COA Volume 4 | Number 1
The College of the Atlantic Magazine
COVER: Pitkin Interior by David Vickery ’89 2007, oil on linen, 20" x 15" The Beach Hill Farm Gang, August 2007 Photo by Alexander Lane Portland Monthly Michelle Soto ’10, Alisha Strater, Isabella Perkins ’10, farm manager Lara Judson ’04, assistant farm manager Diane Lokocz ’03, Dawn Matlak, Phoebe Van Vleet ’08 and Tess Faller ’09 pause during a day’s work on the farm.
Donna Gold editor, COA
features Academic Program Review ~ p. 4 By David Hales
COA Leads the World by Going Carbon Neutral ~ p. 5 COA’s Astoundingly Sustainable New Housing ~ p. 6 Bali Buzz: ~ p. 8 30+ hours of youth life at the UNFCC
The People Behind the Dike ~ p. 10
The College of the Atlantic Magazine
Volume 4 | Number 1
Donna Gold EDITORIAL GUIDANCE
Nancy Andrews Richard J. Borden Lynn Boulger Ken Cline Naveed Davoodian ’10 Noreen Hogan ’91 Jennifer Hughes EDITORIAL CONSULTANT
Bill Carpenter ALUMNI CONSULTANTS
Jill Barlow-Kelley Milja Brecher-DeMuro COP Y EDITOR
Juan Hoffmaister ’07 reports from his Watson year
Jennifer Hughes DESIGN
We Wanted to Form Our Own School ~ p. 13 Excerpts from an oral history with Fran Pollitt ’77 of COA’s first class
Mahan Graphics PRINTING BY
JS McCarthy Printers, Augusta, Maine
Horizons Only, No Lines ~ p. 15 A tribute to JoAnne Carpenter
Samuel Hamill, Jr. Ardent Environmentalist ~ p. 20 A donor profile of COA’s devoted board chair
COA Teaches Lifelong Learning ~ p. 22 Alumni making a difference in science
Human Ecology as a Discipline – Two Views ~ p. 30
William G. Foulke, Jr.
Kenneth Hill Academic Dean
James M. Gower, Life Trustee
John Anderson Associate Dean for Advanced Studies
George B. E. Hambleton
Lynn Boulger Dean of Development Andrew Griffiths Administrative Dean
Culebra, selections from a novella ~ p. 32
Sarah Luke Associate Dean for Student Life
Poetry ~ p. 37 By Candice Stover
Charles E. Hewett Sherry F. Huber
Sarah Baker Dean of Admission
Essays by Bill Carpenter and Maxwell Coolidge ’05
By Erica Maltz ’08
David H. Fischer
David Hales President
John N. Kelly, Trustee Emeritus Philip B. Kunhardt III ’77 Susan Storey Lyman, Life Trustee Suzanne Folds McCullagh Sarah A. McDaniel ’93 Stephen G. Milliken
Karen Waldron Associate Dean for Faculty
Philip S. J. Moriarty Phyllis Anina Moriarty William V. P. Newlin, Life Trustee
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Samuel M. Hamill, Jr., Chairman
departments COA Beat ........................................p. 5 Class Notes ......................................p. 38 Community Notes..........................p. 42
Elizabeth Nitze Helen Porter
Elizabeth D. Hodder, Vice Chair
Cathy L. Ramsdell ’78, Trustee Emeritus
Casey Mallinckrodt, Vice Chair
Ronald E. Beard, Secretary
Hamilton Robinson, Jr. Henry D. Sharpe, Jr., Life Trustee
Leslie C. Brewer, Treasurer Edward McC. Blair, Life Trustee
Clyde E. Shorey, Jr., Life Trustee William N. Thorndike, Jr. Cody van Heerden
COA is printed on recycled, FSC-certified paper with vegetable-based inks at J.S. McCarthy, which purchases windpower credits for all its electricity. McCarthy recycles more than 100 tons of waste paper and cardboard each month and continues to work to reduce wastage. It has also substituted environmentally friendly products for most of its hazardous chemicals and recycles and reuses its press wash, the only remaining hazardous waste generated.
You would think that it would be simple to cover a college the size of COA, with its three hundred-odd students, thirty-two-odd faculty members, thirty-five years of history and fewer than two thousand alumni. Think again. At COA, everyone is an individual. Everyone has a story. There really aren’t groups—and though college guides may try to reduce our students to types, they are such adamant individualists that they rise beyond characterization. As I grab a salad at lunch, I see some first-year students who managed to raise $2000 for the Heifer Project at the end of winter term, another first-year student who choreographed a compelling dance from the perspective of Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother, for her Shakespeare midterm, some committed policy analysts who were at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bali, others who were at the convention in Nairobi, and those who devote their analysis to the energy use on campus—as well as avid researchers of birds and whales and lizards and mushrooms. But what is so amazing to me is the brilliant writer who is intending to go to veterinary school, the pre-med student who is also an artist and writer, the sustainability expert who has just co-authored a botanical paper. And that’s just the current students. Whether it’s the COA graduate who has chosen to instill a family with the mission of human ecology as a stay-at-home parent or Dave Feldman, faculty member in math, going off to China each July to teach in the Santa Fe Institute’s Complex Systems Summer School in Beijing, COA offers an ever-changing multitude of stories—some two thousand of them! My story list is already impossibly long. In this issue, we are featuring science alumni who are making a mark in medicine, conservation, even in the military. Also check out the back of the magazine for the work David Malakoff ’86 is doing on the science desk of National Public Radio as one of the co-creators of the station’s year-long Climate Connections series, broadcast to as many as twentyfive million people. One more note. After thirty-five years, College of the Atlantic has its first faculty retiree. JoAnne Carpenter, who taught at the college almost since the very beginning, retired at the end of the fall term. The artwork on this issue’s cover, like that within the spread, is part of a tribute to Carpenter by those who were deeply influenced by her sweeping intelligence and her attention to artistic detail. We wish her a deeply creative retirement.
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
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.
Financial Operations Report Revisited ~ p. 45 Expanding Horizons ~ p. 46 David Malakoff ’86 and NPR’s climate change series
Human Ecology Essay Revisited ~ p. 47 By Greg Rainoff ’81
COA is published twice each year for the College of the Atlantic community. Please direct correspondence to: COA Magazine College of the Atlantic 105 Eden Street Bar Harbor, Maine 04609 Phone: (207) 288-5015 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
www.coa.edu Printed on recycled paper powered by windpower.
LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT
hen College of the Atlantic opened its doors in 1972, it was designed to be a very different higher educational experience. With one major—human ecology, no departments, no tenure, a very low student-teacher ratio and an interdisciplinary approach, COA was an experiment in progressive education. We are no longer an experiment; in 2008 COA is an acclaimed institution of higher education whose focus on the study of the relationships between human beings and their environment has never been more relevant. COA draws students from around the world who are committed to applying their learning to improving prospects for a sustainable, peaceful and just society. “Life changing, world changing” speaks to the hope and promise that an education in human ecology can help solve some of this century’s most complex problems: from climate change to social justice to the disparity between the world’s richest and poorest peoples. By all measures, COA has succeeded. It is precisely because of this success that we are in a position to systematically assess and strategically improve our academic program. Over the next sixteen months or so, College of the Atlantic will engage in a process of academic renewal to ensure that we meet the needs of our students, and that they understand the world as it is and the changes occurring in it as they develop the knowledge, skills and methods to positively influence those changes. As part of this process, we will explore the intellectual foundations—and the myriad challenges—of seeking sustainability, peace and justice in this century. Faculty-led working groups will examine our current curriculum, focusing on the skills and knowledge we need to impart to our students to enable them to understand and be effective in the twenty-first century. Concurrently, we will invite others to join us in this exploration of the future of human ecology. It is clear that the twenty-first century will be characterized by massive and rapid change—a time of great danger and great opportunity. Educational institutions will be the crucible in which both individual and societal responses to this challenge are shaped. No other societal institution can play this role. Higher education must move beyond the responsibility to prepare students to live in the world as it will be; we must embrace the responsibility to prepare students to shape the world in which they will live. We will report frequently on our progress in our publications and on our website. We intend for this effort to be as inclusive as possible, and we invite your interest and participation.
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COA Leads the World
by going carbon neutral for greenhouse gas emissions
ollege of the Atlantic is now NetZero for greenhouse gas emissions. COA’s pledge to become carbon neutral, made October 8, 2006 at the inauguration of President David Hales, was fulfilled December 19, 2007. As the first college or university to become NetZero, COA’s leadership was applauded around the world, in articles and comments from such global leaders as Mohamed El Ashry, chair of the Renewable Energy Network for the 21st Century, REN21. Wrote El Ashry to Hales, “I always say we know the causes as well as the solutions to most of our environmental problems—what we lack is leadership.” COA’s process was painstaking, but doable. A team of faculty, staff and students spent the year calculating the college’s greenhouse gas emissions, while also researching ways to reduce, avoid and offset them. The 2,488 tons of greenhouse gases emissions COA could not reduce or avoid this year have been offset by investing in a project operated by The Climate Trust of Oregon. COA has now also switched to a low-impact hydroelectric generator for electricity, reducing its emissions by 22 percent or about 450 tons. Incandescent lightbulbs have been replaced with compact fluorescents where possible, carpooling and biking are being promoted, as are flexible work plans so employees can work from home at times. “We have much more to do to directly reduce our emissions,” noted Hales, “but it is satisfying to know that our contribution to the increase of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere over the last fifteen months adds up to zero.” The decision to go with Climate Trust was based on months of student and staff investigation into the complicated and at times controversial carbon offset market. The project chosen will optimize traffic signals and manage traffic flow in Portland, Oregon, limiting the time cars spend idling at traffic lights. The entire project is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more
Dick Cough (right, son of founding trustee Bernard “Sonny” Cough), at the launch of Green Lights Bar Harbor, in which COA and the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce linked up to replace member businesses’ incandescent lightbulbs with compact fluorescents. As Cough, part-owner of Atlantic Oakes, switched to a cfl bulb, the entire room wondered, How many ecologists does it take to change a lightbulb? Three, it seems. One to change the lightbulb and two more (COA sophomores Jordan Motzkin and Leland Moore, who are managing the lightbulb exchange for COA and the chamber) to note the carbon footprint reduction.
than 189,000 tons over five years—equivalent to taking more than 34,000 cars off the road for a year. It can also serve as a model for other cities. COA has also been working nationally and locally to help other institutions further carbon reductions. It is a founding member of the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, a member of the Maine Governor’s Carbon Challenge and has recently teamed up with the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce to replace member businesses’ incandescent lightbulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. The urgency of these actions cannot be underestimated. Upon his return from the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (see page 8), COA sophomore Matthew Maiorana called climate change “the challenge of our generation,” adding, “After the conference, I realize that COA is a world leader in addressing the climate crisis. While the United Nations and the United States are taking small steps toward creating a just climate future, COA is taking giant leaps.” To read more about the process and see our calculations, please visit the web site at www.coa.edu/html/carbonzero.htm. COA | 5
COA’s Astoundingly Sustainable New Housing Kathryn W. Davis Student Residence Village surprises even its creators here’s green design, there’s official certification, and then there’s the human ecological approach to sustainable building. The Kathryn W. Davis Student Residence Village may be the first-ever human ecological complex built—and one of the most sustainable campus housing projects in the country. “It’s interdisciplinary,” says Millard Dority, COA’s director of campus planning, buildings and public safety. “It’s as much social as it is structural. We’re not just talking about the building, or what’s in it—you have to talk about the whole package together.” As part of the human ecological approach, everyone was part of the discussion at the outset. It’s typical at COA for the entire community— students, faculty, staff, trustees and alumni—to weigh in on a project, but this time the planning meetings also included Coldham & Hartman Architects of Amherst, Massachusetts, COA environmental consultant Marc Rosenbaum of Meriden, New Hampshire’s Energysmiths, and even contractor E.L. Shea from Ellsworth, Maine. To allow a strong connection between students—another aspect of the human ecological approach—the buildings were planned as familystyle units, with no more than nine students per house. Each of the three buildings contains two houses, joined by common space. What sounds complicated on paper already has become a small village nestled between Seafox and the Kathryn Davis Center for International and Regional Studies, across a little stream from The Turrets. This village, along with Deering
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The six residences in COA’s new waterfront student housing complex are fitted with triple-paned windows, composting toilets, metered showers and super-electricity saving LED lights, as well as carbon fluorescent bulbs. Heated by renewable wood pellets, these buildings are not only beautifully situated, they are amazingly kind to the Earth they are built on—and from. Photos by Donna Gold.
Common, the new student center that’s built within the 1886 Sea Urchins cottage given to the college by the Ryle family (see COA Summer/ Fall 2007), are scheduled to open in August. Early tests predict extraordinary energy efficiency, primarily because the buildings are so effectively air-sealed. With a foot of recycled cellulose insulation (shredded newspapers that don’t emit volatile organic compounds) and triple-paned windows, says Dority, “there is barely any thermal connection between the inside and the outside of these buildings.” The complex is so tight, that the college plans on heating the three duplexes—six homes serving fifty-one students—with just two residential
wood pellet boilers. That’s one boiler of a size Because COA’s students are so innately envithat would typically heat a one-family home, ronmental, architect Bruce Coldham found that heating three residences of seventeen people. certain energy-saving systems were simply redunSays Richard Riegel Burbank, who with dant. “COA’s student body has a uniquely reliable Samantha Riegel Burbank '00 owns Evergreen conservation mentality,” he says. Take lights. They Home Performance LLC, the company that projust don’t get left on, so there is little need for vided the insulation and blower door testing for occupancy sensors. “Why leave the lights on for a air tightness, “I think COA can make the claim pre-set period when the COA human computer is that these buildings are the most airtight of any programmed for immediate switch-off? This was dorm, perhaps in the world.” The tightness also a first for us,” adds Coldham. bodes well for the air quality “These are very smart system, allowing, he says, investments, economically “the heat recovery ventilaand environmentally,” comtion to provide superior air ments COA President David quality at the lowest energy Hales. “More than resicost.” dences, these spaces repreTo reduce the energy used sent our fundamental values in heating water, the buildas an institution. They’re ings have a heat recovery designed to meet the full system, using the warm gray range of human needs— water to temper the incomincluding fun.” After all, ing hot water. To make stuwhat’s more human ecologidents aware of usage, all cal than students from “I think COA can make the showers have meters. To Detroit, Maine and Mumbai claim that these buildings minimize water use—and planning a dinner for their are the most airtight of any maximize recycling—the household of eight, mingling buildings are fitted with dishes, laughter and converdorm, perhaps in the world.” composting toilets. sation as they sauté onions Ultimately, the waste from and chop carrots? ~ Richard Riegel Burbank Evergreen Home the Phoenix Composting Designed to enhance conPerformance LLC Toilets will feed the surnections, the three buildings rounding landscape. Here, have plenty of common too, alumni play a part. Abe Noe-Hays ’00 of Full space—because learning does not end at the Circle Compost Consulting installed the toilets; classroom door. At COA especially, relationships Ben Goldberg ’90 is the regional representative. enhance learning through assumption-challengThe building materials are mostly local, reducing discussions, observation and the kind of play ing transportation emissions while promoting that leads to immense creativity. Maine’s economy. Rooms are situated to receive And yet, visitors frequently forget about carmaximum sunlight, cutting the need for electric bon footprints, energy savings and composting lighting, which will be provided by compact fluotoilets when they step inside these waterfront rescent bulbs and LED, or light-emitting diodes, homes. They just stare out the window at the further reducing energy use. All appliances are ocean beyond and try to figure out how they Energy Star rated. might return to school—if only to live here for just one term.
