Page 1

LANDSCAPES

TIME

COA

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE Volume 14 . Number 1 . Spring 2018


COA

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE EDITORIAL Editor Editorial Advice

Editorial Consultant

Daniel Mahoney Heather Albert-Knopp ‘99 Lynn Boulger Dru Colbert Darron Collins ‘92 Jennifer Hughes Rob Levin Amanda Mogridge Chris Petersen Eloise Schultz ‘16 Karen Waldron Jodi Baker

DESIGN Art Director

Kenyon Grant

ADMINISTRATION President Academic Dean Administrative Dean Associate Academic Deans Dean of Admission Dean of Institutional Advancement Dean of Student Life Director of Communications BOARD OF TRUSTEES Timothy Bass Ronald E. Beard Michael Boland ’94 Leslie C. Brewer Alyne Cistone Barclay Corbus Lindsay Davies
 Beth Gardiner
 Amy Yeager Geier Winston Holt IV Jason W. Ingle Diana Kombe ’06 Nicholas Lapham LIFE TRUSTEES Samuel M. Hamill John N. Kelly William V.P. Newlin TRUSTEE EMERITI David Hackett Fischer William G. Foulke, Jr George B.E. Hambleton Elizabeth D. Hodder Sherry F. Huber

Darron Collins Ken Hill Andy Griffiths Judy Allen, Chris Petersen, Karen Waldron Heather Albert-Knopp ‘99 Lynn Boulger Sarah Luke Rob Levin

Casey Mallinckrodt Anthony Mazlish Jay McNally ’84 Philip S.J. Moriarty Lili Pew Hamilton Robinson, Jr. Nadia Rosenthal Abby Rowe ’98 Marthann Samek Henry L.P. Schmelzer Laura Z. Stone Steve Sullens William N. Thorndike

John Reeves Henry D. Sharpe, Jr.

Philip B. Kunhardt III ’77 Phyllis Anina Moriarty Helen Porter Cathy L. Ramsdell ’78 John Wilmerding

The faculty, students, trustees, staff, and alumni of College of the Atlantic envision a world where people value creativity, intellectual achievements, and diversity of nature and human cultures. With rspect and compassion, individuals construct meaningful lives for themselves, gain appreciation of the relationships among all forms of life, and safeguard the heritage of future generations. COA is published biannually for the College of the Atlantic Community. www.coa.edu

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR The job of any worthwhile print publication is to build and perpetuate a dialogue with its readers. If readers feel engaged, respected, challenged, and included, a strong relationship is built between public and publication. Since its inception, the woman who has shaped a number of conversations in the COA Magazine has been Donna Gold. Donna is a tireless champion of COA; you can feel her passion for this place when reading through her letters from the editor in the magazine’s archives: https://www.coa.edu/coamagazine/. She and graphic designer Rebecca Hope Woods, who did the layout for the last decade, created a worthwhile, gorgeous publication. Both Donna and Rebecca have moved on from the COA Magazine and all of us here thank them and wish them well. This means there is a new team for the spring issue of the COA Magazine. I have taken up the editorial duties and Kenyon Grant is the new designer. At our first editorial meeting Kenyon and I sat in Straus classroom in Turrets (the same one Nell and James dragged a mattress through (p. 32)) and thought about possible approaches to the next issue. We both love the zine aesthetic (p. 22) but decided Kinko’s was too far a drive and “zine” was the wrong vibe for this particular project. We sat for a while itchy, scratchy, full of false starts. We were clueless… But in great cluelessness comes great freedom and the longest conversations begin with a single word, HELLO. The theme of this issue is Landscapes Over Time. At a larger editorial meeting in the fall that phrase was mentioned and it stuck in my head. It brought to mind the Hudson River School and the malleability of “truth” in how those artist approached their craft (p. 8). It reminded me of how writers take the whiteness of the page and dig into it, the way rivers dig into the parched landscape of the American West (p. 38). Landscapes Over Time, a math equation where “Landscapes” is the dividend, “Time” is the divisor, and the quotient is unknown. Can you ever divide the land and have the answer be an equitable split? Will there be any remainders? (p. 18). Now that this issue of the COA Magazine is almost put together, I can see connections running all through it. On a practical level, Landscapes Over Time is about process and work and doing the things you need to do. It’s about education, action, and being in the world. Landscapes. Artifacts. Deserts. Math. Mentors. Conversations. Because for the longest time I thought nothing good could come from my mouth, so I began to write. Thanks for sharing this space with us. Dan COA lecturer in photography Josh Winer ’91 created the images on the front and back cover. Both images are Cyanotypes. Both were made in 2018. Both make me fall in love with the world all over again. Thank you for that, Josh! Front: Sand Beach and the Beehive, New Years Day 2017, RESIST Back: Single Jetty


In this issue

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE

LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT

2

NEWS

3

Q&A: THE AMERICAN SUBLIME

8

BLACK & WHITE INFRARED LANDSCAPES

14

PRETZEL LOGIC

18

EPITOMIZING D.I.Y.

22

ODD JOBS

28

EXCERPT FROM ETHNOWISE

30

WATCH

32

THE GREAT WEST

38

PROFILES

44

ALUMNI NOTES

48

COMMUNITY NOTES

51

1


LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT One un-seasonally warm evening this January, three-and-ahalf inches of rain fell from the skies. By the next morning the temperature had dropped by 30 degrees and the floodwaters that had gathered in The Great Meadow of Acadia National Park, just east of Dorr Mountain, had frozen rock solid. During the weeks following those weather events, hundreds of people experienced something otherworldly: ice skating through the frozen red maple swamp forest and across The Great Meadow itself. I dusted off my skates one evening, donned a head lamp and took to the ice. It was one of the most remarkable outdoor experiences I’ve ever had. On January 26th the Bangor Daily News ran a piece about Mount Desert Island’s newest skate park and, appropriately, asked and answered the climate change question. Although this was clearly a weather event, the paper noted that such events will be much more common in the immediate future due to anthropogenic climate change. I will admit that part of me questioned (to myself, until now), “Can’t we just enjoy this incredible experience? Does everything need to be so complicated?” But I quickly answered my own question: no, we can’t only enjoy the experience; and, yes, things are always complicated. Landscapes, as you will read throughout this edition of the COA Magazine, are dynamic, complex matrices of the human and natural worlds, and part of the role of human ecology is to understand, massage, and predict landscapes as they evolve over time. The Great Meadow is one of the most iconic landscapes in Acadia National Park. The character and functioning of that icon depends on many variables acting across time. Over the long term, for example, if we continue to emit carbon dioxide at the current rate, we are likely to see more flooding and wild weather extremes. Over the short term, things like the concentration of beaver and the diameter of the culvert that passes underneath the Park Loop Road can have more severe, more geographically specific, and more predictable impacts. Who makes those decisions about carbon dioxide, beaver, and culverts? To what end? For whom? To what certainty? The closer you look, the more you come to understand human communities and the landscapes we inhabit as a dance of influence, where the question, “Who leads?” is ambiguous and not always easy to answer. Where some ignore or become paralyzed by this complexity, human ecologists revel in it. The stories herein reflect the rich relationships, the intricate decisions, and the nuanced approach human ecologists bring to the important work of understanding and being present in an everchanging world. Enjoy them, Darron

2

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE


News COA PROFESSOR SEAN TODD TEACHES LIFE IN THE WORLD’S OCEANS The Great Courses has partnered with the Smithsonian to produce a vivid exploration of the underwater world in Life in the World’s Oceans, a 30-part video course led by College of the Atlantic Steven K. Katona Chair in Marine Sciences, Dr. Sean Todd. Giant worms, microorganisms that eat metal, faceless fish, giant sea spiders— marine life is even more otherworldly and fantastical than we ever imagined. Life in the World’s Oceans takes viewers from the tiny phytoplankton that can only float at the whim of wind and currents to the giant gray whale that migrates 16,000 kilometers each year, and brings them face to face with everything in between. “Even if you live in the most landlocked area, you feel the influence of the ocean, its effects on climate, the air that you breathe, or maybe just the fish that you eat,” Todd says. “As a community of species, we are extremely lucky to live on a planet that possesses an ocean so bountiful.” Created in close consultation with Don Wilson, Curator Emeritus from the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, Life in the World’s Oceans offers viewers a fascinating look into the complex lives of marine mammals. Drawing on Professor Todd’s own exciting research and field experience, and enhanced by stunning visuals from the Smithsonian, the course features 30 insightful lectures, which work together to provide a comprehensive overview of the subject.

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE

Top: Dr. Sean Todd heads out to sea. Bottom: A humpback whale, just one of the many creatures studied in Life in the World’s Oceans.

Todd explores the variety of life in the seas and shares what we have only recently learned about biology, evolution, life cycles, and adaptations—starting with the ocean itself. Swimming with dolphins, talking to whales, touring the barrier reef,

plunging the depths of the seas—these are experiences that very few people get to share. With Life in the World’s Oceans, viewers get an unprecedented chance to get up close and personal with the underwater world, so they can better understand and appreciate the magnificence of that environment.

3


COA FILM PROFESSOR NANCY ANDREWS WINS 2017 GOTHAM INDEPENDENT FILM AWARD FOR “BEST SHORT FORM BREAKTHROUGH SERIES” FOR THE STRANGE EYES OF DR. MYES The Strange Eyes of Dr. Myes

Acclaimed College of the Atlantic film professor Nancy Andrews wins the 2017 Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Short Form Breakthrough Series for her Sci-fi/ Afrofuturist YouTube show, The Strange Eyes of Dr. Myes. The Strange Eyes of Dr. Myes incorporates animation, live action, musical numbers, and comedy to tell the story of Dr. Sheri Myes (Michole Briana White) as she attempts to expand her perceptions through madscientist-like experimentation. The series is adapted from Andrews’ 2015 feature-length film of the same name made in Bar Harbor and Mount Desert Island. “Michole and I have been working hard to carry forward this missiondriven kind of work that is important to us,” Andrews said, explaining that their intentions are to open people’s eyes to the commonalities we all share, and to worlds we cannot readily see. Afrofuturism has been around for a long time. One can find it in the novels of Samuel R. Delany and Octavia Butler, the music of Sun Ra, Parliament/Funkadelic, and Janelle Monáe. The common thread of Afrofuturist work is that it sees a place for people of color both in the future and in the fantastic; in this way, afrofuturism is a decolonization of the imagination, of the mind itself. Dr. Myes pushes into the future with a technological breakthrough that is really a breakthrough to a past where humans and animals had more symbiotic relationships. According to Tochi Onyebuchi, “Afrofuturism is a Janus-faced endeavor. That past shimmers before us, mirage-like, as we cast our gaze forward. Squint hard enough and what do you see?” 4

“The underlying message in Strange Eyes is that everything is connected in ways we might not perceive, and we have to work harder to broaden and deepen our consciousness of that. If we could see beyond our own personal perspectives of what is true, we might understand that there are other truths that are just as valid— and if we could see those maybe we wouldn’t be as dogmatic, and dangerous, in our beliefs.” The Strange Eyes of Dr. Myes was one of ten projects chosen to participate in IFP’s 2016 Screen Forward Labs, and Andrews turned it into a web series with editor Paul Hill at the Wexner Film/Video Studio. Strange Eyes was filmed in 2013 with a large cast of Mount Desert Island residents, local landmarks, and scenes from Bar Harbor’s iconic Fourth of July Parade. College of the Atlantic faculty, students, staff, and alumni were central to making of the film: art professor Dru Colbert served as production designer, audio visual technology specialist Zach Soares cocomposed the music, Rohan Chitrakar ’04 was director of photography, and Marco Accardi ’16 was one of the actors. Approximately 70 people from the college were involved with the film, whether in front of the camera or behind the scenes.

twist on The Fly combined with Yellow Submarine and Twin Peaks,” began as an experimental 2010 short film called Behind the Eyes are the Ears. The piece was shown in various museums and independent film venues and was collected by the Museum of Modern Art. Andrews said that she and White continue to use their unconventional storytelling methods to raise consciousness and create a more understanding world in the new series they are writing, which is a sequel of The Strange Eyes of Dr. Myes, but with some fantastical twists. “I could just make a bumper sticker that says, ‘World Peace,’ but that’s not my style. Anyway, the world is a complicated place and Dr. Myes is a complicated character,” Andrews said. “I want people to engage in the show and leave with something they hadn’t thought about. I’m interested in provoking thought, and challenging conventional forms.”

The film and the series, which Andrews describes as “a Director Nancy Andrews (right) kicks back with actor Michole Briana

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE


SAILING PROGRAM CONNECTS STUDENTS WITH THE SEA

COA BUSINESS GURU BRINGS ABUNDANCE MODEL ABROAD

Utilizing a small fleet of Rhodes 19s, students taking part in COA’s new sailing program spend the fall gaining fresh perspectives on the lush natural and cultural heritage of Maine’s Frenchman Bay, while also developing balance within their rigorous academic lives.

The founder of College of the Atlantic’s sustainable business program, COA Sharpe-McNally Chair of Green and Socially Responsible Business Jay Friedlander, shares his Abundance Cycle model of entrepreneurship and COA’s interdisciplinary approach to receptive audiences at the 2017 Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavík, Iceland. Friedlander traveled as part of the approximately 30-member Maine delegation to the Assembly, where he gave talks on eco-tourism, energy security in remote communities, and academic exchange over the course of the three-day event.

Led by COA trustee Abby Rowe ’98, the program intimately acquaints students with the winds and tides of the bay and provides extensive seamanship skills, while providing time for students to decompress, reflect, and restore their spirits.

College of the Atlantic sailing program participant Sterling Ford ’20 bounces ideas off Priyam Chaudary ’20 while preparing to sail on Frenchman Bay.

COA STARTUP NEARS $100,000 PRIZE

WINTER CAMPERS BRAVE BONE-CHILLING CONDITIONS

ReProduce, a sustainable business startup created by Anita van Dam ’19 (see Profiles, p. 44), moves forward to the mentor round of TV business competition Greenlight Maine after a winning pitch in the semifinals. The team joins just 12 others competing for the show’s $100,000 award this spring.

A weekend trip with the COA Outing Club to North Woods Ways wilderness center, founded by alumni and noted master Maine guides Alexandra Conover Bennett ’72 and Garrett Conover ’71, sees students packing gear through a snowy forest and sleeping in canvas-walled tents at -11°F. Led by two participants in COA’s year-long traditional skills program, the group of winter campers utilized pine needles, spruce boughs, standing deadwood, and traditional boots and mittens made from animal hide to keep warm and cozy through their sub-zero adventure.

ReProduce was created by van Dam in COA’s Sustainable Strategies course and developed with help from Grace Burchard ‘17 in the Transforming Food Systems class. The pair honed the idea in COA’s Diana Davis Spencer Hatchery sustainable enterprise accelerator. The business aims to market valueadded products from excess and cosmetically imperfect produce from Maine farms. ReProduce focuses on increasing local food access, addressing food waste, and creating extra revenue streams for Maine farmers.

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE

5


GARDEN ARCH RESTORED The failing, 108-year-old granite arch at the entrance to the Sunken Garden is restored in an effort led by Yaniv Korman ’18, with help from the Maine Stone Mason’s Guild, professor Isabel Mancinelli’s Landscape Architecture class, and the COA Gardening Club. The arch restoration project caps a two-year effort by Korman and members of the gardening club to bring the long-neglected garden back to life. Rehab work on flower beds, pathways, and borders continues this spring. The garden is an original part of the gilded-age Emery Estate that once made up much of COA’s campus.

