out a smile. A smirk was the sort of thing that would usually give me away. It felt so perfect in front of Townsend's shiny face, but Kyle's composure remained calm and blank. "What do you mean, Didn't think you were leaving? Where'd you go?" I paused. This next part was important. If I said it wrong, they
evacuate my bowels, but I crossed my legs and tried to look casual as my worst nightmares were being realized right in front of me. "And who is this, might I ask?" he said, still looking me right in my eyes. Kyle and I leaned in as the person on the other side spoke. Townsend seemed to wince, and then he took the phone off his ear for a moment and looked at the screen. His face turned flush. "I'm terribly sorry, Mrs.â€”? No no, no problem, just â€Ś oh I see. Uh that's Townsend. Townsend. T-O-WN-S-E-N-D." Townsend raised a finger at Kyle and ran out the door with my phone, saying, "No problem, no worries, we're all fine," which were the same words I was telling myself. Kyle shifted in his seat and shot me a questioning look. I shrugged. "Aunt Zoe," I replied, trying not to smile.
*** The Bow Shop is a full-length novel written by Jack Budd '19 over two terms in Bill Carpenter's classes, Starting your Novel and Advanced Fiction. This excerpt covers three chapters.
POETRY By Ite Sullivan '18
W.O.R.M. Growing up, my sister and I played a game. When mom was too sad to move We would put her lifeless weepy form onto a towel And drag her around the house. That way at least She got some sun. We were gentle when we moved her, gliding her around corners, Sliding her into patches of warm on the kitchen floor left by the sunshine Previously occupied by the angry cat. But once or twice we pulled hard, We wanted to see if trying harder would make her better Those were the worm days. Mama called them worm days.
Brooklyn 2002 East River He clipped the lock and I collected. If anyone asked we were looking for a cat. I shoved railroad spikes and old clay pipe Into an NPR tote bag. I pawed through oily sand to find 1800s medicine bottles. Sometimes I shoved crabs in my pocket I thought they would be happier in my yard. If the police came we hid. We went home smelling like low tide My father and I.
Brooklyn 2006 Trouble Will Find Me There were no trees to climb. We climbed fences. The crumbling buildings looked like canvas to us. We wrote our names with spray-paint. Stolen from my father. I came home with silver palms And eyes like skillets.
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ALUMNI NOTES 1979
The play Strait of Gibraltar by Andrea Lepcio premiered at Synchronicity Theatre in Atlanta, GA in April and will be produced in 2018 at American Stage in St. Petersburg, FL. Additionally, Andrea's Tunnel Vision received a second production at Venus Theatre in Laurel, MD in May. She will have a reading in New York City this November of the Ensemble Studio Theatre/Sloan Foundation commission of her play World Avoided to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol ozone treaty. Andrea taught Dramatic Writing for Stage and Screen at COA last spring; this fall, she's been teaching playwriting for the Dramatists Guild Institute online, and she's now a certified personal trainer.
Out in the "eccentric mountain town" of Crestone, CO, Peter Anderson has published Heading Home: Field Notes, a collection of short essays, flash prose, and prose poems. The book, published by Conundrum Press, contains "observations, recollections, and stories along the way where home is understood as a work in progress and the way is a road that never ends." (See page 48.) As the food programs manager for Healthy Acadia in Maine's Washington County, non-degree alumna Regina Grabrovac utilizes her human ecology background to encourage students and the community to interact with local resources, promoting healthy bodies and a healthy environment. She recently led a blueberry gleaning operation, yielding 366 pints of blueberries on just the first day.
William McLellan, co-coordinator of the Marine Mammal Program
at University of North Carolina Wilmington, has been nominated for the 2018 Indianapolis Prize, which recognizes conservationists who have achieved major victories in advancing the sustainability of animal species. Bill was nominated for his more than 30 years of contributions to identifying marine mammal mortality factors around the world.
Women Magazine. Heather, her two sons, partner, and multiple animals are settling into their new home in Brunswick, ME.
As his guide service, DC Cycling Concierge (dccyclingconcierge. com) continues to grow, Jeff Miller writes that he's "had the honor to lead some rides for the US State Department's sports diplomacy program, partnering with George Mason University." He's now North American VP for CycleLifeHQ (cyclelifehq.com), seeking to make destination communities more bicycle friendly and increase cycling tourism. At home, he and his wife, Lotte, adopted the children they've fostered since 2014, and have moved into their own house in Brookland, a northeast DC neighborhood. Friends welcome!
Michael Kattner married Kevin Gum on July 14, 2014 and became the new branch librarian for the Dauphin County Library System near Harrisburg, PA in November 2016.
Deborah Keisch has joined the faculty at University of Massachusetts Amherst in the office of Civic Engagement and Service-Learning. In addition to teaching, Deborah directs a two-year leadership development and civic engagement program. She lives in Northampton, where she enjoys the beauty of western Massachusetts with her children, Willa, 10, and Jasper, 8, and their rescued black lab.
Back from her internship with the Denver Art Museum, Heather Martin is nearly finished with her MLA in museum studies from Harvard University. She is now executive director at Arts Are Elementary and writes for Maine
Having received her JD from the University of Maine, and a master's in environmental law and policy from Vermont Law School, Jenny (Douville) Van Horne is now enrolled in an LLM program in taxation at Boston University Law School. In September 2016 she opened Buzz Maine (buzzmaine. com), a co-working space with cafĂŠ and bar in Damariscotta, which she describes as her "take on the 21st century workday."