COA | 7
BaliBuzz Thirty-plus hours in the lives of COA’s delegates to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change In December, COA secondyear students Matthew Maiorana (left) and Lauren Nutter joined the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bali, also known as COP 13. The COA students quickly learned to come to consensus with the other one hundred and fifty youth participants from around the world, creating and implementing strategies that actually helped to move the proceedings forward. COA students have attended international climate change meetings for three years running. What’s it like? What do they do? Here’s an hour-by-hour description from Maiorana. ~ DG
A day in the life of a youth delegate By Matt Maiorana ’10 Friday, December 14, 2007 6 a.m.: Start the day’s work after passing out at around 2 a.m. on the hotel floor while writing a press release for the upcoming day’s action. 8 a.m.: Jump on the shuttle to the convention center; work on the press release with others. 9 a.m.: Attend the daily international youth meeting; continue work on the press release. 10 a.m.: Strategize with other youth regarding specific activities for the day. 10:30 a.m.: Work as a group to track down good quotes for the press release; finalize it; send it to media contacts. 11 a.m.: Go to the “bunker,” the space beneath a stairwell that’s been designated as the youth command center. 11:30 a.m.: Pass out flyers highlighting an absurd statement made the previous day regarding 8 | COA
3 a.m.: Return to the hotel after learning the talks will resume at 8 a.m. climate change by James Connaughton, senior environmental and natural resources advisor to President Bush: “The US will lead, and we will continue to lead, but leadership also requires others to fall in line and follow.” 12:30 p.m.: Realize the banner for the day’s action needs to be finished and that the press release needs to be printed and the action is in thirty minutes. Finish both. International youth work unbelievably well together under pressure. 1 p.m.: The youth statement at the high level plenary hasn’t been given yet. Aaagghhh. This is what we have been waiting for! 1:15 p.m.: The speech is amazing. Almost everybody in the high level plenary session at COP 13 is moved to tears. This is our future. If the wrong decisions are made, we won’t have time to go back and fix them. And so it goes, meetings, actions, more meetings. 5:30 p.m.: Head to “Fossil of the Day,” a daily award given by Climate Action Network to the most climate-unfriendly countries of the previous day. Today, the United States and Canadian youth perform a song/dance to the tune of “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better” to see who gets it. Canada and the US share first place. 6:30 p.m.: A conga line starts, snaking out of the conference center. Outside, we perform “Oooooo, It’s Hot in Here,” the unofficially official youth climate song and dance. 7 p.m.: Head to the last international youth debrief where we discuss how to build on the momentum and create a sustained global youth climate movement. 8:30 p.m.: Get food! 9:30 p.m.: Return to the plenary where the negotiations are supposed to begin again. Saturday, December 15, 2007 2 a.m.: Realize I fell asleep on the floor and that the negotiations still haven’t started.
7:30 a.m.: Rush to the conference center, make some quick banners and head to the entrance with a sign that says “Please,” and the Canadians’ banner that states, “This will follow you home.” Got a bit of media coverage, but we were there to let the official delegates know we are watching and waiting. 8:30 a.m.: Return to the plenary room. The negotiations get going again! 9:15 a.m.: The session is adjourned due to contentious language in the text. A twenty-minute break turns into two hours. 11:15 a.m.: The session resumes, but is quickly closed. This is going to be a long day. . . . . . Leading us to reflections by Lauren Nutter ’10 a few hours later. Friday night and Saturday were an amazing cap to COP 13. We were up almost all night Friday seeing very little progress. Saturday was a totally extra day of COP—negotiations had gone over that much. When I walked in to the plenary, people were standing and clapping as Papua New Guinea boldly condemned the United States for blocking progress, basically saying, either take leadership and join the consensus or get out of the way. There was thunderous applause! Shortly after, Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky made a statement saying the US would not impede progress. There was more thunderous applause and the most vibrant wave of emotion. The US had committed to something with relatively decent language. Things were moving forward. The pressure from everyone—from us—had helped that happen. We felt our impact again during the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments when Canada tried to block progress on Option 2, to reduce emissions from 25 to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. The youth stood right next to the Canadian delegation, clapping for each statement of support. Eventually Canada backed down; progress proceeded. Tuvalu’s prime minister came up to us—the youth—and thanked us for putting pressure on Canada. Wow! Talk about a fulfilling end to two weeks of hard work!
The Pleasure Drivers Screenplay By Adam Haynes ’98 By Bill Carpenter Adam Haynes, an outstanding student in the first Aesthetics of Violence class in 1996, published his senior project as a serialized novel in the old Off the Wall to great controversy. Haynes later trained in screenwriting at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles and soon had a dozen scripts in circulation. Director Andrzej Sekula, cinematographer for Quentin Tarrantino’s Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs, picked up The Pleasure Drivers and it came out as an indie from Leonidas Films in 2005, most likely the first Hollywood movie written by a COA alum. In a 2006 podcast, Haynes calls The Pleasure Drivers a “Freudian thriller” which finds its way to spirituality through the darkest zones of the unconscious. “Sex is the engine for this movie,” Haynes remarks, “and violence is the gasoline. All my work is about pleasure and pain.” Three intertwining narratives represent Freud’s superego, ego, and id, and the film’s X rating gives him plenty of leeway to investigate Eros and Thanatos in the raw. Daphne, the superego character, is the caretaker for a brain-damaged young man. The id character is a well-armed, leatherjacketed hitwoman, and the ego character is Bill Plummer, a college professor of Freudian dream theory (Angus McFayden). When Daphne (Lauren Holly) kidnaps the priestess of a televangelist cult, hitwoman Marcy is sent to kill her. Meanwhile, Professor Plummer discovers his wife in bed with a woman, and so picks up one of his students (Lacey Chabert) who turns out to be a prostitute just “auditing” his class. All three plots converge at the Big Cock Motel, whose roof icon of a giant rooster presides over a great expenditure of ammunition and a burning Volvo. This reduces the extensive cast for the redemption scene. Behind the wheel of a Mercedes convertible, the brain-damaged man and prostitute start out for a new life in Portland, Maine. She smiles and says “I feel blessed;” the young man answers, “Me too,” as scenes of sex, gore and violence transform to spirituality in the pale morning light of the Californian desert. The Pleasure Drivers definitely walks on the dark side of human ecology, but, as Heraclitus said, “the way down and the way up are one.” When the young couple head East in that gorgeous sunrise, top down, I find myself hoping their journey will take them past Portland to Bar Harbor, so they can opt for a real change of life and visit the admissions office at COA.
COA | 9
The people behind the dikes
Serpentine Enthusiasts Gather
Concerns from the corners of Asia
Rajakaruna brings Sixth International Conference on Serpentine Ecology
By Juan Pablo Hoffmaister ’07
By Robin Katrick ’09
Midway through a year spent studying the responses to climate change in various locales around the globe, Juan Pablo Hoffmaister ’07 reports from Vietnam. His travels are funded by a Watson Foundation Fellowship for his project, “Changing Climate: Community Response to Water Crises in Extreme Weather.”
he typhoon season is technically over in South East Asia, which gives us some time to think about the past few months. Vietnam, where I have been living, was affected by five typhoons in 2007, and some of the worst floods in its history. In the midst of these recordbreaking statistics, one reality is evident: while much has improved in curbing the economic losses to national infrastructure from disaster, the most affected groups in every storm are the poor and marginalized. Issues of environmental justice continue to shock me in South East Asia. Sometimes I feel lost and discouraged. Asia, the most populated continent in the world, is already experiencing an increased intensity of severe weather events with greater risk of flooding—1particularly in megadeltas and coastal areas. Combined with the growing pressure over such natural resources as freshwater supplies and unsustainable development patterns, this increased intensity is deadly. I could spend hours rambling over whom to blame for these environmental threats, but immediate attention needs to be given to the fact that the main focus continues to be on reducing economic losses, leaving millions vulnerable. While dikes diverting floods effectively guard industrial areas and cities from big floods, poor communities often end up living behind the dikes. I came to Vietnam to explore potential areas to be financed by the newly created communitybased adaptation focal area of the Small Grants Programme, a joint effort of the Global Environmental Facility and the United Nations Development Programme. After meeting with community leaders, national and international nonprofits, and government representatives, after visiting dozens of disaster sites and recovery
there was such a need for serpentine research in eastern f you get excited about an North America—which is also idea, you never know where why he is excited to bring the it's going to take you," says conference to Maine. Nishanta Rajakaruna ’94, COA Serpentine rocks and their faculty member in botany. His associated soils have high conenthusiasm for serpentine centrations of heavy metals, makecology, the study of plant life ing their environment less hosin extreme geologies, earlier pitable. Says Rajakaruna, "think took him to California for his of these rocks as their own PhD and post-doctoral studies islands," because the area surand has now driven him to bring rounding them is so different. to campus the Sixth The habitats may start with the Nathaniel Pope '07, who will be presentInternational Conference on serpentine rocks, but they affect ing at the Sixth International Conference on Serpentine Ecology, is taking GPS Serpentine Ecology. The conferthe plants and other organisms coordinates for Minuartia groenlandica ence, June 16 through 23, is held found in the area. on the summit of Cadillac Mountain. every few years in a different Rajakaruna’s spring course, nation, bringing together scientists working in Plants with Mettle: Lives of Metalophytes, offers fields such as botany, zoology, ecology, geology, opportunities for students to research topics to microbiology and conservation biology. The sevbe discussed at the conference; he’s hoping stuenty-plus presenters are coming from literally dents will attend. “Meeting other researchers around the globe. provides students an incredible opportunity to Rajakaruna became enthusiastic about serpenlearn the most recent discoveries by those on the tine ecology during his sophomore year at COA, cutting edge of the field,” says Rajakaruna. COA while taking a Plant Systematics course taught by students will also be able to hear presentations the late COA botanist, Craig Greene. Rajakaruna by alumni and students Tanner Harris '06, has been hooked ever since, choosing to return Nathaniel Pope '07, Laura Briscoe '07, Brett to COA as a faculty member precisely because Ciccotelli '08, and Naveed Davoodian '10.
Juan Pablo Hoffmaister '07 in Vietnam.
projects, I offered my views on what I thought were the highest funding priorities: small-scale flood management and primary response at the community level, post-disaster recovery of rural livelihoods, and the prevention of small-scale land degradation. I am horrified to see that current adaptations could leave vulnerable communities outside the dikes being built to protect investment and economic growth. History will be the judge, but I believe that current (in)action to prepare communities for environmental challenges leads to global environmental injustice. The vulnerable and marginalized always get pushed around. The current discourse of international relations and environment needs to fully embrace the environmental justice implications of the issues being negotiated in the capitals of the world and correct its deficiencies. Vietnam is emotionally challenging. This nation has suffered immensely from war and other calamities. Watching communities be destroyed once again by natural disasters was not uplifting, but I was encouraged to see communities rebuild themselves. As I leave, the rice paddies are green again; soon it will be harvest time. As Vietnam prepares for a new lunar year, it is clear that ethnic minorities, children and women will continue to suffer the most. And yet, I know the communities I visited are becoming stronger. There will be better days. But environmental justice must bring those behind the dikes to the front of disaster risk reduction efforts.
Meaningful maps College of the Atlantic’s Geographic Information Systems Lab—GIS—has worked with the towns of Mount Desert Island and with Acadia National Park since 1987, providing them with maps to assist in planning. This map, made by students in an advanced projects lab, represents what may be a new era of GIS for the island: a modeling process that is both flexible and extensible, allowing multiple stakeholder values to be represented. In this map, students have included the aesthetic, community and environmental values of planning, following the work of landscape architect/planner Ian McHarg. ~ Gordon Longsworth, director, GIS Lab
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This was selected from more than three thousand maps to be included in the 2008 ESRI Map Books, Volume 23, which will be released this August.
COA | 11
By Naveed Davoodian ’10 COA revelers turn up the heat on MDI's nightlife during the off-season to combat the bitter cold. The result? Dance parties that are the envy of Bacchus himself.
The now-infamous “Hula Hoop Bros” embark on yet another death-defying dance number.
Islands Through Time August 2–14, 2008 High School Students: Earn college credit in one of the most beautiful places on earth! College of the Atlantic's summer program for rising high school juniors and seniors explores the environmental, aesthetic, cultural, political, historical and economic aspects of coastal Maine islands. • Visit whale feeding grounds, seal haul-outs, seabird colonies and the intertidal coastline. Gain firsthand experience in data collection and research with marine experts at offshore island research stations. • Explore music, writing and literature while visiting the places you are reading about.
DJ Ames keeps the party going all night long with only the finest obscure techno.
A book-weary student takes a break from philosophical investigation and cuts loose with his solo interpretive dance composition titled Wittgenstein: Man or Machine.