ACOUSTIC TECHNIQUES POINT TOWARD BETTER WHALE PROTECTION Data from a massive study using sound-based ocean monitoring methods could help make the case for enhanced protections for endangered North Atlantic right whales, according to whale researcher and study contributor Dr. Sean Todd, the College of the Atlantic Steven K. Katona Chair in Marine Sciences. Todd, a collaborator on a 10-year North Atlantic Right Whale study utilizing hundreds of acoustic-based, underwater monitoring devices, says the evidence shows that right whales are rapidly changing their migration habits, and spending more time in unexpected areas along the East Coast and up in Canadian waters. This knowledge helps explain the recent, sharp increase in fatal human-whale interactions but also points towards potential solutions, Todd says. Also contributing to “Long-term passive acoustic recordings track the changing distribution of North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) from 2004 to 2014” (Nature Scientific Reports) were COA alumni Jacqueline Bort Thornton MPhil ’11, Julien Delarue MPhil ’08, and Scott Kraus ’77. The study was coordinated by Sofie Van Parijs and Genevieve Davis at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Students at College of the Atlantic, led by senior Yaniv Korman ’18, work to restore a century-old arch at the entrance to the college’s Sunken Garden.

FOOD SYSTEM EXPLORED

DIVERSE SPEAKER SERIES LAUNCHES

TREK TO THE TOP OF KATAHDIN

An exhibit designed by students in COA’s Foodprint course fills the walls of Take-a-Break with profiles of the students, regional farmers, faculty, producers, staff, and vendors who contribute to the College of the Atlantic “foodprint” in ways that align with the school’s institutional mission: creating a sustainable food system at COA.

The College of the Atlantic Diverse Voices Series kicks off with a packed performance by New York City Youth Poet Laureate Nkosi Nkululeko, a presentation by Kenyan-born COA trustee Alyne Cystone on navigating two cultures, and a performative lecture by Chicago-based artist Garland Taylor.

The students behind Art of the Dining Hall immersed themselves in COA’s food system and pulled back the curtains to reveal all of the players behind the food on our plates. The innovative Foodprint course is taught by Elizabeth Battles Newlin Chair of Botany Dr. Suzanne Morse and Partridge Chair in Food and Sustainable Agriculture Systems Dr. Kourtney Collum.

The Diverse Voices Series highlights the rich tapestry of races, cultures, and viewpoints that comprise our shared human experience. Funded with a generous, anonymous grant, the Series sponsors a broad range of speakers and events throughout the year that serve to illuminate our collective challenges and commonalities.

A weekend hike up Maine’s highest peak brings thrills, chills, a big moose, and a beautiful sunrise for the College of the Atlantic Outing Club. The group of eight, including outdoor leaders and newbies, drive north to Baxter State Park, at the center of the new Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, camp for the night, climb and descend Mount Katahdin—the highest peak in Maine—and drive back to campus in the span of a busy 24 hours.

6

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE


Gyoza 餃子

“Gyoza” Lika Uehara ’20

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE

7


Jessica Arseneau ’18 at Nesowadnehunk Stream, Baxter State Park

MONSTER COURSE: HUDSON RIVER SCHOOL Team taught by arts faculty members Catherine Clinger, The Allan Stone Chair in the Visual Arts, and professor of drawing and painting Sean Foley, Journey into Substance is a three-course expeditionary program located in physical and cultural landscapes. Through curated immersive experience, students explore the concepts of beauty, wonder, and the sublime in the context of 19th Century American landscape art. By wandering to and through sites visited by painters of the Hudson River School, students encounter the places that structured the ideas and enterprise of the artist/naturalist/ explorers who created a body of work that is iconic in the American imagination. The class visits museums, archives, private collections, and topographies in the Berkshires, Catskills, Hudson River Valley, and the North Woods and Coast of Maine. Following the journey, students create ambitious works of art sourced from their experiences that respond to the sites, concepts, and artists that embody the ideas of this course from a human ecological position.

8

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE


Q&A

THE AMERICAN SUBLIME like that. It was a certain kind of like-mindedness when it came to being present in the landscape of the Hudson River Valley. So they developed this nostalgic relationship to the landscape, which was changing rapidly.

Dan Mahoney: Why this monster course now? Sean Foley: First off, what was so amazing was how easy it was to put together this “monster course” at COA. The school supported us and allowed us to design and run with our ideas. I can’t imagine another institution in the country where that is even possible… Catherine Clinger: Exactly. SF: Catherine and I are both interested in Romanticism and the Gothic and darkness in general, like Thomas Cole’s storm paintings with the broken trees and those landscapes… When I first got to COA, I’d be walking around campus and I kept thinking about Cole and Church arriving before any of this was here and what a problem it all was for them. They arrived in their suits and ties with their painting kits strapped onto their backs, hacking through the brush pushing forward, trying to find the spot. Since I arrived at COA, the Hudson River School is always on my mind. CC: And the other part was that we were both interested in the relationship to materiality with those artists, the materials they used to make art and understanding that there were conventions and traditions that defined how things were done in the past. So both of us were very

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE

Storm King Art Center, Cornwall, New York

interested in trying to resituate our students to the idea of the Hudson River School being something larger than a School since it really is not a “school.” DM: How did it become known as a “school”? CC: Well, they all lived in New York. Church, Bierstadt, and Heade hung out together in the 10th Street Art Building in Greenwich Village. DM: You’re kidding. They were all just neighbors? CC: They were neighbors in a way but they didn’t get together to paint or have a paint circle or anything

SF: They had a selective vision but because human beings like classification so much, we put them in the same “school,” but really, they were the first modern American painters. They were composing these paintings, choosing what to include and what to exclude. There is this famous story about [Albert] Bierstadt, who painted more in the West, where he just moved a mountain from one side of the canvas to the other because it made more sense compositionally. And you might have Thomas Cole dragging in a hillside from the right to get it a little closer to the tree so he could triangulate the person in the scene… Painters have done this for ages, but the gall of the Hudson River School artists just completely upending the landscape is like a metaphor for what was happening with westward expansion. DM: Right. Their world was changing so quickly. I can see them wanting to document the wilderness because it represented godliness or the ideal… CC: Yes, that, but it also represented the potential for the human

9


imagination. There’s nothing like a void that can be filled. So, as the attention was starting to turn from the East to the West, there was a preoccupation in the first quarter of the nineteenth century, at least in the American imagination, to really measure the vicinity and environs around NYC, Philadelphia, and Boston. But also, measure how far one could go with the human imagination in these spaces, because a lot of these artists were very accustomed to the traditions that came out of Europe, traditions governed less by place and more by ideas, mythology… There’s a reason why when you read Wordsworth or Coleridge you still get this feeling that all you had to do was go to Scotland or the Lake District… Just go a little bit further out of the city. In America “space” was really starting to shrink. Especially in the East as the push west was really picking up steam. DM: Part of the aesthetic of the Hudson River School was the idea of the sublime. Along with the sublime comes this idea of wonder…of something beyond language. CC: The thing is that people really bought into the whole Edmund Burke almost “self dialogue” that he had about sublimity, but it was matched by the beautiful and the picturesque. And you need to have that tension to understand sublimity. The picturesque is completely orchestrated and absolutely artificial, it breathes into a space and organizes it, the beautiful isn’t necessarily a lazy reception but it is a way of having an uncontested relationship with nature… Then you get to sublimity and your breath, your language is, in fact, taken away. The ground, if it’s not shaking, is moving anyway, and suddenly you realize you can’t put everything in a box. I like to think of it as all of a sudden you realize you’re having a full body experience… Sublimity is about immersion and surrender to a certain degree. They would let a space take them where it could go… I love that.

10

“ Sublimity is about immersion and surrender to a certain degree. They would let a space take them where it could go.. I love that.

SF: Wonder has always been this dismantling of any linguistic capacity to understand what you just saw, witnessed, etc. I equate wonder with vision and it precludes curiosity. So you see this thing happen, this spectacular sunset, or you see something tragic, something that is just appalling to you, and you can’t register what happened. That only lasts a split second, but that’s the seed. After that what kicks in is this whole notion of curiosity. Wonder and curiosity are often conflated but curiosity is that moment of subjective

Leigh Rankin ’20 at Albany Institute of History and Art

analysis: what was that thing and what can I do with it? And then you use your imagination to make these associative connections between things or develop some sort of analogical thinking rather than some sort of linear thought… In the end you get artistic movements like the Hudson River School creating from that seed of wonder. DM: The essays in the syllabus for the class were really eye opening for me. In Barbara Novak’s essay “American Landscape: Changing Concepts in the Sublime,” she points out that there would often be two people in these landscapes. Is that so when you got your breath back you could say to your companion: was that real?

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE


CC: That is so great. That is why I brought up the beautiful, the picturesque, and the sublime, because you need to have a point of comparison. In visual art those people who appear in landscape paintings are called “staffage.” DM: Like surveyors? Someone holding the stick to get the slope? CC: Exactly. So there might be two people in the poetic presentation or two people in the visual presentation…but there’s someone else and it’s like a triangulation... The other enables us, the viewers, to occupy and be present in that space through our imaginative projection into the staffage, or the figures or whatever. DM: In Wallace Stevens’ The Idea of Order at Key West, you have this speaker walking down the beach and he is listening to a woman singing and the waves breaking and he is wondering about real and imagined worlds and toward the end of the poem the speaker says, “tell me, Ramon Fernandez…” and the reader is just: who the hell is Ramon Fernandez and how did he get here? Now I know: Ramon Fernandez is the staffage! CC: And sometimes the fiction is it’s me and someone else, but maybe it’s not…maybe it’s the inner voice. And I hate to use the word “trigger” but there’s that thought that someone is actually listening…even if you need to imagine that someone. So you are out there and you are having this experience and you are actually starting to question whether you are in your body any more, it is really nice to have another material being of the same species… If you have a staffage, it is like having a spiritual companion. Communion means that you are sharing and that is a very important spiritual concept as part of the Hudson River School. And you have to remember in the scientific tradition of the time, these guys were documenting things, making observations… They were citizen scientists. COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE

DM: In Julian Bell’s essay, “Contemporary Art and the Sublime,” he discusses how science in the twentieth century caused artists to reinterpret the sublime… You get, for instance, Rothko. CC: What I love about that reading is that everyone thinks about sublimity in America as iconic views and landscapes but when you take the two eyes and turn them within, like the Greek gods do, you look at your own reflection in someone’s eyes… All of a sudden you realize you might be present, and you might be having a full body experience but it really is all happening in your head… Poor Rothko, he drove himself into such a dark place from which he could not recover. I think that is why the Hudson River School is so important for our students to come in contact with. Often things are held in capsules of the past and we lose the connections to how ideas cycle through history. The more that we see how other people have worked with the potentialities then things become, as Dario Gamboni would say, “potential images.” In the end, we did not ask our students to create the penultimate climactic object or project. DM: I loved that show. CC: Thank you. They worked really hard. And it wasn’t about achievement or success and it wasn’t about failure either. We were thinking if we are going to distill this down, the idea of sublimity being a grand form of experience, that whole process of distillation, how sad that would be, right? To take these students to all of these cultural institutions, to these museums, to experience art over a 200 year period, not just 25 years in the nineteenth century. To let go of the ideas in the “isms” and the movements and see that we share experiences that might not all be expressed the same way, but sublimity is not American…it is human. DM: How did you put together the list of places to visit? DIA Beacon and Storm King surprised me.

SF: DIA Beacon and Storm King and even Church’s Olana, the estate, Teresita Fernandez had a show up there when we went. There is a program at some of these institutions like Olana where they have guest artists come in and do “artist interventions.” A guest artist comes in and puts up a show as a sort of critique of this Manifest Destiny outlook or asks the question: what constitutes painting? But we went to those spots to provide some context and give the students time to access and develop a relationship to the content of the course. CC: The DIA Beacon and Storm King seemed critical. And they were at the top of the list from the beginning. We didn’t just think, we love it there so let’s just make an excuse to go there. Storm King is like turning the experience of art outside-in. So DIA Beacon, even though there are some objects located outside and some objects that enable certain kinds of experiences outside, for the most part you’re in this huge enclosed space. During the historical period of the Hudson River School, what was overwhelming to most people was the idea of panoramic vision. Remember, this was the same time period balloon travel first started. It was like an all seeing eye, it was like a divinity when you’re up high looking down… Panoramic vision was the capacity to see all around. DM: There is the importance of the journey, which is striking. It really gets me thinking about Robert Smithson and the journey to art for both the artist and the viewer… Like just getting out to the Spiral Jetty. CC: Not everything is available to us at all times. I think that oftentimes we think we have to get on the hiking trail or go to the apex of some granite formation somewhere. But one doesn’t need verticality necessarily to have that and sublimity… So when you get on the Hudson, it is very different to drive alongside of it or to come across it and bisect it than it is to go up it, or down it. Just being on that river is a phenomenal experience. 11


name some fungi and know how it worked in the surrounding environment. That was really inspirational for me because there was a mutual exchange of information at that point, which made us partners. There was no hierarchy. So I had the same amount of curiosity and wonder on these journeys as they did. And then there were the galleries… CC: We set it up for them in the galleries, you go in and really get in to the picture on the wall and you have a dialogue with it, but then you go in the DIA Beacon and there’s the Smithson, the piles of sand and broken glass, and Walter De Maria’s great I Ching piece. You get there and all of a sudden you have to move your head, your entire body. That museum requires a different type of participatory urgency from the visitor.

Top: Mariana Cadena Robles ’18, Priyam Chaudary ’20, Jeremiah Kemberling ’19, Sean Foley, Emily Michaud ’ 18 on the Owl Trail, Baxter State Park. Middle: Jessica Arseneau ’18, Catherine Clinger, Priyam, Emily, Katie Leard ’19, studying Sanford R. Gifford at the Thomas Cole House, Catskill, NY. Bottom: Mariana, Emily, Priyam near Big Niagara Falls, Baxter State Park

SF: We were in Baxter State Park, and I was hiking up this mountain with Emily Michaud ’18, Jeremiah Kemberling ’19, Priyam Chaudhary ’20, and Mariana Cadena Robles ’18, and it was amazing for me to watch how they responded to the trail and lichen and fungi and mosses. They could just stop in their tracks and

12

DM: You just pull the rug out… So all of a sudden you have the sublime again and it’s foreign, it is something that you are not expecting… Can you swing with it? CC: We live in this place that is engineered for the picturesque, in proximity to Acadia National Park. So, there is still an expectation that there are boundaries that contain the immeasurable in these great foresighted cultural productions. And then to take them into the DIA Beacon and to be within walls…but all of a sudden not having the sense of boundaries at all because of these expansive works that most of our students are uncomfortable with. It’s not that you have to work harder, it’s just that you have to trust your

experience a little bit more with these things. And then to go across the river to Storm King where there are no walls and you just feel like you’re falling… Which is great, you know? Here you are in a landscape again and it’s pretty obvious that this landscape has been made for you. DM: So you start to look at how everything in the world has been engineered for you. It makes your eyes sharper. CC: It really does and you start to realize that, wow, maybe I’m not a vessel unto myself. DM: That there is a pretty valuable piece of knowledge. CC: The subject for the class and the readings were set up in such a way to formally calculate what sublimity is and then talk about it in these formal discourses: What is the definition of landscape? What do you mean by the word landscape? What about the etymology of the word? And discover it’s not all English and so on. And then to come forward in the twentieth century to things that are in the present but seem the most unfamiliar to the extent that the past becomes super familiar… DM: When the past is your only touchstone you come back to the idea of old white dudes setting your frame of reference. So then you need to talk about a “colonized mind” and how can you decolonize your thinking? SF: Exactly, the “colonized mind.” You know, a lot of students come out of their educational experience thinking imagination is not something that is privileged or special or even necessary. What is taught and what is valued in school is remembering specific parts of a book, for example, because they might be on a test and not remembering your own emotional reaction to a book, which has no boundaries, no rights and wrongs, and is completely subjective. When students get to college, it is almost like they feel the imagination is scary. It

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE


Priyam Chaudhary ’20 at Millinocket Lake

is a scary proposition taking a studio course because you are making up the content as you go along. You rely on yourself for each next move. CC: The imagination is über important. No matter what path you’re going to take, and how much you try to submit yourself to this bizarre world that we’ve concocted, there’s always a place to go and you can create the doorway yourself…

Now I’m getting really William Blake on you!

be present in their work. We wanted them to trust their experience.

