Winter Special

Osgood Pond Semester

Winter Special

What a semester it’s been.

An intense weekend of construction. Late-night capture the flag. Trail maintenance, an outhouse hole, root cellar and fire pit. Homesteading Festival and draft horses plowing the field. A potluck and even more capture the flag. Bow-drill fires, cordage, and hand-crafted furniture. Survival courses and personal projects. The first snow, and students still making the yurt-to-campus commute during finals.

All in just a few months. Whew.

First off, a thanks to the yurt pioneers, the first alumni class whose profile links you can find on this page. But it most certainly doesn’t end there. Charlie and Betsy Morgan for their visit and generous support. Kate Glenn and the Sustainability Fund. Curt Stager for his enthusiasm to build a sustainability community. Joe Orifice for his platform-building guidance. Phil Johnstone for tools, support, and canine company. Yves Balleneggar and Alex Hall of Groovy Yurts. Brady, whose work ethic (and pickup truck) most certainly helped raise three platforms and yurts. Ben Parker, who came out each building day to help seven students raise their homes-to-be. Bob Brehl and Brett McLeod for helping integrate a homestead lifestyle onto a beautiful plot of land. Brian McDonnell and the VIC for across-the-street accommodations and program support. Each and every student, faculty, staff, and neighbor who visited throughout the semester. Shannon Oborne, Keith Oborne, and Deb Naybor on a chilly day of bringing down yurts. President Cathy Dove and everyone else at Paul Smith’s for the college’s support.

It takes a community, and there are many more whose energy and enthusiasm helped play a role in building something uniquely wonderful. And this is just the beginning. Scroll down and revisit five months of life on the shore of Osgood Pond.

In Review

The Metaphor Field

The Metaphor Field

Dedicated to Osgood 2015 Pilot Class “Do you think we'll be able to plant anything next spring?” Hyla asked as we shoveled manure into the wheelbarrow. “Hopefully,” I said. November 11, the afternoon sun hit us perfectly and we worked comfortably in short shelve...

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Halloween’s Eve & The Whompers

Halloween’s Eve & The Whompers

On Friday, Oct. 30, Halloween's Eve, Osgood Pond Semester welcomed The Whompers — a jammin' folk band — back to Paul Smith's. Chef Kevin McCarthy, with the help of culinary students, provided tasty local cuisine for the party. The vegetable...

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Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned

I write this as I sit on the porch of the yurt, still wearing the long johns, wool sweater, and headlamp that I fell asleep with last night. It feels like fall. Gray skies and blustery winds ripple the prayer flags across the field and attempt to pry the most stubborn...

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Why?

Why?

The question most often – if not always – asked of me when people learn that I’ve chosen yurt life for a semester is “Why?” My initial response is “Why not?” What makes one consider a dorm room so much more appealing than a yurt? There are some easy reasons why our...

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Pack baskets with the Santagates

Pack baskets with the Santagates

A bicycle mailbox marks the driveway of Tracy and Nick Santagate. The Santagates are Paul Smith's alumni and well-known in the community. For many Paul Smith's students, visiting the Santagates is like being a kid in a candy shop. Pumpkins twist across the lawn. A...

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‘A fine way to live’

‘A fine way to live’

Books go here. Clothes go here. Dishes go here. No, here. Ok, that looks a bit better. Make bed. Close tent (bug shelter). Sleep… Wake up. Grab stove. Light fire. Boil water. Yawn. I’ve finally started to settle into the yurt, permission was granted to move in and now...

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Stalking

Stalking

As I look down upon my feet I see pine needles, balsam needles, and sand glued on by pine resin. It has created an all natural sole; no shoes are needed to stalk in the woods. A connection between the Earth and I is made. I can feel the differences in the ground cover...

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Osgood…we have a yurt!

Osgood…we have a yurt!

After four days of sun, sweat and downpours, a platform rose, and on it, an authentic Mongolian yurt. See how Joe Orifice, Andy and Phil Johnstone, Bethany Garretson and Alex Hall turned nine holes in the ground into an authentic Mongolian structure. [gallery...

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Appreciations

Appreciations

It's May and I'm sitting across from Joe Orefice in Freer, trying to follow along as he sketches out a yurt platform. “You'll need some L-angle brackets,” he says, tapping the pencil against the paper. I nod like I know what an L-angle bracket is and add it to the...

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The yurt inquisition

The yurt inquisition

Roots grow deep and strong Soil sticks to my running shoes My skin darkens brown Cherry Valley, NY - I'm kneeling next to my grandmother, planting tomatoes. Wind pushes across the lower fields and cools my skin. This is my homeland and the sirens sing me back every...

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Learn how to apply, get involved, or just ask a question!

Osgood Pond Alumni

Fall 2015

Andrew

Environmental Science ’16

Dominic

Environmental Science ’16

Hanna

Integrative Studies – Fisheries & Wildlife Science and Environmental Studies ’16

Erik

Recreation, Adventure Travel and Ecotourism ’16

Hyla

Biology ’18

Kaiden

Fisheries & Wildlife Sciences – Wildlife Concentration ’18

Valerie

Natural Resources Sustainability ’18

Osgood Pond Instructors

Fall 2015

Bethany

Field Instructor; Paul Smith’s College ’09

Andy

Field Instructor

In the News

Paul Smith’s Students Explore Yurt Life

Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Anthropocene Dreams

North Country Living Magazine

Photo Highlights

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The Metaphor Field

Dedicated to Osgood 2015 Pilot Class

“Do you think we’ll be able to plant anything next spring?” Hyla asked as we shoveled manure into the wheelbarrow.

“Hopefully,” I said. November 11, the afternoon sun hit us perfectly and we worked comfortably in short shelve shirts. The fall had been unseasonably warm and it hardly felt like the semester would be over in less than a month. Already, the winds of change were upon us and we all felt it. As they spread manure, Hanna and Dominic talked about winter break plans, which for Dominic would include some rock climbing. Erik was busy wrapping up his senior capstone and preparing to graduate in December.

What happens to this site next spring or two years down the road, many of the pilot class will not witness. They layer the field with manure for the next class, so that they might have a better chance to raise some kale and potatoes. Through their diligent work, a metaphor can be drawn to sustainable living and the next generation. We should leave this world better than we found it. A hard point to hit home many times, we are an in-the-moment sort of beast. Many of our actions are driven by instant gratification.

In the metaphor field they stand, resting on their shovels and looking at the yurts which have been their homes for the past twelve weeks. They have been excellent stewards to their site. They’ve respected, maintained and built upon it for the next class. Hanna drives her shovel into the sod and breaks up a large chunk. Dominic and Hyla go back for another load of manure. They built their homes with their hands. And with their hands, they will take them down. Winter will come. Snow will fall and cover the field and platforms. If a stranger were to pass by, what would they see? Would they realize all that lays beneath the surface? Would they see the field metaphor?

As an instructor, it has been wonderful to watch Erik, Andrew, Hanna, Hyla, Kade, Valerie and Dominic explore and find a home at Osgood. From the Osgood Pond Semester I learned: When the sun rises and sets, what 2 a.m. looks like in a star lit sky, that there is nothing better than berry picking with a birch basket after a full day of classes, how deer eyes can be alarming when spotted by headlamp, that you’re never too old for a game of capture the flag, how lunar eclipses are best watched lying in a meadow, and that the best place to teach patience, humility and stewardship is the outdoors.