COA Volume 1 | Number 2
The College of the Atlantic Magazine
COA MISSION College of the Atlantic enriches the liberal arts tradition through a distinctive educational philosophy—human ecology. A human ecological perspective integrates knowledge from all academic disciplines and from personal experience to investigate, and ultimately improve, the relationships between human beings and our social and natural communities. The human ecological perspective guides all aspects of education, research, activism and interactions among the college’s students, faculty, staff and trustees. The College of the Atlantic community encourages, prepares and expects students to gain the expertise, breadth, values and practical experience necessary to achieve individual fulfillment and to help solve problems that challenge communities everywhere. COVER IMAGE: Gathering Storm, Ocean Drive 2003 by COA art professor Ernest McMullen. Oil on canvas, 30” x 40”.
COA~LETTER FROM THE EDITOR It’s summer at COA and the campus has blossomed. Between the Touchstones outdoor sculpture exhibit and Eamonn Hutton’s resurrection of Turrets Sea Side Garden, COA is a wonder to explore. Sculptures, flowers, butterflies and birds of a summer’s day grant the college a sense of overwhelming plenty. The sense of plenty is also present even during those dark February weeks when the sun never seems to rise, but the campus teems with student activity and COA visitors. One such week last winter, artist Robert Shetterly presented the series of portraits he has been touring around the country, Americans Who Tell the Truth. Along with his images of Walt Whitman, Sojourner Truth, Amy Goodman (’79), and other heros of the nation, was a painting of educator and education critic Jonathan Kozol, champion of the right of all Americans, rich and poor, urban, suburban and rural, to get a genuine education. I am perhaps betraying my urban background, but when I saw his image, I realized that I found what I had missed in the rhetoric of the day: who looks to the children? More particularly, the children of the inner city? I decided that in this issue I would feature COA alumni engaged in what I considered the most essential work of the world: educating the next generation.
INSIDE FRONT COVER: Queen’s Scepter by Constance Rush, part of the Touchstones show on exhibit on campus through September 30, 2005. Photo by Mauro Carballo ’07.
Jim Cole has been doing that for fifteen years in the heart of New York City. Ed Haynsworth, who wrote about Jim, has just begun. They’re making a difference where the living is not always easy or elegant. But what is truly amazing, what eclipses even the bounty of a COA summer, is that each of these alumni has turned the story around. They talk not
BACK COVER: The View from Above: A watercolor plan of Turrets Sea Side Garden by Eamonn Hutton ’05. Watercolor, 9.5” x 11”. In fulfillment of his senior project, Eamonn Hutton ’05 spent more than a year renewing the 4,000-squarefoot Turrets Sea Side Garden, researching its needs, designing beds, and planting flowers appropriate to the garden’s history and location, perched on a ledge over Frenchman Bay.
about what they do, but what they have learned—beginning with COA and continuing with the students that sit in front of them right now. And so, in this community’s ongoing quest to understand what it is we are saying when we speak of human ecology, the sense of plenty at COA expands even further, for as Father Jim Gower explains and our faculty members demonstrate in the following pages, what human ecology is about is the search, the flower that continues to blossom, layer after layer of petals revealing new depths and further connections. ~ Donna Gold Editor, COA
The College of the Atlantic Magazine Volume 1 | Number 2
Donna Gold EDITORIAL BOARD
Making Things Happen ~ p. 12 Life Trustee Edward McC. Blair
Poetry ~ p. 14 Poems by Elizabeth Bachner-Forrest ’96
Sarah Barrett ’08 Richard J. Borden Nicholas Brazier ’06 David Camp Noreen Hogan ’91 Shawn Keeley ’00 Andrea Lepcio ’79 EDITORIAL CONSULTANT
Repetition Produces Results ~ p. 16 Nishad Jayasundara ’05 takes on diabetes
Bill Carpenter ALUMNI CONSULTANTS
Jill Barlow-Kelley Shawn Keeley ’00
Human Ecology in Action ~ p. 20 Making a Difference in New York City: Jim Cole ’89
COP Y E D I TOR
Jennifer Hughes PHOTOGRAPHIC ASSISTANT
Form, Light and Spirit ~ p. 26 Paintings of Mount Desert Island by Ernest McMullen
Checking Myself ~ p. 30
Mauro Carballo ’07 DESIGN
Mahan Graphics PRINTING BY
JS McCarthy Printers, Augusta, Maine
Short story by Charles Bishop ’07
“The only thing I’m interested in is starting a college for peace” ~ p. 34 A conversation with Father Jim Gower
Human Ecology and the Spirit ~ p. 36 COA’s ongoing dialogue on the meaning of human ecology
departments Community Voices ........................p. 2 COA Beat ........................................p. 3 Class Notes ......................................p. 40 Faculty Notes ..................................p. 44 Community Notes..........................p. 46
Steven Katona President
Ronald E. Beard Edward McC. Blair, Sr. Life Trustee Kelly Dickson ’97 Alice Eno David H. Fischer William G. Foulke, Jr. James M. Gower Life Trustee George B. E. Hambleton Sherry F. Huber John N. Kelly Elizabeth & Peter Loring Susan Storey Lyman Life Trustee Suzanne Folds McCullagh Sarah A. McDaniel ’93 Jay McNally ’84 Stephen Milliken Daniel Pierce Helen Porter Cathy L. Ramsdell ’78 John Reeves John Rivers Hamilton Robinson, Jr. Walter Robinson, M.D. Henry D. Sharpe, Jr. Life Trustee Clyde E. Shorey, Jr. Donald B. Straus Life Trustee Ann F. Sullivan Cody van Heerden John Wilmerding
Karen Waldron Academic Dean, Associate Dean for Faculty John Anderson Associate Dean for Advanced Studies Andrew Campbell Associate Dean for Student Life David Feldman Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Kenneth Hill Associate Dean for Academic Services BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Samuel M. Hamill, Jr. Chairman Elizabeth D. Hodder Vice Chair Casey Mallinckrodt Vice Chair William V. P. Newlin Secretary
Remembering ~ p. 48 Mitchell Carter ’80, Rebecca Clark ’96
Leslie C. Brewer Treasurer
Student Perspective at College of the Atlantic’s 33rd Commencement ~ p. 49 Nishad Jayasundara ’05
The COA Magazine 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 This publication is printed on recycled paper. Chlorine free, acid free manufacturing process.
COA~COMMUNITY VOICES Hi Donna!
Dear Editor, I just received (and quickly read) my copy of COA. I was instantly struck by its beautiful appearance and unique voice. What an outstanding piece of work! You must be incredibly proud. I look forward to seeing what you and your editorial team create next.
NPR is proving fun, but the learning curve is steep for us print journalists. By the way, I thought the COA magazine was extremely well done. Congratulations. ~ David Malakoff ’86 Editor/Correspondent Technology & Science National Public Radio
~ Best regards, Joe Murphy, CEO Bar Harbor Bank & Trust Dear Editor, I have just looked at the new COA, and I think it is great! The layout is refreshingly calm in this age of blitz graphics. It will be a wonderful vehicle for getting to know the college, where my son Matthew began his first year last August. Thank you. ~ Louise Garfield Bachler
What a beautiful magazine! It's clean, handsome, readable, impressive. Great cover. I'm just a person who spends summers in Northeast Harbor and wishes she had more $$ so there would be more to give to COA. What I can do is admire and appreciate what you have created and tell you so. ~ Edith Schafer
I really enjoyed the magazine, both the articles and the layout, and hope you can continue to put out such issues. ~ Bruce Phillips ’78
Dear Donna: We have just returned from a trip to Arizona for Bob to give a series of lectures and for us both to see old friends and former students—amazing how the students seem so much older while we both remain the same— mirror, mirror on the wall! Just now, we have been plowing thru our mail—a humongous task. The COA journal immediately captured us both, and the reading of it was all the more captivating. It is a splendid edition and we look forward to the coming issues. Very exciting. ~ Warmly, Ellie Kates Trenton, Maine COA welcomes your comments and responses to all issues covered in the magazine.
Dear Donna, Ann and I think the initial issue of COA is first-rate. And not just because of the inclusion of our interview; though as a biased witness, I found that just fine. For fifty years, I’ve read The Harvard Magazine. For a long time it was O.K., but offered little of appeal to those who were not Harvard graduates. But in my view, in the last decade or so it has become a very good magazine, and not just for Harvard alums. For example, in the last issue, there was an excellent piece on the pros and cons of the Bush administration’s proposals for dealing with social security. I can see the possibility of COA reaching toward a broader audience. Good for you! Cheers, ~ Ed Kaelber
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Our new website, still at www.coa.edu offers simpler navigation, greater consistency and more stories about life at COA and human ecology in the world.
Cynthia’s School Nouakchott, Mauritania, West Africa
Cynthia Chisholm ’86 welcomes inquiries, interns and visitors to the school in Mauritania, West Africa. Write her at email@example.com
It was late in August of 2001 that I was invited to teach English in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. September 11, 2001 decided me. With twenty years of experience as a teacher in this country, I needed to understand Islam and what the rest of the world felt about America. For two years, I taught at the American International School of Nouakchott, but I still felt remote from the real life of the country. I also saw a real need for the working people of the region to know English. I began to formulate a plan for an English school for adults. I found an abandoned building and took the leap. While I studied on-line at the School for International Training in Language School Management, I gathered a group of local university graduates with sufficient proficiency and teaching experience for a faculty. Training started in September 2004, with a twomonth, six-day-a-week schedule. With only a few samples for textbooks, I had the teachers use what they knew. Based on what the West African population would need to work with native-English speakers, they wrote a curriculum, then we tried their lessons on students. As one group team-taught, their fellow trainees observed. Afterwards, we held self- and peer-evaluation sessions, the most informative part of the process. The English Language Center, informally known as “Cynthia’s School,” opened its doors in Nouakchott in late 2004 with nearly two hundred students. Already, it has gained a reputation across the country for quality English training, serving more than three hundred students across the socioeconomic spectrum of Mauritania. We teach guards and drivers, doctors and government officials. No one believed I could merge the classes like that, but we never had a problem. Our biggest challenge was getting the public to believe local teachers could provide quality instruction, but now we’re doubling in size, beginning an internationally-recognized teacher certification program in English as a Foreign Language and considering classes in computers and other work skills. Ultimately, the school has the potential to really make a difference in helping Mauritanians gain viable employment. When I think back on this amazing year, I realize that COA is where I developed the skills and mind-set to use everything in my capacity and eclectic knowledge-base to strike out on my own and make this happen. With students discussing sustainable development or the implications of democracy, the school feels like a small COA on the edge of the Sahara. “English is only a tool. You have to ‘do’ something with it,” I tell my students. Our hope is that English will be used to make wise and informed decisions for the future of this country. ~ Cynthia Chisholm ’86 COA | 3
Tawanda Chabikwa ’07 rehearsing in Gates Center. Photos by Donna Gold.
Tawanda Chabikwa ’07 may only be twenty years old, but already he’s a driven man. A powerful dancer and artist, Chabikwa spent the summer of 2004 launching an organization to benefit AIDS orphans in his homeland of Zimbabwe. Last March, Chabikwa’s accomplished, energetic dancing, along with his unstinting drive, was showcased in a performance of African dance, where he was joined by some sixteen COA students at Bar Harbor’s Criterion Theatre. The show, “Ngano Nhatu: Three African Tales” raised $4,663 for his organization, Ndini Wako (pronounced endini wako), meaning, “I am yours.” Though Chabikwa was born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, his mother made sure he would know his ancestral culture. He spent holidays in the countryside, learning the powerful rhythmic dancing and drumming of his mother’s people, seasoning it later with studies in modern dance. With AIDS rampant in Zimbabwe, nearly one million children have been orphaned, says Chabikwa. “It is a huge problem at home now, socially and politically.” While grandparents may step in, Zimbabwean schools are not free and employment is scarce. Though $120 can send a child to school for a year, few orphaned children have the means. Ndini Wako is a start. With the money Chabikwa raised from the Criterion and other performances in Maine, along with an associated benefit dinner at the Café Bluefish, Chabikwa already has ten children in school.
Changing of the Guard Last November, College of the Atlantic President Steven Katona announced his retirement in June of 2006. Katona became the fourth president of COA in 1993, after Dr. Louis Rabineau. In his notice to the college, Katona, who is 62, said, “Serving as COA’s president has been one of the greatest honors of my life. The excitement and enthusiasm I first felt in 1972 as a founding faculty member have not dimmed. I could not be more proud of the college’s progress and achievements since that time.” Katona has overseen the campus’ expansion southward and its deeper involvement with Mount Desert Island. The college became a steward of the Mount Desert Rock Light, now the Edward McC. Blair Marine Research Station, and of the Great Duck Island Light, now the Alice Eno Field Research Station. In conjunction with Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory and Jackson Laboratory, the college has been a partner in the Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network (BRIN) and its more recent format, Idea Network for Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE), bringing students to the labs to work with top scientists on high-level genetic research. With Katona’s influence, the college became part of the Davis United World College Scholars Program and acquired Beech Hill Farm in Somesville. In the months since Katona made his announcement, praise for his work has poured in. Here are just two of many comments: “COA has strengthened its academic program, expanded its endowment and grown to be an institution of international acclaim under Steve’s leadership. It will be difficult to imagine COA without Steve and the partnership of his wife, Susan Lerner.” ~ Board of trustees chairman Samuel Hamill “What’s amazing about Steve is his ability to remain a public intellectual while running a college. He’s shepherded us through some challenging times while keeping that intellectual life present. His vision, his ability to lead with compassion and wisdom, have put the college on excellent footing.” ~ Academic dean Karen Waldron Katona, who received a B.A. from Harvard College in 1965 and a Ph.D. in biology from
Steven K. Katona and Susan Lerner.