COA indicates non-degree alumni by parentheses around their class year. COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE
THE BLACK FLY SOCIETY IS FOR EVERYONE!
Lindsay Parrie and her husband, Levi, welcomed daughter Lainey this spring. "We are totally in love, and enjoy introducing Lainey to her new world."
The Black Fly Society was established to make donating to COA's Annual Fund easier and greener. Anyone can join this swarm of sustaining donors by setting up a paperless monthly online gift.
(Please make checks out to College of the Atlantic.)
Questions? 207-801-5625 44
"couldn't be happier or more in love." In February, Peter Jenkins '09 and Amanda Spector joined Sean, Heather, and "future COA student" Sabastion in Abingdon, MD, and in April, the family visited the National Zoo with (from left to right) Emily Argo '10 and Sarah Kebler.
Back in Maine from Denver, CO, John Deans, his wife, Liia Uustal, their dog, Odin, and cat, Gambit, moved into their new house in Bowdoinham. John is now campaign director for the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.
Follow the instructions at coa.edu/donatenow. If you want to give by mail: COA Annual Fund 105 Eden Street Bar Harbor, ME 04609
Lea Berg, is growing into a "joyful, curious, determined, and fearless" child, writes Heather. She and Sean
In December 2016, Kayla Hartwell received her PhD in anthropology, with a specialization in primatology from Canada's University of Calgary. Kayla's doctoral thesis was a study of the unique fission-fusion social organization of spider monkeys in Belize.
Sabastion Thomas Berg, born Jan. 19, 2017 to Sean Thomas and Heather
Ramona Jane Schwach was born healthy and happy on April 25, 2017 to Marni Berger and Leo Schwach. Writes Marni, "She enjoys hanging out, a (very) solid meal, kisses on her cheeks, and a lick from her dogs on her toes. Thanks to Ramona, there is even more love in the world!" Living in North East, MD with her "best friend and special needs cat," Professor Pacha Wiggles, Jo Cosgrove works as an outdoor educator at Northbay Adventure Camp, a nonprofit that provides five-day immersive environmental science and character-building programs to middle school students on a 93-acre waterfront campus in Elk Neck State Park. Writes Jo, "Feeling very much like I'm in the right place at the right time, working with a mix of rural, urban, and underserved students." COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE
Michael Diaz-Griffith has been named associate executive director of the Winter Antiques Show in New York City, a well-known art, antiques, and design fair. Writes Michael, "the show is surprisingly human ecological. Antiques are green." Net proceeds benefit the East Side House Settlement, a nationally recognized community-based organization in the South Bronx. Working with Scott Kraus '77 as her advisor, Laura Howes began a master's in biology at University of Massachusetts Boston, pursuing research in large whale conservation. Laura currently directs the whale watch naturalist and field research programs for Boston Harbor Cruises/ New England Aquarium Whale Watch and is a member of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council, which she enjoys immensely. "It's human ecology in action!" she writes.
On Sept. 4, 2016, Peter Jenkins and Amanda Spector '08 were married in North Andover, MA. Among the guests were many COA friends, including (from left to right): Heather Berg '08, Sean Berg '08, Amanda, Peter, faculty member John Anderson, his wife Karen Anderson, Neith Little, Charlie Fisher '07 (behind Neith), Neith's husband Andrew Davis, Jay Guarneri '06, Farrell Campbell, and Emma Rearick '08. Shawn Aylward also attended. Amanda and Peter recently moved to Milton, VT with their two cats, Myron and Lester. In June 2017, Helena Shilomboleni received her PhD from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, CA. Her COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE
thesis examines the respective contributions to food security and sustainability in Mozambique from the African green revolution and food sovereignty efforts. Family and friends from Namibia, Maine, Chicago, and Ontario joined her for the ceremony.
Miller-McDonald '09, and Noah Hodgetts '10. Not shown is Philip's father, trustee emeritus Philip Kunhardt III '74.
Noah Hodgetts and Sandra Woods were married on Sept. 3 at the Enfield Shaker Museum in Enfield, NH. Joining them were Neil Oculi '11, Adelina Mkami '11, Taj Schottland, Lillian Weitzman, and Glen Berkowitz '82.
In 2016, after returning to the Maldives to work on projects connected to climate change at Transparency International Maldives and the United Nations Development Programme, Hajja Naseem received a master's degree in environment from Australia's University of Melbourne. She's since worked for the Maldivian Red Crescent, a volunteer-driven, nonprofit humanitarian organization.
In June, Philip Kunhardt IV celebrated his 2015 marriage to Laura Torre with a wedding ceremony in Stroudsburgh, PA. In the photo are (left to right) Dan Rueters-Ward '09, Philip, Sam
Scout Picard writes that she and her partner, Mike, welcomed "a future human ecologist to their family. Joey was born on June 21, the summer solstice, at 5:24 pm."
Hazel Stark (right in photo) and Joe Horn, cofounders of the Milbridgebased Maine Outdoor School, L3C (maineoutdoorschool.org), hired Ellie Oldach '15 (left in photo) as their summer outdoor educator. In August, the three were involved in the Maine Migrant Education Program's Blueberry Harvest School, with Ellie leading daily outdoor exploration classes. The school, says Hazel, "is dedicated to fostering personal and community resilience through outdoor learning experiences for learners of all ages."
