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The AESOP Adventure

Biking, hiking, swimming, or farming, it's an outdoor tradition of connecting

Story by Bates College September 9th, 2016

To connect, you have to move

To make connections, you kinda have to make some moves. In that spirit, as Orientation for the Class of 2020 hit its midway point last week, Bates’ newest students headed out from campus for their outdoor trips, known as the Annual Entering Student Outdoor Program, or AESOP.

the Nezinscot farmers

Nubia Beasley-Bartee '20 of Chicago  and AESOP trip leader Sophie Warren '19 of North Reading, Mass., depart the vegetable garden.

In the 1980s, Nezinscot Farm in Turner, Maine, began as the first organic dairy operation in the state. It’s diversified since then, but the passion for good food and sustainability has endured, and Nezinscot is a favorite of Bates students for its homemade goods and delicious farm breakfasts.

AESOPers on this trip learned about farm life through hands-on participation in daily activities, whether feeding the animals or working in the vegetable fields. The trip was led by Sophie Warren ’19 of North Reading, Mass., and Ellis Obrien ’19 of Palo Alto, Calif.

AESOP trip leader Ellis Obrien '19 of Palo Alto, Calif., has all his eggs in one basket.
"I do love green beans. And here I am picking them," says Sara Bow '20 of Mount Kisco, N.Y.
Danielle Ward '20 of Atlantic Highlands, N.J., enjoys a mother and piglet in the farm's pig pen.
Nezinscot apprentice Sarah Ryan (left), of Augusta, Ga., and AESOPer  Danielle Meng '20 of Beijing arrange hay for the farm's llamas.

the Carrabassett Valley mountain bikers

Sam Onion '20 of Wayne, Maine, cruises the bike trails near Sugarloaf Mountain in Carrabassett Valley.

Led by Paul Phillips ’17 of New Gloucester, Maine, and Emma Marchetti ’17 of Whitefish, Mont., the bikers headed to the Carrabassett Valley, near Sugarloaf Mountain, a premier location for mountain biking in Maine. The group camped on Flagstaff Lake, with access to canoes and swimming.

Sam Onion '20 of Wayne, Maine, moves full-speed ahead.

the hillview gardeners

Trip leader Kevin Tejada '17 of Mount Kisco, N.Y., Viridiana Chavez' 20 of Chicago, and Angela Eustache '20 of Lynn, Mass., manage compost.

A Growing attachment to Lewiston

“I have a much better idea of this community after doing this work,” said AESOPer Timothy Kaplowitz ’20 of New York City, as he emptied a bucket full of weeds in the Hundred Acre Garden at Lewiston’s Hillview Apartments, where the gardens are part of the Lots to Gardens urban garden program.

Kaplowitz and his fellow first-years were participating in an AESOP service trip. Along with partnering with organizations in the community, they explored the area in the afternoons with hikes, swimming at Range Pond, and canoeing on the Androscoggin River.

Trip leaders were Kevin Tejada ’17 of Mount Kisco, N.Y., and Lisa Choi ’17 of Rolling Hills Estates, Calif.

Julie Hinton '20 of Walpole, Mass., works with a weeding crew, including AESOP trip leader Lisa Choi '17 of Rolling Hills Estates, Calif.
Timothy Kaplowitz '20 of New York City empties a bucket full of weeds in the Hundred Acre Garden, with Matthew Starr '20 of New York (left).
Timothy Kaplowitz '20 of New York City tills the garden with Garon Rothenberg '20 of Brooklyn.
Trip leader Kevin Tejada '17 of Mount Kisco, N.Y., maneuvers a wheelbarrow at afternoon's end.
Matthew Starr '20 of New York City and Gemma Rubi '20 of San Diego, Calif., get to know each other while hoisting weeds onto a compost pile.

The Lake Mooselookmeguntic trippers

As one AESOP group returns from a day of canoeing, students and leaders in the two Lake Mooselookmeguntic trips rendezvous for sunset.

Two trips headed to Lake Mooselookmeguntic and the Stephen Phillips Memorial Preserve in the Rangeley Lakes region of western Maine.

The area comprises more than 6,000 acres and more than four miles of lake shore, and the AESOPers canoed around the lake and its many small islands. Two days hiking provided views of Saddleback Mountain, Rangeley Lake, and the eastern edge of the White Mountains, along with plenty of swimming in Smalls Falls

One trip was led by Tess Miller ’19 of Santa Monica, Calif., and Eli Nixon ’19 of Eliot, Maine, and the other by Emma Smith ’17 of Braintree, Mass., and Wade Rosko ’17 of Dillon, Colo.

Emmy Dangle '20 of Portland, Ore., strategizes during a card game at the Stephen Phillips Preserve.
AESOP Leaders Eli Nixon '19 of Eliot, Maine, and Wade Rosko '17 of Dillon, Colo., prepare a meal of burritos for their first-year students.
Sam Findlen-Golden '20 of Amherst, Mass., accepts the challenge of eating a very hot-sauce-laden burrito.



“Farming has always been a part of my life, and I am pumped to get these kids into the farming life, especially in a place that I know so well, my own hometown,” said Emma Egan ’18, of Freeport, Maine, who led an AESOP trip to Winter Hill Farm.

Set atop a hill surrounded by woods and pastures in Midcoast Maine,Winter Hill is a small family-run operation that manages a herd of very rare Randall cattle, alongside a few Jersey cows.

Max Rein '20 of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Eliza Dunham '20 of New Haven, Conn., take a minute to chat while working in the greenhouse.
Jina McCullough '20 of New York City empties greenhouse seedling trays.
AESOP leader Emma Egan '18, an environmental studies major from Freeport, Maine, is excited to lead a farming trip in her own hometown.
Footnote: Produced by the Bates Communications Office with photography by Phyllis Graber Jensen and Josh Kuckens and text by H. Jay Burns