Mudflats, Music and Mollusks: The Seniors’ Hermit Island Trip

As part of their zoology block, the Class of 2017 spent all of last week studying marine biology at Hermit Island, along with nearly one hundred Waldorf students from four other Waldorf schools. The week was crammed with activities—joint morning lessons, tide pool explorations, poetry and painting workshops, microscope and dune ecology labs, campfires and contra dances. Below are few brief highlights singled out by our seniors:

One of the best parts of the Hermit Island trip was the Contra dance. It was great to come together with all of the other Waldorf students in something we all had in common: a love for dancing and music in the cool, salty ocean air. It was a fun way to end the academic week and a great way to start off our senior year! Cassandra Albano

All ten girls decided to squeeze into one six-person tent and use the other one for baggage storage. We piled on top of each other like sardines in a tin: warm yet claustrophobic. I was lulled to sleep by the rhythmic sound of crickets and the endless writhing of the ocean. Sarah Norden

Music and singing were sprinkled throughout our Hermit Island experience. The late night jam sessions shared by musicians from every school reminded me of the wonderful power of music to bring people together.Davis Ritger

With a loud squelch, my well-fastened shoe sucked off completely, leaving a ring of Duck Tape on my ankle intended to prevent such an occurrence. We looked back and saw that we had somehow made it quite far out into the mudflat. Three whistles blew, signaling the end of the frolic and we began our long slog back to solid ground. I was filthy, cold, and bleeding, but somehow happy. Lila Bossi

One evening all the schools united around a blazing campfire to sing and play songs. My class seems to especially enjoy playing music, and to join with other Waldorf schools and share this joy was one of many unique experiences Hermit Island offered.
Tucker Pierce

Being able to interact with the natural world while making friends and acquaintances was a great way to start off senior year. Thomas McLaughlin

One evening, we sat on the bluffs, a spectacular sunset unfolding before us, Davis playing music in the background. The waves crashed below and all I could feel was the happiness radiating from all of us. On another afternoon, swinging in the hammocks, someone snuck up behind. CRACK! The two people crashed through the fabric, ripping the hammock in two—laughing for days!Ava Haag

We learned not only how to observe, but to question what we saw as well. Whether studying the ecology of the beach and sand dunes, searching for crabs under rocks, or staring through microscopes at the hidden subtleties of starfish anatomy, we were both challenged and enlightened by teachers who are passionate and well-invested in what they teach. Dylan Wu

What a fantastically full week! Thursday was our last night with the other seniors; the kelp shed was filled with music and contra dancing. Down on the beach under the stars a fire blazed away on the sand, and members of all schools chatted and sang. At the end of the night, a few of us stayed behind to watch the sea finally catch up to the fire, each wave rising closer and closer until, with a crash and a hiss of hot steam, the salty wash enveloped the flames. Only a few embers remained in the cold sand, soon to be overtaken as well. Thank you Ms. Labbe, Mr. Sloan, Johnny (chaperone Jonathan Gross, Class of ’14), and my class for a unforgettable week! Sylvie Fenderson

Hermit Island gave us a chance not only to look closely at the abundance of distinct and diverse life that exists on the Maine coast, but also to meet and interact with some of the most distinct and dynamic people I have ever met. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, filled to the brim with exciting activities, teachers, and students. Sabrina Small

The first night we were on hermit island, we all went to the beach barefoot and stood in the water. The waves crashed lightly on the beach, stirring up the bioluminescence in the water. There were no islands in front of the cove, only the expanse of darkness all the way to the horizon where the stars dipped into the ocean. That was my favorite moment of the trip. Ciara Murphy-Anderson

Some of my favorite Hermit Island experiences included watching the beautiful sunsets from just a few steps off our prime real estate campsite at Joe’s Head. Every evening the western horizon brimmed with bright pinks, oranges, and purples, each sunset inviting with it a serene moment of awe and pensiveness for us all. Little moments of beauty like these dappled the whole trip and sparked the creativity and gratitude of all those who experienced them. Fiona Libby

This past week at Hermit Island will be remembered by keeping up with new friends I made instantly, and images of classmates jumping in bushes, mud, a freezing ocean, into hammocks, and onto the dance floor. I’ll remember escaping a Kelp Shed filled with dozens of smelly squid on trays to the comfort of poetry and chilly sea breezes, regrettably repetitive songs merrily swashing around in my head, and the good times of every moment there.
Riley Smith

Each day we, the students, watched the minutes trickle by, bright anticipation in every eye. For what delicious treat today was in store, waiting for all of us just through the door? We knew that upon return to camp, there could nary be a single cramp. For there, laid out, cuisine surpassing even our wildest desires, was waiting along with a crackling fire. It was as if we were blessed by a benevolent camp-gnome, yet we knew, of course, that it must, in fact, be camp-Mr. Sloan. Thomas Kolle