200 Days in the Life of the College

Monday, December 6

Adirondacks offer a classroom without walls

By Tucker Keren ’13

The Cultural and Natural Histories of the Adirondack Park is one of Hamilton’s most distinctive courses. Taught by Robin Kinnel, the Silas D. Childs Professor of Chemistry emeritus, the class learns about the harsh effects of acid rain, but it covers much more than just chemistry in the Adirondacks. Other topics studied include logging, the “great camps” and the Adirondack Park’s creation. And for the final project, student groups choose a unique aspect of the Adirondacks to research, which, Kinnel says, “allows students to explore a topic in which they have a special interest.”

Today the students present their research at a poster session open to the Hamilton community. Hannah Stubley ’12, Louisa Root ’13 and Michele Kahn ’13 present on winter recreation in the Adirondacks. Stubley’s group chose the topic because they knew “how winter is an essential season [in the park], especially for the local businesses, and thought that it would be interesting to further explore how recreation affects it.”

Stubley, a New York resident herself, took a “rollercoaster” route to Hamilton. While trying to narrow her academic focus, she spent time at both the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and Herkimer County Community College before landing at Hamilton. She believes the Adirondack poster session exemplifies the type of opportunities that initially drew her to Hamilton. Although, like many of her classmates, Stubley was a bit nervous before the presentation, she has learned to “work collaboratively with others, to be independent and to step outside of your comfort zone.”