DM: I really loved the show the class put up at the Blum Gallery. It was so distinct—like looking at different points of view—unified but very singular. You had text based stuff, drawings, paintings, installations…

CC: Often times there is this “we all come together” and instead it was “let’s experience this together” and then completely fall apart—not in a break down in tears kind of way— but really dig down into your own well. And maybe someone has had the same full bucket all along, but by the time you get it all the way down there and you start dragging it out, it’s transformed… That’s what was so amazing about that show. And Sean and I were really pushing them, so we didn’t know how it would all turn out…

SF: The only thing we both knew was that we wanted the students to

There was a mutual exchange of information, which made us partners. There was no hierarchy. I had the same amount of curiosity and wonder on these journeys as they did. COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE

DM: It seemed like the start of something rather than the end of something. CC: Yeah. Well… Hopefully that’s what this is all about. ❇

13


My encounters with the natural landscape of Ecuador reveal themselves as both continuously expansive and, at the same time, deeply intimate. These towering mountains that we live with on a daily basis, most notably Vulcan Imbabura and Vulcan Cotacachi, are always standing over us, even when we are sleeping. Though physically formed through tectonic forces, other unseen forces are also at work. They exist not only as geologic features; they are also spiritual presences in our lives. The landscape of a place is always more multi-layered than the purely physical features that may first meet our eyes. The landscape is also a soul feature, embodying the spirit of a place. In making these photographic images, I enter into a relationship with the natural landscape of Ecuador, collaborating with the mountains, the land and the sky. I first began making black & white photographs in the mid 1970s. The images shown here were made in the last couple of years in the Sierra region of Ecuador, the land where my father was born and grew up. Four of these images were made within a ten minute walk from our home in Cotacachi. The image of the tree was made nearby, at the volcanically formed Lake Cuicocha. The cathedral image was made at the Gruta de la Virgen de la Paz (Grotto of the Virgin of Peace) in Carchi Province, close to the border with Colombia. All of these photographs were made with a mirrorless interchangeable-lens digital camera, modified by removing the internal infrared blocking filter. I am grateful for many things about returning to the land where my father was born, one of which is that coming here has allowed me the time and the space to re-immerse myself in making photographic images. â?‡

14

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE


Black & White Infrared Landscapes BY STEVE DONOSO

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE

15


16

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE


Steve Donoso ’80 studied photography at COA with Mark Melnicove and Brian Swift. Steve currently writes and photographs. He is the author of Returning the Gift: Dialogues On Being At Peace Within Ourselves and the World, with Eckhart Tolle et al. Steve lives with his wife, Rebecca, and their adopted former street dog, Bilbo, in the Sierra region of Ecuador and on the west coast of Florida.

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE

17


PRETZEL LO GIC BY DAN MAHONEY WITH GRAPHIC IDEAS FOR FUTURE GERRYMANDERERS, DRAWINGS BY LEIGH RANKIN ’20

e

very ten years the U.S. Census Bureau launches hundreds of thousands of data-collecting workers into the country. Their basic task is to tally up all the people living in the United States and note changing demographics, and although what comes back is an immense sweep of numbers, this work is, unfailingly, humanizing. It’s an image of who we are: awkward, crude, confusing, like a class picture in middle school. When I think census I get all nostalgic for the imagined American ideal, fresh scrubbed census workers hitting the road, knocking on doors, talking to their regional cohort over a tall glass of milk. In the age of Google Maps, there is something so delightfully old fashioned about the whole thing I begin to believe again in the genius of democracy.

borders. This practice, known as redistricting, was intended to keep democracy sharp and the electoral scales balanced. However, according to The Atlantic’s Robert Draper,

“Redistricting today has become the most insidious practice in American politics—a way, as the opportunistic machinations following [the] census make evident, for our elected

There is a mean average of 711,00 people jammed into the each of the 435 congressional districts across the United States. Each state, in turn, has its own legislature consisting of smaller districts allowing for more local representation. After every new census, new district maps need to be drawn. On the national level, states with greater population growth pull congressional districts from states with population loss, but even if a state maintains their current level of districts, they still need to redraw their maps due to shifts within their

18

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE


leaders to entrench themselves in 435 impregnable garrisons from which they can maintain political power while avoiding demographic realities.” Redistricting permits politicians to appeal to a narrow slice of the electorate, which encourages a regressive, horse-and-buggy kind of thinking on the part of people running for office. What partisan redistricting does is eliminate the need for the give and take of politics. If you stack voting blocs in your favor, you don’t need to answer to your constituents and you never need to compromise. When representatives are not concerned about being voted out in a general election and are forced to answer only to their base, the result is an unbalancing, a tipping of scales toward the more extreme views of a particular party. Party polarization is one concern, another is that partisan redistricting causes representatives to

According to Dr. Jamie McKown, James Russell Wiggins Chair in Government and Polity at COA, there are a number of factors to consider when it comes to redistricting. Chief among them when trying to create more equitable political representation is defining what norms we, the electorate, value. What do we want? McKown points out the paradox in trying to create fair district maps: does fair necessarily equal good? And what exactly does fair mean when it comes to electoral politics? Questions like these beg for more than simplified sound bite responses. McKown addresses these topics in class and plans to further scrutinize them in a new COA course tentatively titled The Seven Deadly Sins of American Politics. When McKown and his students explore some of the more vexing political issues (like redistricting, campaign finance reform, or the electoral college), he likes to use the analogy of having a holey winter coat. You don’t need your winter coat until you need it and then you realize (again) there are holes in it but you wear it anyway vowing (again) to fix or replace it before next season comes along.

THE GERRY IN GERRYMANDER

Gerry’s salamander

be allotted unproportionally. If a state assembly has 100 individual districts, basic rules of symmetry call for both parties to translate popular support into representation. Accordingly, if the state voted 55% Democrat, it is reasonable to expect to see 55 Dems in the state legislature. However, if a political party gets 48% of the statewide vote and captures 60 assembly seats, there might be a problem with that state’s political symmetry. I’m looking at you, Wisconsin!

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE

The Framers left redistricting up to the states; subsequently, if one political party is in charge of the state legislature, it will seek to draw a map warped toward favoring others in the party. This method of friendly map making has become known as “gerrymandering.” Gerrymandering gets its name from an 1812 political cartoon satirizing a redistricting map drawn under the administration of Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry. All of the other districts in the map were relatively compact but one, and it, according to the cartoon, was shaped like a reptile. (Gerry + Salamander = Gerrymander). In the two hundred years since Gerry made his mark, the practice of gerrymandering has become so ingrained in the US political

system that teams of specialized mapmakers advise states involved in redistricting how best to maximize their party’s returns on election night. The two principal tactics used in gerrymandering are “cracking” and “packing.” To “crack” a district is to dilute the power of like-minded voters by splitting them across multiple districts and to “pack” a district is to concentrate like-minded voters together in one district to reduce their voting power in other districts. For examples of how egregious the practice has become, one need not look any further than recent court cases involving Wisconsin, Maryland, North Carolina, and Texas. Over time, many protections against blatant partisan redistricting have been built into the legal system: the First Amendment’s prohibition on viewpoint discrimination, the Equal Protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and a whole lot of court interpretations regarding “compactness” and “contiguity” of districts. While the Supreme Court has weighed in on the issue, saying redistricting to create a partisan advantage can be unconstitutional, it has also indicated that a certain level of gerrymandering is to be expected. With both parties looking to bend the rules in their favor, the question becomes, literally and metaphorically, what is over the line? If the Supreme Court gives a definitive ruling on

19


the constitutionality of extreme party gerrymandering in June, what guidelines will states be given in determining what fair district shapes look like?

SHAPES: FAIR AND OTHERWISE If you have a problem with your car you get yourself a mechanic; if you have a problem creating shapes you get yourself a geometer. (Yes, Virginia, there is a geometer.) A collective calling itself the Metric Geometry and Gerrymandering Group (MGGG) formed to help experts and the public understand the math of redistricting. The MGGG was organized by Moon Duchin, an associate professor of mathematics at Tufts University, in order to “bring mathematicians together with experts in law, politics, and voting rights as we head into the 2020 census.” The MGGG hopes to see its work used as a tool for holding politicians accountable when they create district maps. In order to create good districts one first has to hypothesize a good district shape, and this is where the math comes in.

offered two standards to gage political redistricting: political symmetry and “the efficiency gap.” To illustrate the difficulty of creating better district maps, Feldman suggested looking at the pros and cons of just one of these tests, the efficiency gap. The efficiency gap measures “wasted” votes, all votes cast for losing candidate and all the extra votes cast for the winning candidate are considered “wasted” (note: every time Feldman used the adjective “wasted” to describe votes, he visibly cringed). One then adds up both numbers, finds the difference between the two sides, and divides that by the total number of votes in a state. This will yield a single percentage: the efficiency gap. The lower the percentage the better the map. Feldman used the graphic below to illustrate how redistricting might take shape when considering the efficiency gap:

20

ENTER THE ALGORITHM In the 1986 case Davis v. Bandemer, the Supreme Court agreed it had the power to intervene in cases of partisan gerrymandering but declined to do so because, according to Justice Kennedy, the court lacked a “manageable standard” to indicate when it had occurred. The efficiency gap has been getting a lot of press because it gives courts a single, judicially discernable and manageable standard. But, as Duchin points out, the major flaw in the efficiency gap is that “partisan gerrymandering is a multidimensional problem” impossible to reduce to a single number. It’s like someone giving you only the area code of their phone number, you get a slice of information but it’s woefully incomplete.

Dr. David Feldman, a math and physics professor at COA, applied and was chosen to attend an MGGG workshop aimed at raising awareness of the gerrymandering problem. This past fall, Feldman gave a Human Ecology Forum at COA where he outlined several desirable features often considered when talk turns to creating equitable district maps: proportionality, competitiveness, partisan fairness, and minority representation. All of this seems sensible until you start doing the work of drawing lines around populations—what, if anything, will be sacrificed? There is a whole host of minutia to consider when tackling a problem as intrinsic to the American electoral system as gerrymandering. The plaintiffs in Gill v. Whitford, Wisconsin’s gerrymandering case before the Supreme Court, have

Plan I shows a pretty equitable map (six districts split evenly between plain and starred voting blocks), each district is a 4-3/3-4 split, which will produce highly competitive races due to candidates needing to appeal to a closely divided electorate. Plan II shows that same district only now in a highly gerrymandered state. A large proportion of plain voters have been packed into one district and all the other districts have a 4-3 majority for the star party. This map would be flagged as having an efficiency gap of -1/3. Plan III shows the same district outcomes as Plan I, and even though both have an efficiency gap of zero, the result in Plan III is noncompetitive elections. Plan III would not be flagged by the efficiency gap. This is where the problem lies.

A Formula Goes to Court: Partisan Gerrymandering and the Efficiency Gap Bernstein and Duchin, authors

Feldman supports a multidimensional approach to the problem of gerrymandering. The MGGG and other mathematicians, political scientists, and computational experts working on gerrymandering advocate building algorithms able to explore the enormous universe of possible districting maps. If a programmer is given specific rules for fair districting (i.e. contiguous districts, respect

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE


county borders, comply with Voting Rights Act, etc.), computers can generate thousands upon thousands of maps giving the public the ability to flag outliers in a legislature’s proposed redistricting plans. One such team at Duke compared the current Wisconsin legistlative district map to 19,184 alternatives. The graph below shows how much of an outlier Wisconsin actually is.

Evaluating Partisan Gerrymandering in Wisconsin Herschlaga, Raviera, and Mattinglya, authors

Computational mathematicians at the University of Illinois UrbanaChampaign using completely different algorithms found similar results to those of the Duke group. That’s the sort of check and balance that makes Feldman excited about this technology.

PEOPLE VOTE, LAND DOES NOT It would be ideal if all districts could be carved up into neat packable shapes, but they can’t. There are a number of factors that thwart the dream of hexagonal districts, chief among them is the reality of selfgerrymandering. Feldman noted that larger urban areas across the country tend to be more Democratic and rural areas lean more toward Republicans… this is a truism in the U.S., except in the south where sometimes it’s not. Geographical borders also come into play when maps are drawn, rivers, mountain ranges, and inlets bisect districts. All of these different types of borders must be taken into account. In addition, Feldman added, each state has a unique political geography that varies from region to region.

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE

Some states, due to their particular demographics, might require strangely shaped districts, districts that are far from compact. This must be part of the equation especially when we consider the age old adage: people vote, land does not. To arrive at a meaningful critique of any redistricting plan, Feldman stated the need to simulate many different alternatives. It does little good to compare Wisconsin’s district map to that of Rhode Island. We want to “respect each state’s unique political and geographical topography,” ergo we want to compare Wisconsin to other possible Wisconsins. Computers can help do this work but computers alone will not solve the gerrymandering problem. With all the possible variables you cannot program a computer to spit out a single “best map” of a state, but computers can show when district maps are disenfranchising voters. The Court can help by issuing a ruling that declares once and for all that partisan gerrymandering undermines basic rights guaranteed by the constitution. And, instead of offering up a silver bullet, the Court could acknowledge the value of a multidimensional approach when it comes to drawing good maps. Committed scholars and researchers can help by giving people the knowledge and tools they need to hold map-drawers accountable. And you can help, dear reader, by

educating yourself and using the wealth of tools at your disposal. When it comes to gerrymandering, both Feldman and McKown agree that the solution will be more political than judicial. A lot of the nuts and bolts will be left up to voters. If enough of the electorate concludes partisan gerrymandering is a disease eating the host body from the inside out, the maps will become more equitable. Collectives like the MGGG are doing their best to keep the conversation pointed toward political action and nonpartisan solutions. Writing in a similar time of unbalancing, Ralph Waldo Emerson remarked, “Democracy becomes a government of bullies tempered by editors. The editors standing in the privilege of being last devoured.” When it comes to gerrymandering, the temporary gains one party can make are not worth the erosion of confidence in our representative system. 2020 is coming over the horizon, slouching toward Bethlehem, PA, to alert us, to offer us a precious gift: an awkward, crude, confusing picture of who we are. It is up to us, the electorate, to move beyond political payback and middle school myopia because what we think we already know often obscures the amazing thing we’ve never encountered before. ❇ Sources for this article: The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and the amazingly patient Dave Feldman. To find out more about the Metric Geometry And Gerrymandering Group go to their website and read up. Many great links, articles, ways to get involved: https://sites.tufts.edu/gerrymandr/

21


EPI TOM I ZI NG D . I . Y. H O W A Z IN E CO L L E C T I O N B E GA N AT CO A By Arielle Greenberg

22

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE


E

ven Jasmine Bourgeois ’17, the New Hampshire native who started College of the Atlantic’s zine collection, hadn’t heard the term until her sophomore year, when she stumbled upon zines while working on an independent study about underground feminist art. But as Jane Hultberg, the director of the Thorndike Library says, “anyone who creates a zine is ‘transforming thought into action to make a difference in the world,’” and as such, Bourgeois had found a medium that is right at home at COA. A zine (pronounced “zeen,” like a diminutive for “magazine”) is an amateur print periodical aimed at a specific niche audience and distributed through independent methods. In other words, most zines are made by an individual with little to no publishing background, and sent through the mail or traded in person for other zines. Zines are most associated with their heyday in the late ’80s and early ’90s, when they were made in a variety of low-tech ways—markers, typewriters, early home computers—and produced at a local copy shop, fueled only by counter-cultural passion and coffee. And the recently established, smallbut-growing zine collection at COA’s Thorndike Library has plenty of holdings that fit this definition. But zines are more varied—and date back further—than those produced in the grunge era, and are proving to have unlikely staying power and significance in the age of digital media.