• Reflect on your experience through writing, music, video and other media. Students enjoy hands-on, individualized instruction with COA faculty members while continuing to express themselves in music, writing, and photography, working as a team to develop a final multi-media presentation. $3,200 program fee includes food, lodging, sea travel and college credit. Room for 18 students. Limited financial aid is available. Faculty: John Cooper, music and media, Helen Hess, invertebrate zoology, Steve Ressel, herpetology, Sean Todd, marine studies, Karen Waldron, literature. Deadline for applications: May 23, 2008
As is the custom, dancers adjourn the party with a jovial, non-competitive game of soccerball.
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For more information and an application, visit www.coa.edu/islandsthroughtime. If you have questions, please contact Amanda Hooykaas, Program Coordinator, email@example.com, or (207) 288-2944, ext. 374.
“We wanted to form our own school, like it said in the brochure . . . ” An Interview with Fran Pollitt ’77 A member of COA’s first class The last issue of COA featured an oral history with Bill Carpenter, one of the college’s four founding faculty members. He ended his reminiscence saying that the moment that clinched his decision to remain at College of the Atlantic, and not return to his tenure-track position at the University of Chicago, was a paper by an eighteenyear-old COA student, Fran Pollitt ’77. This issue, we decided to interview Pollitt, who entered COA’s first class as a first-year student. ~ Donna Gold
Donna Gold: How did you first hear about College of the Atlantic? Frances Pollitt: I was taking an extra high school year with the National Audubon Expedition Institute—called Trailside then. Somewhere along the line, I heard about the college. When I did hear about it, I knew that it was the only school I wanted to apply to. It was perfect for what I was interested in—ecology, environmental education and alternative education, too. DG: And what did your parents think about you going to COA? FP: They were all gung-ho. They were alternativeminded parents. They had to be, to send me out to a National Audubon Expedition program. Anything I wanted, fine.… [laughter] Those were wild times. And the National Audubon Expedition Institute was completely consultative in nature, so College of the Atlantic was just a natural.
DG: Tell me about your classmates— FP: We were thirty-two, and a little more than half were really committed to environmental education and the concept of the college. It was just the place we wanted to be. And then there was another group who were trying it out because it was interesting for whatever reason … and a lot of those people went on to a different kind of educational experience. You had to be pretty committed to take a chance on a place like COA. DG: Tell me about arriving at COA— FP: It was thrilling. Those were thrilling moments. It was the start of a whole new world. DG: In the last issue, I interviewed Bill Carpenter, who said that the faculty had spent the summer planning the college and then the students came and said, “We’re doing the planning—” FP: Oh yes. Our community meetings were really lively, and we wanted to form our own school, like COA | 13
Horizons only,no lines it said in the brochure that we would be doing. We wanted to have full say about how everything was done. In the end, we probably did quite a lot of what the faculty had planned. But we wanted to munch it around a little bit. DG: Do you remember what issues you were particularly concerned about? FP: One of the issues that I was really concerned about was the student advising system; who would do it and how it would get done. Some of us wanted everyone to be advisors to everybody else. Others didn’t want to advise, didn’t like to do it, or weren’t very good at it. The students, the staff, the teachers. You see? That was the whole point of this college.
DG: That’s a wonderful description of human ecology…. And after classes, what did you do after hours?
A tribute to JoAnne Carpenter, faculty member in art and art history from 1973 to 2008: COA’s first faculty retiree.
FP: Hmmm. Well, there was not much happening downtown. There were maybe two bars open, if that. In the winter there was nothing to do except what was on campus. DG: What attracted you to COA? FP: If it had just been an inclusive, communitycentered school, I would not have been interested. It was that strong interest in the environment and the world, the ecology and natural history and the sanctity of life on the planet and being responsible for that and ~ Fran Pollitt ’77 getting out of the old way of thinking about being external to the natural world and putting ourselves in—
“And that’s of course what human ecology is at its center— that love of our entire world.”
DG: So you knew what you wanted and— FP: I didn’t necessarily know what I wanted, but I wasn’t shy to talk about it. But then, you had a lot of people at the college who were shy, or who didn’t know how to ask, or who were struggling along with all their different issues, whatever they were. DG: That’s interesting, because every single one of these students had to be taking a risk. Right? FP: We were really like any other kind of student body, but willing to take on something a little different. I would say we had a lot of heart. And that’s of course what human ecology is at its center—that love of our entire world. You realize you’re not just a person walking through it but you have responsibility for it.
JoAnne Carpenter in front of a painting she was working on at a time when COA was much smaller and the pool table sat in Take-A-Break. Photo by Randy Ury.
DG: And is that something that you talked about? FP: Oh, yes. We were avid. We were wild about it—and then we would tire ourselves out and go to the movies. One of the hard things was how strong the force was for peer conformation. You had to wear hiking boots, jeans and a flannel shirt. Most of our meals were organic, healthy— And one of the great things was that Cathy Johnson ’74 led us in madrigal singing. Cathy had the capacity to help us really have a great time singing. Our graduation was filled with music, because we all knew how to sing together. Fran Pollitt’s book, Historic Photos of Maine has just been published by Turner Publishing.
n the early COA years, there was a sense that the earth was in a dreadful emergency and that art was a frill or pastime that had little relevance to the problem or the solution. So for more than a decade, there was no artist or art historian on the full-time faculty. Year by year, however, working her way from visitor to adjunct to part-time and finally to full-time, having to prove herself and her subject at every step, JoAnne Carpenter established the living centrality of art to the human ecology curriculum. Her story is central to the story of art at COA. Her unsurpassed intellectual range—from Minoan antiquity to the latest Whitney biennial—brought to a remote Maine island the full spectacle of visual culture. JoAnne also embodied the essential human ecology doctrine that theory and knowledge had to be realized in the world.
Though fully contemporary, her elegant paintings are layered with reference both to Renaissance aesthetics and her own deep-rooted connection, through her Mediterranean background, to the classical world. I must say personally that some of the high points of my own time at COA came from teamteaching with JoAnne, from Maine Coast History and Architecture to The Fifties, to the many iterations of Turn of the Century—thirty-five years of teaching collaboration. I would just add to all these student tributes a colleague’s deep respect for JoAnne’s endless self-generating energy, her constant questioning, her passionate intensity across a staggering range of subject matter, her insistence on an all-out integrity of approach, and her humility before the words, images, ideas and reality of the world we share. ~Bill Carpenter
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“JoAnne’s inspiring teaching and influence were the foundation of my career as a fulltime painter. What has kept me going when I’ve been discouraged, however, has been this comment: ‘Talent isn’t as important as having something to say.’ After twenty years, I’m still making a good living with my artwork. I’d like JoAnne to know that I’m grateful.”
JoAnne as Art Teacher
Reunion Jason Harrington 1996, mixed media 4’ x 8’
“When I started at COA, I wanted to study marine biology. But when I asked other students about the best professors, JoAnne’s name kept coming up. I took one of her courses. After that I took every course she offered. I now compare the passion and level of discussion in her classes to the seminars I attended in graduate school. She challenged her students to ask big questions, think independently and engage in academic rigor beyond the classroom. JoAnne is probably one of the greatest single influences in my life. I have gone on to become a film professor, and when I plan my courses, it is her inspiration I recall.”
~ David Vickery ’89
Solstice (Monhegan) David Vickery 2007, oil on panel, 11" x 17"
~ Jason Harrington ’96
“I remember JoAnne saying she could not sleep the previous night because of the conflict in Iraq. She emphasized an attention to self-consciousness that was as relevant to her art courses as to her humanitarian insomnia. JoAnne helped to convince me that I had much to gain by continuing my studies in the arts. Now, every time I work on a painting I remember her suggestions of technical and conceptual theory. Thanking JoAnne will always be insufficient because of her effortless sincerity and her inexhaustible fascination with people and art.”
Rusty At Sea Julianne Kearney 2005, watercolor, 12'' X 15''
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~ Julianne Kearney ’06
~ Nat Keller ’04
“I have rarely known teachers who are more giving of themselves. To have JoAnne as a teacher was to have her entire attention.” ~ Jude Lamb ’00 Chutes and Ladders Jude Lamb 2006, acrylic, 20" x 30"
“JoAnne taught me two of the most important things I learned at COA. The first was that it was okay to bring my whole self, my spirit, to my professors, not just my intellect. The second was that there is no such thing as a line, only a horizon. I apply this to almost every difficult situation I encounter.” ~ Josie Sigler ’99
~ Sam Wustner ’04
“I was doubtful of my ability to complete the portrait assignment in JoAnne’s watercolor course, which was probably why I left it for last. But as I began to paint, everything she taught started to make sense. I mixed the colors correctly, used the right hues of pinks and browns for the face. When I was finished, I couldn't wait to hear her comments. Because of JoAnne, I see the world in a different way and I discovered my love for watercolors.”
“JoAnne’s passion for the study and practice of art represents the best of COA. She encouraged her students to be intellectually curious and to make connections across disciplines. She helped me to connect my own love of history and politics with architecture, cinema and visual art. Her inquisitiveness has made us all more complete people and better students.”
Fast Watercolor, 2000 Leah Stetson 2000, watercolor, 6" x 9"
“While taking JoAnne’s watercolor class, she leaned over my shoulder during a speedy-gonzales-time— painting a vase of flowers in thirty seconds. She whispered, ‘I think you’ve found your style.’ As a writer, I often reflect on that exercise, or paint in that same speedy style for a pre-writing activity. JoAnne revealed to me a fresh approach to all creative work.” ~ Leah Stetson, BA ’01, MPhil ’06
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Each Meeting,an Exploration JoAnne as Art History Teacher “There are so many things to be thankful to JoAnne for—sincerity, tireless dedication, wonderful sense of humor. But I am especially grateful for the enthusiastic and probing attitude that infused her work. During an independent study I did with her on Greek architecture, JoAnne had such enthusiasm for each image that each meeting became an exploration. JoAnne is an immensely creative thinker and I couldn’t help but have it rub off a bit on me—by osmosis I learned to be constantly learning, observing, making connections, seeing things anew.” ~ Liz Cunningham ’82
“In my Greek art class, JoAnne made me feel as if I lived in the Bronze Age with the Minoans. She was definitely a Renaissance woman in our Renaissance art class, reflecting the dunamitis of that time.”
Back From Israel Liz Cunningham 2007, India ink on paper, 24" x 18"
Mirage Ethan Rochmis 2007, oil, 18" by 60"
JoAnne as Life Teacher
~ Kathy Massimini ’82
“JoAnne taught me to involve my dreams in my work. To those of us for whom dreams are both a blessing in their vibrancy and a curse in their frequency, paying attention to them opens worlds not necessarily open to the rational mind. Her influence will remain with me as long as I dream.”
“JoAnne taught me the importance of history—that all art, whether from yesterday or four hundred years ago— is made within a context whereby we learn how we see the world around us. Whether it’s mannerist structure of space or the light emanating from a baroque canvas, what most concerned the artists of their time speaks volumes to all subsequent generations—as I believe the art we make today will tell future generations how we saw the world.”