Tasha Ball and Evan Griffith '11, "proudly welcomed their newest human ecologist to the world on May 24, 2017." Owen Francis Griffith was born at home, "on a beautiful spring, lilac-blooming morning," with Heather Wight as the attending doula. Evan works as a carpenter for Silver Maple Construction. Tasha is the administrative director for The Willowell Foundation, a landuse organization with educational programs integrating science, art, and the humanities. The two bought a home in Bristol, VT, which they worked on while on maternity and paternity leave. Julia DeSantis Maiorana and Matt Maiorana '10 recently moved to Madison, WI where Julia has begun medical school at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. "I'm looking forward to making new friends, learning how to care for the whole person, and fighting bias and systems of oppression in healthcare," she writes. Matt continues to fight the fossil fuel industry and advocate for clean energy with Oil Change International. Julia's parents were able to attend her white coat ceremony before returning to New York to drive their youngest, Sophia DeSantis '20, to begin her studies at COA.
After completing her COA MPhil in January 2017, Lisa Bjerke joined GreenerU in greater Boston where she is program manager for change management, supporting
universities in defining and meeting sustainability and carbon reduction goals. She writes, "I enjoy living in Boston and volunteering with Clean Water Action and Boston Zero Waste Alliance. Anyone passing through Boston is welcome to reach out!" Singer/songwriter Jeana DeLaire released the album Somewhere Moving with her band, Great Gale. Jeana wrote most of the songs on the album while at COA. Having been interviewed on a Boston-based radio show, she writes, "I am superexcited about the traction it has been gaining." Download the album on iTunes or Spotify, and watch for her podcast. (See page 51.)
In August 2016, Hannah Mathilde Little Waschezyn was promoted to a full-time position, got married (changing her name), and bought a home in Corning, NY.
Rebecca Coombs is one of the primary authors of Pathways to 100, a guide to 100% renewable energy for cities, available at mc-group.com. She now works in Berlin, Germany for the parent company of Meister Consultants Group, an international sustainability consulting firm specializing in energy, climate, water, and mobility.
Cayla Moore and Stephen Wagner '11 "happily share the news of the birth of their daughter, Greta Jane," born May 7, 2017, in Portland, ME.
In June, Anna Sagatov presented her film, Red, Green, and Blue: How Politics Colors our Views on Climate Change (vimeo.com/217758736), at the Citizens' Climate Lobby national conference. The film focuses on the climate change opinions of conservatives, exploring a bipartisan policy solution.
Early this summer, Kyle Shank accepted the position of manager of advanced analytics at The Hershey Company in Hershey, PA. He and his wife, Allison, also welcomed Gideon Scot Shank, born May 23, 2017. "We are excited (and exhausted) with all of the changes and look forward to a more relaxing fall!" Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler has joined the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, an international land stewardship organization, as project coordinator for land conservation programs. Based in Cambridge, MA, he's working both locally and
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internationally with best practices and case studies on private land conservation.
Earlier this year, Rowan Kase became Central Distributors' fine wine sales representative for Downeast Maine. He also works as a sommelier at Havana, one of the restaurants owned by Michael Boland '94. Rowan and Niko Barbetti '18 are now engaged and are "happily planning our wedding, which will take place on MDI."
Marina Cucuzza has enrolled in a dual master's program in marine biology and marine policy at the University of Maine. Her research explores the human and environmental dimensions of coastal sustainability. Her thesis work at the Marine Conservation Science and Policy Lab is focused on resilience and management of Maine's coastal fishing communities in the face of ecological and social change. Above, Marina is conducting a sea sampling survey aboard a lobster boat.
As a summer wilderness ranger intern in Colorado's White River National Forest, Anneke Hart spent four days a week backpacking through wilderness areas, educating visitors on wilderness ethics, clearing trails using primitive tools, and enforcing regulations. Former COA biologist Nishanta Rajakaruna '94 writes that Ian Medeiros received the highly competitive National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, following Nishi's earlier students Luka Negoita '11 and Nathaniel Pope '07 in receiving this award. Alumni! We love hearing from you. Tell us about yourself, your work, your family, your creations. Send notes to firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEW ALUMNI TRUSTEES Michael Boland '94 The first restaurant that Michael Boland opened in Bar Harbor was named Rupununi, after a river in South America's Guyana where Michael censused the pink river dolphins for his senior project. He no longer owns that, but still has the Bar Harbor cafĂŠ Choco-lattĂŠ, and is co-owner of Havana with its outdoor Argentinian grill Parilla, and a partner in the Islesford Dock Restaurant on Little Cranberry Island. He's also on the board of the historic art deco Criterion Theatre in Bar Harbor. He served as president of the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce and as a board member for the Abbe Museum and Maine Conservation Voters. Diana Kombe '06 Following COA, Diana Kombe received a master's degree in business from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She currently works in the rare disease division at Sanofi Genzyme as a product manager focused on the genetic disorder known as Gaucher. Previously, she served as a life sciences business consultant at ZS Associates in Boston, Massachusetts. Diana is originally from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, coming to COA from the United World College Atlantic College in Wales. She has extensive experience working with healthcare organizations and conducting biomedical research, including at The Jackson Laboratory.