Harvard University in 1971, also created Allied Whale. Fundraising for a Steven K. Katona chair in Marine Studies has begun. Presidential Search Currently Underway The search for College of the Atlantic’s fifth president is underway, with trustee Tony Robinson as chair. Co-vice chairs are trustees Elizabeth Hodder and Casey Mallinckrodt. Also on the committee are trustees Steve Milliken and Kelly Dickson ’97, academic dean Karen Waldron, faculty members Richard Borden and Nancy Andrews, staff member Marie Stivers, student Carolyn Snell, and Jan Coates, a former dean at Hamilton College, now a member of the college’s Council of Advisors. Board chair Samuel Hamill serves on the committee ex officio. Distinguished friends of the college, former trustees and others have been asked to advise the search. The committee has also engaged Jerry Pieh of Isaacson-Miller, a consulting team that has recently worked with the college. The committee is currently gathering a beginning list of several hundred potential candidates. In the fall, says Robinson, “the committee will take a stack of resumes and other information and begin picking out the more interesting ones. The next step is to meet with candidates and eventually arrange campus visits for the leading applicants.” Interviews with the final three or four candidates are slated for the winter of 2005–2006, on campus. The committee hopes to pick someone—by consensus—before the end of the school year. For the job description, see www.coa.edu/html/presidentapp.htm. COA | 5
You’ve Got to Have a Dream Chris Hamilton ’85 in the Bahamas
Chris Hamilton ’85 has always urged his friends and colleagues to follow their dreams. He and his wife and home-schooled children have run a fullfledged family farm in midcoast Maine and volunteered on environmental projects on four continents. As a conservation planner at Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Hamilton helped secure the largest amount of public funding for conservation in Maine’s history. Now he’s taken the helm of the Bahamas National Trust, the only nonprofit in the world to oversee a country’s entire national park system. Hamilton, his wife Patti, and their children, Becca, fifteen, and Abe, twelve, begin their day with a dawn swim and run on the beach. Over breakfast, Hamilton reviews the day’s challenges: raising $1.8 million, respectfully firing an employee, getting staff members to stop running air conditioners with the windows open, training wardens in making proper arrests so poaching cases will hold up in court, handling that piece of private correspondence that ended up in the news. No matter what, Hamilton remains absolutely himself with everyone he meets: globetrotting millionaires, the prime minister or villagers on a remote island. He wasn’t always so sure of where he was going. During a recent career impasse, Hamilton spent a year and a half clarifying what he wanted to do—then made it happen. “When you find what you want to do, it can come true,” he says. He describes his new job as “totally enriching and totally exhausting.” To lead the management, funding and expansion of twenty-five national parks, he draws on every bit of knowledge from every job he’s ever had. By May, Hamilton has set up a strategic plan for fundraising, been to fourteen of the national parks, set up the organization’s first development office and secured the enthusiastic support of one well-connected donor after another. Hamilton seems to be in his element, thriving in the role of having a big job on a small island. ~ Tammis Coffin ’87 Tammis Coffin ’87 is writing a series of articles about field researchers in the Bahamas. She serves as a park interpreter with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation in the Mount Holyoke Range State Park.
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Becca, Chris, Patti and Abe Hamilton on vacation in Chile. Photos courtesy of Chris Hamilton.
Chasing a Ball Around the World Nat Keller ’04 writes from his Watson Fellowship year: On and Off the Pitch: The International Language of Soccer
My soccer odyssey began June 2004 in Portugal, celebrating, singing and dancing in the streets of Lisbon with thousands of fans from across Europe during the Euro 2004 football championships. Twelve months after I started, I was kicking a ball on the Copacabana watching preparations for the first-ever FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. In between, I slept on an open ferry deck crossing the Adriatic from Italy to Croatia; played soccer in the streets of Split with a family of refugees from Kosovo; celebrated a birthday with a Croatian family on an island in the Adriatic; watched the fans of Hajduk Split celebrate a goal by throwing dozens of flares onto the field; hiked through the Alpine mountains of Slovenia; played soccer on the streets of Manchester with a group of sewer repairmen on lunch break; stayed up all night with a twelve-year-old kid playing a cutthroat game of soccer tennis during breaks in the BBC coverage of the U.S. presidential election and played under the lights in Rosario, Argentina with sixtyyear-old former soccer stars, communicating in the language of football. The past year has been the hardest but most rewarding and liberating of my life, living my dream of traveling around the world playing, watching and talking soccer. I have discovered that soccer is kind of magnifying glass that can be used to experience and understand other cultures. What I found in Eastern Europe, the UK and South America is football shines brightest where the game embodies a sense of place in everyday life. Its real meaning lies in the collective memory of past events as they are played and then played over again in conversation. Football demands discussion — in the stands, on the phone, over a pint, even on television. Oral traditions make the game part of a shared memory among players and fans — memories of an epic backyard game between father and son or a team’s FA cup run are never owned by just one person but are shared and passed along anywhere the game is watched and played, giving soccer its heart and soul. Spending this year chasing a ball around the world through the Watson Fellowship has made me even more passionate about the game and its ability to bring people together.
Three young Croatian fans celebrate the soccer team Hajduk Split. Photos courtesy of Nat Keller.
~ Nat Keller ’04 Just as Nat returned from his Watson Fellowship year, Sarah Drummond ‘05 took off. Her fellowship, “Inquiring Eyes: Natural History Artists and Island Exploration,” takes her around the world revisiting the places early natural history illustrators drew during voyages of exploration.
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Remembering Dick Davis On a warm Sunday in early July, alumni, faculty and friends gathered by the ocean at College of the Atlantic to dedicate a bench to the memory of Richard Slayton Davis, COAâ€™s first philosopher. Many people spoke their remembrances of him, including this by Bill Carpenter:
The Richard Slayton Davis bench. Photo by Mauro Carballo â€™07.
In the first year of the college we were thrashing around trying to get a grip on human ecology, as we still are, and it wasn't too long before we realized we needed a philosopher to help us think it through. Dan Kane, our original lawyer, knew of an old college classmate he thought might be able to do the job. This was before anyone knew about the fine points of academic searching, so before long, we had a philosopher on the job. Dick Davis was born and raised to make sense of human ecology, and he immediately rolled up his sleeves and got to work. His recipe was a good one: three parts Alfred North Whitehead, one part Carlos Castaneda, two parts Teilhard de Chardin and a copious seasoning of Dick himself. He was a large-bodied, large-minded man who would not have considered having a thought without being able to see it into action, whether on campus, in his whitewater class, or in his amazing solar home. Dick was a whole philosopher and a whole man. He was the purest human ecologist around, yet I'd see him pushing his shopping cart through Don's loaded over the rim with cat food and Pepsi. Everyone agreed he was the transition figure to bridge the college from our first president, Ed Kaelber, to the incoming Judith Swayze. I believe he could have done it in a way that would have spared us the angst and tragedy of the next few years. But, on the first day of the first school year under the new management, at the evening contra dance that opened the fall term in those days, Dick succumbed to a heart attack and was gone. He was in state for what seemed like a long time and I went to see him more than once, as if a body without life could say something that would help out, because we found ourselves suddenly leaderless and on our own. It seemed as if the community had lost more than a single person, and that turned out to be true, as we headed into the darkness of the next few years. Somehow we survived it without him, but as I think back on it, I realize we weren't without him, that his accomplishments and ongoing presence stayed with us as a guiding element through the fire and its aftermath. I became dean myself during that period and there wasn't a day when I didn't pause to close my eyes and consult Dick Davis, who had in some way provided, and whose ongoing energy was one of the forces that got us through. He is always included in my memories of the first decade: his huge frame, his Chattanooga accent. People who didn't know him can visualize Luciano Pavarotti, huffing and puffing up the circular staircase to his third floor office with a refill of black coffee like someone going for the Guinness Book of Records, and above all the philosopher explaining human ecology to everyone who would listen. And we're still listening. ~ Bill Carpenter
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Of stones, fish and awe A COA alumna brings her girls to Family Nature Camp When my daughter Nora was just a toddler, she and I took an early morning walk by a Maine lake. Now more than a decade later, my memory of that walk holds one particularly clear image: the two of us crouched silently on conifer needles a few yards from the lake’s edge. I remember feeling awed and supremely happy in the moment, but what was it that delighted us? Was it the bright glints of light on the lake’s wavelets? A patch of British soldier moss with its distinctive red caps? Perhaps a loon had called and we were listening intently for another. Though the cause has faded, the thrill of shared discovery remains vibrant, even for Nora who claims this moment as her first memory. Living in Boston, I don’t have many opportunities to share my love of the natural world with my kids, but I got some help this July when I returned to College of the Atlantic to attend its weeklong Family Nature Camp. The kids oohed and ahhed at Mount Desert Island’s big thrills and the camp’s engaging presentations. After a geology treasure hunt on Little Hunter’s Beach, they took to heart the injunction to return all the cobblestones they had collected. Even my mischievous Micah Jeanne emptied her pantcuffs of the stones she had hidden there. Nora held out a handful of granite and basalt for me to photograph—a virtual souvenir of a fun hour. It was our walk around Lower Hadlock Pond that reminded me of that lakeside walk years ago. Our guide, Amy, quickly spotted a snake (which gave my snake-shy Micah something to exercise her feelings about) and a big spider (which made Amy shudder and lament that even studying them in college had not lessened her fears of them). We had just been talking about the possibility of seeing a great blue heron when one took off from a group of trees we had just passed. Even a fleeting
Having crossed a stream in Acadia National Park, Loie Hayes’79 pauses for a picture with niece Elizabeth Dehler and daughter Nora Hayes. Daughter Micah Hayes is hiding and just visible by the footbridge. Photos courtesy of Loie Hayes.
glimpse of those huge, graceful wings pumping the air made me smile. Later we tracked the heron’s footprints over some soft silt. Amy named the various birds calling around us, pointed out a red squirrel scampering along an old blowdown and led us to a shallow submerged ledge where some small fish had cleared “nests” for egg-laying. The glare on the water’s surface made spotting the fish difficult, but when Micah angled onto my rock and announced excitedly that she could see the fish hovering over their nests, I had another one of those shared awe moments. Immediately, she was racing off, the thrill of discovery fueling her for the next challenge. But I was startled into reflection. Seeing my daughters’ pleasure and comfort on the trail, I imagined them actually attending COA years from now, finding those awe moments to share with fellow students and faculty members just as I once had, decades before. ~ Loie Hayes ’79
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Student Passions: Internationals and Mainers at COA With nearly twenty percent of COA students coming from outside the United States, life on a rural Maine campus is not quite as provincial as it may once have been. What is the experience of the new international COA like? One day last spring, four COA students: two internationals, two Mainers, two women, two men, got together to talk about this more diverse COA with magazine editor Donna Gold. Edina Hot and Kayla Pease were first year roommates; Nikhit D’Sa and Nick Brazier, now both seniors, had been housemates in Seafox their first year. The conversation ranged from dorm life to the differences in student passions from Maine to Mumbai. Kayla Pease ’08 of Monmouth, Maine, pop. 3,400
Nikhit D’Sa ’06 of Mumbai, India, pop. 12,000,000
Edina Hot ’08 of Bijelo Polje, Montenegro, pop. 100,000
Nick Brazier ’06 of Searsport, Maine, pop. 2,600
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Donna: I’m often hearing about the work international students are doing to make a difference in their homeland—there’s Tawanda raising money for AIDS in Zimbabwe and you, Nikhit, working with children in Mumbai. Do you see a difference between the U.S. students and the internationals? Are they more committed to their home country because they often come from a more troubled background? Nikhit: I don’t think the international students are more passionate, but it’s almost like the things that the internationals are interested in have the catch phrase effect —whether they are women’s issues or child labor, they bring out people’s attention. But that shouldn’t take away from work other people are doing, like Lora Winslow starting an organization that tells people about what the toxins are in a Nalgene bottle. I’m passionate about children’s issues and child labor simply because I grew up in Bombay, but that shouldn’t take away from Kayla’s working with animals. Edina: Coming from Montenegro, there were wars around me since I was born, in Kosovo, in Bosnia. Being interested in improving human rights, having gone to a lot of conferences, has made me not only passionate but really wanting to do something about human rights—in Montenegro, or anywhere in the world. Next year I’ll be going to COA’s new program in Guatemala and I’ll do something connected to the post-guerrilla war there.
Kayla: But I don’t think that Edina is more passionate; she’s more passionate about her country and the role of women, whereas I’m learning about that. I now know more of what’s happening in areas around the world, and I’m saying, “Wow, why didn’t I see this before?” But I’m more passionate about marine biology, which I love. Edina: Kayla’s love for marine biology is equally strong, and she has helped me to really change my views. I mean, I was scared of animals when I came here! When I come home at night now, I’m more comfortable, I tell myself, if Kayla were here, she wouldn’t be afraid, and I go past the foxes that are around our house. Nick: We come here and don’t know anyone, and we learn so much from each other. We’re building friendships—that’s what it’s about. Nikhit: This might sound kind of cheesy, but when I look at myself I don’t say, “I’m Indian and he’s a Mainer.” It’s more like, I’m Nikhit, and he’s Nick and the reason for me being Nikhit is not because I’m from India, it’s because I’m Nikhit. And he is Nick not because he’s from Searsport, but because he’s Nick. I don’t see the locality as being a division. It’s part of the experience. That’s why we can share what differences we have.
COA Creates First-Ever Zero-Waste Graduation Meet Zadie, the Zero-Waste Lady. Zadie is the embodiment of College of the Atlantic’s first Zero-Waste Graduation Week. For the entire week of graduation, with parents and families visiting campus and students leaving their dorms, COA kept a padlock on all its dumpsters. Nothing was going into the landfill. No paper cups, no plastic spoons, no old CDs or leftover mayonnaise—a first for a college graduation anywhere as far as COA could determine. Instead, COA set up an array of bins throughout campus for returnables, recycling, composting and giveaway. Every item had its place and a host of trained volunteers assisted visitors and community-members in finding that place. All graduation party utensils—made from compostable, starch-based materials—went into a solar composter, along with all food waste. Meanwhile, the kitchen made sure all food coming to campus was packed in reusable wooden or plastic tubs. What couldn’t be recycled or composted ended up as Zadie, COA’s studentmade, zero-waste sculpture. Ultimately, said college chef Ken Sebelin ’94, “It was a lot easier to place everything in a composter rather than haul bags of trash out to the dumpster.” COA did end up with some trash: five pounds worth, plus another 265 pounds of broken appliances and non-recyclables from the dorms. That’s a fraction of the five dumpster loads which typically end graduation week, saving the town of Bar Harbor more than $1,500. Millard Dority, COA director of campus planning, buildings and public safety, is continuing this policy. From now on, all COA events are becoming either reduced- or zero-waste.
Zadie the Zero-Waste Lady, a sculpture made from the few items of trash that could not be recycled or composted during COA’s zero-waste graduation week. Photo by Donna Gold.
With the summer upon us and students scattering across the globe, COA inquiring photographer Sarah Barrett ’08 asked a random sampling of students,
“What will you be doing with your human ecology degree after graduation?”
