Monday, October 28, 2013
I loved getting to explore the campus and see all the cool college hangouts. I found putting up the index cards really inspiring because even though we didn’t get to see the reactions they caused, it was nice to know that people would see them at random points in their day and they will make them think. I’m really glad we ended up doing the cards about the topics we did because they really are thought provoking and they will make people think twice about these subjects. To me that is one of the best kinds of service, making people change their views on things.
Although today may not have been a typical Friday (even for CSG!) it was certainly a fun and rewarding experience. We spent the day at Juniper Hill School, which was founded by the wonderful Anne Stires. Located in Alna, Maine, Juniper Hill is a school for kindergarteners through third grade. The school focuses on teaching kids through play and outdoor immersion.
For this service project, we had prepared some marine science lessons and games to teach the students at Juniper Hill. Then we helped the school with their Friday work projects. We helped get their yurt ready for the winter, cleared some of the woods for their new outdoor classrooms and places, and we made signs for some of those places.Our day was beneficial for both the kids and us. We ended up volunteering from nine thirty in the morning until four in the afternoon, doing all sorts of fun things! After volunteering, we discussed which piece was most rewarding to us, and for each girl it varied to some degree. For the majority though, the joy of teaching others seemed to be most predominant among the ladies of CSG. We all really loved giving the young kids of Juniper Hill some of the education that we have received.
This project related the cornerstone of action, because we were actively participating in helping the youth of this incredible school learn. It incorporated lifelong learning too, because even though we were teaching them, we learned things also as teachers. It also connected to community because the community at Juniper Hill was really amazing, and something to aspire to get a community at the level of responsibility, respect and learning the Juniper Hill community was at.
This work was important, because it showed us all that learning is amazing and can impact so many different people in so many ways, the teachers and the students, or friends and they were called at this spectacular school. I personally enjoyed how it gave back to this community because we were repaying the education that we were getting. We have and are receiving an incredible education, and it was great to give back that education to kids. I had an amazing time playing and hanging out with these kids, it was a wonderful experience that made, as I’m sure all of us cherish the education that we have received and the joy of teaching others.
Today we woke up, ate breakfast, and headed out to Kettle Cove to do a beach clean up. We each had our own trash bag and our goal was to collect as much garbage as possible. It was a pleasant surprise to see that the beach was pretty clean already. As we were picking up the garbage we found a dead seal, this made us really sad, but Liz proceeded to teach us about the protocol for finding a dead marine mammal. We learned that if you find a marine animal dead or alive you’re not supposed to touch it, and you should call the marine mammal hotline (1-800-532-9551). We loved looking out at the scenic view of the coast and enjoyed solo and lunch on the beach.
Our second service project of the day was at The Preble Street Resource Center, a center offering shelter, food and counseling for homeless and low-income individuals and families. We helped facilitate the process of handing out food during the food pantry session. We met with Elise, the volunteer coordinator at Preble Street, who told us about the daily routine of the organization. Then we headed to the food pantry area where we got split into teams. Some teams worked handing out food while one team was placed in the storage area organizing the boxes of food. Before we left, Sue Ellen told us ways we could help the soup kitchen from right here at CSG. We all agreed that we would love to go back to volunteer again and help with decorations for the holidays.We had a great experience at both service projects. Helping our community made us very grateful for what we have. We feel very lucky that we have this week to give back to the community. This was a really special day of service week; can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Today we worked a little closer to home. It was funny realizing that Coastal Studies for Girls also needs all the help it can get from volunteers. We got to work doing a good end of the season garden cleaning, pulling up and cutting away all the dead plant material so that the new growth in the spring would have room (it also just makes everything look a little prettier).
We also ended up with a new plant friend, to join our bunkroom plants Leafroy, Philipe, and Bernese, a lovely little lamb’s ear that Ivy named Humphrey. Ivy accidentally uprooted him while weeding, and decided to pot him and let him spend the winter inside. Lambs ears are those wonderful little plants that have thick leaves that are indeed shaped like lambs ears, they are also a very soft and fuzzy. Ask any child that knows about this plant and they will tell you that it is by far the best blanket to use in your fairy house. I, myself, have often wished I could curl up in a lamb’s ear leaf in the winter. Funny, though, I think, that we keep on naming our plants with boy names.