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books & music NON-FICTION Peter Anderson '81 bowerhousebooks.com Heading Home: Field Notes Conundrum Press, 2017 A gathering of observations, recollections, and stories of roads through the mountains and deserts of the American West, ending in a town of mystics, misfits, and mountain dwellers.
Donna Gold We Never Knew Any Different: Stockton Springs Stories of the Past Century Northern Lights Press, 2017 personalhistory.org Stories of coastal Maine from 1900 to 1950 collected through oral histories conducted by the COA editor. Amy Goodman ('79)
First Church of the Higher Elevations: Mountains, Prayer, and Presence Conundrum Press, 2015 Essays set on an island of mountains in Utah's red rock country, in a Colorado ghost town, on a mountain above America's most toxic county, and more, exploring the ecology of story, spirituality, and landscape. Liz Cunningham '82 Ocean Country: One Woman's Journey from Peril to Hope in Her Quest to Save the Seas North Atlantic Books, 2015 lizcunningham.net An adventure story, call to action, and poetic meditation on the state of the seas. (See Fall 2015.) Sarah Drummond '05 A Southeast Alaska Sketchbook Blurb Books, 2015 sarahdrummondart.com Paintings and sketches from several years of Alaskan travel and work.
Democracy Now!: Twenty Years Covering the Movements Changing America Simon & Schuster, 2017 simonandschuster.com A celebration of the changes Amy and David Goodman have seen over the decades of their radio and television news programâ€”and the heroes who have produced lasting progress. Paul Grabhorn ('81) Seeking Light: Portraits of Humanitarian Action in War Viking, 2015 seekinglightbook.org From Abkhazia to South Africa, Colombia to the Philippines, Paul Grabhorn traveled with the International Committee of the Red Cross, photographing the aid and need of people caught by struggle. (See Spring 2015.) Hannah Hirsch '16 Contemporary Rug Hooking of Maine: the Artist's Perspective Blurb, Inc., 2015 blurb.com A survey of nine contemporary Maine rug hooking artists.
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FICTION AND POETRY John P. Jacob '81 Inge Morath: On Style Abrams, 2016 abramsbooks.com Revealing the vital forms of fashion and self-expression that blossomed in postwar Europe and the United States. Harlem Heroes: Photographs by Carl Van Vechten Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2016 americanart.si.edu/books Central figures of the Harlem Renaissance photographed by Carl Van Vechten (1880â€“1964). Ernst Haas: On Set Steidl Verlag, 2015 steidl.de/books The film stills of Ernst Haas (1921â€“86). Anne Kozak and Susan Leiter The Wild Gardens of Acadia Arcadia Publishing, 2016 arcadiapublishing.com A view into the creation of the 18 habitats in the gardens at Sieur de Monts Spring, by writing faculty member Anne Kozak. (See Fall 2016.) Gregory Stone '82 and Nishan Degnarain The Soul of the Sea in the Age of the Algorithm: How Tech Startups Can Heal the Oceans Leetes Island Books and The World Ocean Observatory, 2017 leetesislandbooks.com A manifesto for a healthier ocean, a road map to a more prosperous coexistence with our planet, and a call for a new generation of systems leaders.
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Peter Anderson '81 and Rick Kempa, editors Going Down Grand: Poems from the Canyon Lithic Press, 2015 lithicpress.com An anthology of Grand Canyon poetry, with work by cowboys, river-runners, artists, geologists, rangers, and more. Jacqueline (Ramos) Bullard '07 Erased by the Tide Jacqueline Bullard, 2016 amazon.com Begun at COA, this novel tells of a young woman grappling with her heritage as a first-generation American and the accompanying pulls of family, secrets, and anxiety. Set on the coast of California, the plot centers around the bonds of sisterhood. Heather Hayden '15 Augment Heather Hayden, 2015 hhaydenwriter.com By government-enforced mandate, genetic augmentation and implant technology cannot coexist in the same human body. Sixteen-year-old Viki's life has depended on her implants since she was five. Now they are failing. Sonja Johanson '95 boaatpress.com/sonja-johanson Trees in Our Dooryards Red Bird Chapbooks, 2016 Loving both words and plants, master gardener Sonja Johanson's poems take us through Maine's gardens, woods, and meadows, gathering seeds and images.
(Sonja Johanson '95 cont'd) all those ragged scars Choose the Sword Press, 2015 An exploration of being female and of growing up at the intersection of poverty and conservatism while the media portrays women as independent and empowered. Impossible Dovetail Silver Birch Press, 2015 Silver Birch Press celebrated the year 2015 by asking 15 poets each to contribute 15 pages of poetry to a chapbook collection, entitled IDES, released on the ides of October. Daniel Mahoney Quantum Entanglement Birds Piled Loosely Press, 2017 birdspiledloosely.com Part memoir, part letter to his daughter, this prose poem by writing lecturer Daniel Mahoney juxtaposes childhood adventures and misadventures in California with the experiences of his East Coast children. Sunblind Almost Motorcrash Spork Press, 2015 sporkpress.com A book and cassette of microfictions, reviewing imaginary albums and the imaginary bands that created them. (See Fall 2015.) Kirsten Stockman '91 Remembered Earth Maine Authors Publishing, 2016 kirstenstockman.com When the orphaned Anna Garland moves in with her recently widowed aunt, the two decide to make a new life on the Kansas prairie. A coming-of-age novel about a young woman deeply connected to the land and to the 1954 truck she restores. (See Spring 2017.)