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE

23


The history of zines runs parallel to the history of another cultural phenomenon: fandoms. The first zines were made and read by American fans of science fiction in the 1930s. Now, of course, we have the internet and cosplay conventions, but back then, where could you go to fill your desire to endlessly discuss the obscure plot details and romantic relationships of your favorite sci-fi novel and comic characters? Originally called fanzines, mechanical reproduction (the mimeograph, cheap printing presses, etc.) made it possible for lovers of the genre to connect with others who shared their obsession, and the advent of Star Trek in the 1960s gave a whole new urgency for fans to boldly go where others had been wanting to go, too. Other special-interest communities who could not find themselves or their values represented in magazines or other periodicals also began producing zines—about wrestling, pagan beliefs, libertarianism, and other “fringe” activities and modes of thinking. The countercultural movements of the ’60s also found a way to get their messages out in what were often called “little magazines,” a more literary version of the zine; at the height of the artistic flourishing of the San Francisco Renaissance—in which all manner of innovative music, art, literature and political “happenings” were being produced—the San Francisco Public Library started what they call “The Little Maga/Zine Collection.” Collecting the work wasn’t always easy, since these publications flew below the radar and would often cease to exist after only one or two issues. But a collection of forty titles that opened to the public in 1967 got reestablished, rearchived and expanded in the late ’80s, just as San Francisco—and other counter-culture hubs all over the country—were becoming new hotbeds of zine production.

What helped make this possible? The advent of cheap photocopying services at independent copy shops. This technological development came about at the same time as the punk movement, in the 1970s, which was another cultural phenomenon for which there was little outlet or understanding in the mainstream media. So the people who loved punk made their own media: zines in which record and concert reviews, band news and other material could be shared across the country and the world, even if you lived in a town with no punk scene to speak of. As the original punk movement of the 1970s got turned into a talk show punchline, many of the original punk zines died down, but punk never entirely went away. As an aesthetic movement, punk evolved into many sub-groups over the next few decades, and each spawned zines. At the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s, new kinds of punk were developing—notably, grunge and hardcore; straightedge, which stood against drug and alcohol use; and, perhaps most significantly, riot grrrl, a short-lived but highly influential feminist movement that empowered young women to form their own bands and start concert venues, record labels, and zines as outlets for their beliefs. The upswing in punk youth cultures meant a groundswell of zine titles. By this time, the zine directory Factsheet Five, which had been launched by Mike Gunderloy in the 1980s with a geek focus, had become a bible for all kinds of zine-makers and readers (Gunderloy’s personal archive related to Factsheet Five now occupies 300 cubic feet of space at the New York State Library). And it wasn’t the only directory around: the world of punk zines was opened to you if you picked up a copy of

24

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE


Maximum Rock n’ Roll, and Sarah Dyer’s zine guide Action Girl had a riot grrrl focus. A 2016 article by Chloe Arnold on the history of zines for the encyclopedic website Mental Floss states that, “by 1993, an estimated 40,000 zines were being published in North America alone, many of them devoted to riot grrrl music and politics.” But the swift growth in the popularity of zines in the ’90s was also their downfall: many zine-producers—who were often young adults on tight budgets and with no permanent address—could not keep up with the demand for their publications, while others shifted their zines into full-fledged subscription periodicals with paid staffs and advertising. Add to this the rise of the internet and the resulting ability for cultural fans to post or connect with others via newsgroups and websites, and it’s easy to see why the zine boom was short-lived. Plus, by definition, zines are difficult to find and access. Brian Heater, a writer for Boing Boing, which began life as a zine and later morphed into a website, wrote in a 2013 article for the site about how, “to counteract their nebulous, dissolving nature,” some “of the best representations of the medium” have been collected into bound books. “While these don’t have the same thrill as newly printed single issues, it’s impossible to overstate the value of these volumes, which help to preserve a rich culture history that would otherwise vanish with the disappearance of their remaining copies,” Heater states. This is why collecting and housing the original, ephemeral objects in libraries—in all their photocopied glory—is so important.

And like the San Francisco Public Library, many university libraries have been forwardthinking and started collections. In 2001, the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture at Duke University acquired the 1500 zine collection from Sarah Dyer at Action Girl. The University of Iowa, which has long held materials related to fandom, acquired the archives of sci-fi collector James “Rusty” Hevelin in 2012, which includes among its 10,000+ holdings some of the earliest examples of zines in existence, and is currently being digitized for safekeeping, as part of a larger “Fan Culture Preservation Project.” But few of these other university collections originated as student projects. COA’s collection of print zines is the outgrowth of Bourgeois’ senior project, which looked at “the sociopolitics of archiving, (sub)cultural production, and alternative media consumption” through the lens of 21st century zines. “Creating a collection wasn’t actually the original focus,” Bourgeois says, “but I became wrapped up in archiving and exploring what librarianship actually means when working with such a specific medium that follows a logic atypical from other forms of publication.” Bourgeois was aided in her efforts by Jane Hultberg, director of the Thorndike, who was first approached a few years ago by students inquiring about a zine collection. “At the time, it wasn’t a priority for us with the resources we had,” she says. But students kept asking. Hultberg also noticed that students were producing zines of their own and distributing them around campus. So when Bourgeois approached Hultberg with her idea for a senior project, Hultberg saw it as a perfect opportunity, and was astonished with the

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE

25


results. “Jasmine did a fabulous job researching other library zine collections and how they developed and maintained them,” Hultberg says. “She worked with our staff to establish a cataloging system for the zines, suggested ways to display and circulate the collection, and then worked with the library to implement this. We owe her a debt of gratitude for all she accomplished.” Bourgeois chose to keep the Thorndike collection broad, because, she says, “it feels inappropriate to put parameters on expression.” However, she notes that the collections policy she drew up “is a living document, so it can always be changed to reflect what the students, librarians, and other community members want out of the zine collection.” Now that Bourgeois has moved on to a post-graduate life of writing about music for a variety of magazines, Catherine Preston-Schreck, the Thorndike’s Work Study Coordinator & Library Assistant, oversees the collection. In a stroke of good fortune, it turns out that PrestonSchreck is herself a zine-maker and reader from when she was a teen back in the ’90s, and continued to make and consume zines as a source of vital community later, during what she calls “the alienating early years of parenthood.” She is passionate about the way zines act as social artifacts that offer “valuable perspectives that enrich and inform us personally while providing critical texture and voice to wider issues,” while also embodying a “tactile history: the hands of the maker, and touch of the readers who held the object before me.” According to an online resource maintained by Barnard College, COA is currently the only educational institution in Maine collecting zines and making them available. Preston-Schreck is connecting with other collectors and archivists to grow the collection, and to “work towards organizing zine workshops for COA students and with island youth.” Why zines at COA? Certainly their DIY, interdisciplinary, exploratory nature fit well within the COA philosophy. Preston-Schreck adds, “Zines are acts of courage. They speak hard truths, ask difficult questions, interrogate social norms, and challenge default answers. Through their physicality, they offer an extended conversation with a wide community, one individual at a time. All of these impulses I see enacted at COA on a daily basis.” Bourgeois agrees. “Zines are all about engaging with larger dialogues about everything from money to gender to religion to race to bikes to politics to baking,” she says. “The artifact of the zine is a way for people to talk and learn and care about big things in condensed, accessible packages. Plus, they’re sort of like the voice of the underdogs—which feels an awful lot like COA’s ethos to me.” ❇

26

Top: Part of COA’s zine collection. Bottom: Classic riot grrrl zine.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR The archives of writer Arielle Greenberg’s early ’90s riot grrl zine William Wants a Doll are housed in the Sallie Bingham collection at Duke University. She is a visiting faculty member at COA, where she taught a course on 1990s alternative culture.

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE


Top: “This is Me” Bottom: “Asad” both taken from: Praxis: A Graphic Novel On the Experiences of Activists of Color by Aneesa Khan ’17

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE

27


D D O Serving in the U.S. military

2.

Hospital custodian assigned to the operating rooms

3.

Assembling cardboard boxes for a paint factory

4.

Fluid wrangler in a primatology lab dealing with monkey poo, urine, blood...etc.

5.

Reading and grading consumer remarks on women’s underwear for a Madison Avenue advertising company

6.

Disco dance instructor for seniors/jazz dance instructor for 5 year olds

13.

Part of arboretum crew destroying invasive plants with fire and chainsaws

14.

Being a child actor for 10 years

15.

Model for life drawing classes

16.

Taking care of autistic kids

17.

Santa’s helper in a department store during the holidays

18.

Driving a load of coin-op washer-dryers across the country

19.

Bid caller at an auction house

20.

Serving Oral Roberts pickled herring on a buffet line at a The Godfather themed costume party

21.

Sleeping bag inspector

7.

This one

8.

Teacher’s aide out of a supply closet

9.

Hemorrhoid inspector for mandatory physical exam given to entire university incoming class

22.

Driver/pit-crew, dirt-track stock car racing

23.

Picking up roadkill

10.

Carousel attendant

24.

11.

Cleaning oiled seabirds

Picking broken glass out of the crates of bottles cracked during assembly at a pop factory

12.

Hot tar roofing in Georgia

1. t 9. c 17. d

2. q 10. j 18. i

ANSWER KEY:

3. u 11. a 19. g

4. k 12. n 20. e

5. w 13. m 21. o

6. f 14. p 22. b

7. l 15. r 23. s

8. x 16. v 24. h 28

1.

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE


Match the COA faculty member to the strangest job they’ve ever had

a. JOHN ANDERSON

m. SUSAN LETCHER

b. RICH BORDEN

n. TODD LITTLE-SIEBOLD

c. BILL CARPENTER

o. SUZANNE MORSE

d. KEN CLINE

p. CHRIS PETERSON

e. CATHERINE CLINGER

q. STEVE RESSEL

f. DRU COLBERT

r. DOREEN STABINSKY

g. KOURTNEY COLLUM

s. SCOTT SWANN

h. GRAY COX

t. DAVIS TAYLOR

i. JAY FRIEDLANDER

u. SEAN TODD

j. SARAH HALL

v. NETTA van VLIET

k. KEN HILL

w. JOHN VISVADER

l. JAMIE McKOWN

x. KAREN WALDRON

J

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE

S B O 29


EXCERPT FROM

Ethnowise: Embracing Culture Shock to Build Resilience, Responsiveness & Connection by Michael J. Kimball ’87 (Kendall Hunt Publishing, 2018) JAIPUR, INDIA—10 JANUARY, 2013 Galtaji is the name of the site on which the Monkey Temple (Galwar Bagh) sits. I found a tuk-tuk driver today named Jaisingh, the very name, he told me, laughing, of the former Maharaja of Jaipur. Jaisingh is probably in his 50s, but he could be older or younger. Like one of the boys whom I “hired” to take me up to the Monkey Temple today told me, “In your country, people don’t look so old even when they are. In India, people look old even when they are not!” Jaisingh is a stocky, grizzled, round-faced man with salt-and-pepper hair and a friendly smile. His English is not good (still immeasurably superior to my Hindi!), but with the help of another driver, I told him where I needed to go and answered his clarifying questions. On the way to and from Galtaji, in halting English he pointed out various attractions of his city—bazaars, historic sites, an entire street dedicated to shipping cargo, the Muslim neighborhoods and marketplaces... As soon as we pulled to a stop at Galtaji, people emerged from all directions and eagerly surrounded our vehicle. A man offered to sell me bags of peanuts for the monkeys and, as he was doing so, a boy who looked to be about twelve years old showed up to warn me about the monkeys, saying that he would help me climb the hill so that they wouldn’t bother me. I stepped out of the tuk-tuk, bought a bag of peanuts, which the boy, whom I’ll call Abhi, immediately took in hand, and we started our ascent. We were soon joined by another, older boy, whom I’ll call Raju, who spoke very good English. They were both quite friendly and happy to protect me from the monkeys (why just yesterday, Raju told me, a woman had been attacked and bitten on the neck and shoulder) and instruct me on proper etiquette in the temples. The trail that climbs Galtaji consists of a dirt path paved with flagstones, burnished by centuries of foot traffic. The hill on which the temples sit is not very tall, maybe 100 feet high, and the trail snakes up the side of it, passing, among other things, a locked-down temple for the god

30

Hanuman, where, I was told by my guides, the monkeys bed down at night, and a shrine for the elephant-headed god Ganesh. The top of the hill is capped with a Surya (sun god) temple, a tall conical-shaped building of white marble carved into a panoply of geometric shapes and creatures from Hindu mythology—elephants locked in mortal combat; goggle-eyed human-goat animorphs; a Suessian long-faced animal with a ski-jump nose (that could be a fanciful gator or fish I suppose). With the exception of this temple, everything else is, like much of India, in a state of dynamic disrepair, as if making a critical statement about the relation between the nature of impermanence and the cost of living in the present moment. The hill is ensnared in a web of telephone and power cables. The buildings have an almost metaphorical feel to them—expressions of a more glorious past eclipsed by poverty and opportunism. When you look closely, you can see the craftsmanship that went into their original construction— beautifully carved pillars, some windows still encasing the delicate lattice-work for which Jaipur is famous, other window holes stabilized with carelessly stacked bricks. What were once brightly painted exteriors now look indiscriminately sandblasted. Flecks of pink plaster cling like suicide jumpers to dust-yellow walls. And then there were the monkeys. All the way up the hill, they sat alone and in groups along and on top of the short wall that bordered the trail. They looked like the men I saw on the side of the road on my drive to Jaipur—serious, watchful, unemployed. For the most part, the monkeys were reasonably polite in taking peanuts from me. The odd one would get a bit overzealous and have to be driven off. Occasionally they would get in a scuffle with each other over the goods and there would be screaming, gnashing of teeth, fight and flight. But most of them would quietly reach out and gently take a peanut from my hand. I noticed that few of them ate their peanuts right away. Knowing that the time it took to extract a peanut from its shell – even though this could be masterfully and efficiently done with only one’s teeth, tongue, and lips—might equal the loss of another peanut, the monkeys would take one after another and store them in what seemed to be a bottomless pouch inside

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE


“A rare blend of anthropological insight, contemporary psychology, ancient wisdom and personal experience. A bona fide source book for multicultural understanding in our changing world. Kimball speaks in a vowice for our times—for anyone in search of interdisciplinary and trans-cultural understanding. A compendium of scholarly integration, crosscultural insight and personal humor—from a life time of world watching. A truly fun book for thinking people…” Dr. Richard Borden, COA Rachel Carson Chair in Human Ecology and author of Ecology and Experience: Reflections from a Human Ecological Perspective (North Atlantic Books)

their throats, just below the jaw. When these were full, they would somehow cough up the peanuts, one at a time, and shell and eat them at their leisure... I like to sit on the lower rooftop of my hotel, which is decked out with a pleasant arrangement of tables, chairs, and potted plants. The view is inspiring. I’m at just the right height to be nearly level with the tops of other buildings and I can watch children and teenagers up on their own roofs flying kites. Kites are everywhere here in Jaipur, both those in the air and those down below that have lost their battles with other kites. For it’s possible to buy string that is encrusted with glass powder and, if you’re skillful, attack a neighboring kite with your own and cut it out of the sky. The trees bordering the courtyard of my hotel are festooned with fallen kites, which dangle forlornly from dusty branches like forgotten holiday ornaments. As I write this, the rooftop kite-flyers are basted in the setting sun’s butter-yellow glow. The sky is spangled with small, diamond-shaped paper kites, blue, red, green, purple, orange. Raju and Abhi told me that the annual Jaipur kite flying festival will arrive in just ten days and everyone’s getting ready for it. When that day comes, the entire sky will be filled with dogfighting squadrons of kites. The boys’ eyes glittered with anticipation. When we had almost crested the hill, Raju told me that he loved to fly kites but the glass-encrusted string was very expensive, so he just used regular string. He offered to run back down the hill, get his kite and bring it back up so we could fly it. Would I like to do that? I said of course and down he went. When he returned to the bottom of the hill, kite in hand, Abhi and I could see him starting back up the trail. “Do you want more peanuts for monkeys?” Abhi asked. Yes, I guessed so. He bent over the wall and shouted down to the older boy. “Do you want water?” I supposed, yes, that might be a good idea, too. He shouted down to Raju again. It was like a verbal bucket brigade: Abhi shouted to Raju, who then shouted to another boy near the entrance, who brought

him the peanuts and a bottle of water. This is also part of India’s essence—each person must find a way to survive, but, unlike the sad animals I saw yesterday in the zoo, each person is also tied into an intricate social network that is all but invisible to the casual observer. The boys work with each other and, of course, for the adults who run the shops at the Galtaji entrance. My tuk-tuk driver, Jaisingh, had to pay someone for the privilege of parking his vehicle at the entrance, so he asked me for 50 rupees to cover the “parking fee.” In India, everyone is an entrepreneur but also, in a sense, works for the same company. I don’t know if every tourist who visits Galtaji is invited to go fly a kite. It’s probably part of the package deal. Regardless, I had a blast. It was also fun to see my guides, who make it their business to work each tourist for maximum financial benefit, just relax and be boys. Their faces were open and joyful as they watched their kite rise higher into the sky. Periodically, they would return to their jobs, offering to use my camera to shoot pictures and video of me taking a turn with the kite, telling me that I was unusually good at it, so much better than most of the foreigners they’ve met. But then the kite would dip or climb and need more of their attention, and they’d be enchanted once again. At one point another kite appeared on the scene. That one, Raju told me, had a glass string and we shouldn’t fight with it. Yet somehow (boys will be boys?) that’s ultimately just what we did. With Raju’s skillful maneuvering, our kite inexplicably cut through the “enemy” kite’s string. We all watched in astonishment as the loser fluttered haplessly to the earth. Along with whoops of triumph, both boys jumped up and down, laughed, and shook their heads in amazement. This event was a topic of discussion—in both Hindi and English—all the way back down the hill (and is probably being talked about still). It’s not at all clear to me how a regular piece of string can sever a glass-encrusted string—how David’s kite can take down Goliath’s. I guess I’m still talking about it, too… ❇

Michael J. Kimball ’87 is a contemplative anthropologist and mindfulness teacher at the University of Northern Colorado. He holds an MA and Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of WisconsinMadison and mindfulness teacher certification through the Center for Koru Mindfulness.

