Seven new teachers and fellows joined the Maine Coast Semester teaching team in August. Each brought unique talents, the wisdom of past experiences, a love of the natural world, and a sense of adventure. Two weeks into Semester 59, these characters are already deeply enmeshed in life at Chewonki. We are so glad to have them here!
Stay tuned to our facebook and instagram pages this week to see each new faculty member serving as “Plato” for a day. In this Maine Coast Semester tradition, the designated Plato offers a short, inspirational, or simply thought-provoking reading to the community before meals. We’ll be releasing a little video of our new Platos in action every day, a wonderful way to get to know them.
Amy Wood, English Teacher
Amy first heard about Chewonki from students who’d come to our Outdoor Classroom from a Rhode Island school where she previously taught. A devotee and teacher of Thoreau, she relishes delving into the relationships between nature and human nature that her English course, Literature and the Land, reveals.
Originally from northern California, Amy earned a bachelor’s degree in English and religious studies from Boston University. She earned a master’s degree in English from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She taught in independent day and boarding schools throughout New England before joining the Chewonki community. She has been awarded a fellowship from the Walden Woods Project and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
In the Community:
Amy enjoys practicing yoga, exploring trails with her dogs, and spending time with her family in Rhode Island.
Phill Kratzman, History Teacher
Phill is an enthusiastic historian with strong ties to northern New England. His interest in and desire to share history with others are obvious inside and outside of his classroom. He and his students will be exploring the local history of Chewonki Neck, Maine, and northern New England in his honors history class. He also teaches A.P. U.S. History.
Before heading to Maine, Phill taught history in New Jersey. He has spent many years working as a professional technician in the bicycle and ski industry in New Hampshire. He has a B.S. in outdoor education from the University of New Hampshire and an M.Ed. in secondary social studies from Southern New Hampshire University.
In the Community:
Phill is an avid mountain biker and cross-country skier. He can often be found tinkering with bikes or exploring the local trails. On his free weekends, he is often riding his downhill bike at Highland Mountain Bike Park in New Hampshire.
Eli Peirce, English Teacher
Eli Peirce came to Maine Coast Semester in fall 2016 as the Humanities Fellow. He now teaches Literature and the Land, our English course. Having regretted his decision not to apply to Maine Coast Semester as a high school student, Eli feels particularly lucky to be part of this community.
Prior to joining the faculty, he spent three summers–as participant, intern, and leader–with Chewonki’s Sustainable Ocean Studies Program, examining issues of sustainability facing human and ecological communities in the Gulf of Maine.
Eli runs a writing center on campus, leads Chewonki’s student-and-faculty band, and facilitates Critically Compassionate Conversations, an exploration of the ways in which students’ identities and backgrounds shape their experiences here on the Neck. Eli loves rock climbing, playing the guitar, and writing short stories.
Eric McIntyre, Science Teaching Fellow
Eric first joined the Chewonki community as a wilderness trip leader instructing Boatbuilders Expedition. He is passionate about ecology and using science education to develop both a sense of place and skills for observing the natural world. Eric is looking forward to mentoring students at the Maine Coast Semester as they ask themselves, “What does it look like for me to live as my best self?”
After growing up in New Jersey, Eric earned a B.S. in conservation biology at St. Lawrence University, where much of his senior research was devoted to understanding the ecology of common northern forest mosses. He has worked as an environmental and field science educator in California and instructed rock and ice climbing, backpacking, canoeing, sea kayaking, and whitewater rafting throughout the United States. Eric is eager to bring his love for outdoor travel to the science classroom at Maine Coast Semester, integrating wilderness exploration and academic inquiry. In 2014, he spent 39 days canoeing the Northern Forest Canoe Trail from the central Adirondacks to northern Maine, mostly alone.
In the Community:
Around Chewonki Neck you can find Eric carving spoons against a pine tree, paddling at the waterfront, or with his nose in the dirt making friends with yet another species of moss.
Drew Higgins, Human Ecology Capstone Fellow
Drew guides semester students’ human ecology capstones, independent research projects that every semester student completes as the culmination of their learning here. She is no stranger to Chewonki: an alumna of Maine Coast Semester 46, she also worked as a summer farmhand in 2012. With interests ranging from field drawing to polar ecology, Drew is excited about bringing her varied passions and love of interdisciplinary learning to semester students and the wider Chewonki community.
Owens Strawinki, Outdoor Skills and Leadership Teaching Fellow
Owens is facilitating students’ development as outdoor leaders through technical and communication skills development. Her teaching philosophy centers on pairing experience with reflection as a means of facilitating life-long learning.
Owens has a strong background in wilderness trip leading and experiential education. She developed a deep love of the Maine coast during her time guiding sea kayaking trips in the waters around Mount Desert Island.
In the Community:
Learning about, adventuring through, and playing responsibly in woods, waters, and mountains: these bring joy to Owens.
Holly Hoffman, Residential Fellow
Holly is providing learning skills supports for semester students as well as assisting with our outdoor skills program and work program and handling an array of residential responsibilities.
During the previous academic year, Holly was a residence and teaching assistant at Coastal Studies for Girls in Freeport, Maine. Holly also has been an involved at Sustainable Nantucket, an organization focused on strengthening the islands local food economy in both education and development roles.
Holly lives on Chewonki Neck and enjoys exploring the trails of her new home and the State of Maine as a whole. Knitting and embroidery are her creative outlets when she’s not in motion.