by: Garrett Sopko
This past week, the Arcadians eagerly awaited their mid-semester break. Before we could leave, however, we had many tasks to complete. First off, in our Creative Expressions of Nature class taught by English Professor Mark Sturges, we all worked to complete sculptures inspired by the artist Andy Goldsworthy. Working with natural materials surrounding our yurt camp, each student created a unique sculpture.
Throughout the week, we also hurriedly worked to complete our fern and tree projects, which we had started at the beginning of the semester. We had to collect twelve different species of ferns and sixteen different species of trees, and at least six of the trees had to be conifers. We compiled them all into a book, pointed out their key features, explained their habitat, and marked down where we found them in the Adirondack Park.
On Tuesday, Ali Kostick turned twenty years old and students celebrated their first Arcadian birthday together. Drew Felter and Alyssa LaCoy were on cooking duty, but many others joined in to create an extra special meal. Together we prepared a delicious burrito dinner, including ground beef from 8 O’clock Ranch, fresh salsa and salad with vegetables from our CSA at Kent Family Growers, and rice, beans, and cheese. Arcadian Melanie Bogdanovich, with the help of others, even made Ali’s favorite dessert, New York style cheesecake. Everyone sang “Happy Birthday” and enjoyed the best of evenings.
The next day, Sue Willson, Professor of Conservation Biology, took us to the Massawepie Mire, a bog located on the Massawepie Boy Scout property. Legend has it that this is the biggest bog east of the Mississippi. Sue taught us all about the plants and animals that call the bog their home. We learned how these plants managed to grow in water with a pH of only 3.8. Compared to 7.0, which is neutral, a pH of 3.8 is highly acidic; it is like these plants are growing in vinegar. As we walked barefoot through the bog, the acidic water gave our dirty feet a good cleaning.
Finally, mid-semester break was starting to feel close, but there was still a lot to get ready. We headed back to Gannett Lodge where the family dinner would be held and gave it one last cleaning. With the lodge looking fresh, there was one more step before we could get fully into break mode. We had to finish our essays for Professor Glenn Harris’s class, Land-Use Change in the Adirondacks. With the lights going out at 8 p.m. due to there not being enough sun the past few days to fuel our solar panels, we lit candles and put on headlamps, getting ready for a late night. Finally, the essays were done, and our parents began to arrive, marking the start of break.
Previous Adirondack Semester students were busy all afternoon cooking dinner for fifty people at Gannett Lodge. They cooked up the chickens that we slaughtered at Reber Rock Farm earlier in the semester, along with squash soup, salad, roasted veggies, and a cheese platter with cheese from North Country Creamery. As parents arrived at Gannett Lodge, we eagerly greeted them. The afternoon was spent heading across the lake to show our parents Arcadia, and at 6:30 p.m., we all reconvened at Gannett Lodge for dinner. We shared stories with each other’s families as a slideshow with many memories of our semester, so far, played in the background. After dinner a few Arcadians left, but many of us returned to Arcadia for one last night before leaving for a short break. Most students headed to campus to say “hi” to old friends and be “back in society” for a few days. But it’s just a quick break to clear our minds, as we will be back to the yurts early Tuesday morning, ready to finish the semester strong.