The inside also needed to be cleaned, so we all got to work vacuuming and sweeping. It was shocking the amount of dust that managed to accumulate in the corners. A lot of us also had a bit of organizing to do in our personal areas; while making beds and folding cloths we talked about Halloween and what we’re going to organize for that. I can’t remember if its going to be a surprise for the teachers or not, so I won’t reveal anything.
Early in the morning, we packed up camp at Cobscook Bay State Park, following the ABC’s of packing a backpack. With the vans loaded full of our packs, the 15 of us squeezed into our seats and scream-sang to songs as we drove to the Cutler Coast Preseve parking lot, and parked the vans at the trailhead of the route that would take us to Fairyhead, the campsite in which we would be living in for the next 2 days. Unfortunately, we lost two members of the crew to sickness and blisters, so it was a sorrow farewell as we hugged our friends before they drove a van back to the farmhouse.
I was somewhat full of adrenaline as we shouldered our packs and started to hike, first along the inland trail and then towards the connection that crosses the coastal trail. After about half a mile, we reached a ledge that jutted out of the trail and into an ocean so vast it just kept following the horizon. At this time, it was about noon, and the sun sparkled on the blue water as we took a scenic break. I felt so small in comparison to the open ocean that seemed to go on forever.
Soon, it was time to head back to the trail. With the bold coast on our left, we ventured through the woods and played silly games to pass time. About 2.5 miles into the hike, we took a lunch break on the rocky coast and it was so strange to take my pack off. If I took a step it felt like I was floating.
When we got back onto the trail, I was hiking between different people from before, and as we walked, very deep conversations unfolded and it was such an amazing opportunity for our relationships to become even better. We stopped about every 20 minutes to take a water break and a few times we had to treat hot spots (the stage before blisters). I also stepped into a hole full of muddy water, soaking my right hiking boot.
We made it to the first campsite in about 5 hours, and made a point to look for a source of water, like a stream. However, everything was extremely dry, and the campsite was too small to fit all of our tents. So, we traveled a little ways further along the coast and a nice couple gave us their bigger campsite. Our group had gotten split up between the first and second campsite, so I took it upon myself to lead the group towards the location of the bigger site, although I wasn’t completely confident I was headed in the right direction. We made it though, and it felt empowering to have led a group and been the person for others to follow in a time of confusion.
That night, we made a dinner consisting of couscous and vegetables. After clean up and closing circle, I stayed awake a little later to draw a star map, looking out onto the coast.
The next morning our schedule was pretty loose. We were able to construct it ourselves, which was a great team effort. After a breakfast of cheesy grits, cooked on our trusty stoves, we read The Lobster Coast by Colin Woodward on the rocks, and then had a session about power with Vanessa. We created superheroes that embodied the three types of power (power-within, power-with, and power-over) and shared with our groups. Power-over liked to overrule, power-with focused on relationships, while power-with believed that everything in this world is equal. Then, we had about 2 hours to go exploring in groups of three or more. Erica, Marie, Phoebe, Marie, Luz, Lexy, and I headed west along the rocks, scaling and climbing the coast of Maine. We stopped to eat a lunch of Clif bars, dried fruit, nuts, and water. Then, it was time to turn back and I twisted my ankle, but usually I just walk it off. However, when the girls found out they came rushing over to me and made me sit down for at least 10 minutes. It was so sweet, but I honestly didn’t need to rest. Anyways, within those 10 minutes we made a video for the girls who couldn’t be on the trip.
When we got back, with about 2 minutes to spare, it was time to play a massive group game of Sardines. This is a game in which one person hides, and when others find them, they hide, too. Soon, it is a test of how well the group can stay quiet as the last people search for them. It was crazy playing on the massive boulders but it was so fun and we wound up playing for about 3 hours.
