Over the next week we will honor the Proctor Woodlands through a series of activities, videos, hikes, live classes, and messages from members of the Proctor community. Kicking off with today’s global celebration of Earth Day and culminating on Proctor’s celebration of Earth Day on April 29, this weeklong Woodlands Challenge will celebrate our connection to land, while generating support for a new educational center that will serve as a gateway to Proctor’s 2,500 acres of land.
As the Proctor community swings back to in-person learning this week, as the dorm pods loosen and disperse, the interconnectedness of all that is Proctor, the mycelium underneath, reveals itself. Coming back to in-person gets the network humming. Yes, we can do a lot remotely, but we get to the “it “ of learning by being in the landscape, not simply observing it from the outside.
Temperatures will plummet overnight as we bid farewell to a mild first half of December and anxiously await what Winter Storm Gail will bring Wednesday evening into Thursday. As the winter winds shift, we each have a choice to make: retreat indoors and curse the cold, snowy winter ahead or embrace the amazing outdoor recreation opportunities available to us in rural New Hampshire’s Lakes Region. At Proctor, we choose the latter.
At many schools, afternoon activities consist primarily of competitive team sports. However, at Proctor, we follow a different model, and if one were to talk to any person associated with Proctor, they would realize the true variety of options there are for students to pursue during the afternoons. If you’re not a fan of competing in a traditional team sport on a field, you could always compete on the trails as a part of the Mountain Biking team. If you’re interested in spending your afternoons helping preserve this beautiful campus and the surrounding area, you could join the Community Service Group. If being active and exercising makes you happy, you could become a weight room monitor in the afternoons and tend to that space.
It’s been the kind of weather week the poet Robert Frost captures in Two Tramps in Mud Time, the kind of week that brings bone chilling winds off the shoulder of Ragged Mountain followed by pockets of sunshine that carry the promise of jacketless days. Grass looks almost mower ready, then snow swirls and grabs hold of Carr Field as it did earlier this week. And now I am informed by the Weather Channel that tomorrow will be a gorgeous day with temperatures near 60, only to be followed by 3-5” of snow Sunday night. It’s been a this and that, two tramps week for sure.
Today marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Conceived in the midst of social, political, and racial upheaval of 1970 when 22 million Americans took to the street to voice their concern about the way our species was treating the natural world, this celebration continues to recenter us each year on our connection with our living earth.
Traipse through the New England woods long enough and you will run across old stone walls bisecting a dense forest. Follow those walls and you will likely find an old cellar hole. Once a home, these remnants transport you to a different era when Proctor’s 2,500 acres were clear cut pasture sprinkled with farms of hardworking men, women, and children scraping a living off the rocky soil. An era when connection was found through human interaction, walking to your neighbor’s home to help bring in the hay, share a meal, repair a wagon. An era when it was acceptable to care deeply about those walking through life with you to show your emotional investment in their well-being.