Just Another Day in Iraq Neil Mick ’85 August 12, 2004, collage and oil, 16" x 22"
~ Ellen Sylvarnes ’83
Forever An Inspiration
Reading #1 Lisa Damtoft 2006, Pine needles and paper, 3" x 3"
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Look at him, That face Cheek tucked behind nose In the repose of Grecian foothills Chin rising to lips Conjure a flowering Goblet ready to drink Its eyebrows inverted pietas Cradling bright lakes And its ears Ears curled to its contours’ many winds And gently informing its expression ~ Mark Tully ’93
Balancing Heart, Mind & Spirit
~ Ethan Rochmis ’98
“JoAnne has the ability to carve out the essence of each of us in words, finding meaning in each of our unconscious habits. She was the first person who lifted the everyday to the divine for me, and with such boundless passion!” ~ Alice Leeds ’76
“JoAnne’s ability to help her students and friends balance matters of heart, mind, and spirit is an amazing gift. Those of us who have been blessed to receive this gift will forever be grateful. COA is what it is partly because of JoAnne’s love, light, and wisdom.” Beth Sam Wustner oil on panel, 9" x 12"
~ Sarah Keeley ’05
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SAMUEL M. HAMILL, JR., ARDENT ENVIRONMENTALIST By Donna Gold s a graduate student in regional planning at the University of Pennsylvania, College of the Atlantic board chair Samuel Hamill, Jr. studied with Ian McHarg, a landscape architect and seminal thinker considered by many to be an early human ecologist. In the early 1970s, says Hamill, the McHarg program, based on an understanding of natural systems, was a “magnet for ardent environmentalists.” Hamill was among them. Though his father was a textile executive, Hamill was raised on a dairy farm in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. Just a mile walk through hayfields would bring the young Hamill to the farmhouse where his grandfather, a professor at nearby Princeton University, lived with his grandmother, a student of the natural world. Long before Hamill was born, his grandmother had come to know the great landscape designer Beatrix Farrand, who had been hired to work out a plan for Princeton. Farrand also created a design for the old farmhouse property where Hamill’s grandparents lived. “She got my grandmother interested in what was referred to then as ‘the wild flowers’—two words,” says Hamill. “And my grandmother got me interested in the wild flowers, and from there an appreciation of the natural landscape.” As corporate headquarters and tract housing began to encroach on Hamill’s childhood landscape, he first became dismayed, then curious about the forces that were behind them. Eventually he sought to discover what could be done to reverse or at least deflect them. “When I learned, in the late sixties, that there was actually a profession called ‘regional planning,’ I was delighted,” Hamill recalls. Hamill has spent his professional career working to manage growth, conserve land and renew cities, applying a big-picture, regional planning approach to places like the Hudson River Valley and the State of New Jersey. He still serves as senior consultant to New Jersey Future, one of four nonprofit organizations that he founded. The organization is an independent research and advocacy group that advances solutions to issues of suburban sprawl, environmental conservation, social justice and economic progress. “With magnificent landscapes, urban blight, high population densities, sprawl and social injustices, New Jersey has some of the most pioneering and effective land use regulation in the nation. It couldn’t be a better place to work,” Hamill says. So much in Hamill’s background resonates with human ecology that it’s actually a surprise to find he didn’t get involved with COA until 1994, at the invitation of late trustee Alice Eno. At the time, he says, he was attracted by four aspects of the college: COA’s mission to make the world a better place, its commitment to Mount Desert Island, where Hamill has summered since 1968, and the opportunity to be among those who share the college’s values and goals. Lastly,
Photo by Toby Hollis
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Hamill says, he was lured by COA’s promise, and its ability to retain its core values while adapting to twenty-first-century challenges. Still, says Hamill, “it seemed to many in the college community that more was required to assure our longevity.” As with his planning work, Hamill has taken a big-picture approach to COA, first as cochair of the Strategic Planning Committee, then working on Buildings and Grounds and other committees. The college’s first endowment campaign was initiated in the midnineties. The campaign’s success was evidence that COA was becoming a mature institution with fine prospects. “With an endowment,” says Hamill, “you become responsible to a larger universe of people. And that is a wonderful thing; it shows that there are a growing number of people who care about the college and are willing to invest in its future.” In 1998, when his wife, Mary Richards, died of cancer, Hamill’s connections to the college deepened; in 2004 he became chair. Hamill’s tenure has seen the successful presidential transition from Steve Katona to David Hales; a closer working relationship among the trustees and between the board, the administration and the faculty; and ever-growing connections between the college, the greater Mount Desert Island community and the world beyond. Last September, with the help of Patrick Uwihoreye ’06, Hamill initiated the Great Lakes of Africa Scholarship, offering full tuition to a student from Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi or Kenya. The program complements the Davis United World College Scholars Program funded by Shelby and Gale Davis. To launch it, Hamill is funding four years of COA tuition for the first scholar, to begin this fall. “Starting with the Davis family’s remarkable commitment to COA, we can—even in this downeast corner of New England—expand our international program so that every student has significant overseas experience and COA has a demonstrable impact on the global environment,” says Hamill. “With President Hales’ international experience and vision, we have a leader uniquely suited to accomplish this.” “Every college is a reflection of its trustee chairs,” comments Hales. “COA has had giants in this role, and Sam Hamill is one of the most important leaders we have had. COA has made the transition from an experiment in higher education to an established alternative widely recognized for its excellence and creativity. No one is more closely associated with this successful transition than Sam Hamill.” Though Hamill is retiring as board chair in July, one of his biggest undertakings is just beginning—making faculty and staff salaries more equitable. “Our pay scales are too low,” says Hamill. “I’m glad the trustees have begun to focus on this.” As Hamill moves on to other endeavors, he continues to be amazed at the college’s capacity for self-renewal. “I have such admiration for Father Jim Gower, Les Brewer and their early associates who shared the vision of what this college could be—and for the faculty, staff, trustees and friends who have worked so hard to bring this college where it is today. We are well-poised to address the challenges of the twenty-first century.” Photo by Donna Gold
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“COA teaches lifelong learning” Alumni Making a Difference in Science Donnie Mullen (’97) Whether ten or thirty years separate the following alumni from their college experience, the influence of COA remains a force in their lives. As I interviewed six graduates working in various scientific fields, all expressed gratitude for the personalized learning they received. When it came to remembering the COA faculty and staff that played influential roles in their lives, the list reads like a campus-wide roll-call of past and present, staff, faculty, trustees and presidents. For these alumni, the COA community provided a supportive platform for their academic and personal growth. COA’s ethos remains a part of each life: vaccine scientist, acid rain researcher, conservationist, behavioral ecologist, biology professor and environmental consultant are all sure to keep recycling, composting, bicycling to work, and otherwise conserving energy. They’re also sure to think broadly and creatively, as demanded by human ecology. Each of these six scientists credits COA with offering challenges and lessons tailored to their needs: assistance with discovering their life path, help with honing skills in writing, science and the humanities, and encouragement to approach life with both a critical eye and open mind. COA was as much an experience as it was a college. ~DM
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on water pollution and land use, she studied Mount Desert Island lake chemistry with COA botanist Fred Olday for her internship, and raised European oysters in the Skillings River for her senior project. Roy’s concern for ecosystem health has shaped her life ever since. She currently works for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation directing research for the Adirondack Long-Term Monitoring Program, which looks at the impact of and recovery from acid rain in water bodies across the Adirondacks. Growing up in northern Maine, Roy loved the outdoors and was intrigued by natural systems, yet thought an outdoor science career meant being a forester or game warden—until she discovered environmental biology. Studying water resources for a master’s degree at the University of Vermont, Roy focused on the relationship between rain pH and stream acidification. Soon after, she became a project analyst for the Adirondack Park Agency, serving as the agency’s acid rain spokesperson while also evaluating New York conservation department policies affecting the park. This experience gave her the credentials necessary for her current work. In 2001, Roy began directing research for the Adirondack program, which now has more than twenty years of data at its disposal, making it one of the most comprehensive studies of lake chemistry in North America. The program monitors fifty-two lakes and three streams in the Adirondacks, collecting the acid neutralizing capacity and levels of sulfate, nitrate, pH and toxic aluminum. Located downwind of Midwest coalburning facilities, the monitoring program was largely responsible for establishing the direct connection between emissions and acidification. Thanks to the Clean Air Act amendments of 1970 and 1990, sulfur emissions have decreased by
about 50 percent over the past thirty years. Roy was a leading author in the final report, Adirondack Acid Rain Research, which came out in 2005 and has been recently issued as Acid Rain in the Adirondacks: An Environmental History by Cornell University Press, one of Roy's seventeen publications. Roy spent much of her early career in the field, getting to know the Adirondacks. She still occasionally gets out, though her job now is translating field data for policy makers and the public, staying abreast of current research. Roy loves the process of recognizing a problem, establishing a monitoring system, then collecting and analyzing data with the eventual goal of influencing policy. “Working with a system of observation developed over time is hugely interesting,” she says. Ultimately, Roy sees ~ Karen Roy ’77 science as a way to head off future problems by understanding the present. She is upbeat but practical about the recovery process of the Adirondack ecosystem. “We’re no longer arguing whether or not emissions lead to acidification of lakes. We’re going in the right direction with emissions control, but it’s taken a long time to reverse acidification and we haven’t gotten there yet. The question becomes one of urgency, how committed are we as a population?” She and her husband, Steve Engelhart (’77), a historic preservationist, live in Keeseville, New York where she gardens, composts, uses a clothesline and drives a high mileage, lowemission vehicle. Son Noah is a musician and high school junior and son Sam studies alternative energy at Clarkson University. They’re all active promoters of local food, music and art. An ethos gained long ago has clearly become her own. “At COA, I learned individual responsibility, that every person and every action counts.”
“At COA, I learned individual responsibility, that every person and every action counts.”
Karen Roy ’77 stands in one of the nearly two hundred headwater streams of the Oswegatchie-Black River system near Harrisville, New York. These waters were intensively sampled for acidification chemistry from 2003 to 2005. On this day, Roy was sampling for chemistry and scraping rocks and collecting sediments for biota.
WATCHING OUT FOR THE HEALTH OF THE WATERS Karen Roy ’77, Conservation Research Director In the early 1970s, as the environmental side effects of one-hundred-plus years of industrialization splashed across the headlines, Karen Roy transferred from the pre-med program at Dartmouth College to COA—in part for the “take action” sentiment she found at the college. “Everyone had to do their part,” she says. Focused
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Trey McPherson ’84 at his lab at Protein Sciences Corporation, looking into one of the details of licensing FluBlOk, a flu vaccine using insect cells.
THE JOY OF DISCOVERY: CREATING VACCINES FROM INSECT CELLS Clifton “Trey” McPherson ’84 “I didn’t grow up knowing what I was going to do,” reflects Clifton “Trey” McPherson. Today, he finds himself playing a leading role in the development of the first non-egg-based flu vaccine. McPherson transferred to COA in 1981. He initially explored architectural design, then medicine. Fascinated by discovery, he ultimately focused on molecular biology. Following COA, he worked as a research assistant at The Jackson Laboratory, in Bar Harbor, mapping the genes of anemia and other blood disorders. He went on to Vanderbilt University for a PhD. Most of his colleagues had to adjust to being handed the responsibility for their education, but coming from COA, where, “everything was based on interest,” McPherson was already a motivated, independent thinker. 24 | COA
Later, while at a post-doctorate fellowship in molecular genetics at Brown University, he published a groundbreaking article in the journal Cell (one of seventeen he’s published to date) on how DNA is packaged differently around genes that are actively expressed. In 2005, he brought his enthusiasm and scientific acumen to Protein Sciences Corporation in Meriden, Connecticut, a company that specializes in developing and manufacturing vaccines. He's now focused on the licensing of FluBlOk, a cell-culture vaccine manufactured using insect cells. The Food and Drug Administration has never licensed a vaccine of this type, so McPherson has had to answer a lot of questions. Currently, one fertilized chicken egg is required to grow a dose of flu vaccine. The decades-old process takes six months and requires that the flu virus, often a live virus, be altered to grow in eggs. FluBlOk offers the advantages of safety, speed and an exact match of the virus, explains McPherson. The cell-culture approach eliminates exposure to the actual virus as well as the potential risk of a poultry-born illness, making it safe for both manufacturers and patients: The vaccine is made from a single protein taken from the surface of the flu virus. FluBlOk can be produced in as little as six weeks and the protein used to make the vaccine is unaltered from the original virus. Cell-culture vaccines are not new technology—polio, hepatitis A and chickenpox vaccines fall in this category— yet the use of insect cells is uncommon; mammalian cells are the norm. These days McPherson spends more time in his office than the lab. As director of quality control, he is charged with establishing protocols for the battery of tests that must be administered over the proteins produced. He also works on analytical method development, raw materials testing and carries out stability studies. He’s also still project manager for Protein Science’s SARS vaccine project. Human clinical trials will likely begin at the end of 2008. “Being involved in a new way of making vaccines is exciting and stressful,” says McPherson,
who lives with his wife, Elizabeth Freedman, a family physician, and daughter Frances, eight, and son William, three, in West Hartford, Connecticut. He credits writing faculty member Anne Kozak with helping him to recognize his natural ability. “I connected with her. She saw my talents and pushed where it was needed.” He also worked in chemistry with COA faculty member Don Cass, helping him to develop experiments for a bioorganic chemistry class. “Don taught me how to take a scientific book or paper and figure out what it meant,” he says. When asked about the influence of COA in his everyday life, he speaks about his environmental awareness and minimizing his ecological footprint: “We’re a part of the world rather than in charge of it.”
A LIFE RICH IN SENSORY EXPERIENCE Lauren Gilson ’88, Field Biologist Lauren Gilson gained her love for animal behavior during childhood summers spent in New Hampshire, swimming, catching turtles, watching loons and visiting the Squam Lake Science Center where a live-animals education program exposed her to a red-tailed hawk and snowy owl. An animal lover fascinated by flight, these birds captivated her. At thirteen, she worked at the center as a future naturalist and discovered that the study of animal behavior could become a career. Several decades later, having been a field biologist from Nebraska to Madagascar, Gilson is now studying the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker at the Avon Park Air Force Range in Florida. Gilson transferred to COA in search of professors who would take the time to become involved in her education. As she designed non-competitive games to teach animal behavior, the late Bill Drury, faculty member in biology, challenged her to question the very notions she was laying out in her curriculum.
Lauren Gilson is flagging a tree in which she has found a new woodpecker excavation, or a “start” (the start of a cavity). Though it may be years before the woodpecker excavates into the heartwood and hollows out a chamber to roost in, the starts are tracked to see how long they take to finish, how often new starts are made, who in the group works on them, what characteristics the chosen tree displays, and other information to help scientists manage the bird and its habitat needs. Photo by Lynne Flannery.
He encouraged her to think beyond the established precepts of animal behavior, to “always be open to another way of interpretation.” She now routinely finds that animals do not necessarily repeat predicted behavior. The local differences she sees in her current work with the red-cockaded woodpecker lead her to apply a regional lens to existing federal management regulations. COA | 25
Her job is often a creative challenge as federal regulations limit the methods she can use. For example, getting a permit to use telemetry units to track juveniles is very difficult, for fear that even simple monitoring devices would harm the birds. “My goal is to figure out the most about these animals with the least impact,” she says. Working with the red-cockaded woodpecker has made her more attentive to how a species utilizes the landscape, as she also monitors the resources on which the birds live. By observing the productivity, survival rates and growth of the red-cockaded woodpecker, she can recommend what will increase the overall number of species. While many studies simply emphasize learning about a species, her current work included, Gilson has long made it a point to try and use behavior to learn from a species. Although she has spent much of her career working with birds—her master’s thesis at Boise State University was on raptor biology—her true passion is the study of behavior itself, in any organism. She tries to consider the world from the perspective of her subject, focusing on individuals, challenging herself to know them well enough to recognize the slightest change in vocalization or behavior. “I could watch a species for hours and hours, paying attention to what they are doing, how they are using their environment, and how they react to each other,” she says. Beyond birds, Gilson soon hopes to be studying reptiles with her partner, behavioral ecologist Bill Bateman of the University of Pretoria. High-paying work has never been Gilson’s focus. Her life is rich with sensory experience. Nature’s sounds and sights offer endless delight. The red-cockaded woodpeckers she studies are like her children, she says. Drury’s focus on individuals has opened the widest of worlds. “I love knowing so many birds; I’m very fortunate to spend a lot of time working with organisms that are very different from us,” Gilson says, adding, “Everybody should end up doing the thing that is most important to them.” 26 | COA
Darron Collins ’92 mounts a camera trap to capture images of the highly endangered Amur leopard (Panthera pardus amurensis).
LISTENING, THEN ACTING Darron Collins ’92, World Wildlife Fund Conservationist Darron Collins loved COA from the moment he stepped onto campus. Beyond the beauty, size and proximity to Acadia National Park, he felt like he shared a similar intensity with the students he met. “I wanted to tie myself to trees as an Earth First! activist,” he recalls. Today, as a World Wildlife Fund conservationist, he understands the importance of listening to all parties. “Who’s to say we know more?” Collins’ interest in activism evolved into a fascination with field biology and then into a curiosity with environmental law. The same drive that led him to design the popular Whitewater/White Paper class with Ken Cline, COA faculty member in public policy and environmental law, now finds Collins directing two WWF priority areas: the Amur Basin of Mongolia, Russia and China, and the rivers and streams of the southeastern United States. “COA allowed me the flexibility to figure out what made me tick,” he says. As a Watson Fellow, Collins studied the social and ecological consequences of development on rivers in Latin America, later earning his PhD in anthropology from Tulane University, where he studied the plant usage and lore of Guatemala’s Q’eqchi’ people.
