WASHINGTON COLLEGE MAGAZINE SUMMER 2018
The Year of the Bird
Photo by Bailey Reigel '20
Galápagos Adventure Just after Commencement, nine students joined Rebecca Fox, assistant professor of environmental science and studies, on a three-week journey to Ecuador that took them from the breathtaking elevations of the Andes Mountains to following in the footsteps of Charles Darwin in the Galápagos Islands. During the four-credit Ecuador Summer Field Course, students swam with sea lions, communed with blue-footed boobies (like the one pictured), toured the UNESCO World Heritage Center of Quito, paddled an Amazon tributary, visited the coastal town of Guayaquil, and walked amid the rainforest canopy, among many other adventures and explorations. Throughout, students studied local cultures, geography, animal and plant species, and a wide diversity of ecosystems while examining issues related to human population growth and development affecting these species and ecosystems. For many, the Galápagos Islands were the highlight. Most of the animals in these islands are unafraid of humans, allowing for some remarkably close encounters, including a sea lion that enjoyed following the students as they snorkeled, and iconic seabirds like the waved albatross (see inset with Bailey Reigel ’20) that allowed students to observe them from only a few feet away.
F E AT U R E S
20 Twenty Years
Foreman’s Branch Bird Observatory has now been around long enough to document long-term trends in bird populations and migration patterns.
by Wendy Mitman Clarke M’16
26 Of a Feather Photographer Linda Roy Walls ’09 focuses her lens on birds. by Karen Jones
30 If You Grow It,
They Will Come The Natural Lands Project is not only a boon for northern bobwhite, but also for the Chesapeake Bay and the people who live in the region. by Wendy Mitman Clarke M’16
D E PARTM E NTS
News It’s official: WC is a Bee Campus. CES funds an ornithology scholarship. Buzzfeed campaign wins platinum.
14 Faculty Economics professor Robert Lynch on immigration reform. Three earn tenure. 16 Students Psych major examines behavioral health climate on campus. Physics major heads to medical physics program at Duke. 35
Alumni Update Class notes. Alumni spotlights.
46 Development Couple creates new fellowship for study abroad. WC marks 50 years of its rowing program with two new shells. 2
WASHINGTON COLLEGE MAGAZINE
Volume LXVIII No. 3 Summer 2018 ISSN 2152-9531
A common yellowthroad in the restored grasslands of the College's River and Rield Campus broadcasts the news: It's the Year of the Bird. Photo by Dave Harp, Chesapeake Photos
Marcia C. Landskroener M’02 ASSOCIATE EDITOR
Wendy Mitman Clarke M’16 ASSISTANT EDITOR
Karen M. Jones CREATIVE ART DIRECTOR
Marie K. Thomas STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Shane Brill ’03 M’11 CLASS NOTES EDITOR
Erin Oittinen EDITORIAL CONSULTANT
Rolando Irizarry CONTRIBUTING WRITERS
Shane Brill ’03 M’11 Joan Katherine Cramer Maren Gimpel Phil Ticknor
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Dear Readers, E
ven before the sun’s up, I wake to the song of a wood thrush—his trill gently rousing me from sleep. The woods around my house are thick with hickory, beech, oak, and sweetgum. This bird has claimed his perch right outside my bedroom window, insisting that I learn to identify the source of this haunting music. In the quiet dawn, I take in nature’s chorus and am reminded that I am not alone. Nor is he. In this Year of the Bird, which marks the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Migratory Bird Act, I vow to come to know just who is singing marcia c. and nesting and f litting about in landskroener my trees. m’02 The birds are all around me, if I just pay attention. The giant pileated woodpecker drumming on a dead poplar. The finches feasting in the viburnum. The Carolina wren nesting in an old basket, its sides softened with moss. I am old friends with the osprey on the river and the Canada geese that arrive on my father’s birthday each September. I still thrill to see a bald eagle or a red-tailed hawk soaring over the fields. But there are so many I don’t know. The naming of a thing, the knowing of a thing, ascribes to it a certain power. My wood thrush and I are now on familiar terms. If I don’t hear him, I start to worry. Is he raising young? Will they survive and grow strong enough for the long trip to Mexico this winter? What can I do to make sure the habitat they need is here when they return next spring? And more broadly, how might accelerating climate change affect that migratory pattern? As Washington College partners with the Audubon Society, National Geographic, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and BirdLife International to celebrate birds everywhere, I’m tuned in to my corner of the world. Even as I listen and learn, the answers are all around me, if I just pay attention.
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The Alchemy of Washington College President Kurt Landgraf reflects on his first year in office. by Kurt M. Landgraf
ne of the alumnae I met during my first year at Washington College captured the essence of the transformational educational experience that has so impressed me about this place. “Washington College is not where I went,” she said. “Washington College is where I became.” Today, Kate Prynn Van Name ’91, a former English major with a deep appreciation for poets and philosophers, is chief operating officer at Warrior Centric Health, where she focuses on the business operations that positively impact the health and healthcare outcomes for veterans and their families. There are thousands of Kates out there— Washington College graduates who built the foundation for rewarding lives and successful careers through an extraordinary liberal arts experience. I’ve watched it happen for this graduating Class of 2018. I’ve talked to alumni who can each point to a pivotal moment in their lives where a professor made a difference. I’ve gotten thank-you letters from parents who are so appreciative of the lengths to which our faculty and staff go to guide and mentor their children through academic or personal crises. Young people come here, and this place changes them. It changes them in a positive way because the faculty here is exceptional not just academically, but in how they think about and engage with their students. I witnessed this most recently at a meeting of the Sophie Kerr Committee as they considered the finalists for the Sophie Kerr Prize. Sure, the English faculty discussed the quality of students’ writing, but they also talked about the students’ contributions to the College and to the community, and how 4
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President Kurt Landgraf greets students in front of Bunting Hall. He has made it a priority to spend time with undergraduates in the dining hall and to get to know them by attending a variety of lectures, performances, and sporting events. Photo by Joe Gaylor.
they interact with one another. The quality of their character also mattered. This is just one example of the holistic, student-centric approach I’ve witnessed since I arrived here. The faculty, in a real and fundamental way, cares about the students, and cares about this College. That is not the case everywhere, and that emotional investment—that heart— creates terrific student outcomes. At times, being president of Washington College seems like the toughest job on the
planet. We’ve had more than our fair share of heartbreaks. Our senior leadership is still in transition. Our student enrollment numbers aren’t where they should be— which means that I’ve asked departments across the board to reevaluate their spending habits and implement costsaving measures. We are also reevaluating some of the financial incentives that my predecessor, Sheila Bair, put into place to address college affordability and access.
The life of a college president revolves around students, faculty, and community leaders. CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot presents the Bright Lights Award to Washington College. President Landgraf greets Truman Semans at the groundbreaking for the Semans-Griswold Environmental Hall. English Professor Rich DeProspo was a marshal during Commencement ceremonies. Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford visited campus this spring.
I have great admiration and respect for Sheila, and she was right about the fact that the escalating cost of college is creating a national debt crisis. Most students and their families simply can’t afford $50,000 a year for a private college education. The status quo isn’t an option when young adults are holding $1.7 trillion in student debt. Colleges need to do something about it. Sheila was right about that and, given her track record at the FDIC as the savior of the national economy during the 2008 mortgage crisis, she was fearless in the face of this new dragon. The programs that she put into place at Washington College— George’s Brigade, Dam the Debt, the Saver’s Scholarship, and FixedFor4—set out to address one of the biggest challenges facing American colleges and universities today, especially the smaller liberal arts colleges. Unfortunately, smaller liberal arts colleges typically don’t have the financial firepower required to slay dragons. Here at Washington College, those programs created
a non-sustainable future. I’m doing the best I can to save the full-tuition scholarship program for first-generation college students now known as Washington’s Scholars (formerly George’s Brigade) because I believe we have a social responsibility to lift up as many promising young students as we can. For the time being, we are holding tuition steady for each incoming class. But moving forward, I want to reexamine our tuition expenditure model as a whole. We have to face the fact that setting tuition at one price and then significantly discounting that price is not sustainable financially, nor from an intellectual point of view. Who’s kidding whom? There are other times when being president of Washington College is the best job on the planet. I really like being here. I like working again. It’s like going back to college—attending the lectures and sporting events, enjoying music and theater. I love the fact that this is a place where students with very divergent intellectual
interests can somehow bring it all together, making meaningful connections through a multidisciplinary approach to their education. I’m pleased that the College has reconnected with Chestertown, and that our study abroad programs open up the world to our students. And I’m so impressed with the talent and dedication of the people of Washington College—particularly those working under the Provost’s Office who devote so much time to assure the success of our students, and those in College Relations & Marketing who have done a really good job in communicating what I call our value proposition—what sets Washington College apart—and supporting my desire to focus on outreach. So, what will the new academic year bring? I will continue to focus on the financial stability of the institution even as we investigate potential new revenue sources. I’m confident the Enrollment Management team will turn things around. And I expect the implementation of strategic plans for the Department of Athletics and the Center for Career Development will be a game-changer for us in terms of recruitment, retention, and reputation. With the completion of Hodson Boathouse and the construction of Semans-Griswold Environmental Hall, we’ll be well-positioned as a national leader in environmental education. And we’ll continue to drive the value proposition here in every way. I also remain deeply committed to ensuring the safety and security of our students, and the well-being of our faculty and staff. This summer, we are running mandatory active shooter training for faculty and staff, and we are hiring additional mental health counselors to help students who struggle with anxiety, depression, or addiction. As a new president, it’s tough to acknowledge that we have to worry about the people we care for coming to physical harm or doing harm to themselves, but the world has changed. We have to be ready for the unimaginable. And if we truly believe that we’re here for students and care about them as human beings, we have to make sure that we provide the right kinds of support services for them. We have our challenges, no question, but we also have programs and assets here that no other school in our peer group can match. We have the will to adapt. And just as importantly, we have the people—faculty, staff, and alumni—who believe in the metamorphic power of Washington College to help young people become their ideal selves. SUMMER 2018
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All Abuzz About the Bees Washington College has become the first higher-education institution in Maryland and the 35th in the nation to be designated an affiliate of Bee Campus USA, a program designed to marshal the strengths of educational campuses for the benefit of pollinators.
eekeepers can learn a lot about the health of a colony and bee hive hierarchy when they inspect the hive. They can see how much pollen the foragers are gathering, how much honey is being capped, and whether there are plenty of nurse bees tending the emerging larvae. If they can spot the queen, there might also be queen cells, indicating that the hive is preparing to swarm. The older guard bees can telegraph the emotional state of the hive. But there are just as many questions. How far must they travel for food and water sources—and how can we know whether those sources are pesticide-free? How does this social organism communicate and navigate their daily flight patterns? What does the summer dearth mean to your colony? How do you manage those despicable small-hive beetles? And how much honey will they need for overwintering? Yet the biggest question remains, how can humans ensure a bee-friendly environment in the face of enormous challenges to these tiny pollinators? In the campus garden, Washington College students are learning not just the mechanics of beekeeping, but also the interconnected relationships between the campus bees and the plants and flowers that sustain them. Last fall, for the first time, students harvested their own honey,
collecting about two gallons. And, they’ve participated in pollinator workshops with local community members to further educate people about the vital roles that pollinators play in agriculture, permaculture, and plant and human health. “Imperiled pollinators are responsible for the reproduction of ninety percent of the world’s wild plant and tree species. Washington College is a stellar example of the influence educational institutions can have on their students and the broader community,” said Bee Campus USA Director Phyllis Stiles upon announcing WC’s affiliation. “Their talented faculty, staff, and students offer an invaluable resource for Eastern Shore residents in seeking ways to manage ornamental landscapes in more wildlife-friendly ways.” “By studying and supporting pollinators, students are working to realign our culture with natural forces and enhance life on this planet,” said campus garden adviser Shane Brill ’03 M’11, who three years ago helped students install an apiary in the campus garden. “They can trace the path of a bee’s flight back to the energy of the sun and, in the course of that journey, reimagine our place in the world.” Through a Beekeeping 101 course hosted each spring by the Department of Environmental Science and Studies,
students examine bee anatomy, nutrition and colony behavior, and how to establish a hive. They become empowered in the role of “bee ambassadors” for the public, and they volunteer their apicultural skills in the community with the Upper Eastern Shore Beekeeping Association. Beyond maintaining the campus apiary, students involved in the campus garden program implement conservation landscapes that ensure thriving populations of pollinators in a local, resilient food system. They share their research on the College website with a growing inventory of useful plants they cultivate on campus. In its designation as a Bee Campus, Washington College has committed to minimizing hazards to pollinators by using no neonicotinoid pesticides, and almost no glyphosate herbicide or other potentially dangerous synthetic pesticides. According to Stiles, each certified campus must reapply each year and report on accomplishments from the previous year.
The Making of Management Material Partnering with Wake Forest University, Washington College opens up a new opportunity for students who are seeking a master’s degree in management.
dding another strategic collaboration to its growing list of post-graduate opportunities for students, Washington College is partnering with Wake Forest University’s School of Business for students who want to pursue a master’s degree in management. The agreement will streamline the application process for WC students and will provide scholarships based on their undergraduate efforts. “This is a terrific opportunity for Washington College students who are not business management majors but are looking at a career in management,” says Patrice DiQuinzio, provost and dean. “Wake Forest is seeking students with a strong liberal arts background for this program, so it’s a natural fit for us.” The Economist in 2017 ranked Wake Forest’s program fourth in the country, with 99 percent of its graduates landing jobs within six months of graduation. The 10-month program offers students a fast-paced introduction to business concepts related to finance, marketing, operations, business analytics, accounting, economics, organization behavior, ethics, career management, and information technology. The program also stresses teamwork skills with two “action learning projects.” Business management majors are not eligible for this program, but students with a minor in business management may apply. Under the agreement, Wake Forest will waive the application fee and essay, and, depending on the student’s GPA, the scholarships can range from $5,000 to $15,000. Wake Forest may also boost the scholarships based on a student’s demonstrated leadership ability, internships, extracurricular activities, and 8
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other examples of potential academic and professional success. “We are thrilled to work with our colleagues at Washington College, and to welcome their talented and purpose-driven students to our program,” says John White, executive director of enrollment management at the School of Business. “The master’s in management experience values the kind of leadership, courage, and social engagement Washington College students embody.” The partnership was developed by Charlie Kehm, chair and professor of physics, who worked closely with John Montana, senior associate director of master's enrollment management at Wake Forest. It joins other post-graduate partnerships between WC and other institutions including Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Maryland School of Nursing and School of Pharmacy, Georgetown University Medical Center’s Biomedical Graduate Education program, the College of William & Mary’s School of Business, and Loyola University, which offers fast-track admission to its Emerging Leaders MBA and master’s in accounting programs.