“After I graduate, I’m planning to take a year off to do some traveling and then go to graduate school for conservation biology and then law school for environmental law.” ~ Christina Hinkle ’06
“I would like to do graphic design and some sort of social work with people in other countries. The graphic design will be for small environmental companies or people trying to get the word out for AIDS relief. I am not interested in selling products, but getting voices out.” ~ Menemsha Grey ’08
“I hope that after I graduate I can travel for a bit because I traveled with the international honors program during my sophomore year and that was a lot of fun. After that, I want to work with a program for street children and also go to graduate school for educational psychology and moral development.” ~ Nikhit D’Sa ’06
“Eventually, I plan on getting a Ph.D. but the fall after I graduate, I’m going to student teach and finish getting certified in secondary science. I would like to create a science program with teachers at small island schools who don’t have the training or resources to offer classes in island or marine ecology.” ~ Kipp Quinby ’06
MAKING THINGS HAPPEN Life Trustee Edward McC. Blair by Donna Gold
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t’s mid-June, six weeks before Edward McC. Blair’s ninetieth birthday. Having just come back from his daily morning voyage out to Mount Desert Rock, Blair relaxes in an armchair in his living room beneath one of John Marin’s paintings of the Maine coast. “It’s too early for whales,” Blair reports, “but I saw loads of seabirds and that’s the sign that the whales won’t be too far behind.” Blair’s face, a leathered tan, remains impassive as he talks about the excursion, until quite suddenly his eyes brighten and become almost mischievous. “We saw two puffins today — we’ve got to watch them, see if they’re making a nest out there,” he adds, proud of his possible discovery.
whale watch boats, both of them coming out of Rain or shine, every day Blair is in Maine, he Northeast Harbor. Both boats carried maybe twenheads offshore to see what’s around. Frequently, ty to twenty-five people. They were fairly slow, so he’ll bring supplies out to the Rock, or such visiit took you an hour and a half or more to get to the tors as the former lightkeeper’s son, a man who whales.” Blair would invite people on a whale grew up on that lonely outpost and remains forevwatch—and then begin talking. “If you bring a picer attached to it. On his journey, Blair will look for nic lunch, why you’ve got a lot of time to get to birds, especially puffins, but mostly it’s whales he know them, show them the whales—and sell the hopes to see. After twenty-five years of looking, college.” there are some individuals he knows by sight. “I’ve always had a knack for making things hapBlair offers his own guide to whale watching, pen,” he adds. It couldn’t be more true. When the beginning with the humpback whales, which, he school was ready to start rebuilding after the fire, says, are the most active, and so the most fun to Blair helped to start the Champlain Society. He watch. “The finbacks are like cattle in a pasture, took people out on the water and things did begin busily eating. The minkes,” he continues, “are happening. People eating in the Blair Dining Hall much smaller and fairly furtive, but there have might take a moment to reflect on the passion and been times when they have adopted our boat and caring of this lifetime college friend. played around with us.” And then there are the right whales, the most At age ninety, Blair hasn’t stopped “Blair delights in endangered, which prefer the waters making things happen—or taking peothe connections in the Gulf of Maine near Canada. ple out. On his daily whale watching Quiet, courteous, Blair delights in excursions, he still likes nothing more he makes— the connections he makes—with than bundling along pals—from age with whales, whales, with birds and their life cycles, three to upwards of ninety-three—as with birds, and and with people. It was the students many as possible, though his captain on Mount Desert Rock that first has limited him to no more bodies than with people.” sparked his interest in College of the can fill the fifteen life jackets aboard. Atlantic. “I love boats, love to sail,” he says. “I felt When news came that whale researcher very fortunate that the Coast Guard decided to let Rebecca Clark ’96 died in the December tsunami the college use the Rock, because as it happened, while studying turtles on the beaches of Thailand, the college opened up the Rock at about the same Blair was devastated. “I had gotten to know her time that I decided to look for whales. I found the quite well,” he says. “She worked on Brier Island in students at the Rock very bright and interesting Nova Scotia one summer, and we went up to visit.” and I also got to know Steve Katona. In 1984, I was Within days of the news, Blair made something invited to become a trustee. With my interest in else happen, launching the Rebecca Clark scholareducation, I was happy to join. A couple of years ship with $50,000. Each year, funds will go to a COA later, they asked me to become chairman of the student demonstrating Clark’s passion and comboard. I did that for ten to twelve years. Steve was mitment to marine studies. That amount is just a president during my last few years, so I had a coustart, Blair says. “I intend to grow that fund.” ple of years working very closely with him.” In Celebrating his ninetieth birthday won’t slow January of 2003, Blair became a life trustee. him down any. Blair still counts on his daily excurDuring his tenure as chairman, Blair became sions to what is now officially the Edward McC. deeply involved with many levels of COA developBlair Marine Research Station at Mount Desert ment, but he never abandoned his favorite Rock. He hopes never to stop those visits. “In approach to fundraising: whale watching. “It was Chicago,” says Blair, “there’s a portrait of me when obvious to me that the college needed more phiI was about fifty years old. I told Steve that when lanthropy. It was also obvious that there are very I’m gone, they’re to take that painting and hang it wealthy people who summer on Mount Desert up at the Rock. I always want to be out there; I Island. In the early days, there were only two always want to be at that station.” COA | 13
by Elizabeth Bachner-Forrest ‘96
Twenty-Three Mattyas Always be prepared cause a holocaust could come evict us from our houses and force us to die or work or run from border to border and fall one by one. Nighttime; the Hungarian on the dark street the electrical engineer driving the limo says, I am waiting in the giant city, I am waiting in the squalid apartment for the ultimate moment, the great idea. Liz My streamlined appliances My sandals My lover, my kitten, my pine candles My vintage CDs My knees My thighs My blue baby novel My lies My skinny cream business purse My Dannon® This is the dawning of the age of asparagus, with salmon.
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Marc If you’ve ever had a father you know that it hurts when he's loud and it hurts when he's quiet.
Dyl Julio, Julio, wherefore art thou, Julio… if you don't come back to my place I'll suck your lips right out of your sweet face Lee This is the hard part— the salt on my face the push me, pull you monster of my suitcase the roar of the train and the chill in the air— the thought of leaving here and being there.
What I’d Say I went out into the world and you weren’t in it and my life was like a telegram STOP like a heartbeat quick and shortfelt I lay in sun parks under iron and watched the spider-metal creep across my skin I was coreless dangerous in the place you were not in. I want to talk about illusion— how the yellow flat of Iowa never stops how the sun glares but it never gets hot and we roll up car windows and talk. It could be a different windy city It could be a different garbage can I could be a different sweet-eyed little girl, and you could be my rock n’ roll man We could exist forever in ponds by suburban golf communities, in college kids’ Range Rovers, in Friendly’s or Denny’s. We could be immortal that way.
A blues bar, where we tried to forget we were white, and it felt deep and real, schoolless, potless, and you put up a fight when the man slapped your back, when he bared his straight teeth, when he said (his belly rumbling, a paper bag of oranges) “You don't know the half of it, kid,” And you'd really believed that you did. On the ladder your legs were soft Your eyes passed over mine, they missed On your face was a mustache In my hand was a dandelion You were not the boy that I first kissed.
I love and hate men who are friendly and drifty They open their faces, like tomorrow is coming.
Elizabeth Bachner-Forrest ’96 recently completed her manuscript, How to Shake Hands with a Murderer. She holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the New School University where she teaches courses on exiled artists, youth culture and social crisis. She lives in the Meatpacking District in New York City with Marc Brammer '95 and their cat, Lileth. COA | 15
“It’s unusual for an experiment to work the first time,” shrugs College of the Atlantic 2005 graduate Nishad Jayasundara.“If everything comes out as planned, the process can be done in a week. But that’s rare.”
Repetition Produces Results Nishad Jayasundara ’05 takes on diabetes by Patricia M. Ciraulo ‘94, M.Phil ‘05 Photos by Kimball Wade of The Jackson Laboratory.
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s a component of his senior project, Sri Lankan native Jayasundara worked for six months with Jackson Laboratory scientist Dr. Edward Leiter on a project investigating the cellular processes characteristic to Type I diabetes. “When I came to this country to study, I knew I wanted to focus on biomedical research,” says Jayasundara. “The Jackson Lab project held an element of personal importance as members of my family from both parents’ sides have suffered from diabetes. I have been aware of this disease since childhood.”
Any awkwardness the young graduate feels at being interviewed vanishes as he describes the complex steps of the experiment. “The Jackson Lab project focuses on the potential for delaying the onset of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, or Type I diabetes, as it is commonly called.” Worldwide, only ten percent of the incidence of diabetes is categorized as Type I; however, it is the most serious manifestation of the disease, often appearing during childhood. In Type I diabetes, the body creates an immune response targeting its own insulinproducing cells. To study Type I diabetes, the Leiter lab focuses on a mouse strain that has the disease. However, scientists noticed that some of the mice in this genetic strain did not get Type I diabetes. Having observed this onset delay, Leiter’s lab needed to investigate. Further research found a mutation on a receptor that binds to the hormone leptin. This hormone is known to regulate weight, reproduction and metabolism. Recent research has shown that this leptin hormone may also be responsible for inducing the immune response which may have some effect on the onset of Type I diabetes. Jayasundara became part of the team studying this mutation and its effect on immune responses by isolating and measuring the proteins induced by the leptin hormone. This is a stage requiring meticulous care, says Jayasundara. Working in tandem with a specialist who tends the mice that have these mutations in the leptin receptors, Jayasundara extracted cells from the animals. These cells were then cultured to produce duplicates of themselves, known as a cell line. “Once the proteins are induced, we extract and run them through a gel, a process that separates the proteins according to size or the number of amino acids. An electric current is applied to transfer the proteins from the gel to a nitro-cellulose paper that is treated with antibodies known to form primary bonds with the proteins. A photographic negative process reveals the expressed proteins, the intensity of their illumination indicating the level of their expression.” The process hypothetically requires five to six days to complete the fifteen steps, but each stage can be affected by the amount of proteins, the temperature or the elapsed time involved in each action. Ultimately, Jayasundara found that the activity of the proteins in the mutated leptin receptor, the one that may have delayed the onset of Type I diabetes, was quieter, which could be related to the suppression of Type I diabetes in these mice. Or, more scientifically in Dr. Leiter’s words, “Jayasundara found that the mutant receptor bound leptin, but at a fifty percent reduced level compared to standard diabetic mice with a normal receptor. Jayasundara then analyzed the ability of the mutant receptor to signal that it had bound leptin and found that signal transmission was markedly impaired, but not totally abolished.” While these mutations may eventually be used as a model to study the hormone regulation which could delay the onset of Type I diabetes, there are many more years of research to be done. Continues Leiter, “Jayasundara’s findings are helping to advance understanding as to how leptin, a hormone produced by fat cells, contributes to regulation
Protein expression data.
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Nishad Jayasundara ’05 examines protein expression data from his test results at The Jackson Laboratory.
Diabetes expert Dr. Edward Leiter reviews data found by Nishad Jayasundara ’05 at The Jackson Laboratory.
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of the behavior of cells in the immune system. This understanding could provide new avenues for therapy of autoimmune diseases in humans.” The next steps will further examine the role leptin plays in delaying the onset of Type I diabetes. The Jackson Lab group, with which Jayasundara worked until he graduated, collaborates with researchers from Italy, the United Kingdom, Korea and Taiwan. Some of these labs conduct their experiments with human models, the different cell lines providing comparable results to those recorded by Jayasundara. In addition, all members of Leiter’s lab regularly review current medical publications and internet sources to make further connections with those doing similar research. “Every Monday we hold a ‘diabetes lunch.’ At those gatherings, about fifteen people from two labs working on diabetes research present and discuss the past week’s results. On the bases of those briefings, the lab personnel determine the coming week’s protocol,” Jayasundara says. “It was a great experience working with these veteran researchers. I was impressed by how much responsibility and trust I was given,” adds Jayasundara. “Despite the fact that I was just a student, Dr. Leiter always asked me to present at the Monday ‘diabetes lunches.’” Jayasundara will be spending the next year working at the Mount Desert Island Biological Lab studying how intertidal animals cope with the variations in the levels of salt they take in as part of research he has already begun. Ultimately, this study may help individuals with cystic fibrosis and other diseases that are related to salt regulation. He is also researching Ph.D. programs that will allow him to combine his interest in medical research with his burgeoning focus on indigenous medicine. “I see myself eventually returning to Sri Lanka and working as a public health official. I would like to be able to make connections between new medical practices introduced from the West and the indigenous methods that have proven effective for centuries.” He is already starting to address this task. Shortly after graduation from COA, he was asked to return to one of the Jackson Lab’s ‘diabetes lunches’ to present information on Sri Lankan traditional methods of treating the disease.
opening our eyes to what we already have
While Nishad Jayasundara was fully involved in the biomedical research on diabetes that formed the premise of his senior project, he began to wonder about the relationship between Western medical approaches and the indigenous health practices he knew from his own country. Today, after adding a new chapter of study to his project and returning to Sri Lanka for a month to investigate this question, he becomes particularly animated when he talks about the medical practices indigenous to his homeland. “These traditions are over 2,500 years old. In treating diabetes alone, traditional methods utilize thirtyfive different plants that act to induce immune responses, delay the immune response that causes diabetes mellitus, and raise or lower glucose levels. Others are used for healing the skin lesions that can be so serious in diabetes patients.” Among the plants that might be familiar on these shores, Jayasundara mentions mango leaves and the mango fruit, Indian barberry, morning glory leaves, ginger and tumeric, though he cautions that there are specific preparations for each plant to make it both safe and useful. In selecting a graduate program, Jayasundara is passionate about synthesizing newly acquired knowledge in the area of Western biomedical research with Sri Lankan indigenous medicine. “There’s a gap between the two approaches,” he says. “Traditional medicine in Sri Lanka has a lot to offer to health systems around the world. We just have to open our eyes to what we already have.” Jayasundara cites a number of factors that threaten the continuation and proliferation of traditional healing practices in his country. Treatments that have worked over centuries are now known to only a few rural practitioners, and few people seek them out, even though Western-trained doctors seldom venture into rural areas. “These rural practitioners do not have access or the means to carry out clinical
research. Young doctors, trained in Western medicine, do not want to go out to the regions served by indigenous healers. Although its continuation is threatened, traditional medicine remains crucial to the health care of a large segment of the population.” Meanwhile, industrialization has altered natural habitats, causing the loss of certain beneficial plants. Jayasundara looks forward to learning the ancient methods of his nation from rural practitioners, perhaps doing some clinical research on their methods. After completing his education, Jayasundara hopes to return to Sri Lanka to work as a public health official focused on bridging this gap as well as addressing the propagation, care and preservation of medicinal plant life. “It’s my dream to join Western-trained doctors with traditional practitioners in Sri Lanka. Then we can share our successes with colleagues in the West, people I’ve worked and studied with here. If we are successful, Sri Lanka holds great potential as a model for a more holistic approach to health care and treatment of serious diseases like diabetes.” —Patricia Ciraulo Patti Ciraulo ’94, M.Phil ’05 is currently expanding her novel on Russian intellectuals, A Disappearance of Crows, written as her master’s thesis for COA. Photos of traditional medicines of Sri Lanka by Nishad Jayasundara.