In Guatemala, cultural distance and a language barrier prevented Collins from gathering the hard science he was after. As a result, he began to consider tools beyond science; the lesson has carried over into his international conservation work. “The world is too crazy to use science all the time,” he says. “We have woefully inadequate data in a rapidly changing world. You need instinct, creativity and a look at the cultural systems. Natural systems are hard to predict; when humans are thrown into the mix, it becomes even harder. Science can help prioritize, but a lot of the time it’s about talking to people and tapping into local knowledge.” His work in the Amur Basin—the Amur River flows from the mountains of Mongolia and becomes the border between Russia and China— has focused in part on the taimen or “river wolf,” the world’s largest salmonid, the family that includes salmon, trout and whitefish. Collins says the forces working against taimen, which can grow to one hundred pounds, are numerous, including gold mining and overgrazing. He hopes that a locally based sport fishing industry, emphasizing catch and release, might bring some relief. And yet, the greatest threat to taimen is localized sport fishing of a different breed—for trophy fish—a popular pastime among Mongolia’s elite. Six months ago, to work closer to the Decatur, Georgia home where he and his wife Karen and their two daughters, Maggie, six, and Molly, four, live, Collins added the rivers and streams of the southeast to his job description. Working in the US offers significantly better access to resources and expertise, but property rights activists pose a challenge, he says. The southern Appalachians support the richest invertebrate and fish populations in the temperate world. But this diversity is threatened by the ever-expanding urban centers of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Charlotte, North Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia. “People don’t want to be told what to do,” says Collins, “but they are starting to come around as the negative consequences of not planning become apparent.”
Collins has a gift for grasping the importance of the microcosm within the context of a global climate, and for him these two seemingly divergent regions have a binding similarity—the importance of paying heed to the local perspective—another lesson that dates back to a college campus on the Maine coast.
FULFILLING A CHILDHOOD DREAM Jim Kellam ’96, Tenure-Track Biology Professor Jim Kellam only applied to one college. He loved COA’s infectious optimism, the personal attention and getting to know his professors—a refreshing change from his Richmond, Virginia high school of two thousand. Longing, early on, to be a biology professor, he delved into classes taught by COA faculty members in biology John
Jim Kellam ’96 is attaching a radio transmitter to the crow’s back so his team can determine whether it was part of the communal roost and where it spent the daylight hours.
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Anderson and Craig Greene. He loved field trips with Greene and his approach of teaching about the relationships among plants. From Anderson he learned to remain open to variation in the natural world and to think beyond his book learning. For his senior project, Kellam studied how weather influences the roosting behavior of pileated woodpeckers. Today, he’s still studying birds as a tenure-track biology professor at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. While his contemporaries were outside playing basketball, Kellam was wandering through the woods, watching birds and identifying wildflowers. Even in elementary school, science was his favorite subject—he still has his fifth-grade rock collection. He and his mother kept a feeder in their backyard and together they would keep track of who visited. In eighth grade he was asked to interview someone with a profession he was interested in—he chose an ornithologist. Kellam earned his PhD in biological sciences from Purdue University, studying the pair bond maintenance of downy woodpeckers in winter, an interest stemming from his COA senior project. At Purdue, Kellam looked at whether males and females compete at foraging during the winter. In opposition to welldocumented literature, Kellam found that they don’t—he observed that males and females foraging within fifty yards of one another didn’t affect each other’s success. He also implanted testosterone in one group of birds—the method had never been practiced in woodpeckers—to see if it would strengthen the pair bond relationship. The added testosterone did influence the pair, but only to the advantage of the male. Females foraging with testosterone-added males were less successful when compared to their control group counterparts.
After Purdue, Kellam taught at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania as a visiting professor. Teaming up with Margaret Brittingham of Pennsylvania State University, he researched the effectiveness of management techniques utilized by the United States Department of Agriculture to move a crow roost that had been deemed a public nuisance. The methods ranged from flares and noisemakers to poison, with a few hundred actually killed. Over the course of three years the roost size dropped from about 40,000 to circa 15,000 individuals, yet Kellam could not say that the shift in roost size was directly correlated to management practices. It could have simply been a behavioral shift. He’s now looking into birds and sleep—how stress levels and weather affect sleep behavior in birds and how sleep affects their social interactions during the day. Since arriving at Saint Vincent, Kellam has focused ~ Jim Kellam ’96 on designing his teaching curriculum. “I enjoy being like John Anderson,” he says, referring to his former advisor’s knack for challenging assumptions. Kellam asks his students a lot of questions, hoping to elicit an “I never thought of it that way” revelation.
“‘I enjoy asking students a lot of questions, hoping to elicit an “I never thought of it that way” revelation. ”
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INFLUENCING THE INFLUENCERS Jessica Damon ’98, Environmental Consultant When asked to think outside of the box at COA, Jessica Damon rose to the challenge: “In my postCOA life, I have never been afraid to try," she says. Her sense of empowerment is astonishing. Growing up on a small farm in Buckfield, Maine, with a gamut of chores from milking cows to fixing the snowplow, Damon came to science
Jessica Damon at work in her office at the Navy.
early. In fifth grade, she was engrossed by what she could grow in a petri dish. For her internship at COA, she worked on Allied Whale’s long-term study of the ecology and habitat of finback and humpback whales. Her senior project looked at how high-speed vessels affect whales. She has since presented her research in Maui and Massachusetts. Damon later worked for Allied Whale and a whale-watching outfit in Bar Harbor, earning her captain’s license. She also researched the endangered right whale under Scott Kraus ’77 at the New England Aquarium. “There is nothing like being far offshore, in a small boat with a few other dedicated individuals, watching a species you’re not certain will be around for another hundred years—knowing you’re making a difference.” But Damon found earning a living from field biology difficult. She had already worked on implementing federal policy during whale and sea turtle encounters as a certified biological observer aboard dredging vessels along the east and gulf coasts. Seeking to start a family, she
returned to policy work with AH Environmental Consultants, a small firm in Newport News, Virginia. Come April, she and husband James Young, an Army logistics officer who works at the Pentagon, are expecting their first child. As an environmental consultant, Damon designs and implements an environmental management system for the Navy, streamlining and enhancing existing policy execution. Whether it’s hazardous waste regulations or historic building preservation, Damon must know the policy, and how federal, state or Navy regulations affect her client. Then she must find efficient ways to implement that policy. Here, Damon goes beyond teaching how to effectively disseminate rules, striving to integrate human ecological thinking into the minds of influential people. She seeks those who manage others, such as department heads or doctors, and teaches them, for example, why recycling matters and how it affects their lives, in hopes that they will in turn pass the awareness onto their subordinates. “You need a concise message and you need to communicate with the right people. Success is all about effective communication,” she says. Damon has been surprised by how much she enjoys seeing a project produce a more educated, contented and greener client. The bulk of her time is split between writing environmental policy, and interacting with people to ensure implementation at the hospital. She is also working toward a master’s degree in environmental management at the University of Maryland. In an effort to morph her career back toward marine research, she wants to extend her consulting to include the greening of Chesapeake Bay. Whether it’s keeping pollutants out of the bay or working directly with a species in need, any future move will stand up to the internal litmus test that has guided her work since her COA years: “If I’m not making a difference, I’m not living up to what I could be.”
Donnie Mullen (’97) is a writer and photographer living in midcoast Maine. COA | 29
Human Ecology BEYOND DISCIPLINE
Human Ecology DARE TO BE A DISCIPLINE
By Bill Carpenter
By Maxwell G. Coolidge ’05
textbook, Human Ecology, and impart it to our stun the fall of 1972 COA convened as an academic institution with thirty-two students; every issue dents in an orderly way. involved in running a college was on the table, right But I see the faculty as having quite the opposite down to whether we would turn the clocks back mission: never to let human ecology freeze into a to standard time. I think of those first years as the discipline to be known and transmitted by profesBig Bang of human ecology; we were willing to sional human ecologists to passive students. If question all that came before in education, level it anything, the faculty must use all our knowledge of to the ground if necessary and build it over. human ecology to keep it unknown, so that each fall it is as new to us as when we first encountered it. With a visionary challenge, the trustees had taken a brand-new concept—human ecology—and asked Human ecology is not a subject matter. It is a way us to breathe life into it and make it work as a colof apprehending the world through the relations of lege education. They knew and we knew that it things in their ceaseless interaction and change. As wouldn’t be just another academic discipline, but students, if you assume the faculty already knows a complete transvaluation of how we learn. Of the and all you have to do is take notes, if you assume uncountable gifts the trustees have the administration already knows and all you have to do is follow the bestowed on us, the greatest has rules, you will be missing the point been those two words, human and “Human ecology is not a of human ecology, which is your ecology, the zygote of the organism subject matter. It is a way own creative involvement in the that has come to be COA. of apprehending the destiny of your personal education The first handful of faculty spent world through the and of the institution as a whole. a summer thinking and talking and It takes courage for the faculty made a definition, “humans and relations of things in their relation to the environment,” to give up the comfort of mastery their ceaseless interacwhich has kept its focus not on the and see our subjects as unknowns tion and change.” again; and courage for students to things of this world but on the ~ Bill Carpenter give up being disciples and conseparate relationships that hold sumers. In the eyes of human ecolthem together. But a definition is only the skin of ogy, students and faculty are joint an idea, not the heart. It was not till the students partners in this limitless investigation. Faculty came that we truly began this great evolutionary should take on the best qualities of the students— experiment in modifying liberal education to serve a their radicalism and eager openness, and students new millennium. The liberal arts had been formed in should assume the best of the faculty, our wise the Middle Ages to respond to a world that was fixed articulateness and self-confidence, right or wrong. in place while the sun revolved around it. Human In this way we can join against one-way authoritariecology would teach an open, unconstrained, crean learning and keep the Big Bang going in its creative response to a post-Darwinian world that will ative intensity and freedom. never stop changing. You can’t freeze and define What keeps human ecology from being just human ecology; but its mercurial indefinability is the another academic discipline is the deeply personal ideal instrument for understanding and responding encounter each of us has with it, student or teacher. to the world we’re in. And the highest expressions of this encounter are the superhuman achievements of the senior projects, The first students have long since gone forth to because all-out creativity is the only response to the creative life voyages in service to both humans and unanswerable questions that will be asked of you, the environment, while the faculty is still here trying and that you will continue to answer all your lives. to figure out what human ecology is, a task we’ve been chipping at for one score and fifteen years. By now you would think we could take that hairy, anarExcerpted from Carpenter’s speech at COA’s thirtychic tarball we call human ecology, wrap it up in a fifth convocation, September 5, 2007.
studying different phenomena. I recall history faculty spent most of my time at COA in human studies member Todd Little-Siebold’s annoyance at the popclasses but the arts and design curriculum was ularity of Jared Diamond’s book, Guns, Germs, and where I learned the value of discipline. Steel, which sought to explain the Spanish conquest Discipline is a word that has taken on a negative connotation these days. In the world of child rearing of the Americas in terms of material and biological (which I am in the thick of) it has been conflated advantage. A biologist who writes a history book may with the word punishment. In academia it has have a popular following, but his cross-disciplinary become something in need of transcendence. We move cheapens the work of historians who trade in strive to be multi-disciplinary, inter-disciplinary, the in-depth study of specific people and events. trans-, post-, cross-, etc. The result unfortunately is Likewise, any student trying to draw conclusions that many of us forget to be disciplinary in the first about social sciences from something they studied in place. botany class was sure to evoke the ire of my wise Discipline was the last thing I expected to find in (and disciplined) classmate Yaniv Brandvain ’04. my art and music classes. Art and music in my mind If human ecology is to develop as a discipline, we were where people went to “express must guard it against being broadened out of existence by being themselves” and “find their inner “Human ecology is also defined as the study of humans and voice.” in danger of being so their environments. Students who enter Ernie narrowly defined that the Rather than becoming a new and McMullen’s painting classes or John prime activities of the important field of inquiry, human Cooper’s music tutorials with this human ecologist become ecology might merely become just attitude quickly discover otherwise. another interdisciplinary “study” There is no room for fudging in preaching environmenlike the “gender studies” or “ethnic their classes; you paint; you practice. talism and the superioristudies” programs elsewhere. These Cooper and McMullen are not midty of human ecology.” are not fields of inquiry, but rather wives assisting at the birth of your curricula that draw from a number creativity; they are disciplinarians ~ Max Coolidge ’05 of different disciplines and lead the and masters of their fields who student to pre-determined (politically biased) know the difference between beauty and bullshit. conclusions. They expect students to be just as committed to Human ecology is also in danger of being so narmastery as they are. Many teachers, from the elementary to the college rowly defined that the prime activities of the human level, have given up on the idea of discipline. ecologist become preaching environmentalism and Education in this country has shifted from an intellecthe superiority of human ecology. The college has tual model, with a focus on the acquisition and masgotten a lot of good press for its commitments to tery of skills and knowledge, to a psychotherapeutic environmental concerns but it would be a shame if model where feelings, opinions and self-esteem are the college’s educational mission took a back seat to what count. Teachers no longer teach but rather help its non-intellectual pursuits such as signing the Earth students make discoveries and voice opinions. Charter or becoming carbon neutral. Teachers are no longer regarded as masters and stuBoth of these extremes are anti-intellectual pitdents no longer regarded as disciples; in fact the falls. Students, commit your attention to studying the whole notion that the older generation has somefields that interest you the most. The disciplines you thing of value to impart has fallen out of fashion. master, and more importantly the discipline you develop, will last you a lifetime. Discipline involves developing effective, regular study and work habits; it also involves staying within disciplinary bounds. Human knowledge is divided Maxwell Coolidge ’05 and his wife Jennifer (Wahlquist) ’03 live in Orland, Maine. Coolidge into disciplines because it is vast and there are speis a candidate for the Maine State Legislature. cific tools and methods that can be best used for
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selections from a novella BY ERICA MALTZ ’08
Photos (5) by Donna Gold
he Caribbean dawns like a bad dream, one that you forget soon after waking, but that flavors your day with a precarious feeling of something about to happen. I came to the Caribbean because the low latitudes evade me like an infantile memory, a mess of light and color, indiscernible to my eyes that cannot yet focus. The warm wind and curved horizon lived in my brain before I could formulate the series of thoughts that I needed to interpret those rough waters, before I could analyze its presence, before the amphibious syllables of words could creep forth from a mouth that had not yet said anything that anyone else could understand.
