By: Nate Curtisbrown
The canoe expedition was a time where we were truly able to establish a community bond, and now that we have reached Arcadia, the bond has only grown stronger. Classes commenced this week, and Arcadia transformed into a vibrant community of learners. After a full week of class, we have begun to settle back into the academic routine.
The outdoor classroom has proven to be more engaging than we could have imagined, bringing life to the information we are taught. The woods are a perfect backdrop for learning about the environment and sustainability; it is especially exciting because we are learning about the place we are living in. A family of playful Gray Jays joined us in class, and on the first day, we even saw a Bald Eagle fly over the outdoor classroom (something we would have missed had we been indoors).
Classes provide direct hands on experience with the natural environment that we now call home. Identifying trees during our Natural History and Ecology of the Adirondacks class opened our eyes to the biodiversity of our surroundings. Our professors continue to impress us with their knowledge of the local area, and one in particular enlightened us to the number of birds living around us by pointing out their calls. This is how we began to learn about the uniqueness of Arcadia’s ecosystem.
The community has proven to be everything, we all have hoped for. From paddle making to Martial Arts, and heated arguments about sustainability in cities versus on farms to listening to each other’s journal reflections, we have created an atmosphere of curiosity and academic growth. Discussions from the classroom often continue outside of class. We find the course content to be so engaging that we can’t help discussing it separately. Whether we are in the sauna or sitting at the dinner table, we find a way to include what we are learning in the conversation.
Though we spend much of our time focused on school work, we still make time for fun. This past weekend, we split up and hiked two separate peaks in the Adirondacks, one group summiting Ampersand and the other Algonquin. The hikes were both challenging, but provided us all with a, much needed break from academics. The weather could not have been better, and the day served to bring our already close-knit group even closer together.