HUMAN ECOLOGY IN ACTION Making a Difference in New York City: Jim Cole ’89 story and photos by Edward Haynsworth ’98
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ixteen years out of College of the Atlantic, Jim Cole ‘89 is still talking about human ecology — and finding ways to put it into practice in what may be one of the most stressful jobs in the nation: working in the New York City public school system, where faculty attrition is more than two and a half times that of the rest of the nation. “Ideally,” says Cole, “human ecology is in the application to the real world. I’m very committed to that, so I’ve gone to work in situations where I could still develop that idea.”
On a recent visit to the Washington Heights area in upper Manhattan, I met with fellow teacher Cole, an assistant principal at the experimental MS 328, Manhattan Middle School for Scientific Inquiry, a new school using science to provide the human ecological hub of an integrated curriculum, creating connections between traditional academic disciplines and the world outside. The approach used at MS 328, which Cole helped design, is similar to that of other progressive New York City public schools with themes such as theater, American history and international cultures. Science is just part of the picture, however. “We want students to understand how to participate, how to engage, to be active within their families and communities,” says Cole, emphasizing that developing socially responsible behavior is critical to academic achievement. Currently, the school is smaller than COA, with just 215 students, all in the sixth grade. Next year, a seventh grade will phase in and the school will eventually have about six hundred students in grades six through eight. Unlike COA, however, teachers contend with as many as thirty students in each class. The student body is predominantly Latino and African-American. While many of the challenges associated with inner city schools prevail, there are currently a number of actively involved families; more such families are enrolling students next year. Cole believes that by the community working together, MS 328 can make a real difference in the lives of his students. He believes it can be done by integrating inquiry-based instruction connected to student lives with curriculum-based community development. A measured, deliberate speaker who appears quite relaxed in his school office, Cole’s manner quickens when he talks about education. He sees it as more than the acquisition of academic knowledge, but the model and praxis for the development of social awareness and responsibility. This begins in the classroom and school community through what Cole calls a group-oriented approach to learning, with an emphasis on conflict resolution and decision-making. At MS 328, classes are ideally grounded in questions generated by students and answered through their own investigations. “This inquiry-based learning is not happening as much as it needs to,” says Cole, “but we’re working toward that.” In the last week of school, kids eagerly poured out of the building and into a local park to shoot off air-pressured rockets the students designed and built, proving the educational power of creative fun. It has made a difference. “The school tone is very positive,” Cole says. “As the school year went on, there were fewer serious conflicts, the number of suspensions was comparatively low, with fewer serious fights,” he adds. Student test scores have improved. And students show up. MS 328’s ninety-five percent attendance rate is one of the best in the system. The after-school program is also well attended, as was a science fair and talent show. As we talk, teachers and staff come in seeking signatures, forms, information. At least three students arrive needing disciplinary action. After fifteen years as a teacher in New York City, Cole’s current responsibilities are administrative, in collaboration with Jorge Estrella, the COA | 21
school’s principal. Cole is involved in setting the school’s agenda, focusing MS 328 on its stated mission and vision, encouraging professional development and, at times, intervening with students. While Cole takes a phone call, I turn around to find a girl hanging out behind me in the office—another child in time out. She seems quite relaxed leaning against the wall in Cole’s cluttered office. Students seem comfortable with Cole—an even stronger testament to his professional skills than his substantial resume of educational work and academic achievement. Cole has master’s degrees in developmental psychology and school administration, and more than fifteen years of instructional experience in science and such urban youth programs as Outward Bound. The same emphasis on social responsibility that brought Cole to study at COA guides him today in public education. Says Cole, “Education classes with Etta Kralovec and Peter Corcoran at COA were really inspirational, they were a big part of the reason that I went into education after graduation. Public education policy is focused mainly on academic knowledge,” he adds. “I wanted to find a way to make changes within the system. I believe public education is the best way for me to accomplish that.” 22 | COA
As an assistant principal, Cole occupies the heart of a potent and challenging juncture between the school community and the board of education, between the personal and intimate concerns of students and teachers and the impersonal policy and politics of institutional administration. With a large portion of the school year spent on testing and preparing for tests, stressed-out teachers and school administrators face a daunting challenge when attempting to implement a socially responsible curriculum. Teachers are rushed to provide students with the “essential” bank account of academic knowledge deemed necessary to pass state testing requirements, so schools have little time or opportunity to consider the kinds of classroom activities fostering deliberative, reflective learning on which MS 328 is founded. Cole believes in educational standards, ones that are created collaboratively, involving all stakeholders, “not just top down, but including those at the grassroots level, too,” he says. While he believes educators should be responsible to the concerns of state and country, the voices of school communities also need to be heard. His entry into this dialogue could be through MS 328 itself: “by having a clear progressive mission, being creative and innovative, having high standards for curriculum and teaching, developing authentic assessment regimes and communicating this to the wider community — in short, what we do really well!” Ultimately, says Cole, education is a reciprocal relationship where students and teachers learn from each other. “I learn as much from my students as they do from me,” he adds, then elaborates: “I can’t do my job well if I’m not committed to my own growth. As a teacher, I loved studying science with my students, I loved asking questions, whether or not they could be answered. As an assistant principal, I’m constantly learning patience, learning not to make hasty judgments, I’m being reminded that I need to listen, really listen. I learn from my students’ lives. Learning from them is what sustains me, what will keep me in education, hopefully, for a long, long time.” For more on MS 328, visit http://ms328.r10nycdoe.org/home.asp. Ed Haynsworth ’98 worked and taught in Nepal for two and a half years with the Peace Corps. He is now completing graduate school at Columbia University Teachers College en route to a career in international development and humanitarian relief services.
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learning to listen: Ed Haynsworth When Ed Haynsworth interviewed Jim Cole, it was on an extended lunch hour from Haynsworth’s own classroom. No stranger to the stresses of inner city public education, Haynsworth has spent the past two years teaching in New York City. As part of his commitment to the Peace Corps Fellows program and AmeriCorps, he has worked at several high need schools in New York City. He is currently finishing a master’s degree in Linguistics at Columbia University's Teachers College and completing requirements for professional certification as a Teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages, or TESOL. Haynsworth has spent the last year developing and implementing a new English language learning curriculum at a recently established alternative school in the South Bronx, an area, he says, where “no one wants to go.” Like Cole, Haynsworth finds he learns from his kids—on many levels. His students are recent immigrants between nineteen and twenty-one years old who for various reasons were unable to obtain schooling in their native countries. Most are classified by the school system as having a low level of native language literacy with limited knowledge of English. Trauma is common.
“It is absolutely critical,” says Haynsworth, “to understand the cultural and emotional baggage I bring into the process.” Underlying the educational system itself is the expectation that all students accept it, even though their concerns often arise out of completely different circumstances and contexts. “Human beings are naturally inclined to learn,” he says. “To be human is to be curious, otherwise we wouldn’t survive.” But the curiosity is not
canaries in the mine While we don’t often think of middle school kids as an endangered species, that is really what they are. Caught between childhood and adolescence, these students must learn to navigate twenty-first century American life with too few road signs. Overwhelmed with too much information and lacking the skills to interpret what they hear and see, these students struggle into adolescence in hopes of finding solid ground. In urban areas, massive immigration and rural flight have created school overcrowding that rivals that of the turn of the last century. Some urban schools resemble a tower of Babel with over fifty languages spoken by the students. Stingy public policy, taxpayer revolts and get-tough government policies have 24 | COA
led to schools that resemble prisons rather than centers of learning. The starvation diet of most schools today has led teachers to flee, students to give up and parents to turn their backs. The dropout rate in our urban centers has reached above fifty percent, with most of these students deciding in middle school that school just isn’t for them. The problems of public schools are rooted in the history, politics, economics and ethics of our age. Competing value systems tear at the fabric of the public school system and revolutionize the curriculum as political will substitutes for scientific research in areas like reading instruction, global warming and evolution. For human ecologists like Jim Cole, this is just the kind of environment that
’98 in the South Bronx always obvious. "Sometimes I misread what they're doing as laziness or disrespect. Learning to read character is very important.” Last November, Haynsworth recalls, he casually asked a nineteen-year-old student from the Dominican Republic about her plans for Thanksgiving. “Nothing,” she answered. Surprised, Haynsworth asked if Domincans didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving? “Yes,” she said, but her father was in jail and her sisters were in the Dominican Republic with her grandmother. And her mother? The father had stabbed her with a knife during an argument. “She told me about holding her bleeding, dying mother in her arms, her voice almost flat in its affect,” says Haynsworth. This had happened just a few weeks before and yet she had been coming to class, an indication of the amazing resiliency of his students, who continue to make an effort to make the best of their lives. “They're saying, ‘We’ve got a good moment, let’s enjoy it.‘ They want to dance and have fun. Maybe their lives aren’t going to be long, but give them the opportunity and they have a blast.” Haynsworth sees his role as exposing students to the ideas and thoughts that have inspired our cul-
ture while also accommodating the diverse and usually immediate needs of the students. “That means learning to work with the fact that my agenda—the one I am charged with promoting as a New York City public school teacher—and the agenda of my students may not always correspond. When a student needs attention in a way that does not fit within the expected process, my job is to fit those needs into a positive and healthy environment in which learning can continue for everyone involved.” Despite the difficulty of classroom and administrative demands, says Haynsworth, “I enjoy hanging with my students, even when they’re not cooperating in following an abstract, goal-oriented process. They’ll come to me and we'll have a good talk, we’ll joke and play around a little. But since this is a public classroom, I do establish limits. I'm not providing a parental structure, but a mature environment where diversity of opinion and discussion is encouraged: I’m very open-minded, I’ve seen a lot, there’s very little that can shock or offend me, so there's room for them to be safe, but they know I’m dealing with regulations I can’t break." ~ Donna Gold
ecology in a middle key suits a human ecologist best! As Jim reminds us, human ecology well prepares COA students to face the challenges of public education today. Not only does the interdisciplinary approach to problem solving provide the tools to get at root causes that underlie educations’ greatest conundrums, but the experience of democracy at COA is necessary training for the kind of diversity that teachers face. When I taught at COA, my students often said their best preparation to being a teacher came from leading All College Meeting. While the issues of global warming may be a bit sexier, the real canaries in the mine shaft might just be the middle school kids who struggle each day to make the world a meaningful place. From Ben
by Etta Kralovec
Macko, Michael Martin-Zboray, Catherine Elk and Tammy Crossman-Turner who work in middle schools on Mount Desert Island to Jim Cole in New York City, COA alums have contributed to changing the face of education for a few lucky middle school kids. They are looking for some more good human ecologists to join them. Etta Kralovec, former associate academic dean and director of the teacher education program at COA, has just taken the position of assistant director of the Liberty School, a democratic high school in Blue Hill, Maine. She would like to hear from any COA alums who teach; find her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Form Light and Spirit
Schoodic Point from Ocean Drive, 2005 Oil on panel, 32 1/4” by 18”
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Paintings of Mount Desert Island by Ernest McMullen BY JOHN WILMERDING
rnest McMullen may rightfully deserve the designation of painter laureate of Mount Desert. For more than three decades McMullen has lived and worked here full-time and his views have been distinctive in capturing the familiar geology and panoramas of the area, not just in changing conditions of light or weather but in all the different seasons of the year. His paintings embrace strong visual combinations of striated granite ledges, popplestone beaches, or light dappled water surfaces with varied skies of fair weather clouds, coming or departing showers, or the pale milky light of an early morning. He has been sensitive to the changing angles of sunlight we experience at this latitude, from the cooler palette of spring and broad glare of summer to the sharper reflections of autumn and cold intensity of midday light in winter. McMullen likes to think of his finished work as having partial analogies to classical music, as he strives for similar effects of visual harmonies, rhythms, balances, and unities. Through recording the grandeur of nature in Maine, he also hopes to suggest an emotional contact, whether of awe in the presence of meteorological forces or of spiritual contemplativeness suggested by the delicacies of tinted light and radiant spaces. Well aware of the environmental erosions encroaching on this landscape, and the vulgarities of civilization challenging this once pure wilderness, McMullen at once records this favored scenery and tries to convey on a deeper expressive level its enduring and uplifting aesthetic values. In doing so, he honors past artistic tradition while making it new, personal, and contemporary. This essay is excerpted from the catalog essay for Form Light and Spirit, Recent Paintings of Mount Desert Island by College of the Atlantic art professor Ernest McMullen. The exhibit is on view at the Blum Gallery from August 11 through September 22, 2005. John Wilmerding is the Sarofim Professor of American Art at Princeton University, a visiting curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a trustee of College of the Atlantic.
