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Sylvia, a Bennington College YAP intern, harvesting kale at The Tutorial Center's YAP Farm at Hiland Hall in North Bennington.

Bennington College Students Bring Energy and Enthusiasm

Two friendly faces often seen at our YAP Farm at Hiland Hall Farmhouse this season were those of Sam Lawson and Sylvia Maderes.

Both students are Bennington College juniors and each has their own reasons for taking advantage of this Tutorial Center work experience.

Bennington Colleg interns Same Lawsen and Sylvia Maderes harvesting carrots to be sold at the Bennington Farmers' Market and through The Tutorial Center's YAP Food Network

Sylvia, a literature and dance major from southern Pennsylvania, has always had an interest in science and nature, taking several science classes throughout her educational career. She likes knowing about food, growing food and food systems. As she says, “It’s good to know where your food comes from.”

Sam, from slightly closer Holyoke, Mass., is studying biology and anthropology at the college. He admits that since interning at the YAP Farm under the guidance of farm manager JJ Beck he’s beginning to think about future career pathways that include agriculture. “Not in producing food,” Sam said, “but perhaps in the areas of biology and chemistry.”

Sylvia and Sam have been with the part of the YAP farm team since early June which has allowed them to experience all aspects of the farm from planting, to weeding, to harvesting, and now putting the farm to bed for the winter planting cover crops such as buckwheat.

This is the second year that Bennington College students have had the opportunity to work at YAP Farm. This is one element of the growing connection between The Tutorial Center’s YAP and Bennington College.

Sam Lawson, Bennington College student and YAP intern harvesting carrots at the YAP Farm at Highland Hall  Bennington College intern readies the harvest for the YAP Food Network

Sylvia, a Bennington College YAP intern, harvesting kale at The Tutorial Center's YAP Farm at Hiland Hall in North Bennington.  Bennington College intern Sam Lawson harvest carrots at The Tutorial Center's YAP Farm at Hiland Hall in North Bennington.

 

The Old Sugar House Project

It was standing, neglected and unused, full of old farm equipment and rodent nests.   But we felt the Old Sugar House was also full of potential to be a classroom in the woods and a home base for field studies.  Our goal was to have it ready for the May field studies program, when Dorset 7th graders would come for two weeks of ecological work. When we discovered that the shed roof had to come down, we geared up to salvage and clean.  Once the roof was on the ground, YouthWork&Learn students took over the project.  Here is what they wrote:SugarHouse K D

SugarHouse L SLucas:  We’re taking the roof of the old sugar house apart.  It was a major relief when we got all of the tin off the top of the roof because that was the hardest part.  We set up the buckets so we could slide the nails into a bucket so a nail doesn’t go straight through our foot. We only brought what tools we could carry.

Scott: Working  on the Sugar house  was a good experience. It was fun, and  I now know I need to work on working with other people. The old roof came down,  so we are cleaning up and getting rid of the old roof.  So now we can make it part of the school  because we are going to have a bunch of kids coming to our school from Dorset.

SugarHouse frontDillon: I worked on the Sugar House roof after Jesse, Smokey House Director, took it down for us to use the pieces as salvage. Projects include but are not limited to us making benches, an outhouse and chairs. I had a hammer and hammered out nails, so that they’d be easier to pull out. After other students got out wooden boards from the structure of the Sugar House roof, I hammered nails out and then pulled them out using some tools. Overall, it has been great working on this project, especially since it is outside.

SugarHouse lunch

 

 

 

 

A New Workbench for TTC at Smokey House

Up to now we’ve made good use of old desks and tables for our projects in the classroom barn, but under the guidance of teacher-carpenter Robin Chesnut-Tangerman we have built a sturdy workbench to make our projects easier to manage.  We’re really proud of the end result!

Design came first, followed by measurements and cutting lists.

bench plans bench square IMG_0046

We glued and screwed two layers of plywood together, built the frame, sanded and polyurethaned.
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IMG_0123We took the drawers off an old desk and installed them at one end of the workbench.  We bought a new lockable tool chest for the other end.

The boards for the shelving under the bench came from an old table that we tore apart, cut, and sanded.  We also made shelves for the end wall.  Underneath, we used flooring remnants to protect the old carpet.

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The finished product!

Wilderness First Aid at Smokey House

YouthWork & Learn students have been studying  survival skills this season, from fire and shelter building to emergency first aid.  This culminated in the official SOLO Wilderness First Aid (WFA) course, a two-day event resulting in certificates of completion for the students.  We now have four staff members fully certified in WFA, and all our students have experience dealing with emergency care.

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Doing a “chunk check” as part of the ABCDE’s of the primary survey

In reviewing what we did and learned, Dillon wrote:  [On February 27 and 28] “we had a wilderness first aid survival course. It was for 16 hours, 8 hours each on Thursday and Friday. The instructor was named Jeremy, and he is from New Hampshire. I learned about “ABCDE”, which stands for Air (or airflow), breathing, circulation, deformity and environment. This is how we treat a patient and the order we should go in.
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We debriefed after every hands-on practice.

We also did many outside learning practices with fake injured persons. The one that stood out was with Juanita, Jim (science teacher), John (participant), and others. Juanita’s car was in the middle of the parking lot, parked sideways in the middle. Juanita was laying on the car’s hood. It appeared a drunk driver (John) hit her and Jim as well,  as he was walking with his walking stick on the side of the road. People had fake blood/injuries on themselves. I was a part of the team helping Jim. I had to hold his head so it wouldn’t move.

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Learning to make good splints

Another thing we learned about was writing/using SOAP notes. It is a document that records all the information you received from the patient if they were conscious. It can also record everything you did for a patient (checked vitals, etc). The course was a little tiring, but it was well worth it.”

When asked what he felt was the most important thing he learned in the course, Lucas replied, “not to panic.”   Being able to stop, think, and assess a situation without reacting impulsively is not only a key skill for first aid but also an important life skill.

As well as running WFA for the students, we offered a second course to the public on Saturday and Sunday, subsidized by The Tutorial Center.  We’re pleased to be able to share this opportunity with others, and we hope to sponsor the course again in the future.IMG_0020