FOR CHILDREN Ryan T. Higgins '06 ryanthiggins.com BE QUIET! Disney-Hyperion, 2017 Rupert the mouse longs to star in a beautiful, wordless picture book, only his friends just won't stop talking. Bruce's Big Move (Mother Bruce) Disney-Hyperion, 2017 The third in Ryan Higgins' Mother Bruce series, in which Bruce the bear, finding himself with three rowdy mice as well as four geese, sets out to find a rodent-free household. Hope Rowan, MPhil '98 Ten Days in Acadia: A Kids' Hiking Guide to Mount Desert Island Islandport Press, 2017 islandportpress.com A hiking guide and nature journal, written from a 12-year-old's perspective to encourage children to go outdoorsâ€”from hikes to swims, to observations of flora and fauna.
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HELP AND HOW-TO
Georgia (Douillet) Barberi '94
Jeana DeLaire '13
CSyAy! Inspiration, Resources, and Recipes for Your Community Supported Agriculture Farm Share TBM Books, 2015 shoptbmbooks.com
Somewhere Moving, 2017 tammyandjeana.com
Tips, recipes, and insider information to enhance a CSA membership.
Jeana DeLaire's first album, performed with her band Great Gale, features her songwriting, singing, and guitar playing. Aaron Jonah Lewis '05
Emily Bracale '90 In the Lyme Light II Maine Authors Publishing, 2014 inthelyme-light.com Emily Bracale offers her story of healing from Lyme, hoping to help others. This volume is revised and updated from her 2011 edition, with nine new chapters and paintings. Kate Gatski '98 with Kate Shoup Starting an Etsy Business John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2017 wiley.com Details on how to to start and run a successful Etsy business. Glen H. Mittelhauser '89 with additional contributors The Plants of Baxter State Park University of Maine Press, 2016 mainenaturalhistory.org A field guide to the plants of one of the most ecologically diverse protected sites in the Northeast. Bane (Brittany) Shaheen '07 Narrative Engineering, Vol. 1: The Narrative Spine Bane Shaheen, 2017 amazon.com For writers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, a guide to the narrative spine through an interdisciplinary approach to intersectional, feminist stories.
(See Spring 2016.) aaronjonahlewis.com LIVE, Mostly Aaron Jonah Lewis & Ben Belcher, 2017 You Bring Out the Hamster in Me Joe Troop & Aaron Jonah Lewis, 2017 Good Job Everybody Corn Potato String Band, 2017 Put On Your Old Grey Bonnet Corn Potato String Band, 2016 Corn Potato String Band, Volume Two Corn Potato String Band, 2015 Multi-instrumentalist, prolific performer and educator, Aaron plays old-time, traditional, and bluegrass music. Mastering engineering by Katie Gilchrest '05 on the 2017 albums. Cora Rose (Lewicki) '10 (See Fall 2014.) corarose.com Flight & Fire, 2018 An album pushing creative boundaries into new genres and sounds, including collaborations with Nashville-based songwriter and producer, Akshay Narang. Time Marches Forward, 2018 An album of original songs, "true to the heart of the genre I have always loved, will always love, and will always call home: folk." Six Girls in Nashville, 2017 A collaboration with five Nashvillebased female singer-songwriters.
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WHY I GIVE Abby Rowe ('98) COA trustee since January 2017 I started giving to COA in 2007. Between work and my degrees, I am affiliated with four higher ed institutions and only donate to COA. I was a visiting student at COA from Cornell University, where I was majoring in functional design. COA's education classes, coupled with time in Acadia National Park, were two of many factors that swayed me toward pursuing a career in outdoor education, rather than design. The classes inspired me to work for Hurricane Island Outward Bound, committing many years to bouncing around this granite coastline in small boats, and later to pursuing outdoor education work elsewhere. I don't anticipate that changing anytime soon. I donate to COA for the same reasons I found it easy and exciting to work in admissions at COA: I believe in the institution, I believe it walks its talk, and I believe in its mission, ethics, and the way it helps students to connect dots that may not always appear related. COA is what college is supposed to be, but so rarely is. This is what the future of higher education in this country needs to be.
"Why Ecology Needs Natural History," an article by John Anderson, W.H. Drury Professor of Ecology/Natural History has been published in American Scientist. John has also joined the Program Advisory Board of the Hurricane Island Foundation. In their Great West course this fall, John and Ken Cline, faculty member in law and public policy, visited Erica Maltz '08 (in blue in the photo), fisheries biologist for the Burns Paiute Tribe in Burns, OR, and Etta Kralovec, former director of COA's education program, and honorary MPhil, who is in Bisbee, AZ. In Arizona, they were also joined by COA biologist Steve Ressel. A three-minute animation sequence from The Strange Eyes of Dr. Myes, by Nancy Andrews, faculty member in performance art and video production, is part of a 24/7 screening at Los Angeles' Automata Arts, courtesy of the Peephole Cinema, lasting into 2018. An episodic version of the film also aired on the online outlet Labocine this summer. In October, Nancy presented an installation art exhibit, Greatest Hits, in Otter Creek, ME. Her illustration for an article by Leslie Sofia Pareja Eide, "Delirium hos eldre innlagt på hjerteavdeling," came out in the Norwegian Sykepleien. no in autumn. Nancy also spoke in October at the 10th anniversary Imagine Science Film Festival's event "Generating Transgenic Cinema" in New York City. Jill Barlow-Kelley, internships and career services director, completed
mentor training at the Restorative Justice Project in Belfast, ME. Her interest stemmed from a visit with Ursa Beckford '17 (see page 24) during his internship at the project. Its mission—responding to crime and wrongdoing by seeking renewal and safety for the community, support and healing for victims, and accountability and reintegration of the offender—is important to Jill, having worked with young people within the criminal justice system prior to COA. In June, Rich Borden, Rachel Carson Chair in Human Ecology, visited and gave lectures at several European human ecology programs: Universidade Nova de Lisboa in Portugal and Oxford University, University of Edinburgh, St. Andrews University, and the Commonwealth Human Ecology Council in Great Britain. In August, he attended the Ecological Society of America council meeting in Portland, OR and cochaired its human ecology activities.
