Since its inception, Proctor has cared deeply about stewarding the environment. Our annual celebration of Earth Day provides an opportunity to welcome guest speakers to campus and to replace classes with hands-on workshops.
Proctor’s institutional commitment to environmental stewardship is impressive as we have committed to renewable energy solutions and truly “walked the talk”. In 2008, we formalized that commitment by writing an Environmental Mission Statement which has guided more than a dozen energy efficiency projects over the past seven years (take a look at those projects here)!
In 2008, we also welcomed Tyler Fish to speak to the community during our Earth Day celebration. Fish was preparing to become the first American to ski unassisted to the North Pole. Wednesday night, seven years later, Fish returned to campus to recount his expedition and the challenges faced along the way. He concluded by sharing a thought from John Ruskin, "What we think, or what we know, or what we believe is, in the end, of little consquence. The only consquence is what we do.” His message was clear - you learn not only when you are comfortable, but when you are challenged, pushed to extremes and act on your beliefs - a reminder our students gave us this past fall.
All day Thursday, students and faculty worked together in hands-on workshops. One group led by Peter Southworth and Buz Morison hiked to The Bulkhead and camped last night after Tyler Fish’s presentation. Others took hikes today, did highway clean-up, fly-fished, revitalized the Proctor Organic Garden, studied water quality, and took tours of local organic farms. The theme of the day - appreciate the world around you! Check out this short student film of the day!
The fun didn’t stop there, however! During assembly, the Green Dorm Challenge winners were announced (below dorm leaders from Summerfield celebrate winning a pizza party for their ‘most improved’ greening efforts, while Carr House dorm leaders mourn their loss). Congrats to Sally B dorm for winning this year’s Green Dorm Challenge!
Not every school decides to have an interspecies jazz musician perform on campus, but we did. As David Rothenberg discussed his unique relationship between music and nature, and the work he has done to understand the rhythms and tones of various species, each of us began to appreciate our own unique connection to the world around us. We may not be able to jam with cicada's, but we are able to connect with our world in our own way! Here's a time lapse video from today set to Rothenberg's music.
When the third workshop session concluded at 3:00 PM, students departed for their afternoon activities and life returned to ‘normal’. What is encouraging, however, is even though Earth Day is celebrated once a year, environmental stewardship is core to Proctor’s ethos. We can celebrate on a single day, but our commitment to stewarding our environment spans 365.