ALEC BUFFAMONTE ’17
The Trinity College TREEhouse hosted their second faculty lecture of the semester on March 22nd where Professor Cameron Douglass presented his lecture, “A More Human Ecology: or Why You Should Give a Damn.” Following the precedent set two years ago with their hosting of several successful lectures, the student group has again decided to host a spring lecture series featuring presentations from faculty and staff across Trinity’s campus.
The presentations focus on sustainability, recreation, and environmental education. The lectures give Trinity professors and staff the opportunity to present to students on topics of their choice, and highlight the research being done by themselves and Trinity students, and highlights their out-of-class interests and passions.
In his lecture, Professor Douglass explained that the environment in which one grows up has a significant impact on how one stands regarding environmental policies. He explained to the attendees that he had traveled as a child and as a result has an outlook on environmental issues that is a product of his experience with the environmental challenges of many areas around the world. He received his undergraduate degree from College of the Atlantic, in Bar Harbor, Maine, where he majored in Human Ecology, which is the College’s only major. He feels that ecology is a science that is taught extensively to college students, but not enough emphasis on the effect of Humans on other organisms and their environment, and his undergraduate education allowed for him to study this more than most Ecology students.
He says that a catalyst is needed for people to take a serious stance on environmental conservation. His drive for environmental conservation stems from his young son. He is worried about what state the Earth will be left in for his son’s generation.
The first lecture of the semester was on March 8th, presented by Professor Jonathan Gourley of the Enviornmental Science department. He discussed “Clear-cutting Forest Strategies in the White Mountains and the Impact on Soils.” Gourley has a passion for the White Mountains, which are a mountain range covering about a quarter of the state of New Hampshire and a small portion of western Maine, including the tallest peaks in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains.
He began with a history of human activity in the area, and how the mountain lands were used for their lumber and other natural resources. The forests in the area were subject to clearcutting, a logging practice in which all trees in an area are cut down, which was unsustainable for the environments within the mountain range. Environmental studies have since been conducted in the area. As a resuly, logging has been regulated to include more sustainable practices, such as the preservation of a group of trees in the center of clearcut area so that the forest may effectively regrow. Gourley’s Environmental Science students go to the White Mountains every semester to collect soil samples and study the effects of the clearcutting that still takes place in the region.
The TREEhouse will host four more lectures during the remainder of the spring semester, which will include “Issues of Sustainability in Conservation Projects,” on March 29th by Professor Hussain, “Lessons from the Ledge: An Everest Experience” on April 5th by Anne Parmenter, “The shift from bicycle-dominated mobility to car-dominated mobility in urban China” on Tues, April 12th by Professor Notar, and “Persistence: North America’s Hardest Sandstone Rock Climb” on Wed, April 20th by Kevin Johnson.
All lectures take place at 5 PM at the TREEhouse, at 125 Allen Place.
As a group, the TREEhouse is the sustainability house on campus, and houses several student clubs, including the Brewing Club, the Outdoors Club, the Rock-Climbing Club, and Green Campus. The group as a whole desires to promote awareness of Trinity’s impact on the environment and how students can do their part to improve it through recycling and safe environmental practices. The house is currently enjoying a renovation of its Kitchen and back porch so that it may better serve its members.
The group is working hard to provide thought provoking Earth Week activities for students next month that will inspire the whole campus to think about how environmental issues impact them and the campus as a whole. All students are encouraged to attend the interesting lectures during the semester or to attend any of the participating club’s activities- Green Campus’s weekly meetings at 8:30 PM every Tuesday at the TREEhouse or the weekend excursions planned by the Rock Climbing and Outdoors Clubs.