Seed Money for Birding Enthusiasts Marking the 20th anniversary of the Foreman’s Branch Bird Observatory and the Year of the Bird, Washington College has created a new scholarship for students who are interested in the science and study of birds. The Washington College Ornithology Scholarship will be awarded to two students in the incoming class of 2023, providing each $1,500 a year for four years. Scholarship recipients will also be given priority status in applying for bird-related internships at Foreman’s Branch Bird Observatory, located on the College’s 4,700-acre River and Field Campus. With its many different types of habitat—i.e., scrub-shrub, mature forest, wetland, water’s edge, and old field—Foreman’s Branch attracts an enormous diversity of species. The only observatory of its kind on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Foreman’s Branch is one of the few places where undergraduate students can receive long-term, hands-on training in the technical skills needed for ornithology studies. Closely mentored by master banders, student interns learn to remove birds from mist nets and then, bird in hand, apply bands, collect data such as fat level and wing length, and understand how to age and sex birds. The scholarship is funded by the College’s Center for Environment & Society.
Caps Off! Kevin Martin, head of public policy at Facebook, recounted the circuitous route he followed in pursuit of his dreams, and shared with Washington College’s 317 graduating seniors what he learned along the way.
Kevin Martin, former chair of the FCC, received the honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Photo by Matt Spangler.
s Washington College’s Commencement speaker Kevin Martin noted, rarely do career plans actually take graduates from Point A to Point B. Members of the Class of 2018 can expect technology to evolve, and work cultures to change, and pressures from work and life to mount. Along with incredible opportunities to prove themselves, they’ll face rejection and disappointment. But Martin’s own story of how a law-school graduate who couldn’t get a job on Capitol Hill ended up at the FCC, testifying about Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction at the 2004 Super Bowl, gave them an idea of what it takes to achieve their dreams. It’s not the roadmap but the destination, he says, that’s most important. Martin, one of the youngest chairs of the Federal Communications Commission who is now the oldest person “by far” at the Facebook offices in Washington, spoke with humor and grace about his own indirect career path, illustrating that flexibility, hard work, and faith can help them adapt to every new situation, every new challenge. He recalled his own college graduation from the University of
North Carolina in 1989, when students used IBM PCs instead of typewriters, and depended on the library’s card catalogs to help them locate academic materials. “Smart phones wouldn’t come along until our 20th reunion,” Martin said. “This means we went all the way through college without sending a single text or taking a single selfie. My boss Mark Zuckerberg was barely five years old. I don’t have to tell you, the Class of 2018, that in your lifetime the pace of technological change has been phenomenal. I’ve been lucky enough to help guide that change, first at the FCC and now at Facebook. Looking ahead, the pace of change will only accelerate.” To help them deal with projected shifts in the work force, Martin had three pieces of advice for the graduating seniors: Follow your dreams but be flexible in how you achieve them. Do every project to the best of your ability. And have faith. As chairman of the FCC, he said, Martin made decisions every day that affected the bottom lines of some of the most powerful companies and corporations in the world— ATT, Disney, Comcast, Apple. Their CEOs, as
well as some U.S. congressmen, had a lot riding on certain proposed regulations and pulled no punches in trying to intimidate him and sway his decision-making. His faith was his saving grace in trying times, he told the graduates. Martin concluded his remarks with thanks, not just to the College for awarding him the honorary Doctor of Laws degree, but to the members of the Class of 2018. “I want to say thanks in advance for what you’re going to do. I envy the amazing opportunities in front of you, and I know the education you have gained and the inspiring things you have done here at Washington College mean you will seize those opportunities to benefit your families, your communities, and our country. I don’t know what technology I’ll be using, but I can’t wait to watch and cheer you on.”
CAMPUS NEWS | BY THE NUMBERS
Bird by Bird Over the past 20 years, Foreman’s Branch Bird Observatory (FBBO) has been collecting data on the seasonal movements of migratory birds that travel between their breeding ground and their wintering habitats. More than 200 of the birds banded at FBBO have been subsequently encountered— some as far north as Newfoundland and as far south as Ecuador. The Observatory also monitors productivity of local breeding birds, including the grasshopper sparrow and the Eastern bluebird.
The first bird ever banded at FBBO—on March 22, 1998— was a Carolina chickadee. Since then, 996 chickadees have been banded.
The number of birds banded since 1998 (as of 5/31/18),
which includes 171 species
14,500 130 256 26 18 79,000 miles
FBBO holds age records for these frequent fliers
The average number of birds banded each year The average number of species banded each year
Orchard Oriole (11 years)
American Goldfinch (10 years, 11 months)
Hermit Thrush (10 years, 10 months)
The size of the banding station in square feet The number of banding internships awarded since 2008 The largest number of students—from an Introduction to Environmental Studies class—to visit the banding station on a single occasion The cumulative flight distance of an Eastern Wood Pewee (aged 8 years, two months), last captured at FBBO. This bird, which winters in northwest Brazil, would have made the 4,395-mile trip there and back at least 18 times.
Barn Swallow (10 years)
Cedar Waxwing (7 years, 1 month)
Swamp Sparrow (7 years, 10 months)
Grasshopper Sparrow (9 years, 1 month)
Field Sparrow (10 years, 4 months)
Dickcissel (8 years)
The number of foreign recaptures (birds banded elsewhere). A song sparrow that had been banded in Tadoussac, Quebec, Canada—700 miles away— holds the distance record.
Young Osprey Going the Distance: 1,964 miles to Venezuela | 2,100 miles to Trinidad | 2,700 miles to Ecuador 10
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Good Neighbors United Way of Kent County in April honored Washington College as its Business Partner of the Year, lauding the superior commitment of the College's work in the community. “With President Kurt Landgraf’s personal and institutional leadership, Washington College has become a major contributor and supporter of our work,” said Glenn Wilson, president of United Way of Kent County. “This clearly demonstrates the commitment of the College, and its generous staff and faculty, to helping those in need in our community.” “I’m just so proud that United Way of Kent County has honored Washington College in this way,” said Landgraf, who accepted the award on behalf of the College to a standing ovation. “This organization does so much good for people in our community who truly need help, and I’m grateful to know that thanks to the generosity of Washington College’s staff and faculty, we are making a real difference by working as partners with United Way of Kent County.” Early in his tenure as president, Landgraf made clear the value he places on the work of United Way and its ability to help all residents of the Kent County community. Last fall, Landgraf asked College employees to consider signing up for a payroll deduction to United Way of Kent County, pledging that he would match whatever they raised. As of midDecember, 82 employees had signed up for a total donation of $13,944, which Landgraf matched with $14,000 for a total donation of $28,000. That compares to 2016, when eight employees gave through the payroll deduction for a total of $1,248. United Way of Kent County raises and distributes funding to multiple organizations, with a focus on improving the health, education, and financial stability of Kent County residents. In addition to the College’s donations through the workplace campaign, the College has directly supported many United Way member organizations.
The Threat to Government Ethics The former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics visited campus in April, challenging the audience to consider the ethical standards of political candidates early in the campaign process.
Before his public lecture, Walter Schaub (center) chats with Richard Holstein ’68 (left) and George Spilich, the professor of psychology who directed the College’s Holstein Program in Ethics until his retirement this spring. Photo by Tamzin B. Smith Portrait Photography.
alter Shaub, an attorney who first joined the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) in 2001 and in 2013 was appointed to a five-year term as director by then-President Barack Obama, resigned in protest last year over what he has described as an ethics crisis in the federal government. A guest of the College’s Holstein Program in Ethics, Shaub recounted a litany of concerns about the Trump administration, in particular the blurring of government and business enterprises that, he says, pose national security risks. “Our public officials are not supposed to come to Washington and profit for their public service except for the salary that we choose to pay them. There shouldn’t be perks for higher office,” Shaub says. “Conflicts of interest shouldn’t influence their decision-making. But that’s exactly what’s happening right now. The president has applied himself with gusto to monetizing the presidency.” The final straw for Schaub was when the White House stonewalled the OGE’s request for secret waivers to ethics rules and then
questioned whether the OGE had the authority to collect ethics records from any part of the government. “This posed an existential threat to the OGE,” Shaub says. “We might as well pack up and go home.… It was clear to me I couldn’t achieve any more in that job, and I wanted to draw attention to the ethics crisis, so I resigned. It was the hardest thing I had to do, but it was worth it because the ethics program matters.” Shaub urged that the American people demand ethics in government and raise the question of ethical standards early in the election process, when it doesn’t cost them allegiance to their political party. “This is on us to hold leaders and candidates accountable for committing to government ethics. Ask yourself this: Which candidate is going to support government ethics? The tone from the top will affect how other people in the administration behave.”
Winning Ways in Marketing and Communications The College Relations and Marketing team garnered several awards this spring, including two communications awards for its Buzzfeed campaign and five creative awards.
t’s been a very good year for the College Relations and Marketing (CRM) team. The accolades began rolling in this April, when CRM landed five Hermes Creative Awards—three platinum and two gold—for its work across multiple disciplines and platforms. Going up against some 6,000 entries in 195 categories from the U.S. and internationally, from sources including marketing and communications departments, advertising agencies, PR firms, and production companies, the College’s CRM team won: • Platinum for the College’s strategic co-branded content BuzzFeed campaign, for electronic media, social media, and interactive media in content campaigns; • Platinum for the spring 2018 issue of the Washington College Magazine, “Like a Boss,” in print media and publications for magazines; • Platinum for the customized yield piece for enrollment, “Read This, We Dare You,” for print media, marketing, and collateral branding;
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• Gold for the video “Washington College: You’ll Love This Place,” in electronic media, social media, and interactive media for recruitment, used during the BuzzFeed campaign; • Gold for the River and Field Campus video “Washington College: The Year of the Bird,” for electronic media, social media, and interactive media for videography. Then came the Communicator Awards, the largest and most competitive awards program honoring creative excellence for communications professionals. Washington College earned two Awards of Distinction in marketing effectiveness for content marketing, and in digital/online advertising and marketing for its native advertising through the BuzzFeed campaign. The strategic campaign with BuzzFeed, a leading independent digital media company known to capture the 13- to 17-year-old market through its powerful distribution channels on social media, represents the first time the College has attempted to generate awareness on this scale.
“The goal was to reach high school students when they are most engaged–on their phones and on social media–with relatable sponsored content they care about to engage and share with their friends on Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram,” says Rolando Irizarry, Washington College vice president of communications and marketing. “The native content we strategically created within the BuzzFeed format authentically speaks to the unique values of Washington College and shares the college life experience while living on the Eastern Shore and in Chestertown. By doing this, we were able to generate mass awareness, spark interest, and drive students to look into Washington College as an option.” Two stories also took honors. The “Good Eats” story, video, and media coverage about the College’s Food Recovery Network won the 2018 Communitas Award, honoring excellence in community service and social responsibility. The River and Field Campus video celebrating the Year of the Bird won The Telly Award, honoring excellence in video and television across all screens.
Although there have been periodic protests over the last few years related to specific issues such as a proposed shipping canal project, “the scale and scope of these protests, which have caught a number of people by surprise, reflect an anger in some groups that has been building for years,” Christine Wade, of Washington College in Maryland in the US, told RFI. “I think the government is going to find that it’s got little choice but to either launch an inquiry or to support an inquiry from the outside,” says Wade. “This might have started as a policy protest but it has very quickly become about how the government and its affiliated bodies responded to these protests. “Nicaraguans I’ve spoken to of all political affiliations are demanding answers and justice for those who were killed ... and I don’t see that going away. I think it’s in the best interest of the Ortega administration not to ignore this.” Christine Wade, Professor of Political Science and International Studies, quoted in an interview with RFI (Radio France International) http://bit.ly/WadeRFI
Ancient Foodways for the New Millennium
The Eastern Shore Food Lab is a classroom and laboratory “to find, identify, and document as many ancestral dietary practices as possible around the world and throughout prehistory. And most importantly, to find ways to make them relevant …. Anthropology now has this kind of subfield called applied anthropology where, instead of just going and finding some remote tribe in Africa to study, you take these skills and say, ‘How can the work I do improve the life of the people I’m studying, whether it be in an inner city or somewhere in the remote areas of Africa or Australia.’ “Our skill sets are unique in the way we look at the world and the past. We can make real change beyond just understanding how this hominid fossil or how this stone tool was made. What can we do to impact the modern life of everybody? Sometimes we can, and food is one of those ways. We’re taking an experimental approach to learning about
Calls for Justice in Nicaragua
CAMPUS NEWS | CITED IN THE NEWS
the past and want to produce foods that are nutrient-dense, sustainable or regenerative, and meet or exceed the expectations of the modern palate.”
so there’s been a lot of work kind of recovering these lost women writers and focusing on all the different kinds of modernism. But there are a lot of other writers like Kerr who were taking some aspects of that formal experimentation and then also having more modern material and content and kind of using that for a middle-of-the-road audience ….She does seem really interested in carving out a space for her female protagonists that was focused on meaningful work and not connected to marriage and children, which, for the ’20s and ’30s was rare.”
Bill Schindler, Director of the Eastern Shore Food Lab and Associate Professor of Anthropology, interviewed in the South Africa Sunday Times http://bit.ly/SASTimesSchindler
Young Women Rise Up
Elizabeth Foley O’Connor, Assistant Professor of English, interviewed in The Chestertown Spy
“Moreover, it is not entirely clear that this gender gap has been shrinking in younger generations. For example, in the 2016 American National Election Studies (ANES), millennial women undertook fewer acts of political participation than men. Only among Generation X did women undertake more acts of political participation, on average, than men. “But this pattern could be changing among millennials and the next cohort of young Americans, defined as those individuals born after 2000. A new poll sponsored by the Public Religion Research Institute and MTV interviewed more than 2,000 Americans ages 15-24. It found that young women expressed higher levels of political and civic engagement than young men . . . What are the implications of this pattern? In the long term, perhaps the political activism of younger women will translate into a greater willingness to seek political office. In the short term, their activism could matter for the midterm election. There is already recent polling showing that Democrats are more enthusiastic than Republicans about voting in 2018. The heightened involvement of young women could help build an even bigger Democratic wave in November.”