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE

31


Watch for Nell, James, and Paul

BY DAN MAHONEY ARTWORK BY LEIGH RANKIN ’20

32

Author note: There are a hundred ways to tell a story. The story this essay is based on is a dandy. It involves a famous movie star, his famous wife and child, her boyfriend, COA, and the coolest/most expensive watch ever sold at auction. Many publications have told the story and have done a great job. I do not want to tell the same story again, for me this is more about being lost and falling in love, about how learning happens when you are just trying to find your way and, ultimately, about the role of mentors in our lives. That is what was most interesting for me, and that is where the essay led me. This is a “lyrical essay,” which means that it might take a minute to get accustomed to the style. Do not be afraid. Be patient. Happy reading.

hen James Cox ’87 and Nell Newman ’87 lived in Turrets, they would regularly drag a mattress down the hall to the Straus classroom balcony. They found the spot a romantic and restful ideal; why not spend the cool nights keeping each other warm while listening to waves breaking thirty feet away? The problem came after sunup when students started filing into Straus for classes unaware of the romantic vagabonds occupying the balcony. As a young high school graduate, that story would be the single motivating factor for putting COA on my “colleges to take a look at” list. To me, colleges appeared very

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE


large and uniform, small cities where everyone knew the drill and there was little room for self-expression outside pledging allegiance to your favorite brand of gin. Pulling a mattress out onto a classroom balcony was about the limit to what my seventeen-yearold self was looking for from higher ed. Robert Trivers, a former student of professor Bill Drury, remembers Drury inviting him to go bird-watching one day on a small island off the coast of Maine. “We left bird books and binoculars behind and strode to the nearest small tree growing alone in the open. He then made a series of highpitched bird sounds and soon the tree began to fill up with birds, themselves making a series of calls. As the tree started to fill up, it seemed to attract more and more birds, so that as if by magic all small songbirds in the area were streaking toward the tree under which we were standing…” At the age of 43, Paul Newman entered the car racing game. He soon found a friend and mentor in Jim “Fitzy” Fitzgerald, another old-timer who happened to be the winningest driver in Sports Car Club of America history. Fitzgerald once remarked, “It was great, we were a couple of misfits…but he had the beer and I had the cooler, so it worked out.” The two men were inseparable until Fitzgerald ran his Nissan 300ZX Turbo into a wall at St. Petersburg Grand Prix at 100 mph. James heard about COA when a friend spoke about an independent study welding bike frames for maximum strength and minimum aerodynamic drag. James hated the college application process, the value given to standardized testing, the buying and selling schematics of it all. He decided to visit COA. Professor Butch Rommel carried out a stack of books and dropped them <<BAM>> on the floor of Turrets. If you want to take a class from me, you need to start reading these books as soon as possible. You’ve been warned. No excuses. He then walked out of the advising forum. The students assembled there were flabbergasted and intrigued. Nell Newman never had a place. Her actor parents were constantly on the move, causing her to hop from school to school growing up. What from the outside looked like an upbringing of incredible privilege was, for Nell, incredibly limiting. Sharp, shy, and frustrated, she dropped out of high school at 16. I was introduced to Walt Whitman many times before I

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE

Nell Newman and James Cox during their time at COA.

was ready to meet him. Reading Leaves of Grass was like looking in a funhouse mirror, all streaks and lines I did not recognize. I took a poetry class in college a year when my life had broken down and there was nothing… Nothing... And then these lines pressed themselves inside me: It avails not, time nor place—distance avails not, I am with you, you men and women of a generation, or ever so many generations hence, Just as you feel when you look on the river and sky, so I felt, Just as any of you is one of a living crowd, I was one of a crowd Paul Newman starred in a number of memorable films: Hud, Somebody Up There Likes Me, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Cool Hand Luke. Just being featured in one of those movies would make an acting career complete, but Paul was not done by a long shot. In 1969 Newman starred in two films; one, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, made him a Hollywood legend, but the other, Winning, made him a racecar driver. By becoming a racecar driver, Paul Newman continued to fill out the letters of his already famous name. The idea that Whitman’s eyes were searching into the future for mine set my mind on fire. I took Leaves of Grass everywhere that winter, slowly becoming part of a dialogue that started more than a century before I was born. James was into the aerodynamics of bird flight but did not consider himself a great student. When he arrived at COA he hoped to find like-minded souls and maybe become inspired to learn a thing or two along the way. What he discovered at COA were the twin dynamos of Bill Drury and Sentiel “Butch” Rommel.

33


Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems, You shall possess the good of the earth and sun, (there are millions of suns left,) You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books, You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me, You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self. Paul Newman was driving in the race when Fitzgerald slammed into the wall. He waited, hands clamped to steering wheel, with other drivers on the track for 45 minutes as rescue crews worked to save his friend’s life. Fitzgerald was pronounced dead on arrival at a nearby hospital. Newman was unable to finish the race. He flew home the next day. James met an oil delivery guy named Gordon who was deeded land on top of Frenchman’s Hill. Gordon needed only half of the ten acres he had to build a home so James and Nell purchased the other half and put up a teepee. Summer teepee living on MDI with a small solar panel, a 12-volt battery, and the one you love sounds ideal—a rite of passage—until winter comes. Once the weather turned cold, Nell moved back into town; James, however, rode out the winter in his hilltop teepee, proving something to himself he cannot now remember. Butch asked students to meet him at 5 a.m. at Jordan’s Restaurant. These were his official office hours. He met with students, gave them advice, and forced them to become part of a larger community.

Turbulent, fleshy, sensual, eating, drinking and breeding, No sentimentalist, no stander above men and women or apart from them, No more modest than immodest. Unscrew the locks from the doors! Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs! “By this time Bill [Drury] was down on his knees, bent over, and most of the time making a deep kind of moaning sound. The birds actually appeared to wait in line to get the closest look at Bill they could; that is, they hopped from branch to branch until they rested on a branch about eight feet off the ground and not more than two feet from my face.” James and Nell arrived on the COA campus in 1983. James remembers being absolutely stunned by Nell and thinking she “looked like trouble.” They quickly started dating, he soon would discover that her real name was Nell Newman, and she was Paul Newman’s daughter. He says he should have been clued in by the eponymous salad dressing she carried with her and the way their friends laughed when he told the story of meeting Paul at a racetrack in upstate New York. James and Nell would be together for the next ten years. Paul’s wife, Joanne Woodward, gave him a Rolex with the words Drive Carefully Me inscribed on the back. Paul wore it for 15 straight years. The watch became known as The Newman Daytona and Rolex soon produced an entire line of watches under that name, banking on the enduring cool of Paul Newman. Nell remembers Rommel handing a shoebox to each student. Inside was a scramble of all the bones of a snowshoe hare. Each student was to assemble the full skeleton by the end of the term. This work was to be done outside of class. Rommel pushed Nell further than she thought possible. He saw something in her, a spark, or a resiliency Nell scarcely knew existed. He was a tough taskmaster but Nell proved she was up to the challenge; she thought with greater breadth and depth than she ever thought possible, she began to see connections where she once thought there were dead ends. Paul Newman’s life rapidly changed from that of an actor who raced cars on the side to that of a driver who once proclaimed, “behind the wheel of a car is the only place I’ve ever felt graceful.”

Nell and James, still friends after all these years. 34

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE


What does it mean to be cool? To be stoic? Controlled? Stylish? Maybe being cool is about finding your tribe, about finding somewhere to you can wear your skin as if it were your own… Whitman’s poems were comfortable in their own skin, they wandered, sauntered, and tramped. They visited workshops, listed the tools, headed out of doors to stroll along city streets, across the country, and into the cosmos. They were death defying. I am he who goes through the streets with a barbed tongue, questioning every one I meet —questioning you up there now, Who are you, that wanted only to be told what you knew before? James spent summers working construction jobs in order to fund his education. He spent a summer rehabbing the tree house at the Newman’s place in Connecticut. Paul noticed James did not have a watch, so he slipped his Rolex Daytona off and gave it to him. It was a simple act, like giving someone a glass of lemonade on a hot day. He held it out saying, “looks like you could use a watch… This one keeps pretty good time if you remember to wind it.” James looked at him, said thanks, made some small talk then carried on with his work.

Unscrew the locks from the doors! Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs! Paul Newman began Newman’s Own on a lark. When the company began making money he and co-founder A. E. Hotchner decided to give the profits to charity. Quiet, passionate philanthropy became a hallmark of Newman’s life. It’s worth asking how much of this new outlook was tied to who he became after he discovered racing. If acting created the icon Paul Newman and car racing created the man Paul Newman, then altruism became the animating force that focused his eyes into the future—and that Whitmanian vibe seeped into everyone around him, including Nell and James. “As each bird hopped down, Bill, as if on cue, could introduce them. This is a male, black-capped chickadee. You can tell because of the black along the neck and shoulders. I would guess he’s about two to three years old. Can you see if there is yellow on his back between his shoulders? This is a good index of age.” In 1993, Nell began Newman’s Own Organics using the same ideals she learned from her father regarding giving back. The company produced great tasting organic snacks and pet food. Nell was on the front lines of the organic food revolution proving once and for all that eating

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE

Paul Newman and Jim “Fitzy” Fitzgerald having a dance.

organic did not mean eating bland. She founded the Nell Newman Foundation in 2010 with the goal of “carrying on her father’s legacy of charitable giving, coupled with her passion of the environment.” James, still great friends with Nell after all these years, serves as the treasurer of the foundation. After Paul Newman died in 2008, watch collectors and Hollywood memorabilia enthusiasts began asking about the location of the famed Daytona. By then James had stopped wearing it as his every day watch and kept it in a safety deposit box. In 2017, James and Nell determined the time was right for the watch to be sold. In October, the watch sold for $17.8 million, the most expensive watch ever sold at auction. James, in a truly Newmanian way, decided to donate a large chunk of the proceeds to charity. I tramp a perpetual journey, My signs are a rain-proof coat, good shoes, and a staff cut from the woods, No friend of mine takes his ease in my chair, I have no chair, no church, no philosophy, I lead no man to a dinner-table, library, exchange, But each man and each woman of you I lead upon a knoll,

35


My left hand hooking you round the waist, My right hand pointing to landscapes of continents and the public road…. It is not far, it is within reach, Perhaps you have been on it since you were born and did not know, Perhaps it is everywhere on water and on land. Selling the most sought after watch in history makes you an instant celebrity in the most extraordinary subcultures. Strangers began to contact James wanting to grab a small chunk of the Daytona moment. James printed up t-shirts to commemorate the sale and now sends them to the curious after they make a donation to a charity in their own community. For James, using the sale of the Newman Daytona as a community building tool just makes sense. Whitman’s work did not make me feel like I was overdressed or underprepared or empty… It encouraged questions… It met me where I was and brought me where I need to go. I return to it every chance I get. The night before the Newman Daytona auction, Nell, James, Mario Andretti, and the Wall Street Journal’s Michael Clerizo held a panel discussion with those interested in the history of the famous wristwatch. The talk moved in and out of the spectacular relationship of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, to Paul’s Hollywood career, his philanthropic work, and his friendship with racing legend Andretti. In a picture commemorating the event the foursome stand before a large abstract painting by Joan Mitchell. James wears a tuxedo once owned by Paul Newman, Nell so like her mother with generous smile and long blond hair… And I can’t help but think of Nell and James as a facsimile of Paul and Joanne, the long relationship, the support they give each other, and the legacy of giving they carry forward. It’s difficult to blend into the student population when you’re dragging a mattress behind you, but I imagine it’s not the most extraordinary thing for students to encounter on COA’s campus. Who were those students running counter to the Reagan ’80s when greed was good and yuppies sought to save the world with the purchasing power of their platinum Visas? My guess is they weren’t so different than students at COA today. They found some answers and discovered more questions than they ever thought possible.