Traveling with John Anderson, biology faculty member, and Donna Gold, magazine editor, Bill Carpenter, faculty member in literature and creative writing, visited Kent Island in the Bay of Fundy, off Canada's Grand Manan. For John it was a visit to Bowdoin College's island seabird research station, similar to Great Duck Island. For Bill it was a return to the place where he'd spent teenage summers banding petrels, guillemots, and gulls. Both Bill and John spoke about COA and its work to the current researchers.
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A May concert at the Maine Center for the Arts featured Capriccio for Orchestra (The Sublime Struggle), composed by John Cooper, faculty member in music. John was commissioned to create the piece for the Maine All-State Orchestra by the Maine Music Educators Organization in commemoration of its 100th anniversary. (See page 18.)
Maine." The three-year grant also funds eight undergraduate research fellows through a joint initiative, the Sustainable Food Systems Research Collaborative. Additionally, COA's Food Systems Working Group organized the 13th Annual Farm Day at Beech Hill Farm in September, with a keynote address on farm and food policy by Congresswoman Chellie Pingree '79 (see page 57), followed by a food policy panel with local experts. Jennifer Czifrik is leaving her post managing COA's dining room to become general manager of a new restaurant opening at Sugarloaf. Writes Lise DesRochers, "We will greatly miss Jen's caring, funny, and passionate personality."
Last spring, Ken Cline, David Rockefeller Family Chair in Ecosystem Management and Protection, spent his sabbatical in New Zealand visiting national parks and researching conservation and indigenous rights issues. In meetings with Maori leaders, legal scholars, academics, and conservation experts, he discussed conservation efforts, protected area management, and the legal relationship between Maori and the New Zealand government. The academic and personal highlight of the trip was a Maori-guided multiday canoe trip down the Whanganui River, which has been recently recognized as a legal person under New Zealand law. In addition to conservation professionals and park managers, Ken met up with New Zealand alumni Oliver Bruce '10 and Amber Igasia '15. Kourtney Collum, Partridge Chair in Food and Sustainable Agriculture Systems, helped secure a $500,000 USDA grant to fund research on maple syrup and honey production in Maine. She is collaborating with researchers from the University of Maine on the project, "Finding the Sweet Spot: Scale Challenges and Opportunities for Beekeeping and Maple Syrup Production in
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Anna Demeo, former director of energy education and management, has taken a position at Canada's University of Prince Edward Island to build its program in energy sustainability. Writes Darron Collins '92, COA president, "she revolutionized the way we understand energy on campus, on MDI, and elsewhere. Through her leadership, we know what we consume, where our energy comes from, and have a plan to move toward a campus free of fossil fuels. Equally important, Anna has helped get us here through collaboration with faculty, students, the Campus Committee for Sustainability, COA's governance system, and the MDI community." Quantum Entanglement, the recent chapbook of writing lecturer Daniel Mahoney, inspired Dave Feldman, physics and math faculty member, to write "Field Theory," a short lyric memoir to be published in the fall issue of the magazine Bateau. In June and July, Dave directed the Santa Fe Institute's interdisciplinary Complex Systems Summer School, attended by some 70 graduate students, postdocs, and researchers. In August, he
participated in a weeklong workshop on the mathematics and law of apportionment and gerrymandering at Tufts University. Dave's Introduction to Chaos and Fractals MOOC was offered this fall at chaos. complexityexplorer.org; his Fractals and Scaling MOOC will begin early in 2018. He also gave a speech at the April 29 Bar Harbor climate change march. Former admission assistant director Nina Emlen has moved on to pursue her own business as a birth and postpartum doula, emlenfamilydoula.com. In spring, Jay Friedlander, SharpeMcNally Chair of Green and Socially Responsible Business, led an interdisciplinary faculty seminar at Mexico's Tec de Monterrey on using the abundance cycle concept to create courses centered on fulfilling the United Nations' sustainable development goals. Following that, Jay presented at the AshokaU Changeleader gathering in Sundance, UT, focusing universities on social enterprise. This summer, Jay took two trips to Osakikamijima, Japan to help build the island's educational platform, bringing a consortium of institutions, including Brown, Cornell, Hamilton, and the New School, on the first trip. On the second trip he joined Ken Hill, academic dean, and Jodi Baker, performing arts faculty member, in facilitating the summer Human Ecology Lab, or HELIO, with 25 students from COA and colleges in the US, Australia, Mexico, and Japan. This fall, Jay presented on student exchange programs with the Maine delegation for the Arctic Circle Assembly. Sarah Hall, Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Chair in Earth Systems and GeoSciences, accompanied Spencer Gray III '17, at both the NortheastCentral Geological Society of America meeting in Pittsburgh, PA and the Geological Society of Maine at Bates College to present ongoing research
projects. In June, Sarah co-taught an environmental geoscience field methods professional development course in eastern California with faculty from Mt. San Antonio College and University of San Francisco. Students hailed from both COA and the California institutions, and connected with stakeholders in natural laboratories that included Yosemite National Park, Mono Lake Basin, and the Southern Sierra Nevada Critical Zone Observatory. Ezra Hallett '17 has joined COA's admissions team as counselor and recruitment travel coordinator. An MDI native, he's worked with teens for years as a track and football coach and mentor. The financial aid office welcomes Amy McIntire, who had been a 13-year member of the business office, as assistant to the director of financial aid. Amy takes over from Dominika Delmastro who has moved on from COA.
