TERRAIN Update: September 9-13


In the Field: Update from the Wilderness & Place in Maine (TERRAIN testbed) Team


This week TERRAIN students, faculty, and fellows spent their excursion time on Freedom Pond and Ellis Pond learning and practicing canoe skills (including exciting “T-rescues!”) with Adam Williams and Jes Steele. This experience provided students with the opportunity to strengthen their confidence on the water, develop as leaders, take risks in a supportive environment, and connect deeply with their environment.

This work also prepared the group to conduct a canoe-based wildlife survey (happening next week in Scarborough Marsh), which will require students to draw on the navigation skills they built up at Sky Lodge and have been practicing in Wildlife Techniques. So, in short, the excursions are functioning – as planned! – as contexts where students synthesize ideas and skills from various experiences and apply them to accomplish meaningful tasks.


Also this week, students continued their integrated project work relating to site description writing. Through reading examples and discussions, they have identified the primary differences between scientific site descriptions and narrative depictions of place (scientific descriptions require a specific geographic address, and narrative site descriptions often incorporate the narrator’s experience/influence, among other differences). They have now started writing their own site descriptions about places they’ve visited during recent field excursions and should be well-prepared to implement this skill into writing assignments in Biology and Wildlife Techniques.


The TERRAIN students are also beginning to use Portfolium as a platform to document completion of tasks and achievement of skills, particularly skills related to digital literacy, professional development, and personal growth. Student Success has been providing various experiences to support this dimension of the TERRAIN experience, including a discussion this week about suicide prevention and awareness, facilitated by Greg Marley, Clinical Director of NAMI Maine.


Behind the Scenes


The Sustaining the Flagship group continues to meet three times weekly. At least one of these meetings is devoted exclusively to work supporting the full implementation of TERRAIN in fall 2020. This week we met with Ben Stafford and Ben Edwards to discuss creating a variety of roles (with associated functions/permissions) in Canvas to enable members of expeditionary learning teams to share information and communicate clearly with students.


In a separate meeting, Registrar Kelsey Gilbert and CLO Erika Latty met with Director of Financial Aid Sherry McCollett and me to discuss financial aid in the quarter system.


On the Horizon


President Khoury and I will be providing an overview of TERRAIN for the students and visitors who will be joining us for Instant Admissions Day tomorrow (Saturday, September 14th). Members of the TERRAIN testbed team (Randy Colvin and Tom Whittaker) will be joining me and current TERRAIN students at an information table during this event. We are looking forward to being able to tell future students about this wonderful learning opportunity.







Jennifer L. Cartier, Ph.D. (she, her, hers)

Dean of the School of Environmental Citizenship

Professor of Education

Unity College

Unity, Maine 04998

(412) 215-6511 (cell, preferred)

(207) 509-7282 (office)


Office: Constable Hall 201