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Base of Otter Cliffs, 2004 Oil on panel, 22” by 30”
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Great Head, March 2005 Oil on panel 18” by 26”
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Grampa Joe and Mike Carrie Downing ’05, Oil on canvas, 22” by 28”
Checking Myself Short story by Charles Bishop ’07
y father looked across the polished marble chessboard with his patronizingly patient smile. “It’s your turn, son,” he said, pausing uncomfortably long
before the word ‘son.’ I had been lost in thought for some minutes, but the game had come to the most crucial of crossroads. For pieces and position we momentarily stood as equals, and I needed time to prepare the perfect siege. My father had nothing else on his mind and all evening to slowly snuff out my best-laid plans, as was inevitable. He had acquired a callous taste for letting my dreams of victory flower before cutting them down and salting their beds. But I had played a flawless game so far, and he knew it. And so he began the head games, starting with that word, ‘son.’ I was his son, his subordinate, a lower caste—and he wouldn’t let me forget it. 30 | COA
“Patience, father!” The reprimand held fringes of malice, scathing a little deeper than he was accustomed to, but cloaked by the acquiescence of my using ‘father’. I knew the rules to these side games well, having learned them from their creator. But the rules were his, and stood on his field of choice, so I had little hope of turning them against him. Instead I had to concentrate unwaveringly on the board between us, the exact spot from which he hoped to divert my attention. I lifted my hand slowly, making him wait those extra agonizing moments, and calmly moved my dark bishop across the board into the protection of a pawn, projecting a phantom threat towards one of his snowy rooks. Having placed the piece, I stared directly into his hazel eyes, eyes he had passed on to me, letting the challenge of my bishop stand quite plain, even though we both knew it to be false. Nonchalantly, as if my move had long been anticipated, my father promptly pushed his pawn forward a square, blocking my attack and further protecting his own bishop. I expected this response, but his manner irritated me more than a little. I went back to pondering my strategy. As the minutes of silent study wore on, my father decided to amuse himself during the wait. “How are you enjoying that banjo I gave you? My own father built it for me when I was just about your age. It has a quite a bit of wear, but I’m sure you can still crank a tune out of her, if you try. And besides, it’s been in the family for longer than you have, so I’d hate to get rid of it.” The banjo, of course he’d bring up the banjo. My father had given me his old banjo about three months before and I still couldn’t play anything more than a G scale. I had practiced lessons from the yellowing pages of an aged instructional book he had found in the basement, but soon got discouraged and left off as other interests crowded my days. All he had said about the instrument was true, but repeated just for this moment to engulf me in annoyed guilt. I thought of the time I helped my father replace the fifth-string peg after the old one had broken off with age. We had put all new strings on that day as well. So pleased had he been with the vibrant revival of his old friend that he serenaded my mother and me for hours on end. He had another banjo now, a beautiful Deering
Gabriella, so he wasn’t exactly going without. But he had wanted me to take up playing, using his own instrument, and I had quit. Or in his eyes, I had failed. Only recently had he accepted my casual resignation, but still brought it up in tones of false hope when he needed to get a rise out of me. I moved my knight forward and to the left, trying to think only of the game at hand. “I haven’t been playing it much recently,” I admitted. My father frowned slightly as he brought his queen into play, forcing a choice between my two knights. His interruptions were taking effect. I had to switch to the offensive. “I have had so much to do, lately, what with the end of the school year approaching. And there’s something about that banjo that demands a certain over-the-top respect. Even when I have time, I can hardly bring myself to touch it.” Mocking him so outright with his own words definitely struck a painful chord, but made me feel all the worse for having given up on him and the banjo that meant so much. Slightly sickened by the scene, I halfheartedly edged one of my pawns forward. He passionlessly took possession of my western knight. Slighted egos smothered our game in silence as our pieces waltzed dangerously around each other. We both pretended to only see the game before us. I occasionally spied on my father as he contemplated his next move, trying to discern his temper from moment to moment. I’m sure he gave the same attention to myself, but our eyes never met. We finally traded pawns and I breathed a little easier. I entrusted my father with the rekindling of conversation, although I was not too sure I wished for any. He wasn’t quick to the task. After a quarter-hour of the heated silence, and an even trade of rooks, he evidently fell back to his old smug self. “Do you think Lao Tzu would have enjoyed a good game of chess?” His eyebrows raised in their best imitation of quizzical sincerity. This seemingly innocent comment thinly veiled a trainload of ridicule. He possessed a great deal of scorn for my recent fascination with the ancient philosopher’s teachings, taking the extremely vague wording and total lack of science to be an insult to his ardent objectivity. To think, his own son, seduced by such rubbish! That was where his true criticism lay, not with Lao Tzu, but with me. COA | 31
Had he not taught me better than to be so taken with this dated romantic nonsense? The lone comment picked at his scab of disappointment with me, labeling my interests worthless. And he mentioned chess, that cunning bastard, heaping the whole mess on the moment at hand, to this very game! Such an insult, even from him, could not be left unchecked. With measured pace I shifted my gaze upwards from the board and stared straight into my father’s eyes, unblinking. “The masters of this ancient path are mysterious and profound Their inner state baffles all inquiry Their depths go beyond all knowing Thus, despite every effort, we can only tell of their outer signs.” I heard my own voice falling from the rafters as my father watched me intently; a fledgling smile hinted at the confusion racking his brain. I could almost hear the gears grinding to a halt. We sat there, our eyes locked, motionless like the marble chessmen. Our wills wrestled amongst the bishops and knights on the smooth surface of the board. Eternity collapsed upon us before they returned, bruised but not beaten, no victor established. As we reclaimed our individual bodies, my father blinked several times and inhaled a short huff through his nose. “What in world is that verse supposed to mean?” he asked softly. Freed by the sound of his voice, I looked back to our game. “I don’t rightly know,” I said. “Maybe it means that I cannot know the answer to such an irrelevant question.” I moved forward another pawn, barely aware of the decision. Looking closer, I realized that it was now protected by both my knight and bishop, but also threatened by his remaining rook and queen. This risky move challenged him for control of the middle board with a possible bloodbath deciding the outcome. “Or maybe it just means nothing at all, that their whole lot were glorified drunkards, and that it’s your turn.” The opportunity to move back into a familiar world found unspoken appreciation in my father. No more than a moment passed before the new confrontation caught his eye. Delighted by the 32 | COA
challenge, he brought forth his knight from the flanks of his lines. Now, having the advantage of two knights to one, he was well willing to trade. I hadn’t realized the potential threat of his seemingly idle knight. I hated to leave off the challenge I had initiated, but there was no chance of it being to my benefit. But I had no new plan to further my offensive, either. The best I could muster was another futile threat towards him, towards his knight. Seeing nothing better, I brought back my other bishop from his farfetched outpost and suggested an attack. I foresaw this as the dull interlude before my downfall. As I put the piece in place, I raised my gaze back to his lean face, catching sight of a slight widening of his eyes. The look escaped him more suddenly than it had come, but something about it lingered in my mind. What was that feeling that had poured forth from his eyes, unbeckoned, that had been stopped up with such haste? Could it have been fear? But not for the game, the tides flowed steadily towards his shores. Had that blazing flash of concern surrounded only his knight? My eyes swam through the rippling colors of the chess squares, differing grains that suggested texture across the sheen surface. My father exhaled a gentle rebuke as he moved his pallid knight towards me, away from the crowded scene. That was it! He let me have the advantage to save his knight! The trade of my bishop for his knight would have been valuable to him. But he chose to keep it, moving to a more placid spot with less potential. Why did he back away from such a beneficial trade? Something in him must have adored those hoofed assassins that could sneak into my ranks so unawares. I could feel the same fervent attraction myself at times. No doubt he admired everything about them, from their uncanny movements to their cropped manes and bared horse teeth. You could almost see the dried foam on that gaping feverish maw. And those eyes! Those eyes have seen death, their own death, only to be resurrected for this last contest of the reaper. For both their symbol and significance, my father loved those pieces best. And it became my duty, my desire to take them from him. I hid the grin begging to take over my face as I positioned my rook right alongside his doomed
but something had changed. Youth and vigor were knight. There was little room to maneuver within as absent from his body as his knights were from my stronghold; the best he could hope for being a the board. Had I stolen them all? I looked past the suicidal capture of a pawn. I scanned my father’s hazel eyes shaded by his furrowed brow, my own eyes, hoping to catch the same look I had seen eyes, and saw nothing. He let out a slow sigh as I earlier. I only saw his normal rigid concentration, watched, his body sagging more than I could but something about his demeanor implied I had stand. He castled. just missed the masking of it. He cherished that I no longer took any pleasure in the drive to piece, but I would have it. beat my father, but this detachment only furthered My father moved his queen back into play my advantage. Through a combination of my rook under the protection of a pawn, looking across the and bishop, I took possession of his rook and board at my own queen. He was trying to distract entered his king’s territory. He retreated and took me, hoping such a strong threat and prize togethout a few pawns with his bishop. He er would throw me off the trail of his started on a quest to run a pawn to my knight. He also knew that it was “Something in end and reclaim his queen, but never against my interest to trade queens him must have got that far. I began a ceaseless chase because he already had the upper of his king with my remaining pieces hand. Just a technicality as far as I was adored those and kept him from concentrating on concerned. I knew him to be more hoofed assassins anything else. I chased him into a corskilled and daring with her majesty, so ner where the end became inevitable. I found it enticing to take both that could Hesitating before each move, I made queens out of play. Almost as soon as sneak into my my rook trap him while I sent for my my father placed his queen so menacranks so knight. He made a last showy run with ingly, I swept my own through many his pawn before I ended it all. Fearful interlaced diagonal squares and unawares.” of looking at him, of what I would see picked up the crowned trophy. His in his eyes, I stared only at the square queen in hand, I shot him a mischiethat held my father’s defeat. I put my hand on that vous wink. But he was still staring at the board, cold knight, the last of its kind, and dragged it dumbfounded. Out of habit, he took revenge on slowly into place. my own queen. I waited for him to become fully “Checkmate.” aware of the situation, trying to keep my face seriI heard a final sigh, long and slow, one of relief. ous. When I saw his eyes move erratically over the I felt him look up at me, full in the face. “That was board, I slowly crushed his knight under my rook. a hell of a game, son. You finally beat me. I look That was it, the tides were even. Off the board I forward to the next one.” His voice held no trace fared even better, he was on the defensive. I had of regret. I sensed his pride spilling out and washto keep pushing. ing over me. My face contorted in a pitiful attempt As I looked at my father, waiting for him to at a smile. I couldn’t even look at him. move, I saw doubt creeping across his face. He asked his rook to threaten my bishop, but I had a new taste for trading. I whipped his target several Charles Bishop ’07 was born in Claremont, California and later squares away and killed his last knight. He never moved to Carbondale, Illinois for high school. He heard about saw it coming and wheezed a little in devastation. COA from a chance recommendation from an English teacher. His studies focus on creative writing, literature, and philosophy. This was it, he was going down! My bishop received his consequence from a pawn and I Carrie Downing ’05 was born and raised in Duluth, Minnesota. angled my knight forward towards his rook. I She came to College of the Atlantic after a restless year studying architecture at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. At smiled at him with my eyes, but what I saw was not COA her focus shifted to the visual arts, particularly painting. She my father. There, across from me, sat an aging man plans to teach English abroad for one year, then return to school for her MFA. Her work can be seen at www.carriesdowning.com. slumped in his chair. He had the same hazel eyes, strong nose, and retreating hairline as my father, COA | 33
“The only thing I’m interested in is starting a college for peace.” A conversation with Father Jim Gower
Photograph by Noreen Hogan ’91.
Lunchtime at Take-a-Break, you’re talking about what you did on the weekend; suddenly, a slip of paper appears on your table. There’s a peace meeting over at some nearby church. You look up, but Father Jim Gower is already in deep conversation at the next table. About peace, of course. In COA’s ongoing dialog with its founders, Father Jim recalls a bit of how College of the Atlantic came to be. ~ Donna Gold
Donna Gold: Before we talk about launching College of the Atlantic, tell me about your background. Is your family from Maine?
Father Jim Gower: Oh yes. My grandfather was born in Robbinston, right near Calais. My dad was Charles Prescott. He was a carpenter, but he was into everything that Bar Harbor was into, the arts, painting, music. Even as a child, I was hearing great singers on our wind-up gramophone. He went to the eighth grade, but he played the violin, the mandolin—self-taught. He was a great guy. My mother emigrated from Ireland to work as a nanny in the summer cottages. Mom sang lullabies and folk songs of Ireland and murmured quiet prayers constantly. There were five kids in our family, my sister Eileen was first and I was second, born in 1922. Lots of humor in the house. Humor and prayer. 34 | COA
DG: You were born just before the Depression— JG: The Depression had a big effect on our family. My sister Eileen would find a job, then encourage me to take it. I made fifteen cents a week going down to the post office six nights a week to wait for The Bangor Daily Commercial and bring it to Doc York’s drugstore on School Street. In 1940, I went to college, then I served in World War II and saw such terrible poverty and devastation. DG: You went to Notre Dame for college? JG: Yes. And with an A.B. in philosophy I went to Georgetown Law School with the idea of going into politics. I thought, there’s got to be more justice. There’s got to be more sharing and dialogue for those who don’t have. But law school was more adversarial than it was negotiative. It was who’s
right and who’s wrong. One morning, after a class in divorce law, a friend said, “You seem so preoccupied, what are you thinking about?” I said, “I’m thinking about the priesthood.” I had begun to feel that the example of the prophets and Jesus was the non-violent way to peace. I saw the Church as the peace movement.
DG: So how did you get involved with COA? JG: By 1968, I had buried three boys from Vietnam. One had been my altar boy, another had been from a very poor section of town. Then I buried my own nephew. When I moved from Waterville to Mount Desert Island, it was on my mind that I hadn’t done anything about Vietnam. After a Saturday night mass, Bob Smith, the head of the Community Action Program came by. He said, “They’d like to have you join CAP.” I said, “The only thing I’m interested in is starting a college for peace.” It was the first time I said that to anybody! “We’ll work with you,” he said. Monday morning, I went over to see Les Brewer. Les was the valedictorian of our class. Where I would be going to dances and talking to girls at the library when I was supposed to be studying, Les would play football, then go home and study. He’s headed up just about every nonprofit public service that’s ever been in this town. Les said, “The Chamber of Commerce tried to start a college and gave up on it.” “OK,” I said, “Are there any guys on the committee who would be willing to work with me?” The 18th of September, 1968, we had Les, Jimmy Macleod, Sonny Cough, Richard Lewis. With Bob Smith, we were six. On Saint Patrick’s Day of 1969, Charlie Sawyer, who was in business with Les and worked with the owner of the Burns estate, Michael Garber, said that Mr. Garber would be willing for us to use the Burns cottage for free. Les knew the business people on the island. He recruited most of the board and became chair, executive director and secretary. DG: At that point, did you have a concept for what kind of school it would be?
wanted some kind of non-polluting school or industry on the island. We had fifteen people on the first of April, 1969. Lyricist Eddie Heyman was there. Right off, Eddie said, “I don’t like the name ‘Acadia.’ It reminds me of murmuring pines and wet hemlocks, too depressing.” It didn’t depress me. I said, “What would you call it?” He said, “There’s a College of the Pacific. Why not a College of the Atlantic?” “So moved,” I said. It was all over within thirty seconds.
DG: How did COA come to offer one major? JG: That was from the beginning. We would only have one major.
