Bowdoin students and alumni often cite world-class faculty and opportunities for intellectual engagement, the College’s commitment to the Common Good, and the special quality of life on the coast of Maine as important aspects of the Bowdoin experience. Reflecting on your own interests and experiences, please select and respond to one of the following topics: Intellectual Engagement, the Common Good, Connection to Place (250 word limit)
“You all know your neighbors, right?” James asked my science class. We all nodded, wondering where our teacher could be going with this. “Well, the trees outside are your neighbors too. Don’t you think you should know them as well as you know your human neighbors?”
James’ words resonated deeply with me during my Chewonki wilderness trip. The paddles plunged into the still blue water again and again. A family of common loons was to our left, their sorrowful calls piercing the static air. We were a flock of our own, floating on the surface of Muscongus Bay. A hawk called out. Though I could not see him, I heard him. I knew he must be there, perched high and regally on an Eastern White Pine. His Eastern White Pine. We kept paddling. We came closer to the rocky shores of Friendship Island, and I paired the sound with the body. The hours spent learning his language had finally paid off. The bald eagle.
Connection to place was a fundamental aspect of my Chewonki experience. Rather than solely knowing the names of my human neighbors, I was taught the names of my plant, tree, and bird neighbors as well. My place is where white pines dance in the wind, the ascophylum nodosum is my swimming partner, and the black-capped chickadees are my morning alarms. My place is on the coast of Maine, and I would be so grateful to call my place “Bowdoin.”