Archive for June, 2011


For every headline and caption in a printed magazine, there are many others, not a few of them egregiously bad, that end up on that proverbial cutting room floor. RIP. While looking at a nighttime photo of expert birders Allan Strong and Peter Jones, which appears on the contents page of the summer issue, I commented to VQ‘s art director Elise Whittemore-Hill on the otherworldly look of the shot. I was somewhat horrified as the line “Close Encounters of the…Bird Kind” involuntarily fell from my lips. Granted, puns and other sorts of word play are often the stuff of headlines. But when a headline suggests that a rimshot should come after it, that probably means you should think again.

Allan Strong listens for birds.

I did. It’s a good thing, since it would have been a shame to mar writer Josh Brown’s fine story and photographs with the “Close Encounters” reference, not to mention putting a date stamp on the editor. Josh’s feature on Strong, based on 24 hours in the field with the alumnus, professor, and Olympian birder, is among the highlights of what I think is an interesting, fun issue of Vermont Quarterly that will roll off the presses next week. A profile of Robert Rosenthal ’70 centers on his work leading the Center for Investigative Reporting, his latest stop in a journalism career that has included some of the nation’s top newspapers. Student photographer Bobby Bruderle’s lively work offers a glimpse of senior year through a student’s eyes. In an interview/discussion with Professor Hilary Neroni and Professor Emeritus Frank Manchel, Jon Kilik ’78 shares thoughts from his long career in film. And we share the lastest in the lives of  alumni such as Rob Cioffi ’90, Sara Nesson ’97, and Scott Lindenbaum ’04. Plus, lots more.

So, UVM alumni and parents, keep an eye on your mailboxes in July. The summer issue will be there soon. I hope it makes it into your beach bag reading and, even while you’re at the seashore, takes you back to Vermont.


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Outside Magazine‘s “best outdoor towns” list is an annual staple in the journal of all things, people, and places outdoorsy. Burlington made it on the cover in 1995, tabbed tops in an article headlined “Dream Towns: Where to Find It all: A Real Job. A Real Life. And the Big Outdoors.” Outside is pitching next October’s take on the article as the “Best Town Ever” and ten of the usual suspects — Burlington, Portland (Maine and Oregon), Santa Fe, and Boulder among them — are up for vote in a poll on the magazine’s Facebook page. Voters get a chance to win a five-day trip to the top ten town of their choice. (No, UVM alumni are not obligated to choose Burlington. But it would be nice.) The city with the most votes gets the cover of the October issue.

One aspect of Burlington’s outdoor town cred that I’ve always thought is particularly notable is the immediate accessibility of the outdoors. It’s not a half-hour drive away, it’s right here. The Outside vote got me thinking about the outdoor options so close to the UVM campus. Let’s use the statue on the Green of Ira Allen, an outdoorsman in his own right back in the day, as the center point on a compass and consider where one mile in each direction will take you.

North: You’re in the heart of the Intervale, some 700 acres of land along the Winooski River. Once a ragged, forgotten place dotted with the rusted hulks of abandoned cars, the Intervale has undergone a renaissance in the past couple of decades. It’s now home to small organic farms that are a national model for community supported agriculture. Walkers, runners, cyclists, and Nordic skiers take to the trails that connect central Burlington with the city’s New North End.

South: UVM’s Cycling Team refers to the campus fitness center at Gutterson Fieldhouse as “the airport.” While the structure’s design is worthy of that nickname, it also would seem to be a reference to the location as a place for epic departures. Spear Street soon turns into a country road and links to miles and miles and miles… and miles of some of the nation’s best cycling terrain.

East: The steep ravines and thick pine, hemlock, and hardwood groves of Centennial Woods are a refuge between the UVM campus and Interstate-89. While highly unlikely, it is possible that a home run hit by a Vermont Lake Monster at Centennial Field could conceivably strike a moose on the antlers. That’s not a boast you could make about a lot of minor league ball parks.

West: This one’s easy. Straight down College Street to Lake Champlain—broad and blue with the Adirondacks as a backdrop to some of the world’s most gorgeous sunsets.

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