Field Studies: Day 11

25 Aug

Thursday, August 2nd

Today marked the second to last day of our camp together.

Not going to lie here, but the two weeks of this camp have gone way too quickly. We’ve all become such great friends, and I really feel like we’ve become a little family (of sustainable individuals, perhaps). Between us campers, our awesome interns who kept us from getting desperately lost on campus, and our wonderful teachers and supervisors who ferried us back and forth on our daily adventures around the local area, plus teaching us about life here at Smith, as well as copious information about their courses, passions, and anything we would be interested in knowing.

Our day began as always, sleepy and, as the temperature rose with the sun in the sky, we found ourselves off on our adventures for the day. Our first stop after leaving CEEDS was Crimson & Clover Farm, where we met the owner, Jen. When we entered the property, we were first led to the barn where we were given the backstory of the property. Crimson & Clover Farm was a very old farm, dating back several generations, originally belonging to a family by the name of Bean. We learned that the farm had once been an apple farm, and where corn fields now stood there were once apple orchards, and that the barn was where the apples were sold. It was now their distribution point for their vegetables, where people would come and get their fruits and vegetables, which were grown at the farm. 

We then were sent to the Pick-Your-Own garden, where people who had membership to the farm would pick vegetables and herbs, as if it were their own garden. Two sections of the garden however, were in desperate need of weeding, and so Jen sent us there weed it, making it look much tidier than it had looked in a while. We were promised that after weeding, we would be given a tour of the farm. After approximately two hours of grueling but satisfying work, resulting in weedless rows of parsley and basil, we were shown the farm. Crimson & Clover Farm grows a variety of all vegetables, ranging from watermelons (of which we ate two and shared one with the three pigs), to sweet potatoes, to herbs, tomatoes, and corn. Because the farm has not been under their ownership for very long, it was still in the transitionary stages of being truly organic – in other words, not certified but on the road there.

Once we returned to campus, we ate our gourmet prepared lunch, and relaxed a bit watching some slow movement videos provided by Candace. Each video lasted approximately 8 minutes, but some were shorter at only about 4 minutes. Each video portrayed two artists in slow movement, in such an environment that everything they did could be completely open to interpretation, with each interpretation being different for each person. For some, the piece of art through slow movement may have seemed dark and threatening, fearful, sexual, sad, or violent. Typically, the themes were dark, and these were typically formed by the type of movements done by the artists in how they interacted with their environment, along with being formed by the facial expressions of the artists. These expressions were limited, but onc could easily tell that they were well thought out and deliberate. In my mind, one of the videos even seemed to have an environmental theme. It showed how humans have changed and grown from primitive apes who were victimes of their environment, to reversing the tables as powerful creatures with nature at their mercy, all through the use of fire.

After discussing the few short films we had time to watch, we went to Unity House to cook with Tamar! In our slow cooking experience, we spent the first part of the session preparing open faced sandwiches, using local products like eggs, cucumbers, vegetables, and green salad. As one of the girls in charge of a small group, I tried to not get lost in the whirlwind that was the kitchen. Everyone was so busy, talking and laughing and cooking and trying to time things correctly, not to mention the sharing of materials and making sure that everyone had what they needed when they needed it! After we finished the first part of the food’s preparation, Tamar gave us some free time before dinner. As it was so hot, we decided that we would jump in the pond and then quickly shower and clean up for dinner, and all wear our dresses. In fact, it was so hot that we didn’t even bother changing into our bathing suits (with me the exception, I’m not one for getting my clothes soaked), and everyone literally raced to the pond across campus. By the time I’d gotten there, everyone had already jumped in, but were all climbing out to jump in again – which we did, screaming and holding hands as all of us cooled off. It didn’t last long though, because we all had to shower.

Once we were back at Unity House for dinner, we were all dressed up and ready for the final preparation of just putting the sandwiches together. We played music and as our friends in the Food Writing program arrived, they sat around waiting for dinner to be served. I had set up my ipod with the music system, and some of the girls actually were singing along to Regina Spektor. The food was, of course, delicious.

When dinner was completed, we left as the Food Writing girls cleaned up the kitchen for us, which luckily for them was not a huge task, and we headed to one of Smith’s many gardens for a Smith style tea party. Much to our surprise, as the tea cups were handed out, we discovered that in each cup was actually ice cream! The previous night, Julie had made homemade ice cream for our special tea party, where we toasted our ice cream “tea” to our TA’s Liz, Seneca, and Lisbet, telling them how great and fun they’d been over our special 2 weeks together, and wishing them the best of luck in university and wherever life takes them. Pictures were taken, some girls cried, all while we reflected on our time together and how quickly it was coming to an end.