Working with the government, nonprofit groups, and COA students, Chris Petersen, ecology and biology faculty member, has been doing local ecological restoration, monitoring, and policy work. In April, before the May alewife run, he worked on the Somesville fish ladder with staff and student volunteers. Pictured are, front row, left to right: Barbara Meyers '90, COA head gardener, Analise Wittenberg '20, Emma Ober '20, Katie Clark '19, Chris,
Teagan White '18, Sterling Ford '20 (in the pink hat), Rose Edwards '18, Heather Sieger '19, Nick Tonti '19, and John Correa, community member. In the back row are Alan Brackett and Kelly LaRue of the Jackson Lab, Bruce Connery of Acadia National Park, and another community member. In May, along with Ellie Oldach '15 and Schoodic Institute's Hannah Webber, Chris co-organized a Rockweed Rodeo at Sullivan Falls with the Downeast Conservation Network, explaining the policy and biology of intertidal harvesting and ecology to stakeholders, furthering ongoing rockweed research. Chris also worked with Katie Clark '19, Heather Sieger '19, and the Maine Department of Marine Resources to survey mussel beds in upper Frenchman Bay. And in July, Chris gave a talk on sea-level rise to the Island Heritage Trust at its annual meeting in Deer Isle, Maine.
In August, Steve Ressel, biology faculty member, and Mikey Cornish '19 presented the poster "Preliminary Assessment of Salt Tolerance in Coastal Breeding Spotted Salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) in Acadia National Park, ME" at the Northeast Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation's annual meeting, held at the Mountain Lake Biological Station in Virginia. Other student authors on the poster were Sidney Anderson '19, Xochitl Ortiz Ross '18, and Hunter Bischoff '20. Also
at the meeting was Sarah Colletti '10 (on the right of the photo, with Mikey and Steve), who works for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries as a mussel recovery specialist. In June, Bonnie Tai, faculty member in education, participated in the Mind & Life Summer Research Institute in Garrison, NY. The focus was on intersubjectivity and social connectivity. Working with Rob Brown ('99), economics faculty member Davis Taylor published "Owning Maine's Future: Fostering a Cooperative Economy in Maine" in Maine Policy Review, Volume 26. Find it at digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/ mpr. Davis serves on the board of the Cooperative Development Institute, which does technical assistance and policy work related to cooperative development in New York and New England. Sean Todd, Steven K. Katona Chair in Marine Sciences and Allied Whale director, consulted with the M/V Seabourn Sojourn as a naturalist and guide helping to develop a new ecotourist route for Alaska. In August, he was in Washington, DC at the Teaching Company, where he shot and starred in the Great Courses series he helped develop, "Life in the World's Ocean: from Phytoplankton to Marine Mammals." The course will be released in March 2018. Later that month, Sean joined the ship Le Boreal in a transect of the Northwest Passage, collecting data for Allied Whale's humpback whale photo-identification catalogs. In October, with his Marine Mammals class and Allied Whale students, he attended the Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
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IN MEMORIAM DAVID ROCKEFELLER
ANOUK DE FONTAINE '14
JUNE 12, 1915–MARCH 20, 2017
JUNE 22, 1990–JUNE 3, 2017
I learned the egalitarian nature of David Rockefeller's friendship in August 2011. I hadn't been COA's president for more than a few weeks when I was at a summer event getting to know the MDI community. Down the drive came a beautiful, white Cadillac. I pulled myself together and joined the throng of people. "Mr. Rockefeller," I said, "I'm the new president of COA and I—" "Hello, Darron," he said, "it's great to meet you. I'm excited to see COA has an alumnus at the helm." His handshake meant I was a new member of David Rockefeller's family of friends. This is the family that had given COA the Peggy Rockefeller Farms in 2010. Seeking to show some of the returns on their investment, we gathered in the barn with David, five of his six children, our farm manager, and a group of students. It was the hottest day of the year and the working barn was full of the most pungent smells and thick with flies. At 97, David sat down on a hay bale for an hour and a half. He was completely engaged, hanging on every word of every student as they described their research on the farm. There was never a sense of looking beyond the shoulder for something more interesting, only complete commitment to the moment, to the individual, to the institution. Though had a beetle shown up, it might have been different. David Rockefeller collected more than 150,000 specimens of Coleopteran, the beetle. Why? In beetles I suspect he found intrigue in what is fundamentally important and beauty beyond the obvious and in the diverse. He appreciated overlooked detail and knew that the more you look, the more you see. In David's collection of beetles, I believe we find a father of big ideas, those that try to get at what it means to be human on this planet. —Darron Collins '92, COA president