The Maker Culture of Colonial Williamsburg
“You can study this from the history books, even better, you can get into the original documents. And you can read about what people did. It’s so different, though, when you read about making a common everyday item like an S-hook here, and then actually sitting here and having to do it… actually heating the metal up in the forge, trying to get that shape and realizing that the metal wants to work one way, you’re trying to do something else, understanding the context within which all these supplies—whether it’s coal, whether it is the iron, and then the finished products have to reach the troops in the field—that’s something that you can’t readily teach in the classroom.” John Seidel, Director of the Center for Environment & Society and Associate Professor of Anthropology and Environmental Studies, quoted in The Virginia Gazette
Melissa Deckman, Professor and Chair of Political Science, writing in The Washington Post’s “Monkey Cage” http://bit.ly/WomenDeckman
A Woman Ahead of Her Time
“Sophie Kerr is important I think because she is one of many women novelists who were very popular during this period who had a lot of critical and also popular success. And unlike a lot of them, Kerr was actually incorporating a lot of what today we would consider progressive content. …. In the last 20 years or
FA C U LT Y
Rise Up Economics Even as comprehensive immigration reform stalls in Washington, Professor Robert Lynch’s research stands, proving the economic benefits of providing a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented people living in the United States. by Marcia C. Landskroener M’02
he road to citizenship for millions of immigrants seeking a better life in America is fraught with obstacles. The country is deeply divided on the issue, with opponents warning of detrimental impacts on the social fabric of America, along with heavy burdens on federal, state, and local budgets. But Robert Lynch, the newly appointed Young Ja Lim Professor of Economics at Washington College, takes a measured view, carefully calculating the costs and benefits of granting citizenship to 11 million people, including two million Dreamers. The endowed professorship he holds was created with a $1 million gift from Jim Lim ’91, the son of South Korean immigrants. Lim earned a degree in economics at Washington College and an MBA in finance at Indiana University. The managing general partner of Greenspring Associates, he serves on the College’s Board of Visitors and Governors. “I was doing this research and writing about it when the topic of immigration reform exploded in 2013,” says Lynch. “It was fun to watch the news to see Senator Dick Durbin, for example, on the Senate floor talking about immigration reform and he’d be pointing at a chart with all my numbers.” On the strength of his methodological studies, Lynch was invited to participate in a number of debates and to testify before the House and the Senate on the costs and benefits of immigration. One of his amicus briefs to the United States Supreme Court addressed whether the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) would impose a net economic burden on Texas and other states in the case. Lynch again argued that DAPA 14
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Professor of Economics Robert Lynch appeared on the PBS NewsHour to debate the costs and benefits of granting legal status to undocumented immigrants.
recipients would pay more in state taxes than they received in state government benefits. “At the time,” he recalls, “some groups who were less than careful in their research were putting out enormous numbers: one opposition group said that granting citizenship status would cost the U.S. $6.3 trillion in losses. A proponent said it would benefit the United States by $2.7 trillion. So, they were $9 trillion apart. I had been working on this for a year, and my numbers were much smaller. I was projecting a small positive effect over 10 years of $200 billion or about $20 billion a year, and a small positive employment effect.” When the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office conducted its own analysis and came up with a net positive of about $197 billion over 10 years—a number nearly identical to Lynch’s—the press took notice. Lynch appeared on PBS’s NewsHour and wrote a half-dozen papers on what would happen to federally funded programs like Medicare and Social Security if the U.S. were to grant legal status and a pathway to citizenship to 11 million people.
This issue is just one aspect of a career devoted to evaluating the adequacy and effectiveness of various federal, state, and local government economic policies, reviewing government economic growth strategies, and studying the efficiency, fairness, and stability of state and local tax systems. For decades, he has collected data and analyzed the extent of income inequality in the United States, while considering what kinds of policies would narrow the income gap and raise overall standards of living. As a consultant for the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, he has evaluated various proposals to enhance education programs and provide widely shared economic growth. And as a research associate with the Economic Policy Institute, he evaluated the effects of state and local tax cuts, tax incentives, and public services on economic development and analyzed the benefits of investments in early childhood development.
Top Prof During Commencement ceremonies in May, Aaron Krochmal, associate professor of biology, was presented with the Alumni Association’s Distinguished Teaching Award. With his teams of student researchers, Krochmal has been studying the migration patterns of adult and juvenile Eastern painted turtles every summer for the past several years. His research on how older turtles use spatial memory to navigate overland in search of aquatic habitat has been featured in several notable professional journals including Animal Conservation, Current Biology, Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, and Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. This work has important implications for how animals respond to habitat loss and changing environments, and helps inform conservation management policies and practices, while also raising new questions about the evolutionary origin of complex cognition. Krochmal will deliver the keynote address at Fall Convocation on Aug. 30.
Three Professors Earn Tenure This spring, three exemplary young faculty members were awarded tenure and promotions.
FROM LEFT: James Lipchock, John Leupold, and Julie G. Markin are now tenured.
teaches music theory, composition, and percussion. In addition to directing the Eastern Maryland Youth Orchestra and the Chestertown Community Steel Band, he directs Steel Revolution, a steel pan student ensemble. He has twice taken students to the Festival of Steel in Morgantown, West Virginia, where they learned about the history and traditions of steel pan and heard master steel pan musicians play. Julie G. Markin, who holds a doctoral degree in ecological/environmental anthropology from the University of Georgia, joined Washington College in 2009 as a research associate in the Department of Anthropology. She was named a full-time teaching fellow in 2012 and an assistant professor in 2013. She and her department colleague, Aaron Lampman, direct an annual Southwest Summer Seminar that takes undergraduates from the ancient Anasazi dwellings of Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde to the American Indian reservations of the Navajo, Hopi, and Pueblos.
ssistant professors in the departments of anthropology, chemistry, and music successfully made the grade, earning tenured positions as associate professors. James M. Lipchock holds a master’s degree and a doctoral degree in biophysical chemistry from Yale University. In 2012, he joined the Department of Chemistry at Washington College, where his teaching and research center around biological molecules and incorporate spin physics and mathematics. For the past several years, Lipchock has selected chemistry and biology majors from Washington College to conduct summer research with him in the Loria Lab at Yale. All of these students are now pursuing doctoral or medical degrees, including one student— Patrick Ginther ’17—who has followed in his footsteps at Yale. John Leupold holds a doctor of musical arts degree in music composition from University of Maryland. In 2012, he joined the faculty at Washington College, where he
A Way Toward Wellness For her senior capstone project, psychology major Sabrina Carroll ’18 surveyed students’ attitudes and perceptions of behavioral health on campus and conducted eight in-depth interviews. Her findings may help the College alleviate the stigma associated with psychological disorders and get more students the help they need.
s a Resident Area Director, Sabrina Carroll ’18 recognized the signs students exhibit when they are troubled, and she took seriously her responsibility to ensure the physical and emotional health of her charges. As a psychology major with a clinical/counseling concentration, Carroll used her senior capstone project to illuminate the mental health challenges across the entire student population and to help launch her own career in psychological counseling. She will enroll this fall in Lehigh University’s master’s program in Counseling and Human Services. Her senior thesis, “Personalization Theory and Psychiatric Illness at Washington College,” looks at intergroup contact and explores how both positive and negative incidences of personalization—which entails everything from heart-to-heart conversations between best friends to random acts of kindness (or callousness) among strangers— feed into students’ overall sense of emotional security. While Washington College is known for its open, friendly vibe and strong sense of community, Carroll’s study of 225 participants identified a disturbing trend that can contribute to a troubled student’s sense of isolation. “Students are spending time with one another, and there are ample opportunities to get involved, but we’re really not engaging at a deep level,” she notes. “It’s (oftentimes) surface level. Psychological health is not coming up in our conversations. We’re not comfortable talking about things that are 16
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bothering us. Students are afraid of feeling awkward or being burdensome to others. That’s tough. If we felt comfortable engaging in a dialogue, we might realize just how many people are having similar experiences.” Carroll also collected some critical data that identifies a chasm between students’ perceptions of behavioral health issues on campus and what’s actually happening among the student population. “There’s a huge discrepancy between the number of students who have actually experienced some sort of psychological difficulty—ranging from a mild instance of anxiety to chronic and severe symptoms of depression—and our perception of those numbers,” Carroll says. “Nearly threequarters of the 225 participants in my study had experienced an occasion when they realized that things were not ok. Of those three-quarters, more than half have been diagnosed with a psychological disorder. That’s a big number. And yet, when I asked about perceived prevalence—‘How many students do you think experience psychological difficulty?’—that average percentage came out to 41.6 percent. That’s a nearly 34 percent discrepancy. A lot more people experience psychological issues than we are aware of.” In addition to sharing her findings during a departmental poster session, Carroll presented her work at an undergraduate research conference held at Georgetown University in mid-April.
Harvey Wins the Sophie
A Powerful Adversary An international studies major examines Russia’s military might.
From among five Sophie Kerr Prize finalists chosen from a number of student portfolios encompassing essay, poetry, non-fiction, journalism, academic scholarship, and print projects, Caroline Harvey, editor-inchief of The Collegian and managing editor of the Washington College Review, submitted the winning combination. Her submission included poetry, nonfiction, and academic scholarship from her thesis, “Poetics of Otherness: The Marginalized Experience Through the Insect Lens.” An English major with a minor in creative writing, Harvey attributes her fascination with the insect world to her early reading of Jurassic Park, which propelled her interest in connecting science and writing. “I had the distinct pleasure of directing Caroline’s thesis, which incorporated complex literary and identity theory with contemporary poetry in order to posit that Otherness can be owned and deployed in subversive and empowering ways,” says James Hall, director of the Rose O’Neill Literary House. “Her own poems find new metaphors to think in striking ways about gender, faith, and representation. Caroline uses traditional forms like sonnets and villanelles to subvert patriarchal assumptions about who has the right to speak. Reading Caroline Harvey’s work, I’m reminded of what Wallace Stevens said about how every poet has to reinvent the language for herself.” The prize was valued at $63,711. Harvey will take a gap year before pursuing a master of fine arts degree in poetry and a doctorate in English.
By Joan Katherine Cramer
Nick LaFever ’18 hopes his senior capstone project will convince people that working with Russia is a bad idea.
ussia’s re-emergence as a threat to the U.S. has been a growing concern since the 2016 election. But Nick LaFever ’18 has been on top of the story since 2008, when Russia invaded Georgia and seized control of the border region of South Ossetia. His senior capstone project is an ambitious—and alarming—look at how that five-day war inspired Russia to modernize its military and reestablish itself as a great power. “I was in the seventh grade during that war and found it fascinating,” he says. “Russia should have been able to crush a small country like Georgia, and they did win the war, but it exposed the extreme weakness of their military. Most of their fighters were shot down, their vehicles were broken, their soldiers didn’t even have matching uniforms, and that’s not the worst of it. In a U.S. military campaign, the general on the ground is in charge of everything, including where to use the air force—‘I need a plane to bomb this’—but the Russian general on the ground in Georgia at one point had to ask Russian journalists if he could borrow a cell phone to call his soldiers and find out where they were. And their air force was being led by some guy back in Moscow telling the pilots where to bomb. It was an international embarrassment.”
Vladimir Putin had always wanted a stronger military, and he used that humiliation to press for modernization of the country’s armed forces. LaFever says Russia spent the next decade reorganizing its chain of command and developing new technology that in some cases are superior to existing U.S. systems. But LaFever is especially impressed with their new capabilities in cyber warfare. “What they did in Ukraine (during the invasion that began in 2014) was unprecedented,” he says. “They jammed all the cell phones so soldiers couldn’t communicate with one another, they took down the power grid and left 250,000 people in the dark for a few days, and they flooded the country with fake news. This is very threatening to the U.S. For the past 17 years, we’ve been fighting terrorists. We’ve never had to think about an adversary that can shut down our communication systems and attack our grid.” An international studies major, LaFever sees a clear path to a career in government service. He won a scholarship to the Institute of World Politics, which he says has a strong relationship with the U.S. Army and the intelligence community.
Targeting Tumors For her senior capstone project, a physics major modeled the behavior of a proton beam as it enters the body. This fall, she'll enroll in Duke University’s graduate program in medical physics. By Joan Katherine Cramer
iran Pant ’18 says her senior capstone project was an unexpected gift combining two of her great passions—physics and cancer treatment— and illuminating a path to graduate school and a career. “I’d always wanted to work in the medical field, but thought I had to do biology or chemistry,” says Pant, a physics major minoring in mathematics who has been accepted into Duke University’s master’s degree program in medical physics. “Now I get to incorporate medicine and physics, which until last year I had no idea was even a thing.” Under the tutelage of Colin Campbell, assistant professor of physics, Pant created an ambitious computer simulation of the impact of a beam of protons on a tumor and the healthy tissue around it. A vast improvement over standard radiation therapy, proton beam therapy allows higher doses of radiation to be delivered directly to the tumor, sparing the surrounding tissue. “Protons (positively charged sub-atomic particles) are charged to a specific velocity and that velocity determines how deep into the body they’ll travel,” says Pant. “As a result, the optimal dose is deposited straight into the tumor. There’s a little bit of radiation scattering, but it’s not as significant, so there’s less harm to healthy tissue and fewer side effects.” For her project, Pant studied ways to minimize even that reduced amount of radiation scattering. “There are lots of equations,” she says. “I did my own coding—most of my thesis is in computer code—to graphically demonstrate how energy is lost from the protons as they’re traveling through the body. The angle at
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Kiran Pant ’18 presents her work at the physics symposium on campus.
which you deliver them is a big factor. My goal was to minimize the scattering as much as possible.” Pant, who was co-captain of the tennis team and an officer in her sorority, says she realized during her interviews at Duke how well WC—with its attentive faculty and emphasis on a well-rounded liberal arts education—prepared her for her chosen career as a clinical medical physicist. “I noticed that a lot of the other applicants didn’t know anything but physics,” she says. “I’ve taken English and business classes and we have a class for seniors in physics where you learn different presentation skills, ways of talking about your research, that you’ll use in the real world. My professors have all been amazing. They will do anything to help you and they’ve given me a lot of confidence for what lies ahead.”
Centennial Star Her coaches and professors all agree that she’s a rock star; now the Centennial Conference has validated that assessment. Varsity swimmer Julia Portmann ’19 has been named an Overall Scholar-Athlete of the Year spanning all 12 of the conference’s women’s championship sports. The Centennial Conference recognizes a Scholar-Athlete of the Year in each of its 24 championship sports. The award is given to a junior or senior member of the AllConference team with the highest cumulative grade point average. The Overall Scholar-Athletes of the Year are presented to the students with the highest GPA among the 12 men and 12 women’s winners. Portmann shares the female honor with McDaniel College’s volleyball student-athlete Taylor Baumann. Portmann, who is majoring in biology and environmental science, carries a 4.0 cumulative grade-point average. She earned All-Centennial Conference honorable mention in the 400 freestyle relay this year after picking up a silver medal in that event at the Centennial Conference Championships. She was named to the Centennial Conference Academic Honor Roll and the Academic AllCentennial team and was named the Centennial Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year for women’s swimming back in March. And in mid-May, she was named to the Google Cloud Division III Academic All-District II Women’s At-Large Team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America. Portmann is the second Washington College student-athlete in three years to receive this honor. Former women’s lacrosse student-athlete Anna Inserra ’17 was named the inaugural female winner in 2016.