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I. Runaway I open my eyes to a world as bright as blue flames and as old as diamonds. Outside the window a rooster sings his solitude to neighborhood animals in a series of short, splitting crows. The Caribbean dawns like a bad dream, a day that keeps on repeating, a modern day Isle of Nausicaa worthy of Odysseus. To Odysseus, the picture was wrong, a perfection and clarity that must not exist on a proper earth. Somewhere in his memory, Odysseus knew that he must go home, something sad that would not bend to the will of the beauty before his eyes. The boy beside me in my bed is asleep with dreams of moonlight and snow, girls that will come and sweep him off his feet. I will get out of the bed, cook him breakfast, but will not eat anything myself. The rooster continues to scream, though the sun floated into the sky two hours earlier, his sense of time lost in his ancestry, this feral colonial descendant of the more well-behaved roosters of the conquistadors. Roosters were bred to crow at dawn, to awaken humans with the first ray of light; that was the purpose of roosters, the reason for their being so carefully kept by masters of another species. In this story, the conquistadors mixed their blood with the unwilling Taíno, and then eventually nobody taught the roosters when to crow. The slow, archaic clawing of a green iguana on the cement roof joins the sound of the rooster. I
start to cook eggs with the slight sense of revenge of the rooster who would have never fathered these eggs anyhow. *** In the Caribbean, roosters and iguanas live in the same space, the rooster where the roots of the tree enter the ground, the iguana where the branches meet the sky. The civilized world, as I have come to realize, is a zoo of animals dumped where they did not evolve. The iguana belongs here and so has always, to some sunlit tree in these latitudes. With the scratch of his front claws, and then a pull of his hind, he is not trying to tell me anything, not telling me to wake up. He does not know I am here several feet below him. He will simmer on my roof in the morning sun until his insides are cooked, then slide off to a coconut palm and disappear into cooler, more invisible places of the world, long after my chicken’s eggs are cooked and eaten. Through the metal shutters the sun percolates, the rays only a few minutes old. That is how long they take to get to the earth. A year ago I was not in the Caribbean, but a year from now the faint light of stars behind the blue sky of this day will hit the ground beneath my feet and end their travels. In the beginning there was only water and light, then the creatures in the sea.
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*** In the beginning, the boy and I set out to discover all of the secrets of this small island. In the beginning the boy and I just were, and just were with each other, and we did not know the territory. ***
*** I pack up all my words to you in a glass-green bottle. The message is composed of the many words I have never said to you, words that might have made your leaving different had you read them. I write it on the paper we had scrapped to recycle, the ink runny from the humidity that rises every day since you left. A fly lands on my words, leaving a tiny ink trail of fly footsteps before it hovers away. If the message ever reaches you, look for these, and you will know what state I am in. There must be people who still look for messages in bottles, look for little written pieces of other people’s lives on the ground, lost or discarded, people who will pick up my bottle, crack it open, and send the letters I write to you. I must believe in these people, even if they are only children, children not old enough to send letters. They make it plausible that you might one day get these. I fling these words as far as I can into the blue, beyond the reef, to the current that may carry it away and closer to where you are. Where are you? You are beyond the reef, where it might not 34 | COA
make it, my arms have never been that strong. I look in the mirror of the casita bathroom to see if I am still there. The words are as delicate as if I wrote them in ash, as if I set fire to the footsteps of the fly and filled the bottle with smoke instead of ink. *** Herds of urchins surround my words, resting in a bed of turtle grass, just beyond the reef. The sea egg, the inflated and flattened sea biscuits, the green urchin, the black urchin, the spiny urchin crawl slowly on the bottom, eating detritus. You do not know it, but they have been there for thousands of years, hundreds of thousands, millions. This doesn’t impress you; maybe I should have said centuries, and our brains could begin to understand the age of their lineage. The urchins have lived here for centuries, among the first to claim these waters. The seas have since shifted, and maybe Culebra was once under water. I hold the body of a sea biscuit, the first human to touch its pored shell, and I tell you that the star shaped flower on the surface of a sand dollar is perfect.
You had a picture already in your mind, before you came here. Bone white and azure blue, the waves fan out, recede, fan out, recede, breathequiet, fan out, fall back, in that endless, stochastic, admirable fashion of waves. A slow Jurassic mist rises from sea grapes and coconuts, instantly marooning us on a forgotten isle of piracy, a rumladen kingdom of rats and outcasts, giant schools of silver fish, and twisted mangrove roots. If I am stranded here forever, I would slowly forget what exactly it was that I did before this, grow bark and tree rings: My skin will be scales and my eyes a spy glass looking always to a horizon that I would never reach. As the soft sweet coconut water steals my taste buds, my nails parched like teeth, a tongue raspy and salty like the skin of the iguana and a crepuscular sense of time, rising with the moon instead of the sun. *** At the sea-grape gate of the shore, the boy picks a hibiscus flower and tucks it behind my ear. I wander up into the bush away from him, trying to name the stones as if they were my own creations. When the boy isn’t looking I pull the hibiscus from behind my ear and place it on the grave of conchs, a pile of empty shells, scabby skin covering a spiral of pink and pearl. They say that only living things can produce spirals, and that spirals are always evidence of something that has lived. This hibiscus marks well this grave, a star-spiral of its own in the center of these hollow shells. Before we walk away, the boy asks me where the flower has gone. I tell him it must have fallen out. He looks to the ground for a brief moment and we continue to the shore.
II. Castaway Shells of bombs that exploded fifty years before scatter the beach along with sandals and bottles, piles of bottles that will one day outnumber the living conch in Culebra’s shallows. The hills crumble into the ocean and the bombs slowly turn to rock, to raw metal, and one day you will not be able to see where they are. It is not the job of rocks to record history, it is not the job of rocks to remember and forget or to say where it is they are going. Someone goes to sleep in Culebra when someone else is waking. Someone is choking in the generations of confines of a small island while someone else is wondering when to leave. Someone decides to stay, someone decides to go and never come back, whether by intention or not. A hand-painted sign stands guard over the vast coastline of Culebra, a landscape that you will never see even if you live here. It is abandoned to birds and to bombs, with rocky beaches that will not turn to sand for thousands of years. Some of the deepest waters of the Caribbean lie just beyond this coast, this western point, and many waves that strike this shore travel first over the dark trenches of ocean. Whoever translated this sign with its uneven lettering did not do so completely. It is meant to COA | 35
warn you that the U.S. Navy did not keep track of all unexploded artillery, and that among the cobble, pieces of Culebra’s history have not yet exposed themselves. The boy and I walk and know, as only travelers can, that no one will find us here. No one knows we are absent, or even that we have a place to be absent from. We pass beyond the web that society weaves around us, into a protected part of a little island, a phantom limb of an amputee land. The boy is pretty sure that this limb has been gone for many years. *** Between, below these hollow bombs are bottles, thousands. They are inside the bombs, filling the empty shells with sand and with words. Each bottle tried to reach someone and failed on these forgotten northern shores of Culebra, or else sank and drowned in the sea. It is impossible to tell, trash to be left or a bottle to be found and read, sent to someone waiting or someone who is no longer here. *** It has been one year since we met for the second time. I can’t remember the date. See? It is something you would have never remembered, but you didn’t have to because I didn’t remember either. Was that how it was always going to be? The years pass without seasons, like Culebra, and we would never remember to remind each other how many it had been. I don’t think I could live like that. I am still on Culebra. I am looking at the giant sand dollar you found for me at the bottom of the sea, beyond the corals. It is whole. I can’t believe you discovered one entire after all the broken ones I pulled up disappointedly from the sand. I thought my lungs would burst looking for this one rare treasure. You can’t tell if they are whole when they are on the bottom, the sand too often hides the broken half. Every time I pick it up I hold it with both my hands. It will be an heirloom I leave to my children, so they can show their children what perfect designs millions of years had rendered. They will marvel at its symmetry, its size and how it’s puffed up unlike the common sand dollars we 36 | COA
have at home in the North. Their young faces will want to trace the perfect petals on its surface with the tips of their fingers, and ask for its history. You said I’d have to marry you if I wanted this gift. I stared at it for hours after, marveling at every detail etched in calcium. These are my treasures. Someday, after I die, my progeny will uncover great hordes of these, shells, rocks, antlers, teeth. *** The whole Caribbean fills up with bones and somehow no one sees them. Turtles and conch, dogs and fish, horses and cats, coral and sand. *** Ten years from now, I will return to Culebra to dig up the only thing we left on the island, one bottle of cheap Australian wine, mostly because we had nothing more personal to bury. I still have the map, measured out in my small paces, wandering from a particular palm out toward the sea on the nearly hidden Resaca beach. Remember? I made sure to measure out the paces in my own steps knowing in some sense that I would return alone to find this bottle. I know I will set foot on that beach again, climb through the little tunnel of poisonwood and sea grape, larch and a broadleaf of which I never learned the name. The day will be sunny and completely clear of clouds or stars, there will only be the solitary frigate birds gliding thousands of meters above, looking down at one small girl moving through the trees. The bottle will be salty, the label faded, and the wine sour. I will put it to my lips and gaze out onto a horizon, wondering what about that thin line has changed since we were here. I will drink sweet coconut milk instead, and fall asleep under the palms. When I wake up, everything will look the same. I may even wish you were there. We should have buried rum, or photos, or jewelry, or words. I don’t know why we didn’t. After completing the novella Culebra for her senior project, Erica Maltz is taking some time to travel.
poetry candice stover From her book, Poems from the Pond Published by Deerbrook Editions, Cumberland, Maine 2007
In Season: Five Tankas from the Pond 1. April Thaw for Jane Disney Thinnest near the edge, white layers keep vanishing: breath over dark water. Sublimation, science calls it, how we change forms, hover . . .
2. Latitude: Coyotes in Winter Shrill city yanking its twilight chain, unleashing what still clamors, wild to reach us, touching what’s raw— Dusk sinks the pond plum. 3. Waking After Midnight: That Thirst One loon calling, one note floating from the pond’s dark kingdom bats gliding blind mosquitoes whine, sucking blood leaves sizzle wings beat hush 4. On a Day She Heard No Voices The pond: tea-colored dark clarities no memory of ice sealing it then—shearing up—gradually she enters her reflection 5. Minus 14 Degrees Fahrenheit, with Wind-chill Ice like a bandit steals the pond overnight, shuts fragile edges in where clouds float lilac, early sunset: cold jewels burning
Intuition This one, from his first steps, longed to carry home in his arms all creatures wild, bovine, other, rare. As if he might lead the moo-cows he called out to in the meadow by a string drawn from his pocket, might guide them to his bedside and tie them there, cow by cow, like private angels to watch a boy sleep. Once, by a lake, three deer lifted their heads and watched him approach, let him take his stance of entrancement and did not run. The boy turned eight. That summer his father found a turtle stranded between ditch and pavement, a baby snapper he scooped in his palm to bring home. The boy kept it in a sink on the porch. He tempted his turtle with bits of grass, lumps of hamburger, lettuce, strawberries. He gave it a rock to stand on, cooled it with rain trickled from the red spout of his mother’s Mexican watering can. The black curves of the turtle’s tiny claws strained and scratched to climb the basin. Its head, a leather thumb, stretched for sky. Every day the boy nudged the rough puzzle of its shell and studied the sleepy slits of its eyes. He named it a secret name. This went on for a week. Then, one twilight under a quarter moon, the boy cradled the turtle into a paper cup and walked to the pond. Candice Stover is a COA lecturer in writing and literature. She is also the author of Holding Pattern published by Muse Press and Another Stopping Place by Oyster River Press. COA | 37
C L A S S N OT E S
For a week each spring since 2000, Jackson Gillman ’78 has been living at Rudyard Kipling’s historic Brattleboro, Vermont home while he portrays “Rudyard-in-Residence.” Because of its inspirational setting, he also rents the home in early February to host workshop sessions he calls Springboards for Stories, helping individuals develop stories by doing some exploratory mining of personal experiences and considering ways to refine, polish and share those nuggets. Find out more at www.jacksongillman.com. On November 18, Loie Hayes ’79, Glen Berkowitz ’82, Terri Goldberg (’76) and Kathy Weinstock ’81 attended the annual conference of the Massachusetts Climate Action Network (MCAN). Glen is president of Beaufort Windpower; Terri is deputy director of Northeast Waste Management Officials Association. Kathy is a social worker and a member of C-10 (Citizens Within a 10-Mile Radius of Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant) and Loie (photo, with another BCAN member), is an editor and also coordinator of Boston Climate Action Network. Frank Twohill ’80, a private practice lawyer, was recently elected to his eighth term in the Branford, Connecticut, Representative Town Meeting. The thirtymember town legislature passes the $85 million annual budget, prepares ordinances and hears from citizens. Frank was also elected minority leader. Since 2005 Frank has served on the COA Alumni Association Governing Board where he is, “committed to improving the COA alumni experience.” He writes the occasional COA News, Views & Gossip column on the COATribe@yahoo.com group and is especially interested in hearing from classmates who attended COA between 1973 and 1978. firstname.lastname@example.org “I am still living in Santa Monica,” writes Greg Rainoff ’81, “spending a lot of time in Tijuana working on a documentary about the US/Mexico border fence. (see page 47) . . . I think I have left Hollywood and visual effects for good except to keep contacts to facilitate more socially conscious ventures than blowing up spaceships for television, although that was kinda fun. I can’t just be a consumer anymore with things the way they are. The whole world is about to go green whether we are tree huggers or not. If I have garnered power in the world of media, it’s my job as a human ecologist to use that power to facilitate that change. . . . I still ride my bike like a fiend. Not too fat or bald yet, forty-nine going on seventeen.” email@example.com Johannah Bernstein ’83 recently moved to Geneva, Switzerland, having decided that she had to see Mont Blanc every day. She says she has re-created the balance she had at COA, “minus the all-nighters in the original library and blueberry pancakes at Jordan’s at the crack of dawn!” She starts her days with a swim in Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) and hikes, skis or climbs on the weekends. Yes, she is still doing international environmental law consultation. Her new home is “always open to COA alum who may be passing through.” firstname.lastname@example.org
COA Alumni Relations
Alumni: Stay in Touch! Update your contact information, tell us of changes in your job or life or find out about regional alumni events and other alumni services: Jennifer Hughes
in the Development Office 207-288-5015 ext. 329
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Pam Cobb Heuberger ’83 is the owner and director of Camp Runoia, a summer camp offering, “a human ecology experience for girls ages seven to fifteen.” She also volunteers with the American Camp Association as president of the northeast section. “I’ve been in Seattle almost ten years now, having fun being an aunt to Vera, 5, and Arlo, 8, learning how to garden and commuting to an island with llamas and very furry goats,” writes Anna Hurwitz ’84. She works for the consulting firm Social Enterprise Group, which recently launched a hands-on, accelerated method for developing social ventures, called Sustayne. She and her partner, Wendy, are planning a trip up the eastern seaboard in 2009 and hope to come visit. email@example.com
I’m still teaching English at a university in the United Arab Emirates where I’ve been since 1999,” writes Bone Jo Rodgers ’85. “In my free time I often go out looking for art and/or traditional dyes. A year ago that meant going to northern Vietnam to check out how they used indigo. I also stop into museums in Europe on the way home each summer, still doing an assignment that JoAnne Carpenter gave us twenty-five years ago: ‘Plan a trip through Europe, tell me where you want to go, what you want to see, and why you want to see it.’ Thanks, JoAnne, that assignment has taken me to some very interesting places!”