DG: And who came up with that idea? JG: That was not an original idea. I read an article in The Bangor Daily News in which the president of St. Louis University, a Jesuit, said, “future schools should have one clear-cut major.” I took that as gospel truth—we can’t do it all, a little school like this. DG: What happened to the peace part? JG: We had to decide a theme. On public television, I heard Ian McHarg talking about ecology, about a web of life, sharing this small planet across national and cultural lines. Everybody said, “Yeah, that’s great!” because we have an ecological place here. I wasn’t an ecologist, but it struck me as, “That’s what it is. We’re sharing this one globe.” That summer, Reverend Cushman McGiffert was on board. For the first time, I saw the word human in front of ecology. I thought, “Now we’re going into religion!” Cush McGiffert rightly saw that “ecology” without the human touch or without reverence would be one heck of a mess. You need humans who realize that we’re not in charge, that there’s something bigger. Human beings invent infinite desires and infinite extremes and that’s where we’ve been, ever since. The school charter is basically a natural religion. Humans are hardwired for infinity.
JG: Peace. It was in The Bar Harbor Times. Acadia Peace College. They were ready to go with it, but not so much because of the peace issue, they COA | 35
Human Ecology and the Spirit A QUESTION OF HARMONY ~ John Visvader Illustration by Xander Karkruff ’06. Pen and ink, approx. 8” by 12”.
While editing The Grandest Narrative? for the first issue of COA, I noticed that none of the writers was quite sure whether we were offering a degree in human ecology or Human Ecology. This confusion seemed deeper than the question of grammar. What is human ecology? Is it a discipline—or something more, something approaching the spiritual? In this issue, COA faculty members John Visvader, Karen Waldron and John Anderson explore the connections between human ecology and the spirit. — D.G.
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few years ago I was asked to give a talk at one of the local churches in Ellsworth and out of curiosity asked the pastor why his church was interested in human ecology. He responded with his own question, "Well, it’s a religion, isn’t it?" Of course I answered that it was not and explained briefly that it was the study of the relationship between humans and their environment. This left him unimpressed and I got the feeling that he thought I was leaving out something important. Later I found myself agreeing with him but wasn’t sure how to talk about what I’d left out. Some people have referred to human ecology as a "perspective." While this isn’t very clear, it does suggest a way to fill out the thinness of the formal definition. In my mind a "perspective" in this context refers to the kinds of values, goals and long-term visions that one brings to a study or a discipline as well as the kind and manner of commitment. Not everyone who shares a discipline will agree on all the factors that keep them engaged but some subject areas bring more consonance than others.
The college was founded in an era of great ing the problems not only to what we do but to social concern: concern about the environment, who we are, it is natural to raise the question as to matters of war and peace, civil rights and social who or what we ought to be. Can we care deeply justice. I think there was a general feeling that enough about the full world we live in—our home these problems were connected together in an in a greater sense — without transforming and reestablishing our basic relationship to things and essential way and that working on any of them each other? These kinds of questions are personal would shed light on all the others. It was also realand go beyond the ethical. They promise that the ized that working on these issues required not inner harmony of the individual is not separate only concern but also knowledge, knowledge that from a greater harmony. This quest may not be was living, dynamic and ran across all the estabone of the central strands of human ecology, but I lished disciplines. The problems that were feel that in the long run it may prove the most addressed raised issues not only about what we important. did but also about who we were, and for some posed questions of a deeply personal kind. I think there was a deep pluralism implied in this search for answers which was willing to follow the HONORING RELATIONSHIP roots of a problem wherever they led and to adopt ~ Karen Waldron whatever disciplinary language and method threw the greatest light on ince reading John Visvader, I’ve “Problems are that particular aspect of an issue. It been musing about the signifinot things could be economic or biological cance of being asked to talk at local but the heart of a problem might church—because I’ve been asked, objectively in run through the religious, the ethitoo. I’ve been wondering how John the world like cal or the aesthetic. Problems are and I were chosen to speak in a sticks and stones; not things objectively in the world religious context, and what that like sticks and stones; they are value choice really means. Thinking they are value knots, dissonances between how back, I’m sure the pastor did not knots . . .” we want things to be and how they choose me because of something are. Perhaps from time to time we she believed was specifically ~ John Visvader have lost the sense of this pluralism human ecology—she chose an when the enthusiasm for our particapproach, apparently recognizing a ular discipline captivates us, but this seems to rise in spiritual dimension to my work and to the way I abstraction and disappears quickly when we work existed in relation to my work. So what is it about together around the edges of real issues. my—or our—approach that is spiritual? It’s obviHuman ecology is done in a rich context of ously not just John and I. What do human ecology value and concern and a general commitment to and spirituality have to do with one other? Did I cast whatever work we do on our small piece of find human ecology because I was already spirituthe issue toward making things better—making a al or does human ecology draw the spiritual out of richer home for ourselves and other creatures. me? I keep coming back not to the pastor who The debate about what this means and what this asked me to speak but to the mission and values of would look like is part of our undertaking; it is College of the Atlantic, to the way we commit ournecessary and keeps us from imagining that we selves heart and soul to human ecology, to the fact have attained a completed or final vision. that each of us, in our own way, really cares. I agree with John that human ecology is not a Human ecology is not a religion as the Ellsworth religion. In fact, the distinction between spiritualipastor suspected, but for some it does have a spirty and religion helps us understand what human itual dimension. In seeing the deep connections ecology is and does—to us, in us, through us. A between various aspects of our concerns and trac-
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We might as well admit it: human ecology, like religion can be identified as a set of coherent the spiritual, is about the otherness that makes practices; it can produce dogma; one can have relationship possible and allowing that otherness faith in it or not. None of these are possible with to have a more than pragmatic reality. If John can human ecology, though religions are of course say it is about values, I wish to claim more specifiquite familiar to many human ecologists. But the cally that it is about caring. Human ecology not moment human ecology coalesces as one belief, only serves others, including the non-human; it within or among us, is also the moment it is suggests the deepest meaning comes from relabecoming another, choosing and opening outtionship to otherness, not to self. Believers in ward again. Although the perceptive, sensing the meaning find human ecology easy. value-laden nature of what we do, often think human ecology is a religion, human ecology is really the spirituality that feeds not only participation in religious life but in lives of meaning. RATIONALITY, GRACE AND Spirituality is more individual, fluid, and pluralistic ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS than religion—an aspect of each ~ John Anderson of our very beings, whether we “Engaging with admit it or not. If a religion is a ell, I guess I haven’t been the spiritual practice and set of beliefs, spirituspending time with the right ality is the capacity of what is by people, because I have yet to be involves opening some called the soul to engage invited to speak in church. The ourselves with those beliefs. Those who find closest I have come is being asked themselves committed to multiple to speak for Darwinism vs. continually relationships, including the priCreation Science as the closing act to changing mary relationship of stewardship of a religious revival. Perhaps the all of our for others and for the world we most troubling thing for both me share, are spiritual. They also and for many in the audience was relationships.” experience human ecology. the fact that I regard myself both as ~ Karen Waldron Spirituality exists as a dimena scientist, whose world is made sion of relationship, one which both intriguing and explicable by acknowledges the possibility of natural selection, and as a conscious change and which cares about—brings Christian, who finds great comfort and much to value to—both the change and the process of think about in both the Old and the New changing. Engaging with the spiritual involves Testaments. I do not regard myself as a “spiritual opening ourselves continually to changing all of person” nor do I have much time for most of what our relationships. Even more, the spiritual gets lumped under that odd word “spirituality,” requires an ethical consciousness of relationbut I find it sad that people tend to assume that a ship(s). It also requires, I think—and again this is scientist might only think on the tangible, or that not the same thing as religiosity, although the two someone who is interested in the nature of the often coexist—a recognition that relationships (of soul cannot also perform and critique an experihumans to humans, of humans to environments, ment. of humans to ideas and beliefs) not only matter With deepest respect and affection I also disbut necessitate an honoring of those humans, agree with my colleagues when they speak of “pluenvironments, ideas and beliefs as themselves ralism” or suggest that human ecology is not a relispiritual. To be spiritual one has to be conscious, gion. While I think I understand the intent of John’s open, vulnerable, and caring. Isn’t that the use of pluralism, I worry that it may imply an equalessence, the life blood, the value base, of human ity of methodologies and ways of knowing. ecology? Different questions require different methods, and
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we place ourselves in danger of at best silliness and conventional academics, we are not trying to raise at worst blasphemy when we fail to make the disa group of narrow specialists; instead human ecoltinction. Either God has a very ill sense of humor or ogy suggests that there is great value to be found the world was not made in six days. No amount of in both fishing and in mulling over the intricacies biblical study will make it so, any more than it can of selection, and that in fact an appreciation of reconcile the radically different accounts of creboth may lead to greater happiness and to greater ation found in Genesis 1 and 2. While it may be true good. In this human ecology is indeed a religion. that God created the Heavens and the Earth, the We have specific practices, signs, symbols and seasons. We even slip into dogma all too frequently. statement is not subject to scientific verification, We are faith-based, but suffer regularly from crises and it would be foolish to pretend that it is. in that faith. We believe that some things are good, Likewise, while natural selection provides an abunsome are better, and some are bad or even evil. dance of proximate “hows” to the question of how We may argue the borders, but push us hard I came to be here, it cannot address the ultimate enough and we will agree on the center. “why” of my existence, the nature of my soul (or I am a scientist. I believe in a certain order that lack thereof) or whether what I am doing is good or I call rational thought. I believe in certain practices evil. I read the Tarot and I read the The Origin of that I call experimental design or Species, but I do not expect the qualities of evidence. I want to be Tarot to tell me much about specia“. . . human able to answer every question that tion or the Origin to tell me whether God put to Job. At the same time I to bet the farm on red. ecology am a human ecologist. Like Karen, At its best, human ecology acknowledges I believe in meaning; I also believe acknowledges that we humans are in caring. I look continually for the forever trapped between wanting to that we humans self in others and for others in the know both the “hows” and the are forever self. In conservation we are begin“whys” and allows space for the stuning to accept that the functional, dent of human ecology to “walk trapped between rational, utilitarian arguments for between the raindrops” with both. wanting to know conservation are mostly empty In this sense I suppose that “pluralboth the ‘hows’ shells, too easily disproved by the ism” isn’t a bad thing at all. technocrats and the pragmatists. Sometimes one wants to know why and the We have been asking the wrong something is or isn’t or does or does ‘whys’. . .” question all the time. We have not matter just as much as one been fascinated by Beauty but wants to know how; sometimes, ~ John Anderson have failed to acknowledge that however, one wants to know one fascination or our unanswerable, more than the other. Bill Drury, one immeasurable need. We have sought the aesthetic of COA’s legendary biologists, once commented to with calipers rather than with acceptance. I am a me, when we were discussing the nature of “intellihuman ecologist so long as I recognize the possigence,” that he felt that if he were to put many of his bility of many differing questions and am willing Harvard colleagues in a lobster boat in the fog five to pursue many different answers. Knowledge can miles south of the Ducks with no radar, he doubted beget Wisdom, but they are not the same. Rather that he would ever see them again, whereas his we must see them as two dancers in the dance, fisherman friends would have no trouble getting joined but separate, beckoning each other yet home. My only response was that I suspected that if he put many of his fishermen friends in a Harvard ever retreating, while we wait and work for that seminar room I doubted that we would see them Grace, unexpected because undeserved, that we again. He agreed. know beyond all rational demonstration is our possibility. Human ecology places value on value. Unlike
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C O A ~ C L A S S N OT E S
Barbara Dole Acosta (’75) recently graduated with a Ph.D. in multilingual and multicultural education from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Her interests include social justice issues in education for English language learners and other culturally and linguistically diverse students. She and her husband, Francisco, continue to serve as founding members of the board of trustees of the Oscar Romero University in El Salvador, which currently serves over 800 students from primarily impoverished families. She would love to hear from old friends and other alumni: Barbara.email@example.com. Jim Frick ’78 writes, “My wife and I became grandparents last October with the birth of Rowan Cove Emery, the son of Natalie and Tom Emery. I am semi-retiring this winter, still working three-fifths time as an editor at the University of Maine. When I retire, I’ll also become a member of the executive committee of the Maine Sierra Club. I am still performing with my jazz quintet, The “A” Train.” Pamela Bolton ’79 writes, “I am still working with maternal health programs in West Africa. My boy Gabriel is seven and Noam is nine.” Cynthia Jordan Fisher ’80 is still living in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Charlottesville, Virginia with her ten-year-old daughter, Hana. She is also enjoying being a grandmother to her daughter Claire's five-month-old daughter, Macayla. Cynthia sold her downtown business, the Village Playhouse, and now teaches in a small elementary school, housed in three old cabins, which reminds her very much of COA. She welcomes COA alumni, young and old, when passing by on their journeys: 434-977-6434. Frank Twohill ’80 was recently re-elected to a sixth term on the Representative Town Meeting of Branford, Connecticut. The body acts as the legislative arm of the town and must pass ordinances and budgets. Frank is now chair of the education committee which oversees the town’s $39 million budget. He works as a solo-practice lawyer in Branford. In June, Frank joined the governing board of the COA Alumni Association. Helen McCain ’83 writes, “My husband Cartwright and I live in Portland, Maine with our thirteen-year-old son, Simon and five-year-old daughter, Martha. I work as the administrative director for the Eastern Trail Alliance, a nonprofit organization establishing a greenway from Casco Bay to Kittery. Our trail is part of the East Coast Greenway which, when complete, will stretch from Calais, Maine to Key West, Florida.” John Tapper ’83 writes, “I’m going to New York University to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematics education. I’m really looking forward to living an academic life. This will be the first time since leaving COA that I will not be working in the public schools. It will be interesting to see how it all works from the outside.” Scott Durkee ’84 writes that having worked with appropriate technology like methane digesters, efficient cooking stoves, water pumps and such in the far west of Nepal between 1987 and 1989, he wrote the cover article for the February/March 2003 Home Power Magazine on how to make biodiesel. Find Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org. Christopher Hamilton ’85 writes, “I recently became the executive director of the Bahamas National Trust based in Nassau. We manage the nation’s twenty-five national parks and marine protected areas, do environmental education programs and environmental policy work.” Margaret Scheid ’85 writes, “After seven years of owning and operating a tourism business in Nova Scotia, opportunity has brought me to St. Andrews, New Brunswick. I’ve returned to the U.S. National Park Service full time to take on the position of first permanent interpretive park ranger at St. Croix Island International Historic Site in Calais, Maine. Plan a trip downeast and come see the new interpretive trail with its larger-than-life bronze statues.”
