Taking advantage of one of the most spectacular days of the fall season, 26 Middlesex Community College students and staff boarded an early morning bus and headed to the base of Mount Monadnock in Jaffrey, N.H., to scale the gorgeous and challenging mountain climb!
Up before the sun, the intrepid band of explorers were drawn, like so many before them, to the natural beauty and magnificence of the second most-climbed mountain in the world. With fall foliage at its peak, along with vibrant blue skies and an abundance of sunshine, it provided the perfect day for our hikers.
The group arrived at the mountain before 9 a.m. and the hikers were eager to hit the trails. For many of the students, this was not only their first time to Monadnock, but their first time hiking, period! After a group photo and assembly line to compile peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, hikers departed in small groups to being their five-hour trek.
Some hikers challenged the terrain with all the vigor of a triathlete - others preferred a more meditative and relaxed approach. In other words, they hiked in all sizes and speeds! Some hikers reached the top, and others reached a height that met their satisfaction. Regardless of their turnaround point, all the MCC hikers enjoyed breathtaking, panoramic views, the tremendous beauty of the mountain, and a bona fide workout.
Those who reached the top of the mighty climb were rewarded
with a 360 degree view of the valleys below – a sea of yellows and reds and
oranges of fall foliage, peppered with shimmering ponds and lakes. The
strong winds howled, but didn’t drown out the victorious shouts of joy and
laughter of climbers on the summit. And all agreed that the only peanut
butter and jelly sandwich that tastes better than one you made is one that’s
eaten atop a challenging mountain that you just climbed.
Organized collaboratively by the MCC Outdoor Adventure Club and the Center for Health and Wellness and sponsored by the MCC Transporation Department, this trip was the latest in recreational adventures offered to the MCC campus community. Next up for our outdoor adventurers is the annual ski and snowboard trip to Mount Sunapee scheduled for Saturday, February 7th.
Climb every mountain, fjord every stream, follow every rainbow - that's the MCC way!
The end of summer, and that means another harvest for the MCC Community Garden, which grows by leaps and bounds each year, almost as rapidly as its vegetable inhabitants!
Begun last year as a product of the MCC Sustainability Club and providing an opportunity for students, staff and faculty to tend their own plots, the community garden has become one of the most exciting projects on the college's Bedford campus, not just because of the visual enhancement, but mostly because of the community engagement the project has harvested with several community partners.
Overseen by folks like Christopher Fiori, Mike Cermac, Steve Rossi, and a hardy crop from the hard-working members of his Sustainability Club, the garden across from the Cataldo Administration building has allowed dozens of members of the MCC family to grow their own individual gardens, boasting a wide range of offerings from eggplants to cucumbers to sunflowers.
The MCC Community Garden has already donated around 300 pounds of fresh produce, including beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, corn, chard, squash, and cabbage to the Merrimack Valley Food Bank. These donations come from the student-run section of the garden - 2,000 square feet across four beds at the garden's entrance. Last year, donations from the student section totaled more than 700 pounds, and by the end of this year's harvest in October, the Sustainability Club expects to top that poundage.
The main crop of potatoes should be ready to harvest any day, and the Club also has done a second planting of beans, radishes, lettuce, and broccoli. Early on, some unseasonably cold summer weather made casualties out of a bean crop, but they since rebounded and produced a high yield. At one point over the summer, the voracious Colorado Potato Beetle threatened to destroy the coveted potato crop, but the students were able to control them with an organic pesticide that won't harm the plants or the environment.
The garden's infrastructure saw lots of improvements this year. Most notably, with the help of MCC Facilities, the club added a permanent fence enclosing the garden. In prior years, several deer broke through the meager fencing and had their run of the garden. The students also moved their fain barrels inside the fence and added a storage shed for all of their gardening tools. The Club even carved out one corner of the landscape to create a zen garden, where students and staff can just take a moment to soak in the beauty of the garden.
In all, there were 59 active gardeners across 64 plots, with nearly two dozen of those green thumbs belonging to students, a marked increase over last year's initial outing.
So give a shoutout to all of our folks with the green thumbs, especially the members of the MCC Sustainability Club! We look forward to seeing what next year's crop yields!
A new semester underway, so natch, that means it's time for the Center for Student Engagement to welcome students back to campus in style with our annual Block Party, held on our Bedford Campus!
The September classic brings our students together with staff and faculty for a frolicking good time, complete with giveaways, sporting events, and of course, fried dough, hot dogs, and sausages loaded with peppers and onions!
The daylong festival is a fabulous way to help integrate our newest students with our returning scholars, and kick the school year off on a fun foot! Kudos to all the folks from Student Affairs and their army of volunteers who make it happen every year!
Ye blog writer will just shut up here and leave it to the wonderful images from Alyce O'Connell www.alyceconnell.com to tell the story of the day in pics!