MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – In 2014, Middlebury announced a plan to conserve its spectacular 2,100-acre Bread Loaf property – lands bequeathed to the College by Joseph Battell nearly a century earlier. The Ripton, Vermont, site, which is home to Middlebury’s Bread Loaf campus, is the focus of a new short video helping to underscore why those conservation efforts are so important.
In the video, Mark Lapin, associate in science instruction, reflects on characteristics of the Bread Loaf property that give it such a distinctive role in the Middlebury community.
“Not too many places on Earth are intentionally about humans’ relationship with natural areas,” says Lapin. Bread Loaf is one of those rare spots, thoughtfully blending natural, educational, and recreational opportunities in a way that respects the land, he said.
Student Morgan Perlman ’19 took a winter-term course at Bread Loaf taught by Lapin and Bill Hegman, GIS specialist and teaching fellow in geography. During class treks on the Bread Loaf property, Perlman was impressed with the number of land features they explored, from old growth hemlock to branches of the Middlebury River.
“It sort of goes beyond the academics of just studying conservation, and actually experiencing what conservation is like in practice,” said Perlman.
Middlebury’s Bread Loaf campus, home to the Bread Loaf School of English and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conferences, has a storied past. The original mountain and forest area in which the campus is located was willed to Middlebury College in 1915 by Battell, a breeder of Morgan horses, proprietor of the local newspaper, and spirited lover of nature. Just to the west is the college-owned Homer Noble Farm, former summer home of Robert Frost, who was for years an important participant in the Writers' Conference.
The campus is located approximately 20 minutes east of the College, in sight of Bread Loaf Mountain in the Green Mountains of Vermont. The buildings are rustic and range from dormitories to small houses, a few of which are located on country roads less than a mile from the main inn.