The Heart of the Matter Maija Adourian ’18, the 2018 Eugene B. Casey Medal winner and recipient of the Department of Biology Award of Special Recognition, now has the research experience that will help distinguish her as a candidate for medical school. By Wendy Mitman Clarke M’16
aija Adourian ’18 was in high school the first time she witnessed open-heart surgery. And this wasn’t watching from behind some theater glass; she was in the room and close enough to have touched the patient, were that permissible. “I absolutely loved the environment, loved everything about it,” says Adourian, whose mother is a cardiac anesthesiologist. For a long time, she says, she was “tunnel-visioned with gaining all this clinical experience” in her goal to become a medical doctor. But working with Mindy Reynolds, co-chair and associate professor of biology, has broadened her field of vision so that now, she says, she feels like a much more well-rounded candidate for med school. “She pushed me in both cell biology and biochemistry to really think critically,” Adourian says. “Her tests can be tough, but after making it through those courses with her, you develop as a student and come out of them with a new perspective on problem-solving-type situations you might experience in the real world … There is almost no better feeling in the world than Dr. Reynolds getting excited about a piece of data you produced or a paragraph that you wrote well. I would probably not have even sought out any research opportunities in a lab if not for her.” Adourian, a biology major with emphasis in cell/molecular biology and infectious disease, and a chemistry minor, co-authored with Reynolds a poster that Adourian presented in March at the Society of Toxicology’s (SOT) annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas. Entitled “Mismatch repair proteins are required for toxic responses following exposure to heavy metals in yeast,” the poster presentation was the result of Adourian’s research with Reynolds—including last summer
Maija Adourian ’18 graduated magna cum laude with departmental honors in biology. Photo by Matt Spangler.
what we learn from the yeasts to see if we get the same results in cell culture. It’s important because we want to know more about the exact pathways that metals use to cause cancer in humans… because we’re exposed to them with batteries, cigarettes, contaminated air, water, soil.” Adourian plans to take a gap year and work as a medical scribe, while taking her MCATs this summer and applying to medical schools.
as a Toll Fellow in the Summer Research Program—and was the basis for her Senior Capstone Experience project. The research focuses on the effects of certain heavy metals—cadmium, cobalt, and nickel—on two types of yeast, which either have properly functioning mismatch repair, a required process to fix DNA damage, or are lacking the necessary proteins. Their results found that a particular type of yeast was more resistant to cadmium, a known carcinogen. “Yeasts have homologous proteins with humans,” Adourian says. “So when we look at the yeast model, one, they are pretty similar as mismatch repair, and two, our findings are helpful because we can use
Twenty Years Young By Wendy Mitman Clarke M’16
In March, Foreman’s Branch Bird Observatory at the College’s River and Field Campus marked its 20th year of banding and recording data on hundreds of thousands of songbirds and other migratory fliers. By all accounts, its work has only just begun.
BAND OF BIRDERS: From left, Dan Small, Andrew Wells ’18, Andrea Freemann ’18, Prof. Jennie Carr, Virginia Parker ’19, and Maren Gimpel.
“Taken all together, the flight paths of birds bind the planet together like 100 billion filaments, tree to tree and continent to continent. There was never a time when the world seemed large to them.” —Jonathan Franzen “Why Birds Matter,” National Geographic, January 2018
ABOVE: Jim Gruber, director of the Foreman's Branch Bird Observatory, holds the common yellowthroat that represents a not-so-common milestone. Last September, the young male became the 250,000th bird to be banded at Washington College's bird station.
n the photo marking the momentous event, Jim Gruber, director and master bander at Foreman’s Branch Bird Observatory, is smiling, his eyes pleased, if a little tired. His blue T-shirt is darkened here and there with sweat. Gripped firmly in the fingers of his right hand, a young male common yellowthroat sits alertly, one gimlet eye bright on the photographer, his namesake feature glowing gold beneath a cap and back of velvety dun-colored feathers. Like so many songbirds, the yellowthroat seems impossibly fragile, yet he has thousands of miles ahead as he migrates south, perhaps to Central America or the Caribbean, before returning this way again in spring. His significance to Foreman’s Branch—the reason for the photo on September 17, 2017—is that he’s the 250,000th bird banded at the College’s banding station, which this spring celebrated its 20th anniversary. His significance to the larger world is his very presence; like so many songbirds, the common yellowthroat has seen a dramatic population decline—about 38 percent from 1966 to 2014—largely due to loss of habitat.
Research Center. “Bird banding programs such as Foreman’s Branch will play a pivotal role in documenting changes that will be occurring within the mid-Atlantic region and provide a context for comparison with changes reported from other regions in North America.” In addition, Peterjohn notes, the College’s institutional support through the Center for Environment & Society, which oversees the River and Field Campus (RAFC) where the observatory is located, and Foreman’s Branch’s role in educating fledgling studentscientists in hands-on ornithological field skills sets it apart. Since 2008, the station has provided paid internships for 26 Washington College students, who are closely taught the quick and delicate skills needed to band birds as varied as hummingbirds and owls, as well as how to identify species, age, and sex, and measure wing length, weight, and fat content (a key factor in migration). “These types of opportunities have become increasingly rare as many institutions tend to emphasize laboratory and genetic studies over field research,” Peterjohn says. “With a substantial long-term banding data set
Were it not for stations like Foreman’s Branch, where Gruber, field ecologist Maren Gimpel, and a small and ever-changing army of volunteers, staffers, and student interns have captured, banded, and documented two decades of data on hundreds of thousands of birds, we would only be able to speculate about such things. Instead, the data collected at Foreman’s Branch and a handful of major, long-lived stations, such as the 60-year-old Allegheny Front Banding Station in West Virginia, and the 50-year-old banding program at Manomet in Massachusetts, help tell a story that affects birds worldwide. And while 20 years seems like a lot for the only station of its kind on the Eastern Shore, Foreman’s Branch is just now coming into its own as a source of data for examining longterm trends that help refine and clarify that story, particularly as migratory birds face the effects of climate change. “Scientists suspect that the timing of migration and bird movement patterns will likely respond dramatically to a warming climate,” says Bruce Peterjohn, chief of the U.S. Bird Banding Laboratory for the U.S. Geological Survey at the Patuxent Wildlife
ABOVE: A newly banded American goldfinch is released from the bird station at Foreman's Branch Bird Observatory. Photo by Katie Martin. OPPOSITE: FBBO intern Kayla Lauer ’19 (second from left) shows off her feathered friend to seasonal banders Vicki Morgan, Nancy Raginski, and Sarah Groendyk. Top photos by Katie Martin.
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combined with the educational opportunities associated with Washington College, Foreman’s Branch Bird Observatory remains a largely untapped resource for studying the migration ecology of bird populations through the mid-Atlantic region. I suspect that the banding program at the observatory will make increasingly significant contributions to our understanding of bird movement patterns for many years into the future.” Gruber, who independently founded the station in an old pheasant cote on what is now the River and Field Campus, says 20 years is significant, although it places the station at “baseline, basically.” “One of the things [scientists] are looking at right now is populations seem to be in steep decline. And the longer you’re in a location doing the same thing in the same habitats at the same times, and roughly the same amount of time and effort put into it, you’re going to be able to see that trend, or not, and prove or not prove that,” Gruber says. “Twenty years as far as a banding set is long for most banding stations, but there are stations out there who have 60 or 70 years. I’d like to see it, more than anything, continue this long dataset so we can find out are things really changing that dramatically.” Some species that frequent Foreman’s Branch, such as the wood thrush, have seen declines as much as 60 percent over the past 50 years, according to Pete Marra, director of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. “Long-term data from single sites, like Foreman’s Branch, are essential for understanding various aspects of bird ecology,” Marra says. “Banding stations are especially unique in that they collect data on the actual birds, from their molt patterns to physical condition, to determining where they originated the previous breeding season, by looking at the stable hydrogen isotopes in their feathers.” On average Foreman’s Branch bands about 15,000 birds of about 130 species every year. As of January 2018, it holds North American age records for 10 species, including orchard oriole (11 years), American goldfinch (10 years, 11 months), hermit thrush (10 years, 10 months), and grasshopper sparrow (9 years, 1 month). During last year’s fall migration banding season, which annually stretches from steamy August 1 through chilly November 30, staff, interns, and volunteers banded 9,147 birds of 123 species. The top species was white-throated sparrow at 1,463, along with 497 ruby-crowned kinglets, 288 indigo buntings, and 242 hermit thrushes. Highlights included banding the station’s first-ever great blue heron, its third barred
owl, and capturing a song sparrow that had been banded by the Tadoussac Bird Observatory in Quebec, 700 miles northeast of Foreman’s Branch. There are a couple of key factors that make Foreman’s Branch so consistently successful at what it does. One is habitat. The 4,700acre River and Field Campus offers a broad diversity of habitat including restored native grasslands, agricultural fields, fallow fields, brush and thicket, early successional shrub and scrub, second-growth woodlands, mature wood lots, and the open water and mudflats of Foreman’s Branch itself. In 2006, Audubon granted the station Important Bird Area (IBA) status, based in part on the unusual habitat and bird populations there. This diverse habitat—as well as a geographic location that is broader than a typical migratory chokepoint such as Cape May, New Jersey—brings in an array of species. For instance, in May 2017, the station recovered a least sandpiper that the station had first banded in May 2011 and then captured again in 2012. Tiny shorebirds that migrate between the Arctic and South America—well over 6,000 miles one way— this individual consistently has used the mudflats of Foreman’s Branch as a stopover for food and rest. “Protecting these habitats is just as important as protecting breeding and wintering grounds,” Gimpel says. Consistency of habitat is also key, as it helps remove variables in the banding equation and thus the data. Although they can’t keep trees from getting taller, much of the habitat at Foreman’s Branch and RAFC is routinely maintained, such as the restored native grasslands, which go through regular prescribed burns. Another vital factor is consistent effort and staffing. At the height of banding season, Gruber, Gimpel, interns, and volunteers put in steady eight-hour days, seven days a week, and if owls are moving, they will also band well into the night. During one memorable day in October 2012, they captured, weighed, measured, banded, and logged 71 ruby-crowned kinglets, 86 song sparrows, and 153 whitethroated sparrows. (There’s a reason that Gruber’s T-shirt in that photo looks a little sweaty and his eyes a little tired.) “I would emphasize that the reason there are so few stations that have been around for so long is that it’s a lot of work on many levels. You need the land, the people, the training, and to not get sick of it and keep going. So the fact that this station has made it 20 years is a testament to that guy,” Gimpel says, pointing at Gruber. “Some people think monitoring is boring, but if no one is watching, no one
On average Foreman’s Branch bands about 15,000 birds of about 130 species every year.
Foreman's Branch (Jan. 2018)
holds North American age records for 10 species: orchard oriole (11 years) American goldfinch (10 years, 11 months) hermit thrush (10 years, 10 months grasshopper sparrow (9 years, 1 month)
Highlights from the 2017 fall migration banding season
Highlights from the 2017 fall migration banding season
Staff, interns, and volunteers banded
9,147 birds of 123 species Top species:
1,463 white-throated sparrows 497 ruby-crowned kinglets 288 indigo buntings 242 hermit thrushes
• Banded the station’s first-ever great blue heron • Banded its third barred owl • Captured a song sparrow that had been banded by the Tadoussac Bird Observatory in Quebec, 700 miles northeast of Foreman’s Branch
ABOVE: Jim Gruber and Maren Gimpel review collection data.
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is going to know what is happening. It’s really important to just be documenting what’s happening.” Along with consistency and longevity of effort, money is always a challenge. Nets cost money, and so do qualified staff. “You can’t run this operation with just new people. You can’t train up a volunteer lickety-split. I don’t think people really understand how highly technical and trained a skill it is. People say, ‘Oh just get a student to do it.’ No, that’s not how it works. A student can grow into that, but it’s just a really technical, highly skilled thing,” Gimpel says. “So money and staffing are the biggest challenges.” The station supports Washington College faculty’s research, such as the multi-year study into field sparrows, whose populations have declined 65 percent from 1966 to 2010, according to the North American Bird Breeding Survey. Assistant Professor of Biology Jennie Carr has been collaborating with Gimpel and Dan Small, leader of the CES’s Natural Lands Project, to document nesting sites and specific sparrow behaviors. “Because the staff at Foreman’s Branch has been banding birds for so long out there, we have a really well-characterized population of field sparrows where we know exactly how old they are,” Carr says. “Very few other studies can do that; they know if they’re two years old, and that’s it. But we know we have some birds that are seven, eight, nine, and so on… when you’re interested in age, and you need this longitudinal study, you need to know how they did when they were four versus five, five versus six.” Other scientists also take advantage of the built-in data and environment of the station, such as a PhD student at the University of Delaware who is studying whether artificial light interferes with migration. Using the station as one of the study’s two “dark” locations, with little ambient light, the researchers have installed two lights on poles, which the station staff turn off and on at a prescribed schedule while running the banding operation as usual. “Did the lights attract more birds, did we capture more birds, did we capture fewer, did the lights make a difference either way?” Gimpel says. “Everyone thinks lights interfere with migration, but he will have this data to show it, and we will have been major collaborators on this potentially cutting-edge, important research.” Perhaps the station’s most important role, behind banding data, is educating people about birds. In 2017, the banding station gave 81 demonstrations to 566 people. Just over 250 of them were Washington College students, while the rest came from throughout the community, including neighboring high school students and birding groups, as well as students from Dickinson College and members of the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy. “Birds have the ability to light a spark with people,” Gimpel says. “So if we can work it into environmental education, the bigger picture, that’s great. Orchard oriole numbers are down; well, why are they down? Where do they go? What’s happening?” It’s important work, not only for the quantifiable data, but to instill in people a sense of wonder about these remarkable winged travelers, to consider how human decisions are affecting their ability to survive, and to understand the very real connection that the woods, fields, and mud flats of Foreman’s Branch have to their challenging lives. “The radical otherness of birds is integral to their beauty and their value,” Jonathan Franzen writes in National Geographic’s January 2018 Year of the Bird issue. “They are always among us but never of us. They’re the other world-dominating animals that evolution has produced, and their indifference to us ought to serve as a chastening reminder that we’re not the measure of all things.”
ABOVE: This map depicts the expanse of territory traveled by birds that were subsequently recovered or recaptured between 1998 and 2016.
Of a Feather by Karen M. Jones | Photos by Linda Roy Walls ’09
In the Year of the Bird, this kindred spirit says they deserve a century—captured in colorful split seconds.
Photo of Linda Walls
ABOVE: Linda Roy Walls ’09. Photo by Tamzin B. Smith Portrait Photography. OPPOSITE: A juvenile orchard oriole.
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hotographer Linda Roy Walls ’09 has stalked birds with her camera in the jungles of Costa Rica. She has traveled to Belize, photographing beneath tangled green canopies near Monkey River Town, and to Ireland, snapping plovers at the Flaggy Shore on Galway Bay. Her images of a European goldfinch and tundra swans each earned a People’s Choice award in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s annual BirdSpotter contest. Smithsonian Magazine included her work in its digital “Photo of the Day” series. And recently Mike Hudson ’18, co-editor of North American Birds, the journal of the American Birding Association, called asking to use Walls’ photo of a goldfinch in an upcoming issue. Despite her international pedigree, Walls is most inspired by the boundless skies and waterways of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where she and 10 generations of family before her have lived. Many of her arresting photographs were shot outside her home in rural Galestown in Dorchester County. As is often the case, her calling began with a legacy. Her father gave her his camera, a Canon Juniorette 35 millimeter, after using it during two military tours in Vietnam. She was 12. Walls started snapping animals, landscapes, architecture—whatever caught her eye. When she went off to college, initially at the University of Maryland, she majored in photojournalism. “I wanted to be a freelance photographer in developing countries,” Walls says. “But then my practical side got ahold of me. Still, in my early 20s, I traveled to an isolated area of Belize and photographed anything I could photograph. It was a very primitive place, and I immersed myself in the culture. That got me interested in nature.” Today, the walls of her downtown Chestertown gallery, Photographs & Memories, are a profusion of warblers, herons, hawks, and doves rendered on canvas, wood, and metal. She also manages her own consulting firm for nonprofits and public agencies, often using her photography to tell the stories of Eastern Shore residents and communities. But the finely feathered varieties are her muse. Walls has photographed hundreds of species, in habitats as diverse as Maine’s remote Grandview Lake, Rock Hall’s Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge, and her own backyard. Still, she has not yet perfectly captured her favorite, the belted kingfisher. “They’re ornery birds, and they seem to know I want to photograph them. After I’ve been patient for 45 minutes or an hour, one will fly right toward me … and over my head.” Her tone turns a little dreamy as she recalls close encounters. “In Ireland, the kingfishers are iridescent,” she says. “That’s my favorite bird. That’s the one I’m after.”
