Category Archives: Campus

Collingtonian Article on our “Pre-History” Raises Questions about Next Steps

Occasionally, this blog draws attention to articles in our sister publication, the Collingtonian. Peggy Latimer’s piece in the January 2018 issue is deserving of such focus. The piece, tells the history of slaves here at Collington, to the minimal extent that it can be reconstructed from wills and other documents. The story is particular present, because of the graves up on the hill, including one of Basil Warring, who had “inherited” ten slaves from his father.

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It is, of course, deeply shaming for a white person to read, and I think Peggy gets just the right combination of factual clarity and respectful perspective:

Marsham’s 1730 will listed them. All but one, however, were identified only by first name [spelling and punctuation through- out are as written in the original documents]: “One Negro Man named Caceour One Negro Man named Hercules one Negro Man named George One Negro Woman named Moll One Mulatto Boy named Charles One Mulatto boy called Robin One Negro Boy named Will Bulger One Mulatto Girl named Sarah One Mulatto Girl named Cate one Negro girl named Lucy and their Increase”

Peggy notes at the end, “With much research, we may be able to learn more of the history of these people. At the very least, shouldn’t we be honoring those enslaved persons who lived and labored on the land where we all now reside?” At the very minimum we should find public ways to recognize and honor that we enjoy the legacy of the labor of their forced and denied lives. Without in any way suggesting equivalence, the need to remember and honor reminds me that a few years ago, I went with my Polish Holocaust surviving aunt to a gymnasium (high school) in Mainz Germany, and for our visit, as part of a larger group, they had put up a mounted display of The Holocaust in Mainz, including a map showing locations.

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Here is a photo of my aunt with some of the display. The kids were deeply respectful and attentive.

Surely we can try to do as much.

Indeed, there must be much else that we could do, that not only reminds of the past, but steers us for the future in these apparently anti-historical times.

Intelligent Re-utilization of Used Materials

Contributed by Dorothy Yuan

Finally, upon the much-anticipated completion of The Landing and other revised Collington space, the temporary road used for construction can now be removed.   Instead of discarding the asphalt milling, it is being used to improve part of the perimeter trail going into the woods.

Yuan collage

Planting Collington’s First Flower Meadow

Contributed by Alice Nicolson and Marian Fuchs

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On Friday 8 December, 18 months after Jane Engle, Peter Pfund and Alice Nicolson first walked with a meadow guru around campus to evaluate the status of the various meadow areas, native plants were being installed on the slope below the beehives (on the way to the community center) to form the first flowering meadow on campus – the first of many, perhaps.

“A year from now this will be a thing of beauty,” said the supervisor of the six men doing the soil improvement and planting.  The project planting guide gives a glimpse of how things will look.  The plan for the left half of the 3000 sq ft meadow is shown below.

The large circles marked Rc will be dwarf sumac shrubs.   The smaller dots will combinations of butterfly weed, milkweed, switchgrass, white beardtongue, slender mountain mint, little bluestem, Virginia spiderwort and heartleaf golden Alexander.  (Stirring and delightful names!)

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Another portion of the planting guide, shown below, shows the color scheme of the flowers and the foliage, and their bloom time.

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Preparing the meadow was hard work.

The meadow will consist of native plants, accustomed to growing in our campus soil.  So the workmen did not improve the area.  Instead the existing lawn grass was killed and each new plant had a hole drilled to receive it. (See the man drilling above right.)  As each section was planted, a light layer of mulch was spread (see above left). This willl be the only addition to the planting area. For the first year or two the meadow will be hand-weeded, but after that it will need only a single spring mowing and once-over to remove any invasive tree seedlings.

The meadow already has people who care for it.  Snow covered the meadow the day after it was planted, but once the snow melted, the area dried quickly and our new horticulturalist, Kyle Olsen, was seen staying late to give the entire meadow a good watering.

Naming is a nuanced issue here at Collington, but many of us will always think of this area as “Jane’s Meadow.”

A Brand New Bridge

Contributed by Marian Fuchs

There’s been plenty of infrastructure work at Collington this year – new road, new HVAC, new roofing.   Somewhat less visibly, we also got a new bridge over the Collington Pond.  Here are some pictures, tracing its construction, which took a couple of weeks, with rain checks.   One neat new feature is the addition of little lights along the bridge rails.

Improvements on the Cemetery Trail

Woodland trail

For many months members of the Weed Warriors (previously “Lakes and Trails”) have been requesting repairs to the trail leading to the grave-sites that has become rutted over the years.  Finally, a crew from Ruppert Landscape, guided by Kyle Olson, a recent addition to the Collington Staff, has now constructed new runners and gravel leveling at critical points.  Many thanks are due to Jacob Kijne, who provided expert advise for the placement of runners to divert water runoff. Weed Warriors have since then covered particularly muddy spots with hay matting.  Hopefully the trail will remain easy to tread even after rainy days.  The final leg of the project awaits the completion of the Landing, our new restaurant, at which time tailings from the construction road will be reutilized to cover the remaining problematic areas.

Click here for a PowerPoint Guide of the complete trail, courtesy of Dorothy Yuan.