Afterwards, as we left the garden, the group of us girls decided that we should all go into town together, because we were all dressed up and it was really our last night together. After stopping at the dorms to wash up quickly, we walked into town. On our way down Elm Street, we heard music playing from the park downtown, and we discovered that there was a free concert going on! Filled with spontaneity, we listened and danced together as a group, and sent our star dancers Michelle and Anastasia (the American one) up in front of the audience where all the more professional dancers were, so they could show off their skills. When the music ended, we window shopped, and made our way to one of the local shops where we got Bubble Tea, something I had never tried before! While hearing about it from everyone all of camp about how great (or how horrible) it was, I knew I had to at least try it, despite being someone who is hesitant about eating unfamiliar food. (One of the great things I picked up while at Smith – not to be afraid of trying new and different food!) I was quite shocked to learn the the famed “bubbles” in the tea were not carbonated bubbles, but actually round chunks of this gummy substance called “tapioca”, which tasted like black tea in a strong and gummy form. I don’t think I’ll be trying it again.

By the time that we had all ordered our iced teas, which may or may not have had tapioca bubbles in them, we walked back to Smith together to ensure we were back in the dorms before curfew, on our way dropping some smiles and coins to a busker, who was playing some lovely classic accordian music.

Our last activity together that evening was in the common room of Northrup House, where we simultaneously watched the olympics and made cards for our TA’s and professors, Reid, Julie, Leslie, to be given to them the following day at Macleish Station.

It’d been difficult to think and comprehend just how quickly camp has passed, and how in that short period of time, just how close we all became, between our crazy trips in the van and singing “Call Me Maybe” at the top of our lungs while dancing around as much as we could while remaining in our seats, to the lectures we went to where we learned things we hadn’t even thought of or even knew existed, to our visits at farms and gardens, and even people’s personal homes to experience a new lifestyle which we would not have otherwise experienced. I know I’ve cherished our time together and everything I’ve learned, and, as I know I can speak for all of us girls, that we’ll remember this summer as one of the best.


field studies:Day 12

4 Aug

   Friday, August  3

         It’s finally the day that we all have been dreading, our last full day together. After breakfast we proceeded to the CEEDs center and was very surprised by the crazy hair going on, for it was crazy hair day. With braids, pony tails, unicorn horns, and waterbottles all in our hair we were ready for the rest of our day.

          We went to the field station, so that finally we could make our eco-friendly projects come to life! Alongside the sound of hammers and tools at work, the visions of tables, bird houses, and a compass were coming alive. Approximately 2 hours later, everyone gathered and went back to campus for campus lunch, since all of us were craving some more campus food. At 1:10 all the girls met up at Northrop House, and the night before we had constructed some cards for our TA’s, so all we needed to do was sign the cards and get them ready for giving away. 

          Back at the field station, one hour was given to each group to make the finishing touches. The best part of the whole day was when all 15-16 of us sat in a big circle and expressed our feelings on the past two weeks. Recalling all of the past memories and thinking over everything we learned individually, a few of us got a big emotional, and let our sorrow of leaving out. After the tears and hugs, came the lemonade and cards. It got us all thinking more about how much we truly love each other. Saying our goodbyes to the field station must have been the hardest moment for some of us, since it was the first place we went all together as a group. Once we finished setting the compass up where it belonged, and saying the final goodbyes, we were back to campus.

          Coming back to campus, it was our last dinner together! (…Man that food was good…) All sitting together we laughed and talked, looking around with sadness. As soon as dinner was over, we all raced to our houses and got ready for…THE PARTY! At first everyone met at one of the houses and we heard student’s testimonies of how their experience at camp had been. To some people this camp had been the best thing that ever happened to them, and to others they met their best friends. As the students began leaving the house, the music came on. Blasting music, turning the lights off, we all danced our hearts off (especially listening to the some Call Me Maybe) Upon ending our jam session our field studies group ran off to the pond and we jumped in together, whispering “Field Studies” It was our biggest moment here together at camp.

          Now we say our goodbyes, have our final hugs, give each other kisses(?) and separate. BUT BEFORE THAT, SLEEPOVER AT NORTHROP HOUSE! WOOHOO, GIRLS NIGHT OUT! I can easily say that for each and every one of us, these two weeks have been more than a camp; they’ve been the coming together of amazing women. Through the sweat and complaining, and through the hiking and adventures, we’ve bonded so much. Tomorrow as the day continues, of course we’ll be upset, but on the other side we must be happy because we all met each other. From Greece to Canada, to the USA we’ve all found new best friends, and better yet, sisters. 