ABOVE: Great blue heron. OPPOSITE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: American goldfinch. Great white egret. A family of barn swallows.
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A dark-eyed junco with delicate flecks of frost dusting its face. Two mourning doves in shades of lavender, fawn, and pink, eyes closed, tending one another with reverence. A bluebird snacking on a beetle. A great white egret perched to perfection on a branch, its plumage as sheer as a wedding veil. None would have been made immortal without Walls’ enormous stores of patience. “You have to wait,” she says. “That doesn’t mean that I’ll go out for two hours today and sit. It means I need to go out for two hours every day. You have to meld into the surroundings. They’ll get accustomed to your routine and you as part of the landscape. I sometimes even wear the same clothes.” Walls’ Eastern Shore heritage helped her develop the will to wait. “I grew up in a hunting family,” she says, “so I was accustomed to sitting in the woods or in a duck blind. That taught me to be quiet and still, what to look for, and to watch patterns of wildlife.” At Washington College, as a transferring nontraditional student, Walls changed her major to psychology and learned even more about the powers of observation. “Observation of human behavior, to me, applied to all living things. I also learned not to make assumptions about anything, not if I have just a single observation. [I need] multiple observations.” In 1990 Walls moved to a log home in the woods near Chestertown and put up a bird feeder. An indigo bunting showed up one day, its vibrant blue hue enthralling her. As she started photographing a parade of avian visitors, her curiosity grew. She looked them up in midAtlantic bird books and listened to Audubon recordings of bird sounds. Now, nearly 30 years later, she’s attuned to the distinctive notes that slip past the rest of us, undetected. “I can be in deep conversation with someone, and as soon as I hear a bird, I get distracted. I’m right away identifying what I’m listening to. ‘There’s a wren over there, I wonder what it’s doing?’ Or, ‘That’s a woodpecker, but I wonder which woodpecker it is?’” Walls recommends the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Merlin app to help beginning birders identify species. “I rarely see something I don’t recognize now,” she says, mentioning a rose-breasted grosbeak whose blushing, heartshaped chest marking she’d spotted just the day before. It’s a bit like a treasure hunt whose bounty renews, season after season.
The challenge for experienced nature photographers like Walls goes beyond simply framing favorite species to capturing them in action in their natural habitats. Teaching fledglings to fly, snatching meals from watery smorgasbords, and performing dazzling mating dances—these are images that tell a story. “I’m looking for drama,” Walls says. “One night at the end of High Street, in the span of about 20 minutes, I saw three ospreys—one of them fishing next to the bridge—two eagles trying to get the fish from the osprey, a couple of herons, some ring-neck ducks, and then the usual Muscovies and mallards. There was so much drama in the sky!” Walls admits to imagining human behaviors among her winged subjects. “I’ve seen two tundra swans start arguing with each other— they posture and puff their chests out, rise up out of the water—and then here come all the other tundra swans, like when someone would start a fight at school, and everybody would run to see it. Then a Canada goose couple goes by, and they’re kind of interested, too, but the female seems to say to the male, ‘Stay out of it.’” Yet amid the drama are more intimate marvels: The tilt of a tiny head. The sharp swoop of a crest. The grace of great wings beating air. Walls says their eyes are surprising. “From far away, we might see just dark specks, but they have colored eyes. I’ve even seen birds with two different-colored eyes. When I can see the color of their eyes in a photograph—when I can get that close—that, to me, is the most satisfying.” That, and of course, the perfect shot of the belted kingfisher. Walls’ quest continues. In a life full of milestones and achievements, sometimes the greatest wonder arrives on wings in just the right light. For Walls, it’s well worth the wait.
V Photographs & Memories is located at 308 Park Row in Chestertown. Walls’ work has also been exhibited at Heron Point, RiverArts, Adkins Arboretum, the Dorchester Center for the Arts, Queen Anne’s County Center for the Arts, Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, Easton Waterfowl Festival, and the Ward World Championship Carving Competition in Ocean City, among other regional venues.
If you grow it, they will come. Story and photos By Wendy Mitman Clarke Mâ€™16
Begun as an effort to restore bobwhite quail on the River and Field Campus, the Natural Lands Project is now reaching across the upper Eastern Shore, helping landowners find a balance between agriculture and habitat restoration and improving the Bayâ€™s water quality all the while.
The little sparrow with the pink beak calls out, over and over, so simply—not to me but to the whole world. All afternoon I grow wiser, listening to him, soft, small, nameless fellow at the top of some weed enjoying his life. If you can sing, do it. —From “Just Lying on the Grass at Blackwater,” by Mary Oliver
e hadn’t stepped more than one foot into the chest-high meadow of flowers and native grasses at Rob and Linda Leigh’s farm in Betterton when I looked down and saw it. Tucked perfectly into a surrounding framework of stout purple stems, the nest was barely off the ground. Inside, two newly hatched field sparrows (most likely, anyway—hard to tell at this stage), their barely fuzzed heads like pink marbles, lay next to a pair of pale eggs, speckled with brown, yet to hatch. Rob Leigh gasped. “Linda!” he called, “you’ve got to come see this!” It was their second stunner of the day. Earlier, having just driven up to the farm for the first time in two weeks, the Leighs rounded a bend in the road and saw one of their meadows that Dan Small, a field ecologist with Washington College’s Center for Environment & Society (CES) and coordinator of the Natural Lands Project (NLP), had planted last year. Now in its first full season, it had burst into a sea of gold, with heliopsis—a kind of native sunflower— covering the gently sloping field that only a year ago had been planted in corn. “Linda said, ‘My God, it’s in full bloom!’’’ Rob says. “Tears were running down her face.” It’s probably not the typical reaction of the landowners who partner with Small and the NLP, but in an era when so much of the narrative of our natural world seems bleak (field sparrows, for instance, have seen a 69 percent population decline between 1966 and 2015, according to the North American Breeding Survey), these transformations provoke awe and excitement. Now in its third year, the Natural Lands Project has worked with landowners to create 375 upland acres and 36 wetland acres in Kent and Queen Anne’s counties, a foothold of hope for species like bobwhite quail, field sparrows, monarch butterflies, and, by extension, humans. In addition to working with 27 private landowners, the NLP has added 25 upland acres and four wetland acres on a Chesapeake Bay Foundation property outside of Rock Hall. And on the state’s Sassafras Natural Resources Management Area, a few miles upriver of the Leighs’ place, this spring the NLP converted 83 acres of row crops to 80 acres of upland meadow, two acres of walking trails, and an acre of hedgerows, Small says. “That will be great wildlife habitat, a good recreation area for the public, and great for water quality,” Small says.
ABOVE: Through the Natural Lands Project, Kent County landowner Rob Leigh has converted some of his corn fields into meadows—restoring habitat for birds and wildlife. OPPOSITE: Specifically, the Leigh property in Betterton is supporting (from top) monarch butterflies, indigo buntings, and pollinators such as this bumblebee. Photos opposite by Dan Small.
“The Natural Lands Project encompasses the best of what we do and teach—it restores habitat, cleans the Bay, and perhaps most important, it provides an example to our students of how the cultural links between environment and society can be used in restoration,” says John Seidel, director of the CES. “That social and community element in restoration is critical to the future of the Chesapeake, as well as to watersheds around the world.” The inception of the project can be found in the restored native grasslands at the College’s River and Field Campus (RAFC) and in birds—or rather, the lack of birds— bobwhite quail, specifically. As a gamebird, the bobwhite historically is on a cultural par with the Canada goose on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. But as their habitat has changed, their iconic bob-WHITE call has begun to vanish. 32
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“Quail thrive in disturbed lands,” Small says. “The farming practices back in the ’50s and ’60s, with the fallow field rotation and weedy fields, had the byproduct of creating early successional habitat, and that was disturbed land on a regular basis. Now, with no-till farming heavily dependent on herbicide, there’s no land disturbance, so a lot of those weedy corners of fields no longer exist. So, if we are to have quail on the landscape we have to create and maintain habitat. It’s no longer a byproduct of farming.” Few things are as lovely as a mid-summer meadow, but for nesting bobwhite quail and many songbird species, not all meadows are created equal. Meadows full of native warm season grasses, like bluestem and switchgrass, grow in clumps, providing dense coverage above but open areas below. This is critical for baby bobwhites, who leave the
nest quickly after hatching and need to be able to forage on bare ground while staying hidden. Non-native, or exotic, cold season grasses, like orchard grass and tall fescue, do what invasive species do best—they take over everything, creating an impenetrably thick understory on the ground that a young bobwhite can’t navigate. During the winter, quail need woody, shrubby cover, as in hedgerows and field edges, where they can shelter from predators and harsh weather. During the winter of 2010, major back-to-back snowstorms nearly wiped out what was left of the bobwhites at RAFC. “On average I was hearing two males during each survey calling during the summertime, compared to around 30 or so the summer previously,” Small says. “It was devastating to hear so few birds.” As Small and others were analyzing how to manage habitat at RAFC to restore quail there, they realized that what is good for bobwhites is also good for the Bay. Natural buffers that could provide the habitat so necessary for quail would also filter agricultural runoff—one of the most problematic issues facing the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. In an effort to motivate landowners to create more habitat for the quail—and, by extension, create buffers that would help reduce agricultural runoff—CES in 2015 partnered with the Chester River Association (now part of ShoreRivers) on a $700,000 award from the Department of Natural Resources. “The concept was simple,” says Mike Hardesty ’05, associate director of programs and staff at CES. “Transform less-thanproductive agricultural land into natural habitat for iconic species. Give landowners a cultural reason—even more compelling than a financial one—to set aside some of their land for habitat management, which in turn would benefit local water quality and Bay restoration efforts.” In the first two years, the NLP created 274 acres of native upland grasses and wildflowers in marginal cropland on 11 participating farms. Ten wetlands projects—25 acres of wetlands in fields with unproductive soils poorly suited for growing crops—were also completed. College students and CES researchers began what will be a continuing survey of bird populations to monitor abundance and diversity at each site. The project has been so successful that in September 2017, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) granted CES $500,000 to expand the NLP into the midshore. The foundation grant met $801,000 in matching funding from CES and its partners, Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy, Ducks
Unlimited, and Pickering Creek Audubon Center, for a total of $1.3 million for the project. The work in the native restored grasslands and managed areas at RAFC has yielded remarkable results for bobwhites. Small, who has been conducting standardized counts there since 2009, says that after the die-off in 2010, the birds have steadily rebounded. As of last fall, Small has estimated between 40 and 45 coveys and counted 30 calling males— the highest documented numbers in the state of Maryland. “It has been hopeful, but we have learned a few things,” he says. “You need to have really good nesting habitat for the population to respond, and it needs to be managed.” Areas of RAFC that weren’t managed after the 2010 snowstorms have not seen as much of a recovery, he says, while managed areas have come back strong. The prescribed fires conducted in the grasslands at RAFC are a good example of management, as is brushhogging, disking, and even targeted, limited use of herbicides for noxious weeds. “It’s not so much about managing for species of plants as much as the structure that those plants provide,” Small says. “For instance, not letting early successional habitat become 20- to 25-foot high trees that would shade out the understory with no cover… We’ve found if you do not do any management on certain areas, the quail habitat quickly degrades and quail move out of the area.” As a test bed for the NLP, the River and Field Campus—part of which is also a working farm—can show landowners and farmers how they can find a balance between profit and providing for a species like quail. They can continue to use their land for agriculture, but rather than plant edge-to-edge, place marginal areas in quail habitat. Even the middle of a field that is low and unproductive, for example, can be planted with warm season grasses and perennials or, if the soil holds water, can be transformed into a small wetland. The size of the projects varies, from as small as five acres to as large, so far, as 57 (about 40 acres is the ideal, Small says), and it depends in part on location. If a smaller project is adjacent to another farm with lots of natural habitat, or better still, near a location where quail are still present, the NLP will work with them. The concept, Small says, is to create habitat corridors in which birds like quail can move and expand their population. Landowners get a one-time incentive of $450 per acre to enroll in the program. NLP provides the people, seed, and equipment to prep and plant the land. “All we ask in return is for them to maintain that habitat for a ten-year period,” Small says. “That way we know for sure that habitat will stay in place for ten years, and
ABOVE: An adult pair of northern bobwhite meanders down a farm lane on the College's River and Field Campus. Photo by Dan Small.
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I will work with them to come up with a management plan to make sure it stays in prime condition.” And, what’s good for quail is beneficial for a multitude of other species, including songbirds and pollinators. “All the habitat we’re planting now is grass and wildflowers. And a good mix of wildflowers means good insect habitat, which means, in turn, good prey for bobwhite, but also hundreds of pollinators out there that will benefit as well. So it’s multispecies,” Small says. “Whatever we do for bobwhite is going to help a huge suite of other grassland birds like grasshopper sparrows, field sparrows, dickcissels, indigo buntings, all of which are in decline. There’s not many people who will restore habitat for field sparrows, say, but for bobwhite they will. So a lot of species will benefit.” This is why the nest in Rob Leigh’s field was so exciting to see. For a decade, the Leighs had rented the fields of their 114-acre property to a farmer, who planted them in soybeans and corn. Part of the land has been in the Leigh family for going on five generations; Rob grew up spending summers here staying at his grandparents’ house, and he met Linda one summer day on Betterton Beach. (One of the Leigh’s sons, Thomas Howard Leigh, graduated WC in 1992 with a biology degree, and Rob’s grandmother, Lillie Crownhart Leigh, attended classes at the College around 1942.) In an effort to control erosion and runoff, they began working with the USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to plant about five acres of trees and re-establish what had been an old, dried-up pond and surround it with trees and buffers. Then they collaborated with the Maryland Environmental Trust and the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy to put the entire farm into conservation easement. This eased the tax burden, helping ensure that the Leighs’ children and grandchildren would be able to hang onto it, and also meant it would remain undeveloped. But the expertise provided by the Natural Lands Project, and combined funding from NLP and the CRP, enabled them to go further while still working toward the goals of improving water quality, restoring the land, and establishing a more diverse habitat for wildlife. So far, they have put about 30 acres into NLP plantings in different-sized swatches across the farm. The pollinator plantings “are so diverse that it is at times a kaleidoscope of color changing weekly over the summer,” Rob says. Beauty, in and of itself, is another reason he and Linda are excited about the project. “The Natural Lands Project was really attractive to me because it was a win-win for the land,” Rob says. “That’s what we love the most. “I’m not against crops—we all eat—but they don’t support wildlife. The only thing in a cornfield is a few deer having dinner. It’s amazing what this has done. It’s brought all kinds of species that weren’t there. It awakened the land, and it opened my eyes. I had no idea that if you build a habitat they will come and fill it, and I’ve been here long enough I have seen it happen right in front of my eyes.”
