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


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.