36

When discussing her own philanthropic motives, Nell often quotes her father, “If people knew how good it felt to give their money away, they wouldn’t wait until they were dead to do it.” James is now in touch with Céline Cousteau, documentary filmmaker and granddaughter of Jacques Cousteau, about marshaling the power of her famous surname, the Rolex Company, and her grandfather’s Rolex Submariner to bring attention to environmental degradation of the world’s oceans. Researching this story brought me to The Nell Newman Foundation website where I encountered this piece of prose from the “Preface” of the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass: This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body. In the “Preface” and the long poem that follows,“Song of Myself,” the speaker is auditioning for the reader. After fifty full pages of inventing modern American poetry, the speaker earns his name: Walt Whitman. We are given names when we are born and we spend the rest of our lives either fighting against or filling out those names. Sometimes we kick it all to the curb and start over. No matter. We find what we need to find. We find Bill Drury and Butch Rommel. We find Walt Whitman and Paul Newman. Fitzy, Nell, and James. We find our tribe. We get to work. We continue the conversation that started long before we were born. That is what it has always been about. And if you’re lucky enough to look like Paul Newman, it ain’t gonna hurt you none. ❇

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE


“How To” by Priyamvada Chaudhary ’20

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE

37


The

GREAT

WEST In the West, mine tailings are as tall as mountains in the East. Vast steps are formed by the tons of displaced earth. They are layered with the colors of oxidizing iron and copper like the painted hills of the desert. The apocalyptic sublime. In the West, rivers are pipes and switches and controls. Call up the bureau, we want more water today. Chloe Hanken 38

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE


So So II am am sitting sitting in in a a laundromat laundromat in in Moab Moab Utah Utah after after a a great great day day on on the the river river (no, (no, we we didn’t didn’t flip, flip, yes, yes, we we got got wet) wet) over half way through the Great West Monster course and thinking about you all and what we over half way through the Great West Monster course and thinking about you all and what we havehave been been in a nutshell: thinkcan yoube can be proud offellow your fellow Human Ecologists. We came doing.doing. Here itHere is initaisnutshell: I thinkI you proud of your Human Ecologists. We came out west out west to listen to people Not Like Us and to witness landscapes Not Like Home and to learn what from to listen to people Not Like Us and to witness landscapes Not Like Home and to learn what we could we fromofthe vastness open and of thekangaroo smallness of kangaroo We have met many the could vastness open spacesofand thespaces smallness mice. We havemice. met many fascinating people fascinating people and have discovered much about ourselves. We have learned of the innate courtesy of and have discovered much about ourselves. We have learned of the innate courtesy of ranchers and their ranchers and their passionate love of the land and a way of life that is increasingly endangered by climate passionate love of the land and a way of life that is increasingly endangered by climate change, economics, change, economics, andhave shifting have seen small hanging on their fingertips their and shifting needs. We seenneeds. small We towns hanging on bytowns their fingertips as by their young peopleasflee to young people flee to the bright lights of the coasts. We have sat in awe in the presence of mountains the bright lights of the coasts. We have sat in awe in the presence of mountains and desert lakes. We have and desert lakes. We have listened people whose great great great grandparents were listened to people whose great greattogreat great grandparents were ongreat the land long before the on firstthe wagon land long before the first wagon rolled out of the east, and felt their pain as they confront many of the –lack rolled out of the east, and felt their pain as they confront many of the same troubles we see in Maine same troubles we in Maine—lack of opportunities in aand changing world, We the scourge of whole Meth and of opportunities in see a changing world, the scourge of Meth Oxycontin… have seen landscapes Oxycontin… We have seen whole landscapes dominated by development—resorts and casinos where dominated by development –resorts and casinos where we never saw a smile or heard a laugh. We have we never a smile or by heard laugh.ofWe have walked in happy silence the shores of a saline sea walked in saw happy silence the a shores a saline sea whose people have by chosen to never succumb to the whose people never succumb to the and glitzyclimbed lights just overthan the some hills. We have hikedthought further was glitzy lights justhave overchosen the hills.toWe have hiked further higher of us at least and climbed for higher thanhave somedrunk of usfrom at least thought was still possible for us. Welaughing have drunk from still possible us. We many strange streams and slept to the water andmany the call of strange streams and slept to the laughing water and the call of geese heading to some south we geese heading to some south we will never reach. We have been met by the enormous kindnesswill of strangers never reach. beengenerous met by the enormous kindness ofthoughts, strangers—people who aretoincredibly –people who We are have incredibly with their time and their people who wish reach out a hand generous with their time and their thoughts, people who wish to reach out a hand and explain why all the this sun and explain why all this matters so much to them, why it should matter so much to us. We have seen matters so much to them, why it should matter so much to us. We have seen the sun on the high hills ason a on the high hills as we shivered in canyons, and have baked on the plateau while mountains silently put we shivered in canyons, and have baked on the plateau while mountains silently put on a robe of snow. robe of snow. We We have have learned learned a a great great deal deal about about each each other: other: Katie’s Katie’s grace grace in in a a kayack kayack on on a a new new river, river, Ivy’s Ivy’s amazing amazing ability to find the things I lose daily and to keep smiling through it all, Austin’s knack for sauntering, ability to find the things I lose daily and to keep smiling through it all, Austin’s knack for sauntering, Jack’s Jack’s encyclopedic encyclopedic knowledge knowledge of of arcana, arcana, Rachel’s Rachel’s love love of of ’70s ‘70’s pop pop and and her her infectious infectious belly belly laugh, laugh, Kali’s Kali’s love love of of horses—ALL horses, the the amount amount of of kale kale and and other other inedible inedible greens greens that that twelve twelve people people can can consume… consume… so so many horses –ALL horses, many more things that make the tapestry our We lives. Wedriven have driven four thousand mileshave andmaybe many many more things that make up theup tapestry of our of lives. have four thousand miles and have maybe three thousand more to go. I have sat at the wheel of Black Beauty for over a hundred hours three thousand more to go. I have sat at the wheel of Black Beauty for over a hundred hours on roads good, on good, bad and and been indifferent, and been awake with laughter andhave with added song. We have added badroads and indifferent, kept awake withkept laughter and with song. We more than our share to more than our share to the Earth’s carbon burden, and in so doing we acknowledge that we owe a debt. the Earth’s Carbon burden, and in so doing we acknowledge that we owe a debt. Will Will itit have have been been worth worth it? it? Was Was itit Chou Chou en en Lai Lai who who said said “it “it is is too too soon soon to to tell”? tell”? It It IS IS too too soon soon to to tell. tell. World World changing? Hardly. Life changing? Maybe. changing? Hardly. Life changing? Maybe.

I am deeply impressed and humbled by these students. By their grace under pressure. By their eternal Ioptimism am deeply and humbled by these under By their eternal andimpressed cheerfulness. By their hunger forstudents. learning.By Bytheir theirgrace kindness. A pressure. long time ago Ernst Mayr told optimism and cheerfulness. By their hunger for learning. By their kindness. A long time ago Ernst me of another generation of COA students “Take care of those students. They are the Hope of theMayr Future”. Dr. told me of another of take COAcare students, “Take care of those students. They are the Hope of the Mayr, I have tried. Igeneration try, but they of me…. Future”. Dr. Mayr, I have tried. I try, but they take care of me…. John Anderson

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE

39


Tree, Canyon de Chelly, Arizona

Sophia Prisco â&#x20AC;&#x2122;18, Escalante, Utah

40

Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Utah

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE


Crosses at border wall in Nogales, Arizona.

Elk near Burns, Oregon.

Sara Lowgren ’20 at Darwin Falls, Death Valley

To be local to a place includes two things primarily: it is to be involved—anxiously engaged in the goings on—and to be there, able to actually look upon the landscape, to care about a place enough that you are physically present… The definition of local I offer is simple, and rooted in the same emotion as the rugged individual myth: love. In loving a place, you tie your fate to its fate. It’s a big risk to become a local. Ky Osguthorpe ’19

Yosemite Falls,Yosemite National Park

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE

Team taught by faculty members Dr. John Anderson, W.H. Drury Professor of Ecology/Natural History, and Ken Cline, J.D., David Rockefeller Family Chair in Ecosystem Management and Protection, Ecology and Natural History of the American West is a three-course expeditionary program located entirely in the American West. The West has played a key role in the development of modern ecology and in our overall understanding of the Natural History of North America. Researchers such as Joseph Grinnell, Starker Leopold, Ned Johnson, Phillip Munz, and Jim Patton contributed enormously to our understanding of the interactions, distribution, and abundance of the enormous range of plants and animals occupying the western states, while the incredible variety of topography found between the Pacific slope and Great Basin Desert, containing both the highest and lowest points in the Lower 48, provides an ideal setting for both observation and experimentation. This intensive field-based course provides students with the opportunity to examine first-hand some key habitats within Nevada, California, and New Mexico, and to conduct a series of short projects on the fauna and flora in select sites. The course examines terminal saline lakes, open deserts , montane meadows, pine forest, riparian hardwoods, wetlands, and agricultural landscapes.

41


Dr. Tom Fleishner asked, “How are we to save the world if we are not in love with it?” I asked Tom, “Do you think that the ranchers, dam constructors, mine workers, loggers or oil drillers love the very land they exploit?” He first replied with a sympathetic smile, second with this: “Feelings and facts are both very important. Above all, learning the ecology of another person’s love requires patience and hard listening.” Ivy Enoch ’18 The 2017 Great West class takes place in a unique moment in time. America’s public lands are under siege, in a way they have not been for more than 100 years. The continued existence of this significant public legacy is in doubt—both in a political sense and in the broad ecological changes that are occurring with climate change, fire, and invasive species. In the course of 7000 miles, 8 weeks, and hundreds of conversations, a group of 12 students and 2 faculty sought to understand what is happening on and to our public lands. Through meetings with ranchers, wilderness advocates, anti-government activists, land managers, scientists, recreation professionals, educators, alumni, and tribal people, we sought some understanding of the changes, attitudes, and conflicts that are embroiling the West. From the cell-free wilderness peaks of the Sierra to the painful border fence trying to rend Arizona from Mexico, we traveled, observed, listened, wrestled with, and ultimately tried to make sense of a vast region of the country. The combination of the boundless curiosity and enthusiasm of the students and the generosity of the people who we met along the way produced a rich tapestry of ideas, emotions, and observations. Holding the serenity of a mountain lake and the blazing neon of Las Vegas in a single thought, let alone in a single class, was a challenge, but an important one to try. It will take all of us more than the eight weeks to process and make sense of all that we saw and learned. As with all COA classes, there is something extra that is gained by going through this experience together. And although we are not all changed in the same way, we are all definitely changed by the experience.

Hoover Dam. From left to right: Rachael Goldberg ’19, Chloe Hanken ’20, Caroline Brown ’17, Jack Shaida ’18, Kali Lamont ’18, Ken Cline, Sara Lowgren ’20, Austin Schuver ’18, Ivy Enoch ’18, Sophia Prisco ’18, Katie Clark ’19, Beverley Guay ’19, Ky Osguthorpe ’19

Special thanks to biology faculty member Steve Ressell and alumni Erica Maltz ’07, Anneke Hart ’16, and Julia Rowe ’02 for helping us make this class the rich experience that it was. ❇ Ken Cline Chloe Hanken ’20 looking over Yosemite Valley, CA 42

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE


SUMMER 2018 AT COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC Tuesday, July 10 at 9 am Coffee & Conversation John Ravenal: Outdoor Sculpture in the Changing Art Landscape

Thursday, July 19 at 5 pm Blum Gallery Opening Stefan Elliott: Humanity’s Oldest Stories Illuminated: Frustrated or First-Rated, Rhythm or Riddle

Tuesday, July 17 at 9 am Coffee & Conversation Olympia Stone: Double Take: The Art of Elizabeth King

Tuesday, July 24 at 9 am Coffee & Conversation Marie Griffith: Moral Combat *Saturday, July 28 from 6:30-8:30 pm The Champlain Society Reception Amory Hill, Bar Harbor

The Champlain Institute: International Affairs Saturday, July 28 through Friday, August 3, 2018

Saturday, July 28 at 5 pm A Conversation with Ambassador Susan E. Rice

Wednesday, August 1 at 1 pm Eliza Griswold: On the Ground: Listening to Afghan Women’s Voices

Monday, July 30 at 9 am Nick Dowling: Hacking, Informatsionnaya, and the Grey Zone Monday, July 30 at 5 pm Neal Katyal: Standing up for the Rule of Law in the Time of Trump

Thursday, August 2 at 9 am Ted Widmer: Is Democracy Failing? Thursday, August 2 at 5 PM Sarah Z. Daly: Violence and Elections After Civil Wars

Tuesday, July 31 at 9 am Ambassadors Bill Eacho, C. Boyden Gray, and Jim Lowenstein: US-EU Relations

Friday, August 3 at 9 am Karen Greenberg: Liberty and Security Today

Tuesday, July 31 at 5 pm Antony J. Blinken: Walls or Bridges: What will Shape American Greatness in the 21st Century?

Friday, August 3 at 5 pm Senator George Mitchell: US-Middle Eastern Relations Past and Future

Wednesday, August 1 at 9 am Admiral Jonathan Greenert: Security in the Indo-Asian Region

Tuesday, August 7 at 9 am Coffee & Conversation Rep. Chellie Pingree: Current Climate in the US House of Representatives

Tuesday, August 21 at 9 am Coffee & Conversation John Bredar: Masterpiece: WGBH’s National Programs

Tuesday, August 14 at 9 am Coffee & Conversation Libby Chamberlain: Pantsuit Nation

Tuesday, August 28 at 9 am Coffee & Conversation David E. Shaw: Saving our Oceans

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE

Thursday, September 13 at 5 pm Share the Harvest Farm Dinner

*Invitation only

43


PROFILES COLLECTED AND EDITED BY ELOISE SCHULTZ '16

Photo credit: Jenny Nelson of Wylde Photography

ABBY BARROWS As the manager of a research lab in Stonington and owner of an oyster farm now in its fourth season, Abby Barrows MPhil ’18 initially resisted the idea of graduate school. Between running the lab, publishing papers, and building her house on Deer Isle, she’d kept pretty busy over the last few years. “I didn’t want to have to jump through a lot of hoops for someone else,” she says. The thought didn’t strike her until a few years ago, while she was leading informal education programs for the Marine & Environmental Research Institute in Blue Hill. It was here that she heard Marina Garland ’12, who had just finished a program with Semester at Sea, talk to the students about

44

microplastics. “I remember thinking: this amount of pollution is insane,” Abby reflects. She had encountered larger plastic pollution in seahorse and sea turtle research, but hadn’t thought about the impact of smaller particles. That moment inspired her to transition back into research, where she incorporated microplastics into her water quality monitoring work. She began to collaborate with COA biology professor Chris Petersen and with Adventure Scientists, for whom she now works as a principal investigator. When Adventure Scientists encouraged her to get an advanced degree, the school for human ecology on the neighboring peninsula was an obvious choice. Through independent studies and class projects, Abby has been able to

fold her professional work into credithours. In probability and statistics, she examined her data on microplastic concentrations in commercial seafood samples from the Gulf of Maine. With guidance from environmental law professor Ken Cline, she investigated local and regional water policy, continuing a relationship with the EPA to collect data underpinning laws around microplastic pollution discharge. Finally, in chemistry, she had the opportunity to learn more about the structure and composition of polymers, including what strong liquids might help dissolve nonpolymer detritus found in samples but retain the microplastic. “I incorporated the pilot chemistry research directly into my working knowledge on polymer chemistry with the hopes of improving my laboratory protocol

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE


in the future.” COA has given Abby a sounding board for her research while building her knowledge base to include policy and science communication. “I am not interested in being a scientist who publishes something and gets lots of pats on the back from their cohort.” Learning how to effectively communicate scientific research and package data for use by policy and regulatory bodies is something that can truly incite change.” Gaining experience with the legal application of scientific research has helped her to develop a more comprehensive view of conservation policy. The question, “How extreme do you go with regulation?” can be answered by knowledge of the feasibility of a law and the benefits— or pitfalls—of the precedents that have already been established. Abby’s research on water quality and microplastics has brought her from the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica to the Coral Sea of Indonesia. She loves being in situations where you have to think on your feet. Human ecology, she says, “gives you the skills to be a specialist and also a communicator across disciplines.” In the last several

years, Abby has presented her research at numerous freshwater and marine science conferences, where data has been collected by trained citizen scientists. Recognizing the difficulty of standardizing research methods, she’s put together a national field methodology paper which comprehensively reviews microplastic monitoring techniques and highlights the pros and cons for each through a citizen science lens. “I am wrapping up these major projects that have been a big part of my life for the last five years,” she says, reflecting on her own work: one methodology comparison study, two global microplastics projects, one Hudson river study and one Montana-based project, the first watershed-based study on spatial and temporal microplastic distribution. Now, she’s hoping to step away from global projects in order to better align her business and research, including focusing on her oyster farm. She entered a semester with the Diana Davis Spencer Hatchery sustainable business incubator intending to identify steps toward becoming a successful research consultant, but instead decided to further develop the plan for her oyster farm, which had been running for a few years.

“It was great to have the Hatchery to help check off the boxes in terms of what I had already been doing, but also to learn about important business components that were new to me.” Most importantly, she says, “these are all skills that I can apply toward becoming more successful, whether as an independent research scientist or business owner.”

ANITA VAN DAM

studied small-scale food production in the hopes of gaining insight into the European market. Next, she’s hoping to take her research interests to Mexico and Central America. Not only are these experiences part of her human ecological study of food systems, but they’ve provided valuable insight for ReProduce. The winner of the 2017 UMaine Business Challenge, Anita has since taken ReProduce through the first two seasons of Greenlight Maine, a weekly televised pitch contest between Maine entrepreneurs. The public exposure and mentorship opportunities provided by the show will help her to gain momentum to launch the first market samples in the next few years.

