Old-growth Fieldwork


Part of the study area at the Dukes Natural Area in the Hiawatha National Forest

Two 2014 grads — Joe Kendrick and Ellen Hanson — and two current students — Charlotte Uden and Roi Karlinsky — are spending four weeks in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula working with faculty member Kerry Woods in his on-going research on old-growth forests.  They join about 40 other student researchers who have worked on this project since 1989.


It’s good to find a log for lunch; the mosquitoes are worse near the ground. (Roi Karlinsky, Joseph Kendrick, Ellen Hanson, Charlotte Uden)

The project revolves around monitoring of permanent study plots established as early as 1935 — one of the longest-term records for any old-growth forest.  The work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the U.S. Forest Service, The Huron Mt. Wildlife Foundation, and Bennington College faculty grants. A series of resulting publications can be downloaded from this site.

The 2014 season features a late season — trees are still leafing out along the Lake Superior shoreline, where ice-floes were still present three weeks ago — and unusually numerous and hungry mosquitoes.  A large supply of deet (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) is proving essential.

Congratulations Graduates!

This year was another productive year for Computer Science at Bennington. Students successfully implemented a distributed file system; spent Field Work Term at Nebula in Seattle (under the supervision of Ben Broderick-Phillips ’13), and CRA in Cambridge (where Erick Daniszewski ’14 will be working after graduation); and built a (nearly functional) operating system using C and ARMv6 assembly from the ground up for the Raspberry Pi.

Introductory students built an alternative source code repository to GitHub (codenamed Reposaurus), while students in Computing in the Developing World designed physical enclosures for wireless mesh network nodes and built prototype mobile apps for the developing world.  In collaboration with astronomer Hugh Crowl, we assisted in building a small radio telescope; while we also collaborated with technologist Guy Snover to use Python and Rhino 3D to create robotically-generated wall drawings and sculpture installed on campus.  It was a busy year.

But perhaps the most significant accomplishment of the year was our re-creation of some old-timey computer science photos on the last day of classes.  I’ve never grown a mustache before, and may never do so again – however, I think we nailed it overall.


Computer Scientists Gilbert-Espada, Cencini and Daniszewski with their new portable microcomputer, a Kaypro II running CP/M.


Some members of the Bennington Computer Science Laboratory, clockwise from left: Logan Traynor, Klemente Gilbert-Espada, Torrent Glenn, Andrew Cencini, Brendon Walter, Erick Daniszewski.

Congratulations and good luck to all of the graduating seniors this year!  Have a great summer!  Great things to come in the coming year!