C L A S S N OT E S
Sara Wendt ’85 recently released her second album Weightless With Love with indie label City Canyons, downloadable through the iTunes store. She is trying to live “gently” in New York City where she rides her bicycle, avoids plastic and works as a hypnotherapist, part-time human resources manager and copyeditor for college textbook publishing companies. She attributes most of her good life to her “awesome education in human ecology.” firstname.lastname@example.org Paul Boothby ’88 and his wife, Krista, have moved to Lynchburg, Virginia where Paul is now the minister of First Unitarian Church, promoting environmental stewardship in the church and social healing through a city-wide dialog on race relations. “Our relations with our neighbors and with the environment are reflections of each other,” he writes. Natalie Springuel ’91 and husband Rich MacDonald are excited to announce the birth of their little girl, Anouk Liesl Springuel MacDonald, born on April 29, 2007. At five weeks, Anouk was the youngest student enrolled in the 2007 COA course, This Marvelous Terrible Place, The Human Ecology of Newfoundland, which Natalie co-taught with faculty member in economics, Davis Taylor, and Sean Todd, faculty member in biology. Writes Natalie, “Anouk was so happy to camp her way around Newfoundland with her fellow COA students that she caught a serious travel bug. She has since ventured to Norway for some backpacking and Belgium for her uncle’s wedding.” email@example.com Cedar Bough Saeji ’93 is adjusting to life in the United States as she starts her PhD in culture and performance at the University of California Los Angeles. Husband Karjam’s CD, Pilgrimage, can be found on iTunes and at CDBaby. http://www.cedarsphotography.com E. Anne Gustavson ’94 is living in Seattle, Washington and recently passed the exam to become certified as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (or LEED) architect. She is working to reduce the percentage of greenhouse gas emissions from buildings. “I have just entered the magical world of motherhood and feel the strength and power of having gone through thirty hours of labor to get there,“ writes Elizabeth Rousek Ayers ’95. Daughter Eva was born November 20. Elizabeth has since left her job as head gardener at Openhearth Estate to enjoy her time with Eva and work in her own gardens. She writes, “I love hearing from COA and COA friends, as it grounds me to my core values and beliefs—which I plan to pass on to my daughter.” firstname.lastname@example.org Deborah Keisch Polin ’96 is living in Northampton, Massachusetts with her husband, Mitch, and ten-month-old daughter, Willa. Deborah is in the PhD program in cultural anthropology at the University of Massachusetts while, she says, “trying to figure out the mama/school/work balance.” Ryan Ruggiero ’96 lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife, Sarah, a middle school science teacher, and their two children, Mason, 5, and Stella, 2. Ryan is a natural resources and landscape planner with Vigil-Agrimis, a firm working in, “multidisciplinary environmental design and consulting,” and is close to licensure as a landscape architect. “The Pacific Northwest offers so many incredible opportunities to connect with the natural world, at the beach, in the mountains, and along the many rivers that are central to the region’s identity.”
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C L A S S N OT E S
Career & Internship Services Alumni: We can help! + Career Information and Guidance + Searchable Database + Graduate School Information + Job Search Skills + Resume Review + Relocation Guidance + Employment Websites Interested in providing an internship? Working with prospective students? Mentoring current students and other alumni? Contact Jill Barlow-Kelley, Director of Internships and Career Services, at email@example.com or 288-5015 ext. 236
After more than eight years working for the Girl Scouts in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Margaret Hoffman ’97 has moved back to coastal Maine. She is now the director of marketing and visitor services at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay. Visitors are welcome to her two guestrooms in Southport. firstname.lastname@example.org “I am engaged to be married to my boyfriend of five years, Ben Rosenberger,” writes Jen Zankowski ’98. She is also working with the activist investment firm Relational Investors in San Diego. What she likes most about this job is learning about corporate governance and the process by which shareholders create change. “Business plays such a critical role in politics and creating change,” she writes. But while finance is interesting, she says, “it is not my passion.” Jen is also applying to graduate school to study city and regional planning. She’d love to hear from old COA friends. email@example.com Luciana Pandolfi ’98 and Luke Wagner ’99 are back in Antarctica for their fifth consecutive summer season, their third in the deep field. They are working in East Antarctica as logistical support staff for the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute on its International Trans-Antarctic Scientific Expedition (ITASE). The project, funded by the National Science Foundation, seeks to obtain an overview of climate change through ice core and surface sample analysis as well as ice penetrating radar surveys. This year they aim to traverse 1400 km from a site at the head of the Byrd Glacier to the South Pole. Their progress can be followed on the logbook on the ITASE website: http://blogs.bootsnall.com/luke/ “I have recently moved back to Portland and am so happy to be in Maine again!” writes Hannah Fogg ’99. “Life is in constant flux. The chilly weather has brought on much inspiration for knitting scarves, shawls and sweaters and also for canning food—mango chutney, applesauce, pickled jalapeno peppers and quince jam. We should get together and laugh and eat good food!” After a year of learning, teaching, living and playing in the Tetons, Jamie Duval ’00 has returned to her home state of Maine. She is now assistant director at the Ferry Beach Ecology School in Saco. She writes, “my favorite part of the job is coordinating a children’s garden program and getting my hands dirty! I was recently engaged to Rob Beranek, whom I met through my graduate studies at Antioch University New England. We are basking in the enjoyment of life and will keep you updated on a date!” Addie Dupree ’02 is living in Leysin, Switzerland as a high school science teacher at an American boarding school. Her students come from across the globe. She writes, “The town I live in is a small village on a mountain and has a ski resort. In the winter, I spend many days with my skis strapped to my feet, searching for fresh snow or snowshoeing to chalets for a hot drink. Working with such a diverse student body has given me a better understanding of the world as a whole and how we are all interconnected. I have been given a new thread to intertwine in my human ecology perspective by working with students from the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Russia, Asia and South America.” Fae Silverman ’03 continues to work as a nationally certified sign language interpreter and to teach scuba divers a system of international hand signals contrived during her senior project. She is also working part time as the first Hillel Adviser/Jewish Associate Chaplain at the University of Southern Maine. firstname.lastname@example.org
40 | COA
“We live our days in a beautiful, bountiful and slow manner filled with lots of time for play and attention to detail,” writes Jennifer Wahlquist Coolidge ’03. “We raise organic produce, floral bouquets and fall ornamentals for sale at the Blue Hill Co-Op and farmers markets.” She and her husband Maxwell Coolidge ’05 live in Orland, Maine with their two young sons, Matthew and Thomas. Max works as a cook at the Wescott Forge restaurant in Blue Hill and the Hiram Blake Camp in Cape Rosier. They also started a bakery out of their kitchen. Late fall and winter are cuddle down times when they dream of next season’s crops. “Every day has allotments for outdoor running around, music making, fort making, driveway-bike-riding, kitchen-dance-parties, food creation, eating and naps!”
C L A S S N OT E S
Ranjan Bhattarai ’04 and Deodonne Dustin (Bhattarai) ’06 were married this summer in Kathmandu, Nepal. Ranjan oversees web development and video production as a designer for MediaWORKS Enterprise, a graphic design firm training at-risk youth in multimedia. He is also working as a lead designer for Environment News Network. www.enn.com “I just got the new COA Magazine and realized I should brag on what I’ve been up to lately,” writes Aaron Lewis ’04. This summer he won the blue ribbon in the Bluegrass Fiddle Category at Galax Fiddle Convention. In September his band, Special Ed and the Shortbus, was a finalist in the Billboard Magazine/Discmakers Independent Music World Series. They later went on to win the Grand Prize. They recently released an album titled Ground Beef Patrol. Aaron has also been playing with a band named Jackass Flats, whose new album will be available soon. Briana Duga ’04 and Seth LaFlamme announce the birth of their first child, Zooey Lynn Duga LaFlamme, born on the morning of June 5, 2007, by way of a natural water birth. They are still living in Atlanta, Georgia, working on chiropractic degrees. email@example.com Jennifer Jones ’05 is now a teacher in North Carolina and owns, she says, “the cutest puppy in the world,” named Oakley Edward Jones. Marisa Glass ’06 is studying in the Islam program at McGill University, working on a cultural study of the Bedouins and how their Islamic lifestyle is being influenced by Western culture and tourism. She is planning a master’s thesis on how Islam was practical for a nomadic desert people and how things are currently changing. “Ultimately I have aspirations of doing several things with this degree,” she writes. “I am concerned for the preservation of the Bedouin culture and the conservation of the environment, especially in Jordan, because major ecological problems face this amazing area. I also want to work towards creating better relations between the Arab and Western worlds by working for exchange student programs. There’s lots to be done in the region and I want to spend my life going between the States and the Middle East, hopefully bringing more awareness and sustainability.” Nickilynn Estologa ’07 and Tom Rush ’07 were married on June 3, 2007 in Bucksport, Maine, at Tom’s parent’s camp. Sarah Baker, COA dean of admission, performed the ceremony. Both Nicki and Tom are working at the private language school Nova as English instructors in Osaka, Japan until September 2008.
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COMMUNITY N OT E S
College of the Atlantic’s re-accreditation review by the Northeastern Association Schools and Colleges has come to a successful conclusion: COA continues in accredited status through 2017. The board commended COA for its unique and relevant mission, its work in achieving financial sustainability, its levels of student engagement, even its approach to the review. “Baleen whales are not important as prey for killer whales Orcinus orca in highlatitude regions,” according to a paper written by Amee V. Mehta in the Marine Ecology Progress Series, Vol. 348, of October 25, 2007. Among the co-authors with Mehta (who hails from the Boston University Marine Program in Woods Hole, Massachusetts) were Allied Whale researchers Judith M. Allen and Rosemary E. Seton. The paper examined the extent to which killer whales feed on baleen whales. Through photographic and sighting data from long-term studies of baleen whales in twenty-four regions worldwide, the authors determined that most killer whale attacks on baleen whales target young animals, probably calves on their first migration from low-latitude breeding and calving areas to high-latitude feeding grounds. Adult baleen whales do not seem to be an important prey source for killer whales in high latitudes. John Anderson, COA’s William H. Drury, Jr. Chair in Evolution, Ecology and Natural History, chaired a session at the international Waterbirds Conference in Barcelona, Spain in October and presented a paper on the impacts of various conservation strategies on Great Duck Island over the past century. Accompanying him were COA students Mikus Abolins-Abols ’10, Sarah Kebler ’08, Kaitlin Palmer ’08, and Anna Perry ’10, each of whom presented papers or posters on their research last summer on Great Duck Island. In December, Anderson and Sean Todd, COA’s Steven K. Katona Chair in Marine Studies and director of Allied Whale, took their Literature and Ecology of the Sea class for a two-week Caribbean sail. The high point of that trip was a night sail across the Anegada Passage to St. Eustatius, where they had plenty of time to climb the volcano and taunt each other (photo). Finally, those who saw History Channel’s World Without People may have heard Anderson’s eloquent discussion of the relationship between humans, oceans and birds. Over winter break, Nancy Andrews, faculty member in video and performing art, and Dru Colbert, faculty member in design and museum issues, traveled to London (photo) and Paris to start laying groundwork for a new set of courses to be co-taught with language faculty member, Camille Vande Berg. In addition, Andrews spent much of the fall writing proposals for her new film. She is one of one hundred twenty nominees for a Rockefeller Film/Video fellowship and one of twenty nominees for another nationwide film/video fellowship. In October, her latest film, The Dreamless Sleep, showed at Cinema Nova in Brussels, Belgium as part of a series of underground films. She was recently invited to submit work to The Center for Integrated Media at the California Institute of the Arts, so you can now see some of her work online at integr8dmedia.net/viralnet. And this just in: Andrews has received a Guggenheim Fellowship to complete her next movie! As a member of the Maine Career Development Association governing board, Jill Barlow-Kelley, internship director, coordinated the fall 2007 membership conference. The association is a membership organization of Maine career counselors. Among the offerings of the daylong conference, Career Services for Diverse Populations: Working with Clients with Specific Needs, were workshops on serving the needs of alumni, international employees and nonprofit services available to those with worksite challenges. At 10:28 p.m. on December 26, 2007, Milja Brecher-DeMuro, former alumni development coordinator, gave birth to Ruby Eliisia DeMuro. She writes, “Ruby weighed 7 pounds 1 ounce and measured 21 inches long and has a head full of black hair! She is beautiful and wonderful and we couldn’t be happier. Rex loves his little sister!”