At dusk, Molly talked to us about a model of group development created by Bruce Tuckman, in which the stages of a group are forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. And, we were tasked with figuring out where our group stood within the model at the moment, and how we had progressed as time passed at CSG. Then, it was time to cook dinner. We cooked beans, cheese, and rice and
after we ate, another group of people went to filter rainwater in the rocks for water bottles, while I drew another star map. Then, after closing circle, out on the edge where we read The Lobster Coast, Madi, Erica, Allegra, Phoebe, Marie, Lexy, and I set up our sleeping bags. We stayed up talking about anything and everything under a foggy night sky. It felt like a sleepover, even though this entire experience has been a sleepover every night. I fell asleep to the sound of water lapping against the rocks, with the foghorn playing in the distance.
We were woken up at 5 the next morning, so we could make it back to the Cutler Coast Preserve parking lot. It was tricky to make it back to camp half-asleep, crawling over jagged rocks. Some people tackled the task of cooking breakfast for their groups, while others took down tents and packed. After a quick meal of oatmeal and dried fruit, we finished packing and it started to drizzle. The group decided to take the inland trail back to the parking lot, and it took a little bit of walking along the coast to find the connection to the inland trail. It was a soggy hike, but I had another really lengthy conversation with the ones I was hiking with, which made time pass quickly.
After several water breaks and a lunch of beef sticks, dried fruit, nuts, and Clif bars we had made it back to the parking lot. We arrived about an hour earlier than we had expected, so we played games and huddled in one van to stay warm until the other van arrived.
Finally, our community was back together. Michelle brought us donuts (don’t tell Gail) and we sorted into vans after figuring out another plan of action when we heard that our next destination, Acadia National Park, had been shut down by the government.
We began our day with helping out the Historical Society in Freeport, Maine. When we arrived at the building a man named Ned Allen, the Collections Manager, whom we had previously met from a field trip with Anne to the Historical Society to learn about the local history, greeted us. After a brief hello and everyone getting situated, Ned gave us a brief rundown on all of the jobs that needed to be done. We needed to photocopy property files, transcribe a fisherman’s log from the 1800’s and the mutiny of Bargue Glen, and organize slides and negative strips. We were all split into these specific groups and Erica, Nicole, and I were tasked with sorting slides. Our job was pretty simple when Ned explained it. All we had to do was take a pile of slides from a box and put them into tiny sleeves that one could easily put into a binder. The trick was to not get any of them mixed up or to make sure that when you looked at the slides they were all facing the same way. The slides were about 2x3 and as we began to protect them we found quite an arrangement of pictures. Some of the slides included: the Shriners Parade, class of 22 reunion, 60’s and 70’s family portraits, Christmas, bushes, trees changing color, a parade, mobile homes, and a house under construction. When we finished with the slides we asked what should we do next. Ned was greatly surprised and in a joking manor said, “Woah, slow down there.” He then rummaged around the archives and pulled out two massive files of negatives that needed to be sorted in chronicle order. At first we just pilled the months onto of each other to later go back and sort within the month, but we soon discovered it was easier to sort them as we go. It definitely tested my knowledge on how well I knew the months and their order. Finishing the two big folders we were surprised to find that Ned didn’t have another job, because he didn’t think we were going to finish that fast.
As I sat in the archives and sorted through the pictures it was really cool to see the history of Freeport. When we discovered a picture of a camel we had to ask Anne and she said that there is a small dessert in Maine that they used to keep a camel as an attraction. We also got to see some of the yearbooks and saw how back in 1980’s they had many of the same things that we still have today. Some of the pictures showed us some of the traditions that Freeport used to partake in and it made me wonder what the Shriners parade was and if it is still running.
The Historical Society has been able to give people knowledge about the local history and share new finds with the general public. Everyday they uncover new discoveries about a house down the street or are given a document that tells them deeds of a land. Being able to take all of this history and preserving it is amazing and it’s no wonder that they need to constantly sort and keep inventory on what they have and don’t need. Being able to help them, it’s cool that I might be helping someone in the future who can learn about their own history. Maybe with the help of sorting and organizing we might be able to uncover our own history of the little yellow farmhouse.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
This afternoon we ventured to Wolfe’s Neck Farm to assist the farm in whatever needed to be done. Eric Tadlock, the Director of Education, first asked us to introduce ourselves and then gave us an overview of his job. He then explained the different jobs that needed to be done. Half of the group would stack bales of hay that had remained intact from the previous weekend’s hay maze, while the others would put a few garden beds to rest by breaking up old plants and covering them with compost, hay and seaweed. Before leaving, we would reconvene to help move picnic tables spread out from the Fall Festival held the week before. We soon split up, gathering in the gardens or the barn.
