“Nature Walk at Lake Wintergreen”: relaxing from academics


Dylan Haviland – Arts & Entertainment Editor 

On an overcast fall day, the final leaves of the summer fell down onto Lake Wintergreen in Hamden. Mary Spodnick, a freshman, whipped out her pink Polaroid camera and captured the morning landscape. She shook the small print as her fellow honors students gathered around to watch the lake develop on paper.

“I thought it would be fun to mess around with [the Polaroid] and thought there would be pretty pictures here because it is fall,” said Spodnick. “”I was trying to get basically the colors of the trees and the lake, because I think that was pretty much the focus of the nature walk. It would be nice to save that little memory of today.”

The photograph captured the last leg of the “Nature Walk at Lake Wintergreen,” a program for the honors college organized by residential advisors Mary Casey, a junior nursing major and Richie Magnotti, a senior physics major.

The brisk morning walk took the group of 10 through a trail surrounded by trees holding onto the faded reds and yellows of fall. In the background, Lake Wintergreen was clear and grey, littered occasionally with branches and foliage.

“I think kids and residents tend to be more engaged in whatever the topic is when they are in the field doing something or when they are experiencing it first-hand,” said Casey. “So even in nature when you experience looking at the lake and you see all that stuff you become more interested in it because it becomes a real thing.”

Casey wanted to make a trip that was both relaxing and educational for the honors college. She had never been to Lake Wintergreen and wanted this to be a new experience for her and the students.

“I wanted to do something that had to do with outside because I feel like a lot of the times when we think of educational programs, a lot of it is inside and very structured,” said Casey.

The nature walk provided a chance for students to get away from the stress of classes and explore the local area with their peers.  The group took a slow pace on the trail to take in the scenery, occasionally stopping to photograph the lake and trees.

Magnotti said that his favorite part was getting fresh air. He commented that it is important to take a break from the work of a closing semester.

“One thing you will find in the honors college is that they dedicate a lot of their time to their academics and it’s important to them to get away from that sometimes,” said Magnotti.

The trip closed off with a walk over a concrete bridge overlooking Lake Wintergreen, a view of the last days of New England Fall.

“I remember in the fall my family and I used to do walks like these, we lived in the suburbs so we would go through the woods when all the leaves were falling,” said Spodnick.  “It was really nice it reminds of home a little bit.”

Photo Credit: Dylan Haviland – Arts & Entertainment Editor 

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