If Anita van Dam ’19 were to give any piece of advice to future COA students, it’s that “learning what you love will push you to learn more and learn better.” It’s a stance that she’s taken to heart as she learns about sustainable business design for her startup, ReProduce, which seeks to minimize and redistribute food waste on a commercial scale. Holding an entrepreneurial lens to sustainable strategies has inspired Anita to travel around the world to learn about food systems in different cultural contexts. In 2017, she spent three months in Taiwan with a group of COA students and professors and created a recipe book about Taiwanese food economy and culture. Last winter, she embarked on a residency in Spain, where she

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE

COA’s holistic educational approach has encouraged Abby to better integrate her laboratory and farm practices, allowing each enterprise to feed into the other. Looking back at her time as a student, she reflects that “the biggest surprise has been how well I’ve been able to connect my time in the classroom at COA to my professional life.” Even in a time when more and more young people travel unorthodox career paths, she says, the tendency is still to become more and more specialized. “But the problem with specialization is that it can alienate you and prevent you from seeing the bigger picture. What’s been great about COA is that it has given me professional skills as well the ability to approach an issue from multiple disciplines.”

Anita’s interest in food systems took root in her first year at COA. After taking several food systems classes,

45


she enrolled in Netta van Vliet’s course Waste with food in mind. “But that class was more about waste of every kind,” she adds. Still, the broad focus of the course pushed Anita to develop a more transdisciplinary perspective, one that views food systems issues as constituent of economic and environmental issues, and vice versa. “My second year I learned a lot more about food waste because I was taking Agroecology with Suzanne, Transforming Food Systems with Kourtney, and Sustainable Strategies with Jay. My final project for Suzanne was about farmers’ income compared to food dollars. In one food dollar of the production chain, how many cents would the farmer earn?” Thinking across multiple dimensions of a food system has helped Anita to develop solutions that would serve as many agents in a system as possible, instead of disproportionally benefiting just a few. Anita was also inspired in her first year by COA’s discarded resources infrastructure developed by Lisa Bjerke ’13 MPhil ’16. She’s applied the knowledge gained in classes and work experience to her recent residency concentrating on European food systems. Recently, she visited a dairy processing plant that bottles arroz con leche. “They can break up to four to ten jars A DAY. I’m thinking, that’s a lot of arroz con leches — how many is that a year? But they make 1600 jars a day.” She was shocked by the amount of energy that it took to process and

SUSI NEWBORN Susi Newborn ’90 has been an activist all her life. Growing up in London in the 1970s, the daughter of an Argentinian diplomat, she realized at an early age that the best way to enact change was through direct action. This determination led her to her first job with Friends of the Earth, where she connected with activists involved in issues of social and environmental justice and helped to found

46

package materials into a new product, in addition to the energy lost when that product was scrapped. “Machines at cidery take out anything that’s not perfect. Their waste percentage is .05%. But I was walking around for an hour and saw at least 40 bottles that they weren’t going to use.” Forty bottles a day, or five thousandths of one percent, may not seem like much on the factory floor, but it adds up over time. Plus, there’s the inevitability of system error. “What do you do when you break something, or when something malfunctions?” Anita hopes that initiatives like ReProduce can help to fill the gaps between producer, processor, and consumer, with lasting long-term impacts. “Context matters,” she says. “When you say something like that in a percentage, it doesn’t look big at all. But look at it over a year and look at the numbers, it’s a lot bigger.” She hopes that those numbers will have enough of a positive impact to change the public’s mindset about food waste and enable her to run a successful business. By repurposing the excess or unsightly produce discarded by farms, ReProduce has identified a small-scale solution for a large-scale problem. In the early stages of the project, Anita was joined by classmates Lilyanna Solberger ’16, Grace Burchard ’17, and Ana Maria Zabala ’20, who helped to craft the original pitch that took first prize at the 2016 Maine Food Systems Innovation Challenge at

Greenpeace UK. Under her oversight, the organization bought the Rainbow Warrior, an old trawler which they then brought on environmental campaigns around the world. After several years, however, she realized that she might need to get a degree for her experience to be translated. Fellow Greenpeace pioneers Charlie Hutchinson and Steve Sawyer recommended that she look into College of the Atlantic to study something called “human

Bowdoin College. Now, Anita says, she’s focusing on finding the right market to support their mission, as, “the business itself is socially oriented. The mission doesn’t align with profit more than problem-solving.” This leaves the question, she explains, of “What can we sell while solving the problem?” For their initial design, they imagined repackaging and freezing salvaged food, but now Anita anticipates branching out to more products—particularly, baby food—as the business expands. “It’s so typical to have your vision change… at the same time not feeling like a complete failure.” This, she says, has been one of the lessons of participating in the Shark Tank-style pitch contest. But the most formidable challenge to the business, she relates, has been people’s habits, whether producer or consumer. “Habits are difficult to change.” Ignorance of the problem of food waste has been another hurdle. “If you don’t know what’s going on, you’re not going to really make an effort to change something or anything at all. What are we talking about when we’re talking about food waste? Where else does waste occur besides at the consumer level? There’s not enough education.” Part of ReProduce’s mission is to raise awareness of the issue, she says, and then to provide the solution. “You need to give people ways to change their habits.”

ecology,” which, she noted, “seemed to go very well with environmental activism.” Susi enrolled at COA in 1984 and counts those years at COA among the happiest in her life. “Being in that environment foments creativity. There were no exams; everything was based on practical or written assessment. You honed your ability to express your thoughts in language, in projects and arts and growing things.” She took classes with professors Bill Carpenter and Steve Katona, worked at the library

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE


and on the college’s magazine, and participated in weekly All College Meetings, which impressed on her the importance of non-hierarchical governance structures. It was this example, she reflects, which helped her to build her sense of inclusive and multidimensional practices in activism. She sees participatory democratic models employed effectively by activist organizations such as La Vida Campesina, who maintain a global vision through more than one million members but are very active around food issues in local communities. The multidimensionality of a human ecology degree gave her not only the lens through which to see problems, but the practical skills to find a solution that includes many diverse approaches. “It includes not just white people’s paradigms, but indigenous and nonindigenous ways of looking at the world, and tries to find connections between them.” Through her work with Greenpeace, Susi has managed to conduct locallevel work on a global scale, which she believes is “infinitely more likely to create change than trying to do the big, macro thing.” While studying at COA, she remained involved in the Rainbow Warrior’s campaigns. In 1985, the crew met at her house in Bar Harbor to plan a response to ongoing nuclear testing in the South Pacific. They organized the evacuation of more than three hundred Rongelapese, whose island had been contaminated by radioactive fallout from US nuclear tests in the 1950s. Susi returned to New Zealand just a few months later, after the Rainbow Warrior was bombed and sunk by the French Secret Service. Once settled there with her daughter, she completed an internship with Friends of the Earth on their food irradiation campaign and took classes in the Pacific Studies department of Aukland University, which were credited toward her COA degree. By the time she returned to Maine to graduate, she had begun to plant new roots, eventually moving to the small island of Waiheke, where five other members of the ship’s original crew have also settled. “It was considered

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE

Left to right: Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern, Marama Davidson from The Green Party, and Susi Newborn ’90

the armpit of Auckland,” she laughs. “Now we’re the jewel in the Hauraki Gulf!” Since the days of the Rainbow Warrior, another threat has manifested for South Pacific islanders: climate change and sea level rise. “New Zealand is going to be the first port of call for massive amounts of forced climate migrants, who will be coming here because they can’t drink clean water anymore,” explains Susi. “Their atolls have been polluted by salt and eroded sewage systems.” From her home on Waiheke, Susi is working to develop civil defense and energy management systems that will adapt to the effects of climate change. In addition, she also been involved in documenting the history of the environmental justice campaigns of which she’s been part, for future activists to learn from and continue. She recently helped to create the films The Rainbow Warriors of Waiheke Island about the early days of Greenpeace, and Kit and Maynie:

Tea, Scones, and Nuclear Disarmament about two of her fellow islanders who participated in the anti-nuclear demonstrations at the Nevada Test Site. She hopes to screen these films in the US next year while she travels to celebrate the life of the late Greenpeace pioneer and captain of the Rainbow Warrior, Jon Castle. Looking back at a long career of activism and advocacy, Susi reflects that the most pressing concern facing the environment is that of “people’s own view of the world. It’s something so intrinsic and individual.” The work of human ecologists, she believes, is to view problems in context and to find connections where solving one issue “might solve a whole heap of others.” Her message to other activists is that every interaction has the potential to change others’ perspectives. “We’re becoming so individualistic, and America focuses in on itself rather than outward. To change that around, you have to go person by person.” ❇

47


48

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE


“Island” Peter Adriel Kennell ’17

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE

49


1980

Cynthia Jordan Fischer is doing

postpartum doula work while also starting a nonprofit postpartum doula biz. She is also working with infants and toddlers in a Montessori environment. She lives in her new “tiny house” in her backyard. Both daughters are married & local, along with her five (yup!) grandchildren.

1990

In January 2018

Emily Bracale

published her graphic memoir, Our Last Six Months: an Illustrated Memoir about Death, Cancer, End-of-life Care, Love, Family, and Forgiveness. She is selling it through her website ourlastsixmonthsbook. com and at book talks.

1991

After a long and rewarding run as a kindergarten teacher at the Cushing Community School, Beth Heidemann has combined her passion for integrated science education with global citizenship and purposeful tech integration to launch Go2Science. Go2Science empowers kids to stay curious and become critical and empathetic thinkers, integrating language arts and math with science to maximize student engagement and learning. As they produce materials for classrooms, Beth and her partner, Curtis, have traveled to Wyoming to hunt for fossils, and the Galapagos Islands to investigate the range of the Galapagos penguin. Their next trip takes them to Namibia for a predator/prey survey. They are always looking to connect with diverse scientists as they craft hypotheses for upcoming Go2Science missions. In other news, narratives illustrating Beth’s teaching methods were highlighted in a soon-to-bereleased book, Teaching in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Standing at the Precipice.

50

ALUMNI NOTES 1992

After 22 years in California, Rob Finn has moved to Philadelphia to finally work on his art full time. He is currently working on a watercolor series titled Tree Portraits (Northern California). His next series will be larger landscapes of California, Pennsylvania and Maine done in watercolors and acrylic on canvas.

Clark Lawrence has written his first

book, Mezzo Giardiniere (Half Gardener) published in Italian (1st ed. September 2017) by Officina Naturalis. A second edition came out in January 2018, and between book presentations, gardening, goats, and guests, he’s working on the English version and collaborating with London-based artist David Hollington, who is doing illustrations. Clark is now living near Mantova, at La Macchina Fissa (lamacchinafissa.com).

1993

Jenny Rock recently

had her collagraph artwork selected for two different international juried exhibitions: the ASCI (Art & Science Collaborations, Inc) exhibition “Science Inspires Art: OCEAN” (New York Hall of Science, Sept ‘17–Feb ’18), and the “Rivers of Gold: the legacy of historical gold mining” exhibition, involving 4 print groups from Australia, New Zealand and the UK, touring in 2018. She represented the Print Council Aotearoa New Zealand (PCANZ). She has a chapter, “Narrative, Rhetoric and Science: Opportunities and Risks,” in press in the volume Visual Rhetoric (O. Kramer, Ed.) with Parlor Press (Anderson, SC, USA). And in 2018 hit a milestone of having her 50th peer-reviewed journal article accepted for publication.

CedarBough Saeji is halfway

through her second year teaching Korean Studies at UBC in Vancouver. The students and colleagues are great, new publications are in the works, and already in 2018, she’s done two invited lectures.

1995

During the summer of 2016, Andrea Lani and Curry Caputo hiked the 500-mile Colorado Trail with their three sons, Milo, Emmet, and Zephyr, exactly 20 years after Curry and Andrea hiked the trail together. Andrea’s working on a book about the two hikes and the social and environmental history of the Rockies. In January, she became a member of the Board of Directors of the Maine Master Naturalist Program and in April she will join the Senior Editor Board at Literary Mama (literarymama.com), where she has been Literary Reflections editor since 2014. She can be found online at andrealani.com.

1999

The Mad Wolf’s Daughter, a new children’s book by Diane Magras (née Harrison), was released in March. The book follows the youngest member of a warband as she journeys through unfamiliar landscapes to rescue her father and brothers from a castle prison with the unlikely help of an injured enemy knight.

2000

After nearly ten years of living and traveling throughout the South Pacific, Amanda Witherell and her partner,

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE


Top left: Dr. Grace Cherubino Top right: Gina Sabatini Middle: Clark Lawrence Bottom: Welcome Laurel Catherine!

Brian Twitchell, sailed into San Francisco Bay in September 2017. Part of those ten years were spent working as a journalist and marketing executive in New Zealand. In 2015, they decided to return to the United States aboard their 41-foot sloop Clara Katherine. Two years and 12,000 nautical miles—almost all of them to windward—included visits to Tonga, Fiji, Tuvalu, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, and French Polynesia. Stories about some of their experiences have recently been published in Blue Water Sailing, Capital Magazine, The Sun, and Wooden Boat.

2002

Jenny George’s

2006

Emma Rearick ’08 and Jay Guarneri

2007

Justin Feldman

book of poetry, The Dream of Reason, will be published in April by Copper Canyon Press.

welcomed their daughter, Laurel Catherine, in November 2017. In May, Emma earned her Master of Regional and Community Planning degree from Kansas State University. After 6 years west of the Mississippi they have returned to New England and now live in Nashua, New Hampshire.

married Tatiana Sáenz in Boston in July 2017. He earned a Doctor of Science degree from Harvard School of Public Health in January 2018. In February, he delivered a lecture as part of COA’s Human Ecology Forum entitled “Racism, health, and the epidemiology of police violence.”

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE

51


In March, he started a position as Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at NYU School of Medicine.

Tara Jensen’s book, A Baker’s Year:

Twelve Months of Baking and Living the Simple Life at the Smoke Signals Bakery, was published in February 2018 by St. Martin’s Griffin.

2010

Noah Kleiner was

engaged to Lauren Cote and lives in an off-the-grid cabin in Linconville, Maine. He owns his own company, called Equinox Guiding Service, based in Camden, Maine. Noah has chosen the Maine coast as his classroom and has been offering experiences to Maine kids through outdoor education and guided rock climbing trips. According to Noah, the natural world and the next generation are our two greatest assets, combining the two is simple. Seeing your students have an deep experiences with world around them as they climb is the goal. Climbing is just the tool we use. Personal growth and time spent in nature is why we climb, why we want to share that with others.

2011

Nina (Wish) Adler

married David Adler on August 27, 2017 at David’s Folly Farm in Brooksville, Maine. Nina is a potter and art teacher in Brooklyn, NY.

Dr. Grace Cherubino completed her

doctor of chiropractic degree at Palmer College of Chiropractic on March 24, 2017. Since then, she has traveled to Botswana and the Dominican Republic to do volunteer work with the NGO World Spine Care. Now she is a board-

certified chiropractic physician in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and treats patients with a myriad of neuromusculoskeletal complaints, using her human ecological world view and skills. And until now, she never fully appreciated how similar the paradigms of human ecology and chiropractic are! This spring Matt Shaw joined Blue Hill Books as Samantha Haskell’s ’10 first full-time employee after she purchased the bookstore in February of 2017.

2013

Maddy Magnuson

land, ecology and politics, and how Palestine can provide new ways of thinking the links between the natural and the organic.

2017

Sergio Cahueque

has joined the Environmental Health Strategy Center’s organizing team in Portland, Maine. Sergio believes that to foster a healthy environment and honest democracy, we need to work from the bottom-up. He is excited to join an organization that does important grassroots work toward a healthy, toxin-free future.

is now the Director of LGBTQ+ and Harm Reduction Services at the Health Equity Alliance, a nonprofit agency providing direct service and advocating on behalf of Maine’s LGBTQ+ community, people living with HIV/AIDS, and people who use drugs.