Field Studies & Sustainability 2012, rock on. 🙂 

Field Studies: Day 9

1 Aug

Tuesday, August 1

We started the second day of sustainable food week to a local cooperative food store, River Valley Market, which is a member-owned store. We met produce manager Joe Stan; He told us a little background how they run the business and also sharing some fresh blueberries and sweet husk cherries to us. Then, Rochelle Prunty, General manager led us a tour in the store. There is a wide selection of fresh produce, fresh meat and seafood, fruit, vegetables; a great cheese selection and wine. These food are all come from local farms that within 20 miles radius. River Valley Market was founded in 2008; this is the fourth year. They hope that there are more stores open 10 in years, so more people can eat local food. Our next stop was Astarte Farm, which is a certified organic farm. People sell their crops to local consumers; they specialize in tomatoes, lettuce, sweet corn, broccoli, carrots, varieties of garlic and more; and they even grow a few outstanding hybrids.  After walking around in the farm, we went back to campus for lunch.

After lunch, TIME TO DANCE! Candice led us to the dance studio in campus. We felt the different feeling between dance with open eyes and closed eyes. Instead of dancing indoor, very two people as a group chose a spot and perform to other people. It’s very interesting to see everyone’s different movement pace because of the different surroundings. We slowed down to increase our awareness to our surroundings, some heard the sound of the waterfall, some heard the sound of the air condition in the indoor track by slowed down to increase the awareness to surroundings. It’s amazing to feel that our movement and the environment combine together naturally.

Dinner tonight is special, instead of eating food from the cafeteria; girls from writing program made us delicious food for dinner. So tomorrow it is our turn to make dinner. I am looking forward to cooking!

How time files! We only have 2 more days, its time to make the “CALL ME MAYBE” video!



Field Studies: Day 8

30 Jul

Monday, July 30

The start of our sustainable food week began with a foraging tour on campus led by Blanche Derby. The group had barely walked a ½ mile where we learned about the many edible “weeds,” and additional cultivated plants that sprouted up or were planted on campus. We learned how to identify several edible plants and their purposes as well as ones that carry medicinal properties. Blanche explained that many plants tasted better cooked and she shared the recipes she uses with us. I think a favorite among the group was the plant Jewelweed and its seed pods. With the slightest touch a seed pod can burst! And within seconds, the pod curls up and reveals its tiny seeds.

After foraging, the Field Studies crew walked back to CEEDS where we met with the managers of Smith’s dining services and talked about local farms and organizations where Smith gets its food for all the meals that are served throughout the school year. We thought up menus that would satisfy our stomachs while still remaining loyal to local foods and farms.
Before lunch we were able to visit the student center and the campus store because we were still on campus. It was a first for Field Studies as we have been off-campus every lunch since the start of camp! We explored the Smith apparel before going to our first on-campus lunch (which was pretty tasty by the way.) This lunch on campus thing was a pretty big deal, and for good reason! Although the catered lunches we get while off-campus are still delicious, it was fun to experience a lunch in a Smith dining hall.

When we finished eating we met back at CEEDS and talked about where we go to get our food (grocery stores, coops, Whole Foods, etc.) and how long it takes us to get there. It is surprising to pick apart general facts to find the astonishing realities behind how the food that ends up on our plates travels far before we even get it in our stomachs.
From there, Field Studies hopped in the college vans and drove to the Pedal People establishment and learned about their environmentally efficient small-scale, but hugely effective organization. A community of around 12 people pedal trash, recyclables, and compost from households and businesses in the pioneer valley to the town run drop-off center using only their bicycles and trailers. This effort combines physical activity, the reduction of our carbon footprint, and brings community to the Northampton area.

Afterwards, the group went back to campus and from there we took a stroll to downtown Northampton and went to Go Berry. We enjoyed fro-yo (frozen yogurt) in a few different flavors and added toppings from a selection of fresh fruit, crushed cookies and/or crackers, candies, and nuts. This treat was delicious and refreshing, especially on today’s beautiful and sunny afternoon! Once we left Go Berry, we walked back to campus and to Capen Gardens. Under the shade of a tree, we sat in a circle and read aloud our “things I carried” essays to the group. It was a sweet moment among us and it reflected our reason(s) for attending Summer at Smith.

By the end of our day we were hot and tired, so a bunch of us went swimming in the favored swimming hole to cool off and recharge our bodies and minds! This concludes another fantastic day of Field Studies for Sustainable Futures!

– Sydney Bobrow

Field Studies: Day 6

28 Jul

Saturday, July 28

Today we woke up bright and early to head to Zoar Zip Lining.  We were all wary of looming storm clouds, but the weather held out while we geared up.  We were all outfitted with helmets, gloves, chest and hip harnesses.  We split into two groups of 8 and went to “Ground School.”  There, we all had to practice zip lining on a mini-zip line a few feet off the ground.  We learned the proper zipping position – left hand over right, elbows out and loose (to avoid rope burn).  The day we went was a left-hand stopping day, so to slow ourselves down you simply put your left hand on the wire and friction took care of the rest! 