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Jim Senter ’85 received the 2004 Forest History Society’s Theodore C. Blegen Award for his article “Live Dunes and Ghost Forests: Stability and Change in the History of North Carolina’s Maritime Forests.” The Blegen is awarded yearly in recognition of the best contribution to forest and conservation history. Senter lives in Durham, North Carolina and continues his freelance work on the historical ecology of the Outer Banks. Karen Wennlund ’85 writes, “Four lives later, I am once again starting a new one. This time in a new house, making my living as a gardener, clinical herbalist and carpenter. Just me and cat Silas. It’s a wonder all the changes that come to one’s doorstep.” Jamien Jacobs ’86 writes, “I got married to a special man on September 21, 2003 and just adopted a wonderful little boy, Dylan, who’s now six weeks old. I am an educational consultant on school ground greening projects for Portland Trails, an urban land trust in Portland, Maine. Life is great!” Laura Cohn ’88 writes, “I’m still happily living in the Philadelphia area while maintaining a strong connection traveling back to Indonesia every year. Visit my website to see how I created a way to weave my art, travel, family and teaching into a small but viable living: www.frombalitobala.com.”
COA ALUMNI SERVICES
Alumni: Stay in Touch! To update your contact information, share class notes in upcoming publications, tell us of changes in your job or life, find out about regional alumni events and for other alumni services, please contact Shawn Keeley of Alumni Relations at email@example.com.
Kevin Geiger ’88 is living in North Pomfret, Vermont with his six-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter. All are doing great. Lisa Norton ’89 writes, “After a recent career in television advertising, I am currently working as a freelance adventure travel writer and photographer. I recently returned from an odyssey during which I hiked and dove in the South Pacific Islands of French Polynesia, then explored the history, culture and cuisine of Corsica and later traveled a thousand nautical miles by boat up the Inside Passage from the San Juan Islands of Washington to Juneau, Alaska. Now, back in my hometown of San Diego, California, I’m embarking on a new career as a life purpose coach helping women in various states of transition. On the near horizon are volunteer teaching stints in Sweden and Peru, as well as a spiritual journey backpacking through Vietnam and Thailand with my son, Fielding, nineteen, and daughter, Tiffany, twenty-one. Would love to resume contact with my classmates! I can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.” Gregory Milne ’91 writes, “Life is extremely busy here in Cape Cod. I continue my political life as I was re-elected to the Barnstable Town Council in 2003 to a second four year term, defeating a prominent fellow incumbent in a unique two-incumbent race due to redistricting. My run in 2002 for county commissioner as an independent was not successful, but a remarkable experience nevertheless. Recently, I completed a super energy-efficient addition to my home. Yes, I even did some framing. As I write, the heat I enjoy—the only heat source in my house—is from my Minnesota-built corn-burning stove, very inexpensive. Lastly, I continue running and expanding my hospitality business.” Joshua Winer ’91 writes, “I have changed jobs. I am now an adjunct faculty member at The Art Institute of Boston and recently showed work in a small group show at the Photographic Resource Center in Boston: www.bu.edu/PRC.” Jeffrey Miller ’92 led a local campaign and raised $190,000 for the Kennebec River Rail Trail in Augusta. He writes to tell us he is working on a $10 million trails bond, is single again and biked the full park loop and up Cadillac Mountain, taking Craig Greene’s son, Will, up for his first time. Jennifer Mazer ’93 writes, “I attended the Green Party convention as a delegate last summer. I became a political activist four years ago, after the World Trade Organization demonstrations in Seattle. Can anyone give me advice on how to start an anti-genetically modified foods initiative in Massachusetts? Call or write me at 617-629-2936 or email@example.com.” Jennifer Daczka McEnerney ’93 and Dan had their first child, Jackson James McEnerney, on December 23, 2004.
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CAREER AND INTERNSHIP SERVICES
Alumni: We can help! College of the Atlantic’s Office of Internships and Careers offers internship and job opportunities at: www.coa.edu/internships.htm. Director Jill Barlow-Kelley happily offers alumni the following services: • Career Information • Career Guidance • Graduate School Information • Job Search Skills • Resume Review • Relocation Guidance • Employment Websites • Alumni Mentorship Contact Jill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-288-5015, ext. 236
Colleen O'Brien ’93 writes, “I left my position as a recreation planner and landscape architect for the Inyo National Forest in California’s Eastern Sierra mountains in October 2004 and arrived in the Bay Area in February 2005 to accept a position for a year with a Forest Service Reinvention Lab Enterprise Team. In my position as a consultant to the U.S. Forest Service Region 5, I am developing community planning processes and strategic plans to execute the National Environmental Policy Act analysis for the regulation of off-highway vehicle use and the designation of a motorized system of roads, trails and areas on nineteen National Forests in California from a current route inventory of approximately 43,000 miles. I am also awaiting notification of certification with the Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution as a registered practitioner. When I am not working, I am usually in Yosemite, the High Sierras or the Eastern Sierra.” Jen Aylesworth ’94 writes, “I am in the process of a career change. I left my job at the Discovery Channel store in February. I am searching for my next challenge.” Jason Brenad ’94 writes, “I have finally finished my residency training in emergency medicine at University Hospital here in Syracuse, New York. By mid-July, I will be starting my new job (and life) as an attending physician in the Emergency Department at Saratoga Hospital in Saratoga Springs, New York.” Taj Chibnik ’95 married Jason Halley on February 22, 2004 in her hometown of San Francisco. The wedding took place at Greens, their favorite vegetarian restaurant. Taj works in the finance department of Riverdeep, an e-learning company. The brands include The Learning Company, Edmark, Teacher Universe, and Broderbund. Jason works freelance in the movie business as a second assistant director. Look for his name in the credits for the movie, Bigger than the Sky, released in the spring of 2005. Andy Davis ’97 writes, “I am living in Jackson, Wyoming and am employed as a ski photographer and arborist. I spend the rest of my time traveling and tromping around in the wilderness. So nothing has really changed.” Brice King ’97 was married to Naomi Pyah Gross on May 29, 2005 on Naomi ’s family farm in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. They are currently embarking on a year of traveling around the world. Check out their website at www.constantradius.com. Amy Scott ’97 is the full-time Community Heritage Coordinator with the Northern Forest Center in Bethel, Maine. Ryder Scott ’97 is directing courses at Outward Bound, and both are still working on their house. She writes, “It’s getting close, but there’s still a lot of work to do.” Lara Burns Laperle ’99 has been living in Burlington, Vermont since May 2003 with her husband Bryan Laperle. They are moving to Park City, Utah where Bryan will be working as a chef for Grappa’s Italian Restaurant. Lara hopes to attend the University of Utah for a master’s degree in the physician’s assistant program. Erin Chalmers ’00 writes, “I am getting married August 13, 2005 to Julie Drees, a biochemist and Colby College graduate. I’m starting my last year of law school and working at Earthjustice, a non-profit law firm in Oakland, California this summer.” Jennifer Prediger ’00 just completed a presidential management fellowship at the United States Department of Agriculture. She is currently working as a television producer at USDA. The fellowship, she says, “is a great opportunity. Postgraduate students get to experience the federal government and rotate through different agencies and departments.” Elizabeth Gwinn ’01 writes, “I am finishing my first year of a two-year master’s in museum studies at New York University. The program is at once very specific and very interdisciplinary. I am enjoying it very much.”
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Serra Benson ’02 writes, “I am in Ojai, California getting my elementary teaching credential at Antioch University in Santa Barbara. I’m student teaching in a bilingual first grade, having fun and learning so much about how to be a good teacher.” Gideon Culman ’02 reports that there’s something going on with COA grads and St. John’s College: “In May 2004, Joshua Machat ’02 graduated from St. John’s College, Santa Fe with a master’s in liberal arts. In August 2004, Katie Dube ’00 graduated with a master’s in Eastern classics and I graduated with an master’s in liberal arts. Later in August, I returned to start a second master’s in Eastern classics. The program names are vague and mystifying: liberal arts centers on great books in the Western tradition—from the Greeks and Hebrews until about a century ago; Eastern classics centers on great books in the Eastern tradition, India, China, Japan. There was quite a turnout of COAers for the August graduation. In the attached picture: Angela DiPerri ’01, Evan Bender ’04, Gideon Culman ’02, Katie Dube ’00, Ardrianna French ’02 and Hillah Culman ’05.” Cameron Douglass ’02 writes, “I am working at Cornell University as a research assistant and will begin my master’s of science this fall in the horticulture department. My focus is weed ecology, specifically genetic diversity and the invasive behavior of certain weed species. On New Year’s Eve in Albany, New York, I am getting married to Stephanie Jones, my best friend and traveling companion. All in all, a year of many changes.” Nikki Hooper Fox ’02 and Tom Fox had Willa Shine Fox at home in Bar Harbor on October 30, 2003. She’s now a happy, healthy eighteen-month old. A future human ecologist for sure. Jericho Bicknell ’03 writes, “The big news is that I have been accepted to the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and will be moving to Boston this fall to begin my graduate studies in the agriculture, food and environment program.” Julia Davis ’03 writes, “I just got back from a year spent teaching English in a small town in Costa Rica.” Ira Gooch ’03 writes, “I am living in Maine. I just got offered a job at Opportunity Farm, a place for troubled kids to get a fresh start.” Clementine Mallet ’03 is a frozen foods and grocery assistant buyer at Hawthorne Valley Farm Store in Ghent, New York. The store is an organic grocer and part of a larger organization called Hawthorne Valley Association which includes a biodynamic farm, Waldorf school, visiting student program, bakery and a dairy producing yogurt and cheese. Michael Shepard ’03 writes, “I am in Buffalo, Wyoming for a second summer working on a sage grouse population monitoring project with a focus on the impacts of coal bed methane development on the birds. I spent this past winter in Bozeman, Montana working for Montana State University on a West Nile virus mosquito survey and for a sustainable building company. I’ll be headed back East in September to start looking at grad schools and thinking about longer-term life decisions.” Cory Whitney (’03) writes, “I am sailing with high school and college students as second mate of the Lettie G. Howard.” Lee Kuck, M.Phil. ’04 writes, “Since graduation, I’ve spent time working on Jekyll Island, Georgia and will be working with the National Outdoor Leadership School’s Teton Valley branch for the summer. In the fall I will be the director of the Interim Career Resource Center at Sterling College in Craftsbury, Vermont.”
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Allison Rogers ’04 writes, “After working for eleven months and three weeks as a staff reporter at the Connecticut Valley Spectator, a weekly newspaper covering the Upper Valley region of Vermont and New Hampshire, I have become the media relations coordinator for the King Arthur Flour Company in Norwich, Vermont. The company, started in Boston in 1790, has been employee-owned since 1996. Given my writing and media experience, coupled with my love of baking, this seemed like a sensible move. In addition to other tasks, I’ll be planning and implementing media campaigns for our national baking classes held around the country. I welcome all COA alumni to contact me here at KAF. We can offer information, donations, life skills baking classes for middle school students and more. Of course, if you’re ever in the Norwich area, please stop by to visit — my office is below the King Arthur Flour Baker’s Store on Vermont Route 5 in Norwich: email@example.com.”
C O A ~ FA C U LT Y N O T E S Nancy Andrews, who teaches performance art and video production, was nominated for a Rockefeller Fellowship for the second year in a row. John Anderson is pleased to announce a grant of $10,000 from Cruise Industry Charitable Foundation toward the new support vessel for the Marine Studies Program. This new vessel will replace the aging M/V Indigo. For more information on the exciting new project, contact John Anderson. Anthropology professor Elmer Beal sings lead vocal on the song “Los Tres Pañuelitos” of Gordon Bok’s recently-released CD, Apples in the Basket, issued by Timberhead Music, 2005. Says Beal, “The track is a Chilean song Gordon learned many years ago and which he and I have sung off and on for several years. On that track, Gordon plays guitar, sings second vocal, and his wife, Carol Rohl, plays harp.” A reflection of psychology professor Rich Borden’s twenty years as dean appears in his essay, “Making the Dean’s List: Reflections and Lessons from Two Decades of Academic Administration” in the July 8, 2005 edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education. In December, Ken Cline, faculty member in public policy and law, was invited to be on the board of Maine Rivers, a statewide advocacy organization dedicated to protect, restore and enhance the health and vitality of Maine’s rivers. He has also been giving many regional talks about watersheds. Composer and music faculty member John Cooper had two new saxophone quartets published by Dorn Publications, Inc. of Medfield, Massachusetts in the summer of 2005. Cooper also composed and produced the musical score for a new documentary about the Maine Seacoast Mission to be shown this winter on Maine Public Broadcasting Network. In July 2005, Cooper served as a guest clinician for the Maine Summer Youth Music Camp at the University of Maine, with a performance by the Maine Saxophone Quartet. Earlier this year, he served as artist-in-residence for the Mount Desert Island High School Jazz Program and conducted the Maine All State Jazz Combo, judged the Maine State Jazz High School and Middle School Festival finals and the New Jersey Jazz Festival finals. He also launched the COA Center for Creative Studies in Improvisation, a new program that began last January. J. Gray Cox, political economy professor, wrote “Meeting God Halfway: A Quaker Witness on Economic Justice and Ecological Concern” for the May 2005 issue of Friends Journal.
