Northrop and Christodora 2010 

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2010 Northrop and Christodora working together at SEP 

In 2010, Northrop offered Christodora funds to support their Summer Ecology Program (SEP).  We hoped that this would allow them to run a second two-week session, but they told us that donations were way down since the start of the Great Recession, and without our donation, they would not have been able to pay for even one session.

We wanted to contribute in other ways as well, so that July, Northrop board member Joe Gerver, along with his future wife Karen Silver, drove to Great Mountain Forest from their home in Southern New Jersey with an 8-inch telescope strapped into the back seat of their car.  During the day, the nine campers and three staff members looked at sunspots through the telescope, while at night, they looked at the moon, Saturn, and some double stars. Joe also used what wood lore he remembered from his month at Northrop 48 years earlier to supplement the instruction provided by Christodora staff members Melissa Abramson and Andrew Mittiga, and by such expert visitors as Great Mountain Forest ranger Jody Bronson.

Jody Bronson and Pamy Manice

Everything, big and small, reminded Joe of Northrop.  The walk from the cabin to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  The varied backgrounds of the campers – African Americans, Tibetans, Haitians, Yemenis, Chinese and Puerto Ricans – although all were New York City public school students.  The chores that the campers took turns doing.  The very Northrop-like conversations around the dinner table.  One day at breakfast, one of the students asked why it was possible for someone to touch his nose with his eyes closed, which led to an interesting discussion.

The following week, Northrop board member Cynthia Fisher arrived with two members of her mushroom group and led the campers on an evening mushroom walk.

Their car was parked facing the dumpster, and as they got ready to leave, they heard sounds coming from the dumpster.  “Oh, the raccoons are back again,” somebody said, and opened the dumpster to shoo them away.  This is what they saw.

2010 Summer Picnic at Northrop with Christodora

Since 1998, we had been holding a picnic at Northrop Camp most summers, for the benefit of our alumni and friends.  In 2010, we held a picnic there on a Saturday in September.  Andrew Mittiga drove a van up from the city with seven of the SEP campers, plus one younger sister, the first time a group of young people had been at our camp since 1993. Cynthia took everyone on a walk to Intemann’s pond, where we found dragonfly larvae, frogs, and other aquatic life.  She also gave a lesson on ferns, showing the students the difference between doubly and triply pinnate ferns.  Besides Cynthia, former campers Joe Gerver, Veronica Adamson, and Eugene Coaxum also attended. In the afternoon, we visited Bashbish Falls. 

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