Learning to Interpret the Landscape

13 Jan

Today was the first day of our class, of Exploring the New England Landscape, where we learn details about and history of the MacLeish Field Station and Western Massachusetts.

headed out

For the first half of our session Professor Jesse Bellemare led us on a tour of the field station. During our trek he would occasionally stop to tell us a historical or ecological tidbit, pointing out a physical artifact or other object of significance. For example, humans have lived in the valley and had an impact on what is now Field Station land for approximately 13,000 years. Native Americans originally resided on the land; years later, Europeans traded with them to obtain ownership and settled there. Geologic digs in the area have turned up arrows of various lengths. The settlers’ influence on the land can still be seen by the stone walls that they built to keep their sheep from wandering. It was truly amazing to see evidence of this and other centuries old history all throughout MacLeish.

wall and snow  2015-01-12 10.52.58

After spending hours learning outside, we spent most of the latter half of our class session indoors. We began by creating our own journals, even down to the pages and binding.

2015-01-12 14.30.36  journal

 These journals will be used for taking notes and writing reflections throughout the duration of this course. They proved extremely helpful when we ventured back outside to compose a short note about our surroundings. We then calligraphed these notes onto strips of paper, creating weathergrams, and hung them along the trail and on the bridge leading to the Bechtel Classroom. On Friday, we will be able to check and see what nature wrote back!

-Michele Handy, ’15 and Jessica Morgan, ’17

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