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Rich Borden, Rachel Carson Chair in Human Ecology and faculty member in psychology, served as a member of the conference planning committee for the XVth International Conference of the Society for Human Ecology, or SHE, last October in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In the symposium, Psychology Looks at Mind and Nature, he made the presentation, “Ecology - Scientific Foundations and Mythic Imagination.” With Sean Berg ’08, Borden presented, “Actual Events and Virtual Possibilities: The Past, Present and Future of the Society for Human Ecology on the World-Wide Web.” This was for a workshop and roundtable on New Directions in Human Ecology - Education for Sustainable Development. As part of his Rachel Carson Chair activities, Borden made a research visit to the Seaside Institute in Florida, and the Institute of Ecology at University of Georgia, where Borden gave seminars on ‘ecological thought’ to both the Odum School of Ecology and the School of Engineering. He also attended a planning meeting at Huxley College for the Environment in Bellingham, Washington, in preparation for the XVIth SHE conference in September 2008.
COMMUNITY N OT E S
Ken Cline, faculty member in law and policy, has again been asked to evaluate Udall Scholars for the Morris K. Udall Foundation. Cline was also recently appointed to the Keeping Maine’s Forests study group, comprised of sixteen knowledgeable Mainers involved in studying and evaluating some of the longterm trends of private forest ownership in the state. COA board member Sherry Huber is also a member of the group. In January, Cline took a group of students to the hearings about Plum Creek’s Moosehead Lake Concept Plan (see Winter 2007). The photo includes students Jenny Lynch ’11, Jordan Motzkin ’11, Casey Rayburn ’11, Matt Maiorana ’10, Brett Ciccotelli ’09, Saras Yerlig ’11, Rebecca Abuza ’11, Maxwell Van Houten ’08, Brooke Welty ’11, Cline and Galen Ballentine ’08, standing. Alumni Garrett ’78 and Alexandra Conover ’77 are kneeling in front with Eliah Thanhauser ’09. In October, Gray Cox, faculty member in political philosophy, spoke on “Ethical Relations Amongst the Coming Post-human Species” for the Acadia Senior College. He also gave a talk for the Human Ecology Forum, “Todos Somos Otros (We Are All Others): Ethical Research in Human Ecology and the COA ERRB,” otherwise known as the Ethical Research Review Board, of which Cox is the current chair. Cox also spoke on “Quaker Process and a Culture of Peace” at the Ellsworth Unitarian Universalist Church. Lynn Havsall, director of museum programs at the George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History, attended the Northeast Mycological Federation’s annual conference at University of Maine Orono last August, then came back to share her new insights with students working on a mushroom group study. She and the students attended the Maine Mycological Association’s annual meeting in Hallowell in November. Havsall is also a member of the board of Downeast Audubon and led their moonlight tidepool walk near Otter Cliffs in late October. In November, COA library director Jane Hultberg served on a panel presentation of local librarians at Birch Bay Village in Hulls Cove on “What Will Your Grand– children Want from Their Public Libraries?” Chris Petersen, faculty member in biology, was an invited speaker at the Japanese Ichthyological Society Annual Meeting in Sapporo, Japan in October, where he spoke about his work on sculpins in the northeastern Pacific. Peterson was also a guest at Dr. Hiro Munehara’s lab on Hokkaido where he went diving with Dr. Munehara (see photo) and spent time with graduate students. Faculty member in languages, Camille Vande Berg, attended the National Association of Self-Instructional Language Programs in Washington, DC in November and the Learning Chinese in Maine conference at Colby College in December.
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COMMUNITY N OT E S
Nishanta Rajakaruna ’94, faculty member in botany, was proud to be a secondary author with adjunct faculty member Fred Olday of a paper written by Tanner Harris ’06, “Lichens of Pine Hill, A Peridotite Outcrop in Eastern North America.” The paper, which looks at the lichen flora of a peridotite outcrop on Deer Isle, Maine, in which sixty-three species were found, appeared in Vol. 109, No. 940 of the New England Botanical Club journal, Rhodora (2007). Two species were new reports for New England and three were new reports for Maine. Twenty species, including one genus, Lobaria, are new reports for ultramafic soils worldwide. Harris is currently in the master’s program in plant and soil science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. And lest we forget, in a badminton tournament that brought a Colby College team to Mount Desert Island, Rajakaruna won the men’s singles. (In the photo, Harris and Rajakaruna are collecting seed of Minuartia glabra, a rare plant found on the summit of Cadillac Mountain.) Davis Taylor, faculty member in economics, writes from the Yucatan where he is co-directing the cultural immersion program with adjunct faculty member Karla Peña; Katie Freedman ’05 is program assistant. Spanish is the working tongue, with almost all instruction, directions and conversation for Going Into Community: Field Work in Developing Regions (Entrando en la Comunidad: ~ol. This is the first Trabajo de Campo en Regiones en Desarollo) entirely en Espan time a non-language COA faculty member has taught a non-language course in anything but English. All twelve students live with Yucatecan families. Taylor, too, is living with a family, another first for the International Studies Program. The level of conversation skills in the classroom is impressive and growing, he says. (The photo of Taylor is taken at the ruins of Oxkintuk.) John Visvader, faculty member in philosophy, gave two lectures recently. Last June he gave the Cosmos Colloquia Lecture at the Humboldt Field Research Institute in Steuben, Maine, entitled, “The Mountain Poets of China: Finding the Self in Nature.” In October he gave a Colby College Forum Lecture at Colby College in Waterville: “Nature, Wildness, and Cultivation: Reflections on a Daoist Garden.”
COA’s Northern Lights Society
By Lynn Boulger, Dean of Development
iven the chance, most of us would like to leave a legacy that continues to contribute to what we valued during our lifetime. Imagine the satisfaction of knowing that because of your generosity and planning, every future generation of COA students and faculty will be conducting botany classes in Acadia National Park, or studying the migration of whales off the coast of Maine, or reading philosophy in a class that is team-taught by a philospopher and an historian— just as they do today. This can happen through a planned or deferred gift to the college. People who choose to make a planned gift to COA become members of the Northern Lights Society. We thank the following for investing in COA and giving us the most precious gift: Hope for the future.
Alida E. Camp Alice Eno Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Bahrt Mr. Edward Blair Mr. Robert Blum Mr. Leslie Brewer Ms. Ker Cleary Ms. Fran Day
Ms. Norah Davis Ms. Joanne Devlin Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Erikson Mr. and Mrs. Philip Geyelin Henry and Sunny Guthrie Mr. Sam Hamill, Jr. Mr. George Hambleton Mr. and Mrs. John Howard
Edward Kaelber and Ann Sewall Mr. John Kaufmann Mr. David McGiffert Mr. and Mrs. Howard Merriman Mr. and Mrs. Eliot C. Paine Ms. Barbara Piel
Dr. Elizabeth Russell Mrs. Robert Ryle Mr. Charles Sawyer Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Shorey, Jr. Mr. and Mrs. Donald Straus Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Thomas Mr. Charles Tyson Mr. and Mrs. James Wakelin, III
FINANCIAL REPORT 2006-07
Financial Operations Report* College of the Atlantic Statement of Activities, audited For Fiscal Years 2005–06 and 2006–07 (rounded to the nearest $1,000) FY 2005–2006
7,580,000 5,700,000 973,000 799,000 843,000 482,000 467,000 1,433,000
8,233,000 6,016,000 3,263,000 705,000 879,000 447,000 669,000 311,000
2,586,000 225,000 544,000 275,000 179,000 145,000 5,365,000 1,316,000 1,291,000 932,000 586,000 105,000 819,000 635,000
2,731,000 228,000 598,000 265,000 142,000 165,000 5,523,000 1,411,000 1,443,000 953,000 678,000 98,000 1,000,000 671,000
Change in Net Assets
17,495,000 (612,000) 10,799,000
19,999,000 (592,000) 12,892,000
Revenues Tuition and Fees Contributions Endowment Gains and Earnings Government and Other Grants Auxiliary Activities Summer Programs Research Projects Other Sources (includes sale of land in 2005 ) Total Revenues Expenses Instruction and student activities Library Auxiliary Activities Summer Programs Museum and Gallery Beech Hill Farm Financial Aid General Administration Payroll Taxes and Fringe Benefits Institutional Advancement Buildings and Grounds Interest Grants, research projects Depreciation and Amortization
Net Assets at Year-end Endowment Operations and other funds Plant Total Net Assets
Interested in becoming a member? Planned Giving opportunites are designed to help you shape a gift to COA. We suggest strategies and resources that, when combined with your financial and estate objectives, create the most advantageous tax and income benefits... good for you and good for COA. For more information, please call Lynn Boulger, Dean of Development at 207-288-5015 ext. 350. 44 | COA
*This replaces the Financial Operations Report in the Summer/Fall 2007 issue of COA, which inadvertently repeated the college's 2004-05 and 2005-06 data.
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H U M A N E C O L O G Y E S S AY R E V I S I T E D
Human Ecology Essay Revisited
David Malakoff ’86 and NPR’s climate change series
By Greg Rainoff ’81
National Public Radio has spent an entire year, from May 2007 to April 2008, focused on climate change. The Climate Connections series, produced in partnership with the National Geographic Society, involved more than two hundred hefty stories from reporters covering national, foreign, business, arts and culture beats. The impetus behind this series came from two NPR science editors: COA alumnus David Malakoff and his colleague Alison Richards. Malakoff works as an editor and correspondent on NPR’s science desk, helping to shape NPR’s coverage of science, technology and the environment, occasionally doing his own reporting.
Q. What did it take to have Climate Connections come about? A. Tremendous patience and organizational skills. NPR is a very large, very complex organization, and it has a lot to do. It is not easy to get this entire organization to focus on one topic. But I think people recognized that climate change is a big, complicated, rich issue—and one that is very important. Q. Do you feel like you have had an impact? A. NPR has a huge audience, bigger than any TV news program—something like twenty-five million people. We are truly national. But it’s hard to know. I think over time, NPR has made a difference in how things work, how things happen. 46 | COA
Q. What has surprised you in the series? A. The commitment from our reporters to see it through—it’s been an amazing effort. A lot of these stories are hard to do, there’s a lot of nuance, there’s often not a black and white conflict. We’re finishing off the series with the next generation, and people have come up with some creative stories— there’s a Ukrainian rock star, a wild out-there pop star, for whom climate change is the leading issue, Ruslana is her name. She’s also a Parliamentarian. It shows the degree to which climate change has permeated culture. Q. How did your degree in human ecology prepare you for this? A. For me, COA was perfect, because it allowed me to have a highly quixotic, esoteric and diverse education—I got to dip into a lot of things. Of course, I had a huge advantage: I transferred to COA already knowing I was interested in science journalism. I spent one winter working for the Christian Science Monitor and I did my senior project interviewing science journalists about strengths and weaknesses of the field. Q. What is the most meaningful part of your work? A. Telling a good story—a good and important story, either one that people need to know to live an informed life, or a story that will entertain them or make their life richer in some way—expand their horizons.
You might have heard COA’s own Juan Hoffmaister ’07 (see page 10) on this series, talking with NPR reporter Dan Charles. If you missed it, visit www.npr.org and search for his interview on Climate Connections.
n the summer of 2006, the United States government voted to construct seven hundred miles of high-tech security fencing along the US/Mexican border. Drug smuggling, crime, erosion of our way of life, even terrorism was used to justify the fence. Arguments against it were mostly that it would be ineffective, costly and would not address the core issues. Few people looked at the environmental consequences of “sealing the border.” The Tijuana estuary, the last unobstructed estuarine wetland on the California coast, sits just inside the US border where San Diego meets Tijuana. Completing the fence involves filling in three sizable canyons with millions of cubic yards of highly erosive soil to create berms for the fence and its access roads. These desert soils are held together by an intricate web of bacteria and fungi. Stick a shovel in and it takes hundreds of years to return to normal. And when it rains the soil just washes away. The erosion and subsequent sedimentation could destroy the estuary, spelling extinction for several species. In 1993, a fence was built that has actually served to protect the estuary from migrant foot traffic. But it has pushed migrants eastward where some ten thousand have died crossing the desert. The federal government was sued over that fence; the suit was thrown out of court on grounds of national security. For much of my post-COA life, I wondered what the hell was I thinking: human ecology? Creating a documentary to understand why we’re building the fence has redefined the concept. We cannot separate environmental destruction in California from destitution in Mexico, from the US economy. At one time, the world seemed limitless; exploiting it was our manifest destiny. So what if we conjured up a war to justify annexing half of Mexico? Or created the North American Free Trade Agreement to remove trade “barriers?” Now we can’t start our cars without considering climate change and we have an “immigration crisis” in part because NAFTA displaced a million Mexican farmers who seek jobs in the US. It’s easy to blame Mexicans. Understandable to want to shut out the poverty and degradation of a
place like Tijuana with its overpopulation, violence and disease infested colonias, and its daily twenty-five million gallons of raw sewage flowing into the ocean. So let’s build a fence to keep us safe. Filming around the fence is dicey. I’ve been yelled at, searched, escorted off and accused of being an “Al Gore fan.” To look at the fence is trouble. In Mexico, no one cares, but if the US border patrol sees me they tell the Mexican police to scare me away. Since when are our guys in uniform paid to care if I like Al Gore? The fence is about fear. Dissent is demonized, as are Mexicans. In the name of national security, we have been handed the problem and the solution with no invitation to the debate. In the name of protecting our national interests, we are willing to destroy our land and our democracy. Keeping us afraid makes us pliable. Keeping Mexicans afraid makes them cheap. Building a wall ignores our relationship, turns them into invaders. As our fears are exploited, so are their needs. Human ecology is about relatedness, understanding ourselves as part of social and natural systems: not separate, not walled off. Mind, body, family, community and bank account. The Dalai Lama says that our adversary is our biggest teacher. That which causes fear provides us with an opportunity to overcome it. The solution lies within the problem. We must walk through our own walls with eyes wide open, and maybe we won’t need to build walls that perpetuate fear in the world. Stepping into fear. With a camera. Greg Rainoff lives in Santa Monica. A former visual effects artist, he won four Emmys for his work as an animator for the Star Trek television series. He now runs Crucible Productions, exploring issues of social and environmental justice. firstname.lastname@example.org COA welcomes human ecology essays and other work. Please send to email@example.com or COA / 105 Eden St. / Bar Harbor, ME 04609. COA | 47
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