August 27, 1997

Environmentalist and Author Bill McKibben at "MOO"

Environmentalist and author Bill McKibben will speak about "The Eastern Forest as a Sign for Hope" at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 4, in Dana Auditorium at Middlebury College. Focusing on the human impact on nature, the talk is free and open to the public on a first come, first served basis. Dana Auditorium is on College Street.

Bill McKibben is the author of The End of Nature, The Age of Missing Information and Hope, Human and Wild. A former staff writer for the New Yorker, he has written for dozens of national publications, from the New York Review of Books and the Atlantic Monthly to Rolling Stone.

McKibben's talk is sponsored by a student-run orientation event called "MOO" (Middlebury Outdoor Orientation) which leads groups of first-year students in outdoor activities during the last three days of an orientation week that stretches from September 1-7. The trips allow new students to develop an immediate appreciation for Vermont's beautiful landscape and to form friendships in a relaxed setting. Wilderness experiences help students gain useful outdoor skills as well.

Members of the student organization, the Middlebury College Mountain Club, initiated "MOO" for orientation week. This year, 71 returning students will lead 280 first-year students on 35 trips. Student leaders participate in wilderness first aid training, gather equipment for their groups, and make all other trip preparations.

According to Juliana Popper '98, "MOO" coordinator, "We are thrilled that Bill McKibben accepted our invitation to speak to the local community and to those Middlebury students who have chosen to participate in 'MOO.' The evening before their three-day outdoor experiences begin, they will be fortunate enough to hear about the wilderness from a nationally known environmentalist with an optimistic view about what individuals and communities can do to restore devastated natural areas. 'MOO' is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and I think it's a good time to increase the environmental educational component of the program."

The day after McKibben's talk, "MOO" will offer a variety of backpacking opportunities. Most trips will explore Vermont's Long Trail, and one will focus on both hiking and trail maintenance. Canoe excursions and rock climbing expeditions will take place just across Lake Champlain in New York State's Adirondacks. On the Vermont side of the lake, mountain bike trips will explore miles of dirt roads.