I (Sarah) was part of the group working in the gardens. My time was spent breaking up the old beds with a shovel, and then working with Allegra to fill up a wheelbarrow with compost to take to any beds that required it. We needed to make sure there was enough to cover the beds in a 2-inch layer of compost. Unfortunately, the wheelbarrow we had chosen had a flattened tire, so it took quite a bit of upper-body strength to push it from the compost piles to the beds. It was a methodical process of shoveling compost into the wheelbarrow, pushing it towards whichever bed needed it, dumping it onto the bed, and spreading it out evenly. I then moved on to coating the newly covered beds with a thin layer of hay and after that had been finished, Allegra and I teamed up again to fill the wheelbarrow with seaweed (Ascophyllum nodosum and Fucus vesiculosus) to cover the hay. We used the same process, and soon our work was done. As I looked at our finished job, it struck me how much we had actually completed for the farm, and how much time we had just saved for those working at Wolfe’s Neck. There is no better reward than feeling as if you actually had a positive impact on someone else’s life.
I (Kim), helped out at Wolfe's neck farm by putting the flower beds to rest. Eric Tadlock told us that we had to turn over the crop that was growing there, and stack multiple layers onto the land. The patch of land that Isis and I decided to upturn had plants with larger roots, and it took us longer to shovel the soil. We then asked Allegra and Sarah to bring us some compost, and we piled on the compost until it was widely spread out and had a thickness of two inches. Furthermore, we piled on some seaweed to finish off the flowerbed. Since we were done with the flowerbed, I decided to walk around and finish piling on layers and helping people seed garlic for the following year. It was a lot of fun volunteering for this farm, because I felt like it was beneficial to the farm. They could be using their time to take care of their barn and farm animals, instead of cleaning up hay, or putting flowerbeds to rest.
While Sarah and Kim were hanging out in the garden I (Erica) was in the barn sorting out the still bailed hay from the loose hay and raking all the loose hay into one pile to be re-bailed in the near future. After we (the group I was in) had finished with the hay we were then gifted with the task of mucking out the pigpen. Tragically, I had worn my wet shoes adding an all-new level of unexpected excitement to the task. Although this chore was less than glamorous it felt very rewarding when we had finished. In some ways it reminded me of cleaning out my gerbils’ cage when I was younger, but on a much larger scale. After the pigpen had been mucked and restocked with hay we then moved picnic tables re-arranged from the Fall Festival held the week before. In short, I enjoyed the tasks that were assigned to me, no matter how dirty they were.
Today, we took action to assist a local farm and friend of CSG in getting the work done necessary for the organization to run. We went out of our way to help the farm, ready to complete and chore that needed to be done. Wolfe’s Neck Farm allows Coastal Studies for Girls to use their trails and visit the farm regularly, and, more importantly, the land the little yellow farmhouse sits on is owned by the farm. Our volunteer work today allows us to show our gratitude towards them.
Wolfe’s Neck Farm opens its farm to the whole community, young and old. The people at Wolfe’s Neck Farm dedicate a lot of their time and effort to support life long learning, giving tours to families with toddlers and grandparents. Inviting all of their visitors to come back with a friend. This volunteer time has also opened up our eyes to the importance of supporting locally raised food, a theme that will continue throughout our lives.
The work we did today was very important to Wolfe’s Neck Farm because the jobs we completed in about 2 hours would have taken Eric, or any of the other farmers, a week to finish. Time that they generally don’t have. This gives back to the community because Wolfe’s Neck Farm is open to the public and spends its time teaching others about agriculture and providing produce. Our time spent allows more time for the people at Wolfe’s Neck Farm to spend on harvesting, and educating the community.