Our dear friend Anouk de Fontaine passed away surrounded by family and loved ones in her home in Belgium. She had battled an aggressive gastric cancer for a year, a struggle that she and her family chose to keep private. During her last months, Anouk visited family and close friends; then, with friends and family present, married her long-term lover and dear friend, Rhubini Kunasegaran, in a hospital ceremony full of laughter and song. Anouk enjoyed her life to the fullest and fought with a formidable spirit. An incredible dancer, loyal friend, and beautiful soul, Anouk understood movement and music as powerful tools to heal and connect. She had studied dance as medicine on a year-long Watson fellowship, returning home to her family and medical school. Her spirit and memory remain alive among those who loved her, who were inspired by her passion for living a life full of magic, growth, music, dancing, and community. —Andrea Molina '13 and Bronwyn Clément '13 Rhubini tells us that in her final days, Anouk sat up in bed to proclaim, Life says fuck you to death. She lived as if she had all the time in the world. And for her friends she did have all the time; she would make it by some quiet witchcraft. But Anouk had dreams, plans; not time. She wanted to help people. Heal them. And she did. In death Anouk did something we all aspire to in life: she brought people together. She leaves us not with grief but motivation. Love grows in grief's soil and flowers into community. But this garden is not a wild one; we must tend it. It means loving ourselves and others, defining that love; practicing it. There are bonds stronger than death. There is love beyond this life. And there is work to be done, the work of healing the world, of loving and holding each other, which we must continue. For Anouk. For ourselves. —Nathan Thanki '14
LUCY HONIG MAY 7, 1948–SEPTEMBER 18, 2017
In the fall of 1980, Lucy Honig was COA's registrar, and I was interviewing for a part-time position. As a townie, COA was a bit daunting, but Lucy made me feel right at home. She had a great smile, a terrific and spontaneous laugh, and a way of making one feel valued and appreciated. Prior to COA she had been homesteading in Northern Maine, so a nine-to-five job was quite different for her, but she excelled! Lucy went on to publish three books of short stories and two novels, including Picking Up. It was a joy to know her and work with her. —Marie Stivers, academic and administrative services director
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Our Back Pages
What is that blurry object, and from where is this photo taken? Recovered memory, thanks to Lewis Poteet, an early friend of the college. 56
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The Education of Congresswoman Chellie Pingree '79 Excerpted from her Farm Day speech, September 20, 2017 at Beech Hill Farm My grandparents were farmers; we used to visit on weekends, but I was like a lot of kids who have a family farm who say, I'm never going to be a farmer. I grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota and went to high school at the height of the Vietnam War, when there was a lot of chaosâ€”in some ways not unlike what we're experiencing today. A lot of questioning of how should government function, do we trust it? I spent my last year of high school at an experimental school in Massachusetts, visited College of the Atlantic, got a copy of Helen and Scott Nearing's book Living the Good Life, and decided to move to Maine and go back to the land with a boy who was in high school with me. That's how I ended up on North Haven, which has been my home since 1971. We lived at the end of a dirt road, no running water, no electricity. We had the Nearing book, the Whole Earth Catalogue, and Mother Earth News. We learned a lot, but not enough to live off the land. My partner went to boatbuilding school, and I was lucky enough to come to COA. Heading the composting operation was one of my work-study jobs. I worked in the greenhouse, took technical classes around plant physiology and soil science, and then Eliot Coleman, one of the gurus of organic farming, came. He taught me the basics of what I needed to know. In 1977, I rented a farm. We had three milking cows, a hundred chickens, and a couple of acres of vegetables. Today, at our Turner Farm, we have a few acres of vegetables, five moveable hoop houses, and three permanent hoop houses heated by wood that we cut from our land. We grow all winter. Our goal is to beat everybody else to the first tomato and do it with wood, not propane. COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE
I completely unexpectedly became a state legislator in 1992, after somebody who had visited my farm stand saw me at a Portland event with my three children and said, Hey, we can't find a candidate in Knox County. Would you run for the legislature? I wasn't even registered as a Democrat, I paid so little attention to politics. I was interested in my town meeting, the school board, things that happen in a small community. But I couldn't get the idea out of my mind. Later I found out that the reason they couldn't find a candidate was because Knox County was mostly a Republican or Independent district. I served in the Maine legislature and on the Agriculture Committee until I was term limited. It wasn't until 2008 that I had the chance to make public policy again. When I first started farming, people who came to my farm stand would say, I'm so excited to buy food that was grown on this island. Almost nobody said, I'm so excited to buy organically grown food. Even in the nineties, when I started working on public policy, if I spoke about GMOs, irradiated food, bovine growth hormone, people might humor me, but I could hardly get a floor debate. Fast-forward to now. What was a marginalized back-tothe-land movement then is a $45 billion industry today. We may have concerns about the size of the industry, but it's a reflection that consumers are so much more sophisticated, and thank goodness they are, because public policy is really slow, and we often have to deal with the forces of evil that don't equate with what is good or right or what consumers want. If we didn't have this demand from what people want, what they want to feed their kids, it would be even tougher. 57
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Lobster dinner on the Turrets porch during COA's annual Alumni and Family Weekend. Photo by June Soo Shin '21.
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