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For a second year, math and physics professor David Feldman was invited to give a series of lectures, “Foundations in Complex Systems: Tools and Methods,” at the Santa Fe Institute’s Complex Systems Summer School in Beijing, China. The July lectures were given to a mix of graduate students in sciences and social sciences from around the world. He’s also pleased to announce a grant of $4,100 from the Maine Space Grant Consortium to help purchase new lab equipment. Invertebrate zoology professor Helen Hess wrote “Eddie Monat’s Dive-In Theater” for the May 2005 issue of Maine Boats and Harbors, on the entertaining and scientific underwater excursions offered by Monat ’88. This year, Hess was also given a $3,700 grant from the Maine Space Grant Consortium Higher Education Program for COA’s program, “Exploring form and function in living organisms through physics and engineering: a biomechanics workshop for middle school and high school teachers.” The pilot grant written by education and psychology professor Ken Hill to work on student retention netted $6,000 from MELMAC Foundation. “This planning grant makes us eligible for an implementation grant for up to $75,000 for six years,” Hill says. Botany professor Nishanta Rajakaruna ’94 gave the Department of Biological Sciences Seminar at the University of Maine, Orono in March 2005 on “Edaphic Differentiation in Lasthenia californica (Asteraceae): A Case for Parallel Speciation.” A recent interview of his can be found at www.environmentalprograms.net/guidance/rajakaruna. In July, Rajakaruna received notice that the Maine Sea Grant management team would fund his proposal “Metalliferous Plants of the Callahan Mine: Plant Diversity, Heavy Metal Tolerance, and Potential for Phytoremediation.” To further his work on phytoremediation, Rajakaruna also received two grants from the Maine Space Grant Consortium, one with Andrew Thrall ’06 for “Geobotanical Explorations on Metal-Rich Extreme Soils” the other with Kathleen Tompkins ’08 on “Physiology, Evolution and Applied Ecology of Plants on Metal-Rich Soils.” Two articles by international policy professor Doreen Stabinsky were published in Rights and Liberties in the Biotech Age: Why We Need a Genetic Bill of Rights, edited by Sheldon Krimsky and Peter Shorett and published in 2005 by Roman & Littlefield, Lanham, Maryland. The articles were, “A Right to GE-Free Food: The Case of Maize Contamination” and “Life Patents Undermine the Exchange of Technology and Scientific Ideas,” co-authored with J.A. King. Education professor Bonnie Tai was an invited panelist at “Five decades of negotiating power and politics in education,” the plenary session of the Alumni of Color Conference at the Harvard School of Education in March 2005. At the annual meeting of the regional marine mammal stranding network in Virginia Beach, Virginia this spring, Sean Todd, professor of biology and marine science, received the David J. St. Aubin Award for Excellence from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Northeast Marine Mammal Stranding Network on behalf of Allied Whale. The award, which acknowledges the coordinated assistance to an ailing and lost beluga whale, Poco, was shared by the Department of Marine Resources in Boothbay Harbor, the University of New England in Biddeford, the New England Aquarium in Boston, and the Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut. “We have always taken pride in how collaborative our network is,” commented Todd. Karen Waldron, literature professor and academic dean, presented her paper, “Echoes of—or Answers to—the Lost Lenore? Edgar Allen Poe’s Theory of Dead Women and Three Twenty-First Century Women’s Mysteries” at the Popular Culture and American Culture Associations Joint Conference, San Diego, California last March.
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COA ~ COM M U N I T Y N OT E S In January, Allied Whale received a $10,000 grant from Oracle (www.oracle.com) to fund its final year of a study of how oceanographic factors influence local populations of baleen whales. This is the third such grant Oracle has made in support of Allied Whale. Allied Whale also received $5000 from the Elinor Patterson Baker Foundation toward its new research vessel. In February, a television program, The Scientists, part of Maine Public Broadcasting Network’s Quest series, contrasted the work of scientists at Allied Whale, studying the largest mammals on earth, with nanotechnologists at the University of New Hampshire researching the micro-world of atoms and molecules. In May, COA hosted a CASE Fellowship for journalists, “A River Runs Through It: The Watershed Approach to Sustainable Development Planning: a college-community partnership.” Journalists from Colorado, Maine and New York came to campus looking at the work COA is doing with watersheds and community planning, involving faculty members Rich Borden, Don Cass, Ken Cline, Isabel Mancinelli,and Davis Taylor, and staff members Donna Gold, Travis Hussey, Tora Johnson and Gordon Longsworth. College of the Atlantic serves as the setting for a new novel, The Harp of Brenach by Clifford Stevens (Jay Street Publishers, New York, NY). According to advisory council member Carl Little, who reviewed the book for the Bangor Daily News, the novel centers on Jeffrey McCabe, a brilliant young man who speaks fluent Latin, has studied Jung and researched chaos theory. He transfers to COA to pursue a master’s of philosophy in human ecology. “I can’t get anything like that at the University of Nebraska,” he tells one of his benefactors. One day, McCabe spies what appears to be a doorway in the face of Otter Cliffs. Joined by Celtic experts he discovers a many-chambered monastery carved into the rock and filled with treasures brought over from Ireland centuries ago—along with a monk who arises from his centuries-old slumber. The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations gave a $200,000 grant from its private higher education program toward the endowment of the Rachael Carson Chair in Human Ecology. The George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History was one of forty-nine recipients of a major conservation grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The grant, a two-year process, will help the museum undertake its most critical conservation activities: designing and implementing a long-term environmental monitoring process for its galleries and collection storage space, implementing procedures to stabilize specimens currently threatened with environmental degradation, and developing and offering an undergraduate course in collections care and preservation. In April 2005, COA trustee David Hackett Fischer won a Pulitzer Prize for his book, Washington’s Crossing.
Jessica Glynn ‘06
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In February, students Jessica Glynn ’06, Nina Therkildsen ’05 and Myra Theriault ’05 attended the conference, "Trading Morsels, Growing Hunger, Decimating Nature: Linking Food and Trade to Development and the Environment," at the Princeton Environmental Institute. George McGovern, United Nations Ambassador on World Hunger, gave the keynote address. For more information on the conference, see www.princeton.edu/~piirs/trading_morsels/. In April, Glynn and Juan Pablo Hoffmaister ’07, as members of the SustainUS delegation, attended the Commission on Sustainable Development at the United Nations. Writes Hoffmaister, “I am just coming out of a General Assembly meeting with official delegations of every member country, Kofi Annan, United Nations secretary-general, representatives from many NGOs and Mikhail Gorbachev. The discussions are heated; it is quite overwhelming to hear some of the pleas from developing nations. Students were actively engaged in a contentious debate over the right to water, working for the last three days with human rights NGOs
trying to implement an amendment on the CSD document to define water as a right as opposed to a need.” Staff and faculty member Tora Johnson, M.Phil. ’03 has been traveling throughout New England giving talks about her 2005 book, Entanglements: The Intertwined Fates of Whales and Fishermen (University of Florida Press). The book was listed by Publisher’s Weekly as one of the season’s best books on nature and the environment. Reviews have appeared in national and regional papers and Barnes and Noble has named Entanglements to their “discover great new writers list” for the fall of 2005. In March, President Steve Katona gave a presentation on green energy tags and participated on a panel of experts on renewable energy at the spring conference of the Northern New England Chapter of the Eastern Region Association of Physical Plant Administrators in Portland, Maine. Julianne Kearney ’06 received the undergraduate poster award for her research poster at the American Cetacean Society in November 2004. Aaron Lewis ’05 released a double CD of his senior project, “Sounds of Mount Desert Island,” ambient sounds from across the island: ice melting on a sunny day in winter, the kitchen of Jordan Pond House, beavers in Acadia National Park, the gossip of tourists on the Queen Mary. To find out more, contact Lewis at 248-390-3374 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit www.cdbaby.com. Former international student coordinator Mary Katherine O’Brien writes, “I had the chance to play hostess a few weekends ago to COA alums Sam Edmonds ’05 and Tony Naples ’04, who happened to be in town for my birthday. The photo proves that COA alums—and “alum staff”—are somehow able to seek out marine mammals wherever they travel. Even in central Texas. Sam is living about an hour north of Austin doing bird research for the Nature Conservancy; Tones was heading out to visit his sister in Lake Tahoe—it was so great to see them!” For the second year in a row, Henry A. Steinberg ’06 received a Morris K. Udall Scholarship. Sandra L. Walczyk ’06 and Kipp Quinby ’06 received honorable mentions. Quinby was a Udall scholarship recipient in 2004. Allied Whale research associate Ann Zoidis writes, “This winter, I took some Allied Whale staff with me to work on an ongoing research project in Hawai'i with Cetos Research Organization, the group I direct in winter focusing on humpback whales and their social sounds. COA research associate Dan DenDanto and Sasha Ertl, who is currently working on the North Atlantic finwhale catalogue, researched the waters off both Kauai and Maui. In Kauai, the researchers also focused on getting calls of other, deeper water marine mammals such as pilot, sperm and minke whales. We finished the winter with a minidocumentary, Into the Deep Blue: Science, People, Life on how the Cetos team came together and the work that it is doing.”
Help Make a Difference! COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC welcomes gifts of all kinds to support the work we are doing, educating students who make a difference on Mount Desert Island and in the world.
Please consider including the college in your annual giving. Or, to ensure COA’s future, become part of our planned giving program. Bequests, charitable gift annuities, charitable remainder trusts and other similar programs help the college while also offering you income and tax benefits. For more information, see our website at www.coa.edu/html/givetocoa.htm or call the Development Office at 207-288-5015.
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Remembrances of either Mitch Carter or Rebecca Clark may be sent to Shawn Keeley, Alumni Coordinator, email@example.com. He will pass them on to the families. For donations to the Rebecca Clark ‘96 Memorial Scholarship, see https://www.coa.edu/ development/secure/donation.html
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MITCHELL CARTER • September 23, 1956 to April 4, 2005 On April 4, 2005, less than two weeks after the birth of his first child, Mitch Carter ’80 passed away as a result of epilepsy. He is survived by his wife, Florence, and baby son Nicolas, born March 23, 2005. Faculty and classmates remember Carter for his brilliance and humor. Steve Katona remarked, “I can speak for all of Mitch’s teachers in recalling him as a superb student, hard worker, quick learner, imaginative thinker. His work was so strong that Dan Kane sent his paper, ‘Suggestions for the Small Claims Court of Maine,’ to Maine legislators who were working to reform small claims court. A kind and fun-loving man with a great sense of humor and mischief, Mitch contributed to the vitality of the college in its early days.” Classmate Jaki Erdoes Good ’80 elaborated on Carter’s humor: “Besides being a dear friend and a brilliant student, Mitch also had a sharp wit and a mischievous, satirical sense of humor. He often enjoyed poking fun at the more sanctimonious elements of COA life. He was instrumental in such notorious events as the Junk Food Potluck, the Nuke the Whales Campaign and the Unnatural History Museum Display. Mostly, though, I remember him as a sweet, sweet guy, ‘Uncle Mitch’ to our kids. He was loved by many and will be sorely missed." Florence Carter told us that Carter was greatly looking forward to being a father and treasures the one loving week he spent with their son.
REBECCA CLARK • January 18, 1972 to December 26, 2004 Working at a marine research station dedicated to the study and protection of sea turtles on Phra Thong, a tiny island north of Phuket, Thailand, Rebecca Clark ’96 died in the tsunami of December 26, 2004. “Rebecca died doing what she loved, studying the ocean and the animals that made it their home,” wrote Steve Katona. Clark’s former advisor Ken Cline recalled how quiet she was — until you got to know her. “Even then, she was rather soft spoken, unless she was talking about the ocean or whales or the marine life that she saw during her internship and out on Mount Desert Rock. Then her eyes would get really bright and she would let herself go. When I last saw her, her eyes brimmed with enthusiasm as she described the beautiful islands in the south Pacific and the marine life she saw. She spoke about her work with Ocean Alliance, founded by Roger Payne, how they helped create a marine sanctuary for Papua New Guinea, along with legislation to protect marine animals. Listening to her reminded me of why I came to COA; it is so gratifying to play a role, no matter how small, in such an amazing life." Clark’s photograph hangs at the foot of the Turrets stairway where Clark’s friend Rosemary Seton sees it on her way to the Allied Whale office: “I say hello to her every day; Rebecca is still with us.” COA life trustee Ed Blair has established the Rebecca Clark ’96 Memorial Scholarship in Marine Studies to be awarded to students demonstrating the passion for the ocean embodied by Clark.
STUDENT PERSPECTIVE AT COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC’S 33RD COMMENCEMENT • June 4, 2005 Nishad Jayasundara ’05
yubowan, greetings. Standing here today, about to leave College of the Atlantic, I am as anxious as the day I left my parents six years ago for the Mahindra United World College in India. I wish my parents were here today. They are on the other side of the world, very proud of this moment, just like all of you parents sitting here. My dear parents in Sri Lanka, this day wouldn’t be possible for me if you didn’t tell me I wasn’t an idiot when my third grade teacher said I was, or if you didn’t sell your earrings to buy me a plane ticket to go to United World College, or if you didn’t give me enough courage to come back to COA after the shocking event of the tsunami. But as much as we owe this day to our parents, and know they are proud of us, some of them might be wondering, “What is my child going to do with a degree in human ecology?” The decision to come to COA was not what my parents had hoped for me. They don’t understand English very well, so they didn’t really know I was getting a degree in human ecology until recently, when COA sent them an invitation to my graduation. They asked me “What is human ecology? We thought you were studying science.” I translated human ecology into Sinhalese, my native language. As the translation sounded very cool, they were happy. Then I started to wonder, why have I lied to them? Why haven’t I told them who I have become at COA after four years? I am afraid they would be disappointed by the way I have changed, the way COA has changed how I look at my future. Let me tell you why. I spent the first six years of my life in Mahiyangana, still one of the most rural areas in Sri Lanka. I remember the small house we lived in built from sheets of metal. I remember walking to the river every day to get water with my mother. When my cousins came to visit us from the city, they were disappointed we didn’t have television or even electricity. We didn’t decide to move from there until my father contracted severe malaria and the hospital said they were out of anti-malarial drugs. He survived somehow and we moved to the city. To a better place, I thought, until the riots began in 1989 with dead bodies burning on the roadsides every day. We spent many nights under our beds, scared to death. One night my father told me, “When you grow up,
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become a big man—meaning a rich man—and leave all this.” They gave me the best education, even when they couldn’t afford it, hoping I would bring them the security they couldn’t give me. Hoping I would bring the happiness they saw in movies about this part of the world. The happiness they saw in those European students who came to volunteer in our village. We all thought these students had everything: they smelled nice, wore nice clothes and shoes, and looked very happy. Being with them made us happy. We all thought, “Why can’t they take me back with them? Why wasn’t I born as one of them?” Then I received a scholarship to study at the United World College. After two years, I was given the Davis scholarship to come to COA. I had great opportunities conducting research at the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory and at Jackson Laboratory, studying abroad at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. My parents were very happy, but I was puzzled: what good is this going to do for my friends, my neighbors or those who never received anti-malarial medicine? And why is it so hard for me and for my family to appreciate what we have at home in Sri Lanka? The simplicity, the traditions, the lack of technology, the lack of materialism? I was puzzled because of what I have learned over the last four years. Dear COA, you have taught me the importance of simplicity: the value of non-progressive Sri Lankan villages, the value of their traditions and traditional knowledge. Why is it the dream of most Sri Lankans to come to the developed world? Why do my friends laugh at me when I tell them how much I want to come back to Sri Lanka and live a simple life? I want to go back, but I am afraid I will disappoint my parents. I am afraid to tell them about the value of the simple life I learned at COA. I am afraid to tell them that the better life they are looking for is right with them. I am afraid to shatter their dreams of me becoming a big man. But part of me is excited, too. We can shape the communities we live in, just as we have shaped each other on the red bricks or in Take-a-Break. I am excited to go back to Sri Lanka, the place I tried to get away from, for I have the challenge to figure out how to continue to be who I am, who I have become at COA and still have my parents be proud of me.
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