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WEDDINGS 40 | BIRTHS & ADOPTIONS 41 | OBITUARIES 4 4
A WAYWARD VISITOR: Patricia Trams Hollingsworth ’75 M’96 captured a photo of this strange house guest stopping by Radcliffe Cross, an 18th-century farmhouse in Chestertown. In typical Trams fashion, she then climbed through a second-story window to help him find his way to freedom.
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WC Alumni: Share your news! We are proud to share your stories with our community in “Class Notes.” Submit your alumni news and photos to CLASS_NOTES@WASHCOLL.EDU
Robert Carter is still class correspondent for the Class of 1942 and wanted to let his classmates know that he’d like to hear from you. Bob still traveled some this year—to California to camp at the beach, St. Louis in October, upper Pennsylvania in November, and California again in December. He still lives in the same house in Bethesda, Maryland.
Susan Osmanski is a great-grandma! Her great-grandson, born last August, was named after her deceased husband, Tom Osmanski ’63. The baby will call her GGWabiSabi, meaning beautifully aged. His father will teach him the guitar and soccer.
During Commencement ceremonies in May, Linda Ayres ’69 was presented with the Alumni Citation for Excellence in American Art. Throughout her career she held a number of museum positions—at the National Gallery of Art, the Library of Congress, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Wadsworth Atheneum, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, and Harvard’s Fogg Art Museum. “But,” noted President Kurt Landgraf, “nowhere has her impact as a curator and scholar of art history been more keenly felt than at Mount Vernon, where millions of visitors and generations of historians—present and future—look for inspiration and enlightenment.” She retired a few years ago as the museum’s assistant director and director of collections.
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Tim Williams has a new website dedicated to his writing: twwillia.net. He plans to publish two small volumes of poetry. His novel Caden’s Crime is due to be released sometime this summer. Tim retired from the federal government in 2011 but worked part-time until last year. He spends his days composing poems, short stories, and novels, and playing with his grandkids Christine and Tedros. They keep him busy and happy. He and his wife are planning trips to Europe and maybe the southwestern and western states. “Can’t believe it’s our 50th. I remember our 25th a couple of years ago.”
Richard Blackburn has finally fully retired after 22 years at the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs and 10 years teaching sociology at Harford Community College in Bel Air, Maryland.
April Lindevald has recently rediscovered a passion for writing. Her self-published fantasy novel, The Last Wizard of Eneri Clare, has gotten 25 5-star reviews on Amazon and a wonderful Kirkus review. A sequel is in the works.
After more than 20 years in Little Silver, New Jersey, Ann Taylor Laverty has moved for the last time to Ocean City, New Jersey, a place that holds a million happy memories for her.
After 27 years in pastoral ministry in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, Carlos Wilton and Claire Pula moved to Bedminster, New Jersey, where Carlos has become pastor of the Lamington Presbyterian Church. They visited Chestertown for their 40th reunion in June.
Joy Wemmer has been named director of sales with the Hilton Garden Inn Annapolis Downtown. Before joining Hilton Garden Annapolis, Joy was director of sales with Hampton Inn & Suites by Hampton, as well as senior sales manager with both Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts and Sheraton. She also previously served as complex director of sales with Hilton Garden Inn Baltimore/Arundel Mills.
Harold Spangler is an emergency medicine physician in a resort town in Delaware. He and his wife have a 17-year-old daughter who is a junior in high school. Harold has bought her WC clothes for many years—hopefully she will look at the school! Mark Talucci started a new job as an RN in the Emergency Department at Saint Agnes Hospital in Baltimore.
Rick Gerhardt and retired business management professor Terry Scout recently met for lunch at the King Street Oyster Bar in Middleburg, Virginia. Elected in 2016, Rick serves on the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors as well as the Fauquier County Agricultural and Forestal District Committee, Agricultural Advisory Committee, Broadband Authority, Potomac Watershed Roundtable, Transportation Committee, and Water and Sanitation Authority Liaison Committee. Rick is also an acquisitions consultant for the Belgium Post, focusing on North America. Retired a couple of years ago, Professor Scout is enjoying the good life and still has his trademark wit and humor.
Magistrate Karen Reisinger Ketterman was recently appointed by Gov. Larry Hogan to the District Court for Talbot County. The governor made the appointment after interviewing nominees from the judicial nominating commission. Karen served as magistrate for the Circuit Court for Dorchester County starting in 2008, and previously in a private law practice. Peter Maller was named Lincoln Financial’s Planner of the Year for the ninth time in 11 years, more times than any other financial planner in company history. This internal award is based on sales, quality of service, and commitment to Lincoln’s principles, with the winner selected by Lincoln senior managers. Peter currently serves on the board of trustees at The Baltimore Estate Planning Council, the board of trustees at Garrison Forest School, the Washington College President’s Leadership Council, and the Parents’ Council at Miami University of Ohio. At Washington College, he has served on many different committees and was recognized in 2013 with the Alumni Service Award.
Sarah Pyle Moore reports life is busy in Arlington, Virginia, with two teenage boys, one looking at colleges already. She is playing lots of tennis and golf and working in private practice at Sunstone Counseling in the City of Falls Church.
Michael Bishop was inducted into the Harford Community College Honors Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2018. He is the territory manager of talent acquisition for Kohl’s in Wilmington, Delaware.
Over the past 20 years, Marie Mohler has written and published numerous books pertaining to self-help issues, spirituality, and metaphysics, including an all-ages illustrated book series that speaks to the light, awareness, talents, and gifts we all have within us to make this world a better place. As of January, she has been working specifically on developing a unique educational platform and conscious curriculum to help raise awareness and facilitate a greater peace, compassion, wholeness, and joy in the world. Every day is an adventure in new discoveries, new skill development, and new connections. Life is good!
Three generations of Del Priore alumni celebrated the graduation of Thomas B. Del Priore ’18 on May 20. Pictured are Lilian and Todd R. Del Priore ’87 P’18, James S. Del Priore ’64 P’87 ’89 with his wife, Laura, Thomas B. Del Priore ’18 (Todd and Lilian’s son), and Erika E. Del Priore ’89.
Melissa M. Boyd has been re-appointed to the board of the directors for the Montgomery Child Advocacy Project (MCAP) for a three-year term. The mission of the MCAP is to end and prevent child abuse and neglect in Montgomery County through legal services, advocacy, and education. Melissa is a partner with High Swartz LLP. She concentrates her practice on family law and has dedicated much of her professional career to preserving the rights of children and their families. In November 2017, a group of WC friends and spouses reunited at the Inn on Court Square in Charlottesville, Virginia. Pictured standing: Bob Dugan ’64, Mel Walker ’64, John Littlejohn ’62, Donna Short, Bill Short ’64, Mike Richardson, and Charlie Richardson ’64. Pictured seated: Adah Simmons Walker ’65, Terri Littlejohn, and Molly Dugan.
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Michael Crews moved to Washington, D.C., where he became a Brookings Institute LEGIS Congressional Fellow. He worked for Congresswoman Betsy Markey and traveled internationally to countries he’d never seen before, including Croatia, Greece, and Iceland. He was promoted to general counsel for Custom Manufacturing & Engineering in 2010, earned a business certification for international trade, took up soccer (again) and flag football, served as treasurer and board member to Federal Triangles Soccer Club (FTSC), became a soccer referee, reconnected with some WC grads/alumni/friends, and has taken up photography.
Tori Guilfoyle was elected partner, effective January 1, at the law firm Blank Rome LLP. Part of the Wilmington, Delaware, office, she concentrates her practice on corporate bankruptcy and business reorganization matters and related litigation.
Jenny Hoffman Kyrlach was the recipient of the 2003 National Lambda Alpha Scholarship Award, presented by the national anthropology honor society in recognition of top student research papers. Jenny was married in 2008 and now lives in Cincinnati.
After recognizing a need for full marketing services for small and medium-sized businesses, Rachel Brand started a marketing agency in October 2017 that supports local business, startups, and other small businesses. She says the agency is doing very well and that it’s been refreshing to work with business owners who are passionate about what they do. Find her at CrushMarketingTeam.com.
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Athletics Launches New Athey Club
n keeping with the team ethic of beloved former Athletics director, coach, and faculty member Ed Athey ’47, Washington College Athletics has united all 18 of its varsity sports under a new giving society, the Athey Athletics Club. Going forward, all contributors to the existing Athey Athletics Fund will automatically become members of the new Athey Athletics Club, with special recognition and rewards. As of July 1, the Athey Athletics Fund became the primary means for supporting any varsity sport at the College. Any gifts designated for individual sports will be directed into the Athey Athletics Fund and, with input from the head coaches of all teams, applied where they are most urgently needed. “Coach Athey championed team unity and lifelong bonds during more than 40 years as director of Athletics, a varsity coach, and a faculty member,” says Director of Athletics Thad Moore. “Gifts to the Athey Athletics Fund ensure that all student-athletes gain an advantage that inspires performance across the board.” Full details about the Athey Athletics Club will be unveiled at the Hall of Fame event on campus Oct. 5. In the meantime, you can find more information at washingtoncollegesports.com/give or by contacting Sean Flanigan, Athletics gift officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-778-7233.
Aundra Weissert Anderson has been hired by the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education to implement Maryland’s Next Generation Scholars initiative for low-income families in Kent County middle and high schools. She is meeting with eligible students in grades 7–9 to help prepare them to graduate from high school and successfully matriculate to college. She is also a certified group fitness instructor and teaches classes throughout the community.
Save the Date! for the Second Annual
Athey Golf tournAment Hosted by Washington College Athletics and the Athey Athletic Fund
fridAy, october 5, 2018 chester river yAcht And country club 7738 Quaker Neck Road, Chestertown, MD 21620 For more details, please visit:
Z. E. Bennett will complete his juris doctorate at the George Washington University Law School this year. He had the greatest honor of his life serving as the teaching assistant to his political hero, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who taught a fall 2017 course in GW’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences entitled “Dystopian Visions.”
A L U M N I U P DAT E | S P O T L I G H T
Where the Wild Things Are A biologist for the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, Ryan Risher ’12 shares his passion for hunting, fishing, and birdwatching in the great outdoors. By Marcia C. Landskroener M’02
ape May is one of the planet’s top ten birding destinations. The Delaware Bayshore, with its expanses of wetlands, beaches, woodlands, and fields, supports a spectacular array of birds and wildlife as well. The Appalachian Trail winds through Stokes State Forest, where deer abound, songbirds nest, and fish glide in the rushing waters of Tillman Ravine. With interior fields, forests, and waterways in addition to the 127 miles of Atlantic Coast shoreline, New Jersey is an outdoor recreational paradise. The problem is, says Ryan Risher ’12, too few people take advantage of all New Jersey has to offer. And when fewer hunters and anglers purchase fewer permits, stamps, and licenses, resources for wildlife management and conservation efforts dwindle too. At the state’s Division of Fish and Wildlife, Risher’s focus as the R3 coordinator is on recruitment, reactivation, and retention of present and future sportsmen and sportswomen who are drawn to hunting and angling. Working with state and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, and corporations, Risher is looking to bolster participation statewide, to get more people outside, and to squash the notion that those who hunt and fish aren’t conservationists. To the contrary, he says. “There’s a dissonance between non-consumptive users of the resources and consumptive users. I’m in a unique position in that I’m right in the middle,” Risher says. “I am a birder, but I also really enjoy harvesting ducks and geese and turkeys—because I really like eating them. They make really great table fare. But I still maintain an appreciation for them. And if I go out duck or turkey hunting, I’m also listening for songbirds. It’s as much about being outside as anything. This is how I reengage with nature. Hunters and anglers are very much like-minded with birders and other environmentalists. You can be a birder and a hunter too.” Risher grew up waterfowl hunting in New Jersey. At Washington College, he majored in biology, was a member of the trap and skeet club and the Phi Delta Theta fraternity, and interned at Foreman’s Branch Bird Observatory, located on the College’s River and Field Campus. He had helped band endangered and threatened species of shorebirds on the Delaware Bay, but until then he had never held something so small. He also had never seen bird migration happen day by day.
After hunting a private impoundment in Salem County, New Jersey, last December, Ryan Risher ’12 and a buddy bagged six Canada geese and a pair of mallard ducks.
“There’d be a day we’d go out and catch a couple of warblers, a couple of orioles, or a couple of flycatchers,” Risher says. “The next day we’d get a good south wind coming in and we’d have 10 or 12 species of warblers; we couldn’t process them quick enough. That was such a cool, tangible way to see something that we’d only heard about.” After graduation, he held a variety of field tech positions, monitoring endangered shorebird species in South Dakota and surveying wetland birds in Missouri. While working toward a master’s degree in wildlife and fisheries science in Arkansas, Risher was in a serious car accident. He returned to his home state to focus on his recovery, which included spending more time in the wild.
“It’s alarming how disconnected people are from the environment around them,” he says from his backyard in Winslow Township, as a tufted titmouse whistles and calls. “They don’t realize the diversity that exists, and how easy it is to immerse themselves in the natural world. There are countless places I can go within a 30-minute drive. Depending on the season I could be fishing for freshwater or salt. Hunting for Canada or snow geese. Kayaking. Hiking and camping. Recreational boating. Hunting for turkey or deer. There is so much opportunity. The bigger question is how to help people understand that and seek out those places.”
A L U M N I U P DAT E | W E D D I N G S
Just Married Amanda Moore was married Oct. 20, 2017, to Keith Prowitz. Many alumni were in attendance, including bridesmaid Gillian Bourassa ’09, Jen Newman ’12, Joanna Boczon ’12, Margaret Rohde ’12, Brenna Bychoski ’09, Alyssa Wagner ’12, and Denise Petrik Dolan ’11.
Megan B. Young ’13 and Raymond C. Nichols ’14 were married Oct. 7, 2017, on the lawn of Mirador in Berlin, Maryland. Pictured standing: Deborah Moxley Turner ’77, Max White ’15, Michelle Gibbons-Neff ’95, Stephen Sample ’15, Mari-Claire Bowie ’16, best man Stephen Nichols ’15, bridesmaid Kate Fiori ’13, Vincenzo Piccinini ’13, bridesmaid Elizabeth Warehime ’13, groomsman Spencer Evans ’12, the bride and groom, maid of honor Molly Statler ’13, Matt Mulhearn ’10, Zeeshan Shad ’15, Anna Black ’16, Blake Taylor ’14, Mike Mulhearn ’15, Dj Llewellyn ’13, Matt Fu ’13, Jeff Carl ’13. Pictured kneeling: bridesmaid Peyton Kirkendall ’13, Ryan Mulhearn ’13, groomsman Nick Parrish ’14, Kristen Gowing ’11, and Anthony Martino ’13.
Chelsea Vetick ’12 and Nick Marinelli ’14 were married Dec. 9, 2017, at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club. They were very fortunate to have the season’s first real snow on their big day and to share it with their amazing family and friends, many of whom are WC grads.