Gina Sabatini married her high

school sweetheart Michael Mattei on June 24, 2017. Dear friends Alicia Hynes ’11 and Aydan Pugh ’14 were bridesmaids. Many other COA friends made the journey to Pennsylvania to celebrate! Gina also recently accepted a position at Tradewater, a small environmental company focused on destroying CFCs.

2014

As an artist-inresidence at the El Atlal residency in

Jericho, Palestine, Zuri Camille de Souza researched the relationship between political occupation and landscape. Her final work is an aesthetic and political reflection on

Top: David and Nina (Wish) Adler. Bottom: Justin Feldman

THE BLACK FLY SOCIETY is for everyone! The Black Fly Society was established to make donating to COA’s Annual Fund easier and greener. Anyone can join this swarm of sustaining donors by setting up a paperless, monthly online gift. Follow the instructions at coa.edu/donatenow

52

If you want to give by mail: COA Annual Fund 105 Eden Street Bar Harbor, ME 04609 (Please make checks out to College of the Atlantic) Questions? 207.801.5626 COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE


COMMUNITY NOTES Welcome Eloisa Maria Black!

The Strange Eyes of Dr. Myes web series, creator, Nancy Andrews, was nominated and subsequently won the Gotham Award for Breakout Series Short Form. Nancy traveled to NYC along with Dru Colbert, Production Designer, and the series’ star, Michole Briana White on Monday, November 27th, for the 2017 IFP Gotham Awards dinner and awards presentation. Nancy is one of 25 artists selected for the 2018 Portland Museum of Art Biennial highlighting the diverse perspectives and interests of artists connected to Maine and making a powerful statement about art’s impact in this historical moment (on view until June 3, 2018).

Linda Black ’09 and husband Jeff

Black welcomed their baby girl Eloisa Maria into the world! They look forward to raising her in the COA community!

Lynn Boulger, Dean of Institutional

Advancement, presented at the annual meeting of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Northern New England in Concord, New Hampshire in November 2017. While there, she met up with two COA alumni: Chris Hamilton ‘85 and

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE

Allison Furbish Roberts ‘04, both of whom work in philanthropy.

Bill Carpenter has a poem called

“First Couple” in the forthcoming book William Irvine: At Home (Marshall Wilkes/Tilbury House), June 2018. In November, Kourtney Collum, COA Partridge Chair in Food and Sustainable Agriculture Systems, presented on a roundtable at the 116th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association in Washington, D.C. The roundtable brought together community partners, faculty, and student alumni who worked together over five years through an ethnographic field school to investigate links between race and health in a historic African American community in Tallahassee, Florida. In March, Kourtney presented at the Science on Tap series at the annual Maine Science Festival in Bangor, Maine.

Gray Cox has written a chapter on:

“Let’s Make the Earth Great Again! Governing the World from the Ground Up Through Power Grounded in

the Light: A Proposal for Action Research on Quaker and Gandhian Responses to our Global Crises” for a forthcoming book on Quakers, politics and economics. He will be co-leading a week-long workshop on “Seeking Truth about the Human-Earth Relationship: Insights from the Quaker Institute for the Future,” at the Friends General Conference in July. He will be giving a paper on “Transforming Rationality to Sustain the World: Dialogical Rationality as a Key to the Ecological, Political, Technological and Moral Existential Crises We Face” at the August 2018 World Congress of Philosophy in Beijing.

Dave Feldman gave a

Human Ecology Forum talk on “Gerrymandering in the US: History, Law, Math, and Politics” on October 24, 2017. He spoke on a panel on Gerrymandering in Augusta, ME in February; the panel was sponsored by the Maine Citizens for Clean Elections and the League of Women Voters of Maine. He offered his Chaos MOOC through the Santa Fe Institute’s Complexity Explorer platform in the fall; Dave’s Fractal MOOC will run this spring. This summer Dave will again serve as the director of the

53


Left: Dru Colbert, Michole Briana White, and Nancy Andrews; right: Sarah Hall, Gemma Venuti ’18, and Alba Mar Rodríguez Padilla ’18

Santa Fe Institute’s Complex Systems Summer School. In November 2017, he participated in an hour-long meeting with Senator Susan Collins, together with other members of the Indivisible MDI chapter.

Jay Friedlander, Sharpe-McNally

Chair of Green and Socially Responsible Business, led an interdisciplinary faculty seminar at Danish Technical University on using the abundance cycle framework and COA’s sustainable business program as models to jumpstart their efforts to bring sustainability to their entrepreneurship curriculum. While in Denmark, Jay met with the US Embassy staff and the leaders of the Samsø Energy Academy. Jay also led Business Boot Camps, based on the Hatchery course, for food entrepreneurs in Michigan and New England. This winter he led the inaugural Business Boot Camp in Mount Desert focusing on strengthening local businesses. Jay is returning to Osakikamijima, Japan over spring break with a faculty delegation from a half dozen other colleges to continue their efforts to develop a new educational platform.

Sarah Hall, Anne T. and Robert

M. Bass Chair in Earth Systems and GeoSciences, traveled to southern Peru with two COA students, Gemma Venuti ’18 and Alba Mar Rodríguez Padilla ’18, during December 2017 to conduct field work associated with the students’ senior projects. Together with Peruvian colleagues, the team

54

mapped active faults for geohazards assessments and collected samples to build a climate record for a region periodically affected by large El Niño events. This spring, The International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics will publish Heather Lakey’s ’00 MPhil ’05 article, “Appropriations of Informed Consent: Abortion, Medical Decision Making, and Antiabortion Rhetoric.” Heather is a lecturer in philosophy at College of the Atlantic and a faculty member with the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department at the University of Maine.

Susan Letcher, professor of Plant

Biology, welcomed a daughter, Willow Mireya Letcher, on October 22, 2017. Since joining the faculty in 2017, she has been a coauthor on two scientific papers, one in Ecology Letters and one in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This winter break Todd LittleSiebold took a class to Asturias in northern Spain called “Sidra, Quesos y Granjas: La Historia de la Agricultura” with COA farm manager Anna Davis, fruit explorer John Bunker and COA grad Laura Sieger ’16. Asturias has the longest history of cidermaking in western Europe with a diversity of cider varieties unrivaled in other parts of world. The class explored the changing agricultural dynamics as the region has shifted from small,

diversified farms that produced both cider and cheese to a more marketbased production. Nine students and the teaching team traveled up into the Cantabrian Alps to visit one of Spain’s most famous cheese-producing region, Cabrales, and then visited orchards and cideries in central Asturias. The class sprang from a similar course in England several years ago. Students learned from shepherds, cheesmakers, cider producers, and regulators. It was a fascinating insight into a region that has maintained many food traditions and agricultural practices in the face of new regulatory challenges. The COA Development Office has some new members and some familiar faces in new roles. Amanda Mogridge has stepped away from her position as alumni coordinator and taken on the job of manager of advancement services. Jen Hughes, a 14-year veteran of the office who has most recently served as manager of donor engagement, is the new manager of alumni affairs. The office welcomes Wes Norton as the new manager of donor engagement, and Kenyon Grant as COA’s new creative services director.

Suzanne Morse, Elizabeth Battles

Newlin Chair in Botany, attended the Slow Food conference in Denver Colorado and then spent three very hot days (over 100 °F) in Salina, Kansas at the Land Institute where they are making great headway in developing perennial grains systems and domesticating a prairie sunflower for seed and oil. In December 2017, Morse spent ten days in Australia visiting farms in Victoria and New South Wales, including vineyards and cherry orchards in the Barossa Valley and very large scale production systems of wheat, lucerne, and canola. In February 2018, Morse attended the Organic Seed Alliance Conference along with three students, Ana Maria Zabala ’20, Josephine Trople ’17, and Morgan Heckerd ’18. Starting in spring, she is on sabbatical and is working with agroecology groups at University of Wisconsin—Madison

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE


and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. One project includes writing a biography of the on-campus community garden that will reach its 50-year anniversary along with the rest of campus in 2021. If you have stories to share about the garden, please send them her way! In October 2017, Steve Ressel joined John Anderson’s and Ken Cline’s Great West course in southern Arizona for a week of “herping” in the Sonoran Desert. Afterwards, Steve traveled to Prescott College on an Ecoleague Faculty Exchange, which included conducting a daylong field trip on lizard ecology for students enrolled in Prescott’s Fundamentals of Ecology course. In February 2018, Bonnie Tai was invited to share the COA model of higher education in a Comparative Education class at the National Taipei University of Education. The title of Bonnie’s short presentation was “COA: A values-driven and studentcentered postsecondary education.” She followed it with a Q&A, reflection, and some small group discussion. In addition to a science research trip to Antarctica aboard Seabourn Quest in December 2017, Sean Todd, Steven K. Katona Chair in Marine Sciences, gave an invited talk at the University of Toronto on Allied Whale research in February 2018. His Great Courses project Life in the World’s Oceans, a thirty-episode video series published in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institute, which he both wrote and is the featured presenter, was also released in February.

IN MEMORIAM

A Remembrance of Polly Coté The first day we arrived at COA was August 1, 1974. Roc was to begin teaching that fall and we hoped to find a place to live. On Mount Desert Island. In August. Ann Peach and Mel Coté were the only people on campus that afternoon. They laughed at our naive expectation and explained, there was no available housing on MDI in August. Mel invited us to stay at his house. We arrived, and there was Polly—fixing a minestrone soup with vegetables from Mel’s garden, three young boys running around, and a guest room ready for us. She didn’t seem phased at all, just generous and open and full of her bright light. We stayed with them three or four nights and were friends for 43 years. Her homes were always filled with art—her children’s, her own, her friends’, museum posters. That was her heart: family, friends and art. She had big studios with oil paintings and wood cuts and lithographs all going on at the same time. And her homes were works of art as well, playful and surprising and welcoming. Her other art was cooking. She was an inspired chef and gathered people who were friends, or who she thought might be friends, given time together. I have an early memory of Polly sitting in her kitchen, reading a book. It was a late summer afternoon. She wasn’t cooking or parenting or painting. I was surprised by the quiet. She said she planned her days to have a moment. Simple as that. Every time I saw Polly, she cupped her hands on my face and held them there for a moment just looking and smiling. That’s how I think of her now. Helen Caivano

Lexie Watson ’93 has joined COA’s

Take-A-Break staff as Dining Hall Manager. She returned to MDI around twenty years ago to raise her children and start her own business, Little Red Hen Baked Goods. She is happy to be back on campus surrounded by amazing food and hungry students.

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE

55


The Right Foot of Juan De Oñate BY MARTÍN ESPADA for John Nichols and Arturo Madrid

On the road to Taos, in the town of Alcalde, the bronze statue of Juan de Oñate, the conquistador, kept vigil from his horse. Late one night a chainsaw sliced off his right foot, stuttering through the ball of his ankle, as Oñate’s spirit scratched and howled like a dog trapped within the bronze body. Four centuries ago, after his cannon fire burst to burn hundreds of bodies and blacken the adobe walls of the Acoma Pueblo, Oñate wheeled on his startled horse and spoke the decree: all Acoma males above the age of twenty-five would be punished by amputation of the right foot. Spanish knives sawed through ankles; Spanish hands tossed feet into piles like fish at the marketplace. There was prayer and wailing in a language Oñate did not speak. Now, at the airport in El Paso, across from Juárez, another bronze statue of Oñate rises on a horse frozen in fury. The city fathers smash champagne bottles across the horse’s legs to christen the statue, and Oñate’s spirit remembers the chainsaw carving through the ball of his ankle. The Acoma Pueblo still stands. Thousands of brown feet walk across the border, the desert of Chihuahua, the shallow places of the Río Grande, the bridges from Juárez to El Paso. Oñate keeps watch, high on horseback above the Río Grande, the law of the conquistador rolled in his hand, helpless as a man with an amputated foot, spirit scratching and howling like a dog within the bronze body.

“The Right Foot of Juan De Onate” from Vivas To Those Who Have Failed. Copyright © 2015 by Martín Espada. Reprinted by permission.

Martín Espada reads at College of the Atlantic on May 18th. The reading begins at 7 pm in the Thomas S. Gates, Jr. Community Center and is free and open to the public. This reading is part of COA’s Diverse Voices Series. 56

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE


FROM THE ARCHIVES Tasha Ball’s Student Perspective Speech from Commencement 2012 My parents are incredibly supportive people. So supportive, in fact, that at 16 when I told them that I was dropping out of high school to move in with my boyfriend they easily agreed and sent me on my way. My parents are models of living human ecology: their knowledge of the world is based on an innate understanding of the land, the other living biota they tend and share the world with, and their social and political connection to their community. To them, me dropping out of my junior year of high school meant I was simply joining “the school of life.”

a great quilt of human ecology. Not one of us has worked in isolation on these projects: the artists sought feedback from the botanists, the scientists from the philosophers, the gardeners from the ornithologists. From bioluminescence, to children’s camps, to brewing craft beer, to studying plastic particulates in Frenchman bay… These projects are glimpses into how each of us perceives our surroundings and express our own autonomy in a sea of ever increasing homogeneity. I—for one—feel so blessed to have shared these past four years with you.

Miraculously, I went back to finish high school… But even then I never thought I would go on to pursue higher education. I thought college was for the affluent, for the elite, and for people obviously far smarter than myself. Then, about five years ago something happened. I distinctly remember it as a time when I realized that honesty is the value I hold most important in life. With that realization came the insight that the only person I was lying to was myself.

Just imagine how much has happened in the rapidly changing world since we began this journey. Although much of it could cause a person to give up and retreat into the woods to wait out the extinction of our species, however, standing here today I see there is still so much hope.

I had convinced myself that I was not smart, was not capable, was not graceful, and in many ways, that I was worthless. I was sure that only people far more intelligent and graceful than myself went to college. At twenty three, a non-traditional student by popular standards, I decided I wanted to make more out of my life. The decision to come to college, something taken for granted by so many, took a huge amount of courage for me. Even after a full freshman year of new friends, of success, and of keeping up with my work, I wondered still if I had faked my way through. Now, four years later, I try to look back and recall that person who was scared of living up to her potential, and I am reminded that we all face challenges and moments of self-doubt. What would life be without those moments? I truly believe that beyond the things that are inevitable in life—illness, grey hair, good byes—beyond all those things we have the power to shape our own realities. Life is about how we view ourselves, and how we interpret the world we reside in. Looking at a Monet up close it is a blurred mess of random strokes. Change your frame of reference and it becomes ordered beauty. Who we become is about the different ways in which we understand and respond to events in this life, and each one of us has the opportunity to step back and examine the canvas before us from different angles. There is no better proof of that multiplicity of perspectives than in the programs in your hands. Reading over them, seeing the many different senior projects is like looking at

With my closing time here upon this stage, at this institution, on this island in Maine, with all of you my friends, my family, my great tree of support, I would like to offer a small bit of gratitude to those branches that have held me up and fostered my own internal success. It would be far too easy to simply recognize those of you who are most obvious: faculty, parents, advisors, trustees, fellow students: you know you have changed our lives and for that we owe a deep debt. It is those often-forgotten corners of our lives that I would like to recognize. To the staff of this institution: to the most nurturing, good-spirited, and loudest librarians I have ever met; to the buildings and grounds crew with your everpresent kind nature and your band of tricksters; to this town; to my neighbors and friends; to Fred, the four-year old I babysat every week over the past few years—you remind me not to take myself too seriously; and lastly, to the land that surrounds us here. These mountains have become like old friends whose backs I trek up onto to find reprieve. Like great, sleeping, granite giants they have kept me grounded. As each of us crosses this stage today, going forward with the tools we take, I ask you to remember the words of Marianne Williamson: Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous…? Actually who are you not to be? ❇


COA

COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC MAGAZINE 105 Eden Street Bar Harbor, ME 04609

Profile for collegeoftheatlanticmagazine

Landscapes Over Time  

College of the Atlantic Magazine. Volume 14. Number 1. Spring 2018.

Landscapes Over Time  

College of the Atlantic Magazine. Volume 14. Number 1. Spring 2018.

Advertisement