Pope Park Clean-up

E-M1__2805_DxO_700On April 19th about twenty ENVS students volunteered their time to clean up a portion of Pope Park. We met at McCook Hall at around 9AM and headed down to the site, where the Friends of Pope Park welcomed us with an impressive breakfast buffet.

So rather than stuffing leaves into trash cans we stuffed ourselves with muffins, fruit, granola bars and cookies. Finally we got to work: a few of us picked up trash around the perimeter, others took to shovels and rakes to remove the traces pf last week’s fair: tire

E-M1__2836_DxO_700tracks of the heavy machinery that carried the carnival rides. A small flower bed at the entrance of the park yielded an astonishing amount of leaves. It took five of us all morning to get it cleaned out.
E-M1__2820_DxO_700Due to the cold spring there weren’t many invasive species to be had, so Cameron and friends cleaned out the little pond and found the main prize: a very nice shopping cart and a brand-new cooler.
E-M1__2846_DxO_700After three hours of work we returned back to Trinity where we had a celebratory barbecue to finish off the day.E-M1__2860_DxO_700

E-M1__2862_DxO_700Yes, the chocolate cakes were delicious!

Burnham Brook in Pouring Rain

Chris Kenny before it got really wet.

Chris Kenny before it got really wet.

Nope, the weather wasn’t at its finest when our senior seminar class left for Burnham Brok in East Haddam, CT. It was actually raining pretty hard and it didn’t stop until we arrived about an hour later to meet Steve Gephart from the CT DEEP. Steve and Mike Fotos gave us a guided tour of Burnham Brook Preserve, one of the first properties in Connecticut donated to the Nature Conservancy by Dick Goodwin, a Connecticut College professor who helped to establish the Nature Conservancy in the early 1960’s.

Steve leading us through the forest.

Steve leading us through the forest.

The Burnham Brook Preserve consists of 1022 acres of forested land and includes two small streams. It was amazing to see these two streams, even after prolonged heavy rain, run completely clear and still within their banks – the result of a nearly completely protected watershed area.

Burnham Brook

Burnham Brook

One of the many stone walls criss-crossing this former farm area.

One of the many stone walls criss-crossing this former farm area.

We spent about two hours hiking through the preserve, listening to Steve and Mike’s stories about the preserve and their explanation of various ecological features. We were all pretty wet after our trip, but not too cold to visit the local ice cream shop, where we sampled a large variety of locally made flavors. All-in-all: a very successful trip!

It's never too wet for ice cream! At the Salem Valley Farms Ice Cream store.

It’s never too wet for ice cream! At the Salem Valley Farms Ice Cream store.

Trinity ENVS Program Made it into the New York Times!

ENVS made it into the science timesHooray! Trinity’s ENVS program is featured on today’s Science Times page. We couldn’t tell you about it but last week Cameron had a little phone interview with with Tara Xacum, a science reporter from the New York Times to talk about his ground breaking research on invasive dandelions. To make it even better: they picked one of Christoph’s pictures to go with the article. No we didn’t get any royalties, but fame is priceless! You can check out the article here:

ENVS Faculty Participate in Treehouse Lecture Series

Hammonasset State ParkIn April Christoph Geiss and Joan Morrison will both give lectures or lead discussions at the Treehouse. On April 8th Christoph will give an introduction to landscape photography, sharing some advice and enjoying the excuse to show cool pictures. On April 22nd Joan will lead a discussion on the connection between “Environmental Health and Human Health“. We hope to see you all.

Yes, for all you bird folks out there: these are “sanderlings” a migratory bird species fattening up on Long Island Sound before heading back north to their breeding grounds in northern Canada. Who says a geologist can’t do birds. :-)

ENVS Program Participates in Hartford’s 2014 Great American Cleanup


Trinity’s ENVS program will participate in the 2014 Great American Cleanup. The details are still a bit murky, but Cameron volunteered us to pick up trash and eradicate invasives around the pond at Pope Park. On Saturday April 19th we plan on spending the morning at the park, do some good and end the half day of hard labor with a picnic or barbecue.
Contact Cameron or Christoph if you are interested in joining us on. Pope Park will provide trash and invasive plants, ENVS will provide transportation, gloves, tools and the food afterwards, and you provide the labor. Everybody wins!

First McCookout of the Semester a Great Success

McCook 121- party centralDespite strong winds and freezing temperatures the first McCookout of the season was a full success. Cameron, Justin and Dan lit the coals and provided lots of food that was eagerly awaited in the geology lab. About twenty majors and new students met over lunchtime to chat, eat, discuss classes and declare their majors. With Spring finally in the (extended) forecast we hope to make McCookout a weekly event for the rest of the semester.

dan on the grill

The real reason why dan volunteered to do the barbecue

And the prize for best hair goes to ...

And the prize for best hair goes to …

No food in the lab!

No food in the lab!



Trinity Hosts Geological Society of Connecticut Annual Meeting

This Friday Trinity’s Environmental Science Program hosted the 5th annual meeting of the Geological Society of Connecticut. The well-attended meeting began with a field trip to some nearby rock outcrops led by Jon Gourley and Randy Steinen, and continued with a reception in the Academic Club.
GSC_reception_2_smDinner was served buffet style in Hamlin Hall and was a great success. Our guests were amazed by our old dining Hall and repeatedly inquired about the next Quidditch match. Jon and I assured them that we usually fly to class on our broomsticks. :-)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe big surprise of the meeting came early on. Some of you may know that, long, long, long ago Trinity used to have a Geology Department, housed in Boardman Hall (formerly located between Mather Hall and Austin Arts). Before moving across the country to San Diego, Richard W. Berry, taught Geology at Trinity. Dick shared a few stories from the past, recalled Trinity’s first X-ray diffractometer and marveled about our spaces in McCook. Now retired, he moved back to Connecticut  and I hope we’ll see more of him on campus in the future.
GSC_Richard_BerryAfter a rather brief business meeting we all moved to McCook Auditorium, where we enjoyed a lecture by Dr. Greg Walsh from the USGS on the rather complicated metamorphic rocks of western Connecticut.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThanks to the outstanding work of our Calendar Office (Thanks Christine for putting up with me!) and Chartwell’s the meeting was  a big success. It was also a lot of fun, and I am looking forward to the society’s spring field trip and next year’s meeting.


Utah Art Show Opens With Free Food

Utah exhibitJust as a reminder: Christoph’s exhibition of black and white photographs from Utah and Arizona has its grand opening tomorrow. Chris Guilmartin from the Calendar Office promised “southwestern-themed” food. Let’s find out what that is…

No McCookout tomorrow – artsy-fartsy grand opening instead! Wear your turtle-neck, beret, horn-rimmed glasses and artsy tweed jacket* and you are good to go.


*or your ENVS Fleece

New honors board and bulletin board installed in McCook

We got the two boards a few weeks ago, but yesterday Christoph finally got around to installing the little brass plaques on our new honors board.
ENVS honorsJust in time for homecoming, the board lists all of our presidential fellows (going back to 2003) as well as the recipients of the senior prize and the activism prize. The board has been hand-made for us by the guys at City Bench. Given the size of the board and the tiny brass plaques it will last us probably for the next 50 years. City Bench used reclaimed wood from a silver maple that stood just north of McCook Hall and had to be cut down last year. Wood from the same tree was used in the bench that sits between Jon and Christoph’s  offices and the new ENVS bulletin board.
bulletin boardThe bulletin board hangs between our two offices, while the honors board is located at the end of the hallway, so nobody can miss it during their visit to the dungeon of McCook.
ENVS hallway