Author Archives: daniellekristim

Frisbee Golf Course (et al.) on Campus????

Just checking to see if anyone is reading this blog … I kind of feel like I’m writing for myself. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But if someone out there is reading this, would you mind just jotting a note down in one of the ‘comments’ section?

So, anyway, back to the frisbee golf idea. We’ve got ocean, freshwater streams, great hazards, open fields — it seems to me that such terrain would offer a challenging setup. I mentioned it to a colleague here (who will go un-named) and she poo-pooed the idea, but I’m betting the idea will have legs.

And what about our newspaper “Off the Wall” — an outlet for some serious investigative reporting (and other less serious stuff)?

Radio — COA internet radion station? Or old school — WCOA — I’ve done a little bit of internet snooping and it looks like you can get something to throw off a signal with a 1-2 mile radius for just a few hundred dollars. Great physics and circuitry to be learned there, isn’t there?

There — now that should give you some easy fodder to comment on.

I can’t wait for the students to get here…


His Story — COA History

My sit down with Ed Kaelber

My sit down with Ed Kaelber

Maybe it’s because our college is relatively young and that even the far reaches of our history are easy to reach, but I must admit that I enjoy hearing about the college’s early days.  Now, I promise not to fall back and nostalgically kick my feet up, clasp my hands behind my head and dream of the good ole’ days — we are an institution on the go and forward looking.  But there’s nothing wrong with knowing, recording and learning from our own past.  Today, over the course of a lunchtime meal, I had the opportunity to relive some of those stories with Ed Kaelber, our founding president.  What a guy and what stories!! E.g.,:

Back in the war I was a paratrooper. But I didn’t jump into combat, we flew gliders.  A Howitzer, a pilot and about 12 soldiers loaded into one of those things — an overgrown version of what you see at the Trenton airport. We would leave just before dawn and were landing in southern France. The German army knew we were coming, so in our intended landing field they had ‘planted’ huge fence posts. Thankfully, they had done so in a very orderly way — with posts lined up in a nice grid.  We landed parallel to the rows and, although they clipped our wings, we made it safely.  If they had just peppered the field with them we would have been in real trouble!

There’s a useful analogy in there somewhere.

I think it would certainly be worthwhile having Ed over to the school for some Fall term “coffee and conversation” style talk in Deering.



Get involved with, ask questions about, and visit our farms!!

Here are a few photos from a recent excursion I made.  We have the unique ability to learn with our hands and get some dirt under our fingernails + learn with our minds and think through how we plan on feeding a world that will approach nine billion people in the next few decades.

As a school, we are really well equipped to look at the human ecology of food.

Look for more images after the jump.

DC Continue reading

Human Ecological Relevance in Digital Age

At a summer “Coffee and Conversation” down in the Deering Commons, faculty member Bonnie Tai referenced something that really caught my attention.  The quote was something along these lines: “The future jobs of a full two thirds of today’s elementary school children haven’t been invented yet.”  All the more reason why human ecology is practical in today’s — and tomorrow’s — world. Check out the citation.

Pigs on Farm, Pigs in Zen, Pigs in Pen

Here are four friends from Beech Hill Farm.  I have a lot of thoughts on and feeling for our beautiful farms!  I will eventually try and put those ideas down, but for now, I thought you should say hello to our porcine friends.


Great Duck Island Excursion

Holding a Gull

Holding a Gull

On Monday, July 25th I had the opportunity to zip out to Great Duck Island, visit students and get to know their projects a bit, and haul some much needed batteries out to the station (3000 lbs worth, I might add.  The old ones can no longer hold the charge from the solar arrays on the island).

These ‘outer islands’ are AMAZING – we are so lucky to have them and I wholeheartedly encourage you all to get to know them first hand.

We were lucky to have about the calmest day imaginable. The water was glass.

The Indigo, piloted by our master boat captain Toby Stephenson, headed Continue reading

3rd Blog From Presidential Boot Camp @Harvard

I started this morning of the “president’s boot camp” like every morning so far – five miles of running along the Charles River. The Canada goose population is thick and particularly ornery here in Cambridge.

Hands down the best talk to date has been by Freeman Hrabowski, president of University of Maryland, Baltimore campus. Freeman turned a more or less ho-hum average urban school into an exceptional hard science research institute and an institute that graduates more minority math and science PhDs than anywhere else in the country.

His biggest piece of advice for the audience of new presidents? Push your body and your mind – don’t forget about individual human health.

Maybe I liked him because that’s the advice I wanted to hear – I find solace in running, biking, climbing, avoiding vicious geese…

I’ve said it in other contexts before – I believe human ecologists need to think with their head and their body. It’s going to be important for me to keep running, biking, climbing, avoiding geese despite a very hectic schedule.

I’d like to set a goal of trying to run every mile of carriage path and every mile of national park trail on MDI in X time (we’ll work on that – short time frame is not vital). If anyone wants to join me in this goal, we can do it as a team.


2nd Post from Presidential Boot Camp @Harvard

Second blog post.

The benefit of writing with my thumb? I get to the point.

I’m here with 50 – count ’em – incoming presidents. I’d guess that a full 75% represent small, private liberal art colleges (the guy from U Kentucky is here, a real outlier, and fun to tease him on how badly the Georgia bulldogs will whip his football team this fall).

There is very serious, very palpable anxiety among that 75% – anxiety about their institutions’ relevance in the coming decades with the rapidly changing sands of higher education.

I can wholeheartedly say that I’m not worried.  And I don’t feel I’m blind or naive.

The fact is that in a world where people are demanding programs that produce creative, highly motivated, problem solving, flexible, thoughtful, broad-based thinkers and doers, we are king. Human ecology is more relevant now than in 1969.  In today’s world, our brand of education is robust and deeply practical.

Ok, I have to get back to class.