A Morning at the Seacoast

By Jacquelyn Oster, Class of 2019

Recently, President William Fahey led the students of Natural History on a field trip to York, Maine. They met at the Nubble Lighthouse, where Dr. Fahey explained to the students that the rocks on which they stood were the same as those which exist today on the west coast of North Africa. Thousands—or possibly millions—of years ago, their two continents were joined. Alumnus and teaching assistant Brennan Kroger pointed out the distinct bird species which could be seen floating over the freezing waves and across the grey-blue, foggy sky.

Next, the students walked along the rugged Ogunquit seacoast. Massive, foamy, and dramatic tidal waves bashed against its cliffs, prompting students to stop and wait for each giant spray of saltwater. They examined the different berries that grew on bare, thorny bushes alongside dark green juniper trees, and some went down to scoop handfuls of foam from off the rocks in the tidal zone.

Afterward, the students hiked Mount Agamenticus, which overlooks parts of Casco Bay in Maine; Boston, Massachusetts; the White Mountains in New Hampshire; and Vermont. The mountain is dense with evergreens, pines, hemlocks, beech trees, beautiful foliage, and blueberry bushes. The students’ arrival at the top was met by the appearance of a porcupine which they admired for quite some time.

Mi’kmaq Chief St. Aspinquid is buried at the top of this quadruple overlook.  He was a Native American shaman who converted to Catholicism in the early seventeenth century. He traveled widely throughout New England and Canada as a missionary to other native tribes. The students added small stones to the cairn representing his burial spot.

Shortly after noon, the students stopped for late breakfasts at various mom-and-pop diners in York. They then returned to campus, invigorated by their morning at the sea.

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