When we graduated Ground School, group one hit the woods to start zipping.  We were driven in awesome jeeps up a trail to the first zip line.  Everyone had a great time flying through the trees, even if we were nervous at first.  It was really cool to be at canopy level with the beautiful forest.  We did some short, super fast zip lines and some longer, slower scenic ones.  There was even a zip line where we got to take a running start! 


Our guides were very helpful and taught us a little bit about the trees in the surrounding forest.  We learned that as trees sway in the wind, they actually get stronger, like exercising a muscle.  We saw a white oak, a huge, strong tree that’s used for ship masts, baseball bats, and barrels. Image

Just as we were about to finish the course, the thunderstorm caught up to us!  We quickly went back to the Zoar base.  When we got back to campus we went to CEEDs, had a delicious catered lunch, and watched the Olympics/Princess Mononoke all night long!  


-Jenna Shapiro

Field Studies: Day 5

27 Jul

Despite the early start and yet another rainy morning, we were in high spirits for our second day at the field station. Continuing with our environmental endeavors we had two speakers, Paul and Chris from the Center for Environmental Civics, inform us on the social aspects that accompany environmental activism and to help us brush up on our public speaking skills. The presentation started with a pair of nike airs and ended with a little public speaking where we each could advocate an environmental issue we feel strongly about on a more personal level. At the source of this presentation was this question – what allows the misuse of our environment and the contributing social factors remain unchanged? The answer… Many people do not recognize the power they possess to create change in their society. Citizens are at the base of political and societal institutions and have the ability to change the laws if those expectations do not comply with their values. With that idea in mind we set out to create awareness of our causes and to promote potential solutions while simultaneously incorporating our helpful new public speaking strategies.

Then lunchtime came around and we were eager to chow-down on some local vegetarian fare. To complete the meal we munched on a few scrumptious blueberries straight from the bush. A little post lunch fun included a rousing game of pterodactyl. The game came to a sudden halt when a surprise staff meeting was called. This meeting contained top secret (well semi-secret) information. After a sudden surprise cardio workout that involved running to the observatory and dragging pallets back to the top of the field, we were excited (and slightly puzzled) about what out next task would be. After awkwardly standing around a pile of pallets a timer was set, we were given our first task and thus, the pallet olympics were born!
We completed a series of tasks (which we passed with flying colors) including a structure with a roof that could fit us all inside. Then we set out to claim our pallets and refine our designs for our projects. We finished the day off with a friendly pow wow where we shared our experiences form the field studies program and how they changed our perspectives. Finally we strolled on over to the vans to end another tiring yet rewarding day.

-Michelle Migliaccio

Day Four

26 Jul

And another wonderful day at the Field Studies program began!! The weather was not so good in the morning and we were really waiting to see what we were going to do. And the surprise came! We began our day dancing… We interacted with the space using different movements! We could run, walk, lie down, sit down, draw a circle, and combine all or some of them! After practicing the movements in various spaces, we worked with partners and observed one another. We came to the conclusion that we chose our movements in relationship to our environment. If we paid attention to our surroundings, our bodies reacted to the other actions happening within the space.

For example, we repeatedly observed that when one person sat down, another person would begin to move. It was as if we were talking with our bodies instead of with language.

We took a short walk outside where some of us danced in the grass and some of us danced in the library. We got to watch each other perform in public spaces. I remember reading somewhere that “some people dance in the rain and some people just get wet.” We fit the first definition. Somehow, in that enormous space where anyone could see, I felt comfortable moving.

Before lunch we visited a local shop named “Sticks and Bricks”. The owner talked to us about how she takes old things that some people may consider trash, and turns them into new, beautiful things. It is amazing what people can do when they put their mind to it.

We had lunch at Local Burger. It was so delicious. All of us chose different things to eat. Before our food came, the owner of the shop talked about how he had the idea to begin a business like this and explained why they sourced their meat from local farmers.

The afternoon was spent at UMASS learning about their permaculture garden alongside another 11 person group studying similar topics at the UMASS campus this summer. We were asked to think about whether the care of people or the care of the earth is more important. We realized that these things are connected to each other and one cannot exist without the other. They took us outside and showed us the different parts of the garden, including the vegetable garden, the medical garden, and the perennial garden. The garden is run entirely by a small group of students. At the end of the afternoon we were split into groups and got to help out in the garden. I was in the weeding group, where we cleared space for the plants to grow. Another group took stones to touch up the lines tracing the garden paths and plots.

When we finished, we were asked to stand in a circle and say one word describing our experience: exciting, amazing, tasty, smelly, dirty, buggy, itchy, inspiring, regenerative, unique…the list goes on….

Anastasia Tsiara

Thessaloniki, Greece