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Joe Van Name ’90 and Kate Pynn Van Name ’91 will celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary in August. Their wedding was full of incredible friends and family from the classes of 1986–92, making it forever memorable as the best day of their lives. Huzzah! Pictured with the bride and groom are: Kevin Kelly ’92 and Deanna Houle Kelly ’91, Samantha Streamer ’91, Ken Winkler ’89, Steve Ardinger ’91, Pat McMenamin ’87 and Debbie McMenamin ’88, Tim Quinn ’88 and Stacy Wolfe Quinn ’91, Michael McCabe ’90, Kathy McGuigan ’89, Jeff Cessna ’89, Chris Brower ’91, Seth Powell ’90 and Sally Campbell Powell ’91, Jeannie King ’89, Keith Davis ’90, Matt Weir ’90, Davis Jefferson ’89, and Michelle Darling ’91.
Jessica Hobbs ’06 finally got married to Mark Luxton on Jan. 13. Alumni in attendance were Ryan Dean, Kevin White, Jenny Holt White, Jon Hartman, Mike Philipp, Katie Harman Philipp, Brian Raim, Brandon Metcalf, Heather Whiting Metcalf, Elizabeth Schaaf McElroy, Jon Fallica, Keith Zickar, Shannon Lomax Tustin, Ben McGann, Jim Kelble, Erin Bollinger Kelble, Mike Shaffer, Matt Gwin, Ron Young, Devin Murphy, Brian DeMayo, Stephanie Gerwitz DeMayo, and Kevin Marshall, all from the Class of 2006.
A L U M N I U P DAT E | W E D D I N G S A N D B I R T H & A D O P T I O N S
Liz Jenkins ’06 was married in an intimate ceremony to Ken Mendonca on April 7 at the base of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Alumni in attendance included Theresa Donohue Soley ’06, who served as matron of honor, and Caitlyn Koehler Koenell ’06.
Jeanne Clark McCormack ’07 and Travis McCormack M’05 welcomed their first child, Patrick Joseph McCormack, on March 19. The McCormacks live in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
Jessi Smeigh ’07 married Shane Walsh at Bellevue State Park in Wilmington, Delaware, on April 7. Joy Woppert Scott ’07 was a bridesmaid.
Barbara Harrington Epting ’08 and her husband, Bo, welcomed their baby girl, Ruby Grace Epting, on July 18, 2017. The family is living in Denton, Texas.
Gaven Blundon ’11 and Meghan Lepley Blundon ’12 welcomed a baby girl, Conley Elyse Blundon, on Feb. 9.
A L U M N I U P DAT E | S P O T L I G H T
For the Love of Birds Margaret Rohde ’12 remains committed to the methods of wildlife conservation and habitat management she first learned as an intern at the River and Field Campus. By Maren Gimpel
Brenna Bychowski has earned master’s degrees in library science and history, graduating from Indiana University, Bloomington, in 2012. After almost four years working as a cataloger at the American Antiquarian Society in Massachusetts, she began a new job in December 2017 as a catalog/ metadata librarian at the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University. She catalogs a wide array of rare printed materials, from 18th-century British plays to 20thcentury Dutch fiction, to pamphlets encouraging Americans to move west.
2010 Last fall, Margaret Rohde ’12 took part in the raptor banding project at Cape May. She caught and banded this handsome rough-legged hawk. The species spends summers on the Arctic tundra and winters in the U.S. and southern Canada.
s the stewardship coordinator for the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association, Margaret Rohde ’12 might be found clearing downed trees from a path, mowing a meadow, or banding birds, a skill she was first taught as an intern in the restored grasslands of what is now the College’s River and Field Campus (RAFC). As one of the first interns to work in the fields along the banks of the Chester River during that summer of 2011, Rohde learned not only to band birds, but also to identify color-banded grasshopper sparrows through a spotting scope and to use behavioral clues to find their nests. During her senior year, she studied bird response to wetland restoration on a Kent County farm. Though she’s liked birds since early childhood, a class visit to the Foreman's Branch Bird Observatory at RAFC made an impact on her. She got to release a banded bird and says that gave her new goals and awakened a “passion that has guided a lot of my life decisions.” After graduating from Washington College with a degree in environmental studies and a minor in biology, Rohde worked in several seasonal avian technician positions including 42
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a gig studying breeding saltmarsh sparrows. These experiences made her a great match for the job at Wissahickon. She knew she wanted to incorporate bird banding into her new job and brought her supervisor to visit Foreman’s Branch so he could see what banding entailed and understand the educational possibilities. She has since set up her own breeding bird banding station using the MAPS protocol established by the Institute for Bird Populations. She is now in her fourth year running that project. Rohde credits her early experiences at RAFC with preparing her for post-graduate jobs. “Everything I learned about bird conservation, habitat management, and data collection was useful to me in the jobs I had after college. But more than anything, I’d say that it taught me to have patience (waiting for a grasshopper sparrow to go to its nest with food will do that to a person) and to be comfortable doing field work alone. Those things have been really vital everywhere I’ve worked since.”
Alyse Bensel is assistant professor of English and director of the Looking Glass Rock Writers’ Conference at Brevard College, a small liberal arts school in Brevard, North Carolina. Brevard is known for its mountain views, white squirrel population, and hundreds of waterfalls.
For the past year, Rae Ramos has been working on a rare and exciting project in Florida to convert a three-story Gothic Revival high school structure into the Sarasota Art Museum, a contemporary art museum slated to open in 2019. Rae is in charge of programming and external relations.
Ted DiSalvo graduated from Duke University Law School on May 12, earning a juris doctorate. George Gabriel has just accepted a new job as a legal assistant in immigration at Mintz Levin, a law firm in Boston.
Joshua Conrad Rogers started work at Anne Arundel Community College as a biology technical specialist in January. Chastain Shenk recently became territory manager for Downeast Cider in Pennsylvania. Downeast Cider is an American craft hard cider company founded in 2011 at Bates College to allow the owners to avoid finding “real” jobs after college. The Cider House is
located in East Boston. Chastain lives in downtown Philadelphia. Kelly Dobroski is working on the communication team for the Duke Marine Robotics and Remote Sensing Lab while completing her master’s degree in environmental management at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. This summer, she will work for the lab, mapping oyster reefs with drone imagery and developing K–12 STEM education programs. After receiving an American Chemical Society–certified bachelor of science degree in chemistry with a second major in mathematics, Laurel Jones earned a bachelor of science degree in nursing from the University of Delaware. She is a nurse at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore, working in the comprehensive cardiopulmonary unit. She returned to Washington College in April to give a talk, “Using Chemistry Knowledge in a Clinical Setting: A Nurse’s Perspective.” Emma Way has been named associate editor at Charlotte Magazine in North Carolina.
Robert Delp Lail is playing for a men’s rugby team and working in midtown Manhattan.
Breanna Caruso, who graduated with a degree in environmental studies and a minor in secondary education, will be attending the University of Washington in Seattle, to begin a master’s program in education. She received the department’s Environmental Studies and Science Award.
Sydney Rossetti interviewed with the Opioid Operational Command Center just before her graduation from Washington College and landed a job as a health policy analyst in the Secretary’s Office at the Maryland Department of Health. She will be creating a system for grant tracking, as well as conducting cost/benefit and efficiency analyses on the operations of opioid intervention teams.
A big crowd returned to campus for Alumni Weekend in early June. Pictured from top: Members of the Class of 1968 turned out for their 50th Reunion. Spencer Warren ’18 and Amy Akell ’18 presented the Senior Class Gift to President Kurt Landgraf, as Alumni Board Chair Arian Ravanbakhsh ’89 looked on. Frank Hornstein, Mark Henckel ’76, Valarie Sheppard ’86, Suzanne Hewes ’91, Kate Van Name ’91, and Sean Flanigan ’15 gathered at Hynson-Ringgold House for cocktails and conversation with the president. For more photos, visit www.washcoll.edu/alumni/weekend
A L U M N I U P DAT E | O B I T U A R I E S
In Memoriam In Memoriam: John Roberts John J. Roberts, a global business executive with American International Group (AIG) and a board member of The Starr Foundation who served on Washington College’s Board of Visitors and Governors from 1989 until 1994 (at which time he became an emeritus member of the Board), passed away April 19. He was 95. Through the Starr Foundation, he was a generous supporter of the College, directing more than $12.5 million toward student scholarships, study abroad support, faculty development, and facilities renewal. He was central to the procurement of a $4.8 million leadership gift to establish the College’s Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience. He also extended his personal philanthropy to support the College’s most critical institutional need—student scholarships. A graduate of Princeton University, Mr. Roberts was a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army during World War II, serving in the Philippines and Japan. After his military service, he joined American International Underwriters (AIU), the predecessor corporation to AIG, traveling to France to help develop business for the Marshall Plan, and then establishing the AIU branch office in Italy. Roberts served as chairman and CEO of AIU, an AIG director, and its vice chairman of external affairs until his retirement in 1997. He was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Council on Ethnic Accord, the U.S.-Russia Business Council, and the Bretton Woods Committee. In addition to his service on the Washington College board, he was a trustee of the Starr Foundation, the Julliard School, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.
Eleanor Kardash ’43 passed away March 28 at the age of 95. Eleanor grew up on the family farm in Preston, Maryland. She met and married Mike Kardash while attending WC. Eleanor loved reading, crafting, cooking, traveling, and music. She was active in congregational life, the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, and the Sand Dollars, and also volunteered at Farnhurst Mental Hospital in Delaware. She is survived by her brother, sister, daughter-in-law, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. A. Powell Harrison ’49 died April 4, just a month short of his 90th birthday. Powell enjoyed an eventful life as a father of three and a lifelong sailor. Studious at school, inspired at work, skilled on the water, and enlivened by the arts, 44
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he had a widely varied career path, which took him from St. Michaels, Maryland, out to the “left” coast, where he remained for the rest of his life. He leaves behind many special friends, extended relations, his children, three grandchildren, and nine stepchildren. “Tally ho and anchors aweigh!” Theresa D. Winchell ’50 passed away March 7. Theresa was born on a farm and milked cows before school every day through high school. As an Air Force wife, she taught in Okinawa Japan; Duluth, Minnesota; and Marquette, Michigan. She loved teaching children about different cultures and, in her words, “a good way of life.” She also enjoyed reading, beach days, and traveling. She is survived by her son, her daughter, and three grandchildren.
Marian Lee Faulkner ’51 died March 24. She was 88. Marian was born in Chestertown and lived in Baltimore in the early years of her marriage to classmate Rodney Faulkner ’52, but she returned to the Eastern Shore in 1972. She was a teacher in Queen Anne’s County schools, retiring in 1992. She enjoyed books and puzzles and was devoted to her flower gardens. Marian is survived by her three children, three grandchildren, and great-grandson. Constantine N. Tonian ’53, of Brownsville, Texas, passed away Feb. 26 at age 88. Tony was born in Russia to Armenian parents, raised in Tehran, and came to the United States for his education when he was 17. After graduating from college, he served in the U.S. Army and became a U.S. citizen.
Tony began his career with Sylvania and was later with General Electric for a long and dynamic career of global management. After retiring he had a second career as corporate consultant in Europe and South America. Following that, with the demise of the Soviet Union, he became a volunteer with the International Executive Services Corps in Russia. John Daniel ’56 passed away Feb. 7. He was 83. Jack is survived by his wife, Georgina, whom he met at the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University. Jack graduated from the Hotel School in 1958 and went on to become a Hilton Hotel general manager. He opened the Hilton in Pittsburgh, the city where his twin daughters Kerrie and Terri were born. He met five U.S. presidents, starting with President Nixon, while serving on the board for Ronald McDonald Houses with Barbara Bush. He was born on Kent Island and loved the Eastern Shore. Jack Becker ’57, a former City College history teacher who owned a television repair service, died in October 2017. He was 82. Jack loved Washington College and made it known to all. He attended all of the alumni functions until last year. Anyone who met him would remember him from his wonderful stories. Phillips Shaw Boyd ’60, of Hockessin, Delaware, passed away April 10 at home with Pat, his loving wife of 50 years, at his side. He was 80. Phil’s 38-year career with DuPont was in accounting, sales, and financial analysis in the Chestnut Run, Boston, and downtown Wilmington areas. Retirement was a joy for him as he and Pat traveled throughout New England. He often volunteered with the Delaware Center for Horticulture and the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society and enjoyed his own home garden. In addition to his wife, Phil is survived by his brothers and sisters-in-law, niece and nephew, and their children.
On April 5, Jean Wise Blades ’63 died at her home in Trappe, Maryland. Jean was born July 1, in a year she never revealed. She worked in the business office of a telephone company, and as a school librarian, as an employee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as a legal secretary, and as a tireless advocate for her family. History and travel were among Jean’s great passions, and she visited all seven continents. Her love of her family farms was a lifelong constant. Jean is survived by her husband of 55 years, her sons, and her grandchildren. Michael A. Grover ’68 passed away March 25. After graduating with honors from Washington College he spent three years as an elementary school teacher and then was accepted to the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy in Baltimore, where he graduated as a Registered Pharmacist in 1974. Michael worked as a hospital pharmacist in Baltimore, Chicago, and Washington D.C., retiring in 2009 from Maryland General Hospital. Michael is survived by Steven, his companion of 22 years; his sister and brother in-law; and two nephews and their life’s partners. Michael will be always remembered for his love, sly wit, and generosity. William Zimmerman ’69, whose lifelong passions included recreational boating and woodworking, died Feb. 2, 2017. He first learned to row, sail, and powerboat on Barnegat Bay in New Jersey, and chose to attend Washington College to be closer to his sweetheart, Betsy Shoemaker, whom he married in 1969. Bill began his career with the Automatic Switch Company and Johnson and Towers; there he sold and oversaw the installation of the emergency generator system at Children’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. Bill launched and operated his own company, Generator Systems, before becoming a partner and general manager of Superior Grouting, a commercial contractor.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by his three children. John “Jay” Perry McDowell ’71 died March 28. Jay operated a mortgage business in Hagerstown, Maryland, from 2010, and an online truck and equipment financing business until his death. Jay’s number-one pastime was music. He loved playing in local open-mics with his music friends. Jay is survived by Gail, the love of his life, his two cherished children, and three grandchildren. He will be missed for his homegrown tomatoes, breakfasts, and his infectious smile. His granddaughter Betsy Barb ’21 is glad he saw her accepted into Washington College. Benjamin Keisen Hirsh M’73 died at his Chestertown home Jan. 20. He was 72. During his 50 years working with Kent County Public Schools, Ben was best known as the principal for Rock Hall and Worton Elementary Schools and the supervisor of special education and pupil services. While he loved Shore life, he also appreciated adventuring: from exploring the Alaskan coastline to visiting London and Paris, to snorkeling in Hawaii. Most of all, he loved spending time with his family. He is survived by his wife of 43 years, his children, grandson, brothers, and many nieces and nephews. Lt. Richard C. Williams M’76 died at his Sudlersville, Maryland, home on April 27. He was 85. He joined the U.S. Army and served for 20 years before retiring as a lieutenant colonel in 1972 and returning to school. He worked for the State of Delaware for 15 years. Richard loved woodworking, reading, camping, and writing. He published his first book, Lost Acres, in 2017. At the time of his death he was working on his second. Richard is survived by his wife of 45 years, three sons, daughterin-law, 16 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
Dr. Stephen Kent Radis M’83 died Feb. 16. He was 67. Steve loved life, respected nature, and believed in the power of prayer. He was motivated to serve others. He opened the Holly Center, provided counseling as a licensed professional counselor, and taught at multiple colleges. He was honored with several service awards. An active person, Steve enjoyed watching and playing all sports. He was a lifelong gardener. Steve is survived by his lifelong friend and wife, his daughters, his grandsons, and others whom he leaves behind in body but never in spirit. Deborah Rose Nahmias Dauer ’89, of Lawrenceville, New Jersey, died April 4 from complications due to ALS. Deb dedicated her life to her family, her community, and the students she taught at Sharon Elementary School in Robbinsville. She was able to see the beauty in the mundane and appreciate the small things. Deb is survived by her wonderful and adoring husband, her three amazing kids, her parents, her brother, and many others. She believed in practicing random acts of kindness, and nothing would honor her memory more if her friends and family did the same.
In 2014, Julia joined the Green Street Housing Team in Salisbury after working on AT&T’s new site acquisition and development team in Philadelphia. She loved working with Green Street and was very proud of their work. She is survived by her mother and stepfather, her grandmother, uncles and aunts, and many cousins. She also leaves many dear friends. Corrections David D. Isherwood’s name was misspelled in the Spring 2018 issue of WCM. The 1974 graduate who passed away Aug. 12, 2017 was a varsity soccer player. In recognition of his recent gift to Washington College, a lifetime men’s soccer locker and a kicking wall near the practice field now bear his name.
In addition to the leadership gift provided by James W. Price IV, the following donors also contributed to the Brown Advisory StudentManaged Investment Fund, featured in the Spring 2018 issue of WCM. Mr. and Mrs. James T. Cavanaugh
Justin David Levine ’05, of Baltimore, died Feb. 1. He was 34. An economics and business management major at Washington College, Justin earned a law degree at Vermont Law School and early in his career worked in capital markets for a global law firm in Milan. At the time of his death he was managing director of his own firm, Wyn River Ventures, a venture capital and private equity firm. He was a beloved husband, loving son, devoted brother, and loving grandson.
Mr. Perry S. Bacon Mr. Robert L. Oster Mr. Robert D. Hopkins Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan R. Price '80
Julia Lauren Jaquette ’13, of Dagsboro, Maryland, passed away March 8, 2018, of brain cancer. She was 27. Julia, who particularly loved her semester in Copenhagen, graduated from WC with a degree in international studies.
A DVA N C E M E N T
Couple Creates Fellowship for Study Abroad College trustee Tom Crouse ’59 and wife Kay Enokido have established an endowed fund to support Washington College students who want to study abroad. by Karen M. Jones
our students are the inaugural recipients of a new fellowship, established by a Washington College trustee and his wife, that will support their studies abroad. The Crouse-Enokido Fellowship will cover costs for students who might not otherwise be able to spend a semester or longer studying outside of the United States. Tom Crouse ’59 and Kay Enokido, both of whom have lived and traveled across Asia, established the endowed fund to encourage student interactions with other cultures, races, and religions. “We greatly enjoyed our experiences living and working in three different countries,” Crouse says. “The opportunities to develop understanding and appreciation were priceless. Extended stays in unfamiliar countries opened our eyes and minds dramatically, and our lives have not been the same since. We want these and similar experiences to be available to all Washington College students regardless of their financial situations.” Crouse earned an MBA from Columbia University in 1961 and lived for several years in Hong Kong and Tokyo, where he met Enokido. The couple subsequently lived in Indonesia before moving back to New York City. Crouse was the founder, chairman, and CEO of CIG International LLC in Washington, D.C., until its sale in 2004. Previously he was with Citibank for 15 years and served as senior vice president for Asia for Crocker National Bank of San Francisco. He is a member of The Asia Society and The Japan Society, both of New York, and a steering committee member of the Walpole International Affairs Discussion Group (WIADG) in New Hampshire. He has 46
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served on the College’s Board of Visitors and Governors since December 2003. Enokido was the owner’s representative of the historic Hay-Adams Hotel in Washington, D.C., for 23 years, and president of the Hay-Adams Management Company for 12 of those years. She started the hotel’s renowned Author Series, attracting such literary notables as Toni Morrison and David McCullough to the highprofile luncheons. She is a graduate of New York University and holds a master’s degree from Columbia University. Enokido also worked as a freelance photojournalist and as an executive for CIG International. She chairs the Speakers Committee of WIADG and is writing a book about her family’s life in Manchuria in the 1940s. The additional cost of a semester’s study abroad can amount to as much as $3,500 per student for airfare, visas, and lost wages, according to Andrew Oros, associate dean for international education and director of international studies. The amount of the fellowship varies but typically ranges from $1,500 to $4,000. Students of any major may receive a Crouse-Enokido Fellowship, but preference is given to those interested in Asian studies. The four fellowship recipients are: • Gwendalyn Ryan, international studies and computer science with a minor in economics. Al Akhawayn University in Morocco. • Ryan Zwier, computer science and mathematics. The China Studies Institute. • Ervens Jean-Pierre, international studies with a concentration in Latin American studies and a minor in
Tom Crouse ’59 and his wife, Kay Enokido, want to help more students experience other cultures around the world. This fall, 21 undergraduates will be studying abroad; four more will spend a year abroad.
economics. Pontificia Universidade Catolica in Brazil. • Felicia Attor, chemistry major and French studies minor. Al Akhawayn University in Morocco. “This generous gift will help students who otherwise may not be able to take advantage of one of WC’s great assets: our 14 partnerships across Asia, Africa, the Mid-East, and Latin America,” says Oros. “As someone who spent a life-changing year in Japan as an undergraduate, I know personally how early exposure to a different culture can shape one’s life journey.”
Alumna Supports Career Center
Boat Dedications Mark 50th Anniversary of Rowing New eight-person shells are namesakes of former rowing coaches Mike Davenport and Jon Leekley ’11.
“I’m committed to helping students achieve their professional goals, in terms of mentoring, inspiring, and financially supporting them.“ Those words from College trustee Rebecca Corbin Loree ’00 set her intentions at a ceremony dedicating the building that houses the Center for Career Development in her name. Loree and her husband, Jim, made a $1 million gift to the Career Center for internships, job shadowing, program assessments, and other related initiatives to help students launch their careers upon graduation. Describing what compelled her to support the Career Center, Loree recalled her own challenges as a Washington College student who graduated without having landed a job. “That experience of not having a network outside of Maryland, not having family connections for an internship, stuck with me. That’s why I’ve set up funds for students who couldn’t otherwise afford to be in an internship away from home.” Loree now also regularly hires WC students for internships — and eventual staff positions — at her company, Corbin Advisors, an investor relations advisory firm. She hopes such connections will become more common with networks flourishing in the Career Center. “The intent was to enable the team to invest strategically in the future, have the resources to develop the technology, hire the leadership, train, and engage students at a deeper, more meaningful level,” she said. Loree said she is honored to be able to make a difference, citing the dedication of the Schottland Tennis Center when she was a varsity team member as an event that inspired her vision. “I thought, one day I would like to be in a position to do that for my alma mater. We can all be stewards of our college. We all have that responsibility.”
Women’s varsity rowers Leslie Collins ’19, team captain Karis Marano ’19, and Kerri Walsh ’18 pull together. The 14th-ranked team finished eighth overall at the NCAA Division III Championship this spring. Photo by John Guthrie.
every year from 2013-16. He guided the Shorewomen’s varsity eight to the program’s first appearance in the NCAA Division III Championships in 2008 and led the team to five NCAA championships thereafter. Leekley was named the head men’s rowing coach in 2007 and led the team to win the 2010, 2011, and 2013-15 MidAtlantic Rowing Conference Championships. He was named the conference’s Men’s Coach of the Year six times in eight years. As a varsity athlete at WC, Leekley rowed in the championship varsity four at the 2000 MidAtlantic Collegiate Crew Championships. Speakers at the dedication ceremony included honorees Davenport and Leekley, women’s rowing coach Kari Hughes, former rower Todd Harman ’84 P’19, and Alex Kincaid ’19, coxswain and captain of the men’s team. The event was capped off with a cookout by Truslow Boathouse and a tour of the Hodson Boathouse still under construction. “The programs’ five decades of growth and success have been possible only because of you—our student-athletes, coaches, alumni, and community of friends,” said Athletics Director Thad Moore. “We are grateful for all you do.”
he occasion was decades in the making, as former and current student-athletes, parents, and friends gathered by the Chester River June 3 to celebrate 50 Years of Rowing at Washington College. Supporters of the rowing program came together over six months to raise $100,000 for two new shells dedicated to former coaches Mike Davenport and John Leekley ’11. “A boat is something special. It touches the lives of our athletes every day,” men’s rowing coach Scott Gavin-Wisniewski said in a message to the College’s rowing community. “These boats will not only serve an essential purpose in the long-term growth of the program but will have a daily impact on the psyche of our athletes. That’s why naming the boats after coaches Leekley and Davenport is such a fitting tribute at this time in our history.” Upon his retirement in 2016 as director of rowing, Davenport oversaw both the women’s and men’s rowing programs. Appointed Washington College’s sixth women’s rowing head coach in the summer of 1990, Davenport led the team to six Mid-Atlantic Rowing Conference (MARC) championships—in 2009, 2011, and
THE LAST WORD
In the campus garden, students prepare pickled magnolia petals to serve at the Medieval May Day Celebration.
Wild May by Shane Brill ’03 M’11
ifty years ago, when professor Bennett Lamond invited his English students to strawberries, wine, and a dance around the maypole, he tapped into a long tradition of honoring life on this planet at the midpoint between spring equinox and summer solstice, the moment that sustaining foods of the season emerge like actors bursting upon the stage. In the latest chapter of the May Day tradition, students not only can identify those actors—they have begun to write themselves back into the play. During this year’s first Medieval May Day Celebration, spring tasted like apple and lilac blossoms steeped in sunlight, silky as birdsong. The floral tea struck sweet notes of innocence alongside maple beer, mead, and an afternoon repast of venison meat pies, pickled magnolia petals, crispbreads pressed with wild greens, and sourdough loaves garnished with fermented vegetables. The student-led feast sprang into existence, as things often do, with the help of bees. In early October, I followed reports of a feral swarm on campus to the subterranean corridors of William Smith Hall. I peeked in dimly lit faculty offices with an unwieldy lemongrass-scented bait hive tucked under my arm. Then I saw it—a glowing light
WASHINGTON COLLEGE MAGAZINE
emanating from the last unchecked room. But instead of the buzzing bounty I expected to capture, Assistant Professor of English Courtney Rydel awaited me with a question: “Do you know how I could work with the Eastern Shore Food Lab this spring?” So began our adventure—her Chaucer class, my permaculture interns, and student gardeners and beekeepers—hunting through medieval literature and combing through ethnobotanical records for signposts of future food security in a quest to trace May Day to its wine-and-strawberry roots. Seeds of local fare, doused with ink from The Canterbury Tales, germinated in foraging expeditions, horticultural design projects, and culinary workshops. Students gathered dandelion, violets, clover, bittercress, curly dock, and plantain to make wild sauerkrauts. They tapped maple and walnut trees on campus for syrup, pressed apples into cider vinegar for sauces and puddings, and sprouted wheat and spelt berries to grind into flour for breads. Marginalia emerged on the menu of new experiences: candle-making in a jungle of edible houseplants in the Toll Science Center greenhouse, an herbalist-guided medicine expedition through the River and Field
Campus, impromptu salads of chickweed and evening primrose savored in the shadows of white-throated sparrows and goldfinches. Students became participants in natural processes, weaving themselves into the landscape with an earthly web of words. They examined patterns in language and nature. They looked backward and forward, seeking to balance ecological sovereignty and the health of human communities. Historical and nearly forgotten ingredients began to rest like syllables on the tongue, creating a new kind of syntax, the taste of life resilient to the challenges of climate change. As peach-like fruits swelled on the almond tree at the campus garden, students made milk from the soaked and sprouted nuts for Italian pudding. The dessert—a favorite at their culminating feast—also starred apricots and seaberries, both fruit crops with young plants growing on campus. It plated nicely beside rhubarb pie baked in a honey-drizzled lattice crust, offering sweet succor from studying for final exams. May has always been a wild month. With this new culinary celebration of nature, literature, history, and place, we are bringing into that wild a new understanding of our role within it.
Don’t leave your legacy to chance. Plan now to be remembered in a way that matters to you. You could be known as the person who… • Funded the groundbreaking research • Supported a star student through graduation • Made study abroad possible for eager adventurers • Paved the way for a brilliant professor By naming Washington College in your will, or as a beneficiary of a life insurance policy, IRA, trust, or brokerage account, you define how you’ll be remembered for many years to come. To learn more about legacy giving, contact
Emily Kate Smith ’10 Associate Director, Major and Legacy Gifts 410-699-0933 email@example.com
I College Magazine 300Washington College Avenue Volume LXVII No. 2 Spring 2017 ISSN 2152-9531
Chestertown, Maryland 21620 Washington College Magazine Volume LXVIII No. 3 Summer 2018, ISSN 2152-9531
In Person: Mike Hudson ’18
irding is a small, passionate world, and Mike Hudson was already deeply immersed in it when he came to Washington College, drawn in part by Foreman’s Branch Bird Observatory at the College’s River and Field Campus (RAFC). From the moment he set foot on campus, Hudson was a frequent intern and perennial volunteer at the banding station and at RAFC’s Chester River Field Research Station, riding his bike there at all hours before he finally got a car. “I started birding when I was maybe six or seven; my grandfather got me into it,” says Hudson, who graduated in May with a degree in biology and a minor in English. His other mentor was Bill Stewart, who became director of the American Birding Association’s (ABA) Young Birder Program. Hudson participated in that program, and by the time he was in high school, he was working as an intern and staff assistant at its birding camps for youngsters. Now he’s parlayed his ABA connections, his passion for ornithology, and his writing skills into a position as co-editor of North American Birds, the venerable publication of record for birding enthusiasts and researchers. Hudson and another young ornithologist, co-editor Tom Reed, share duties editing, analyzing regional field reports, and blogging as they also work to help the publication change with the digital times. This theme of change—both in the publication as well as in species or populations of migratory birds—is what Hudson incorporated into his essay for Associate Professor of English Sean Meehan’s Introduction to Nonfiction class. That essay, “Changing Seasons,” was the lead-off piece for the winter issue. “North American Birds has always chronicled the changes in American bird status and distribution,” Hudson says. By gathering and analyzing reports from birders across the continent, it documents changing bird populations, a topic more timely today than ever due to climate change. Beyond his work with North American Birds, Hudson is also considering other ways to reach a new generation of conservationists. Wherever he alights, he says, his focus will be on “education, outreach, and conservation.” Photo of Hudson and Cooper’s hawk by Maren Gimpel
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