Through a very generous gift from Trustee Sandy Buck ’78 and Sissy Buck, Colby College established the Buck Lab for Climate and Environment in 2017. Through a series of grant programs, the Buck Lab supports broad initiatives at Colby focused on climate change and other environmental issues, including student and faculty research, experiential learning opportunities, student internships with collaborative partners doing environmental work, community engagement, professional skills development, and career networking.
LUNDER INSTITUTE FOR AMERICAN ART COLLABORATION
The Buck Lab for Climate and Environment is partnering with Colby’s Lunder Institute for American Art to sponsor a student internship program. Designed to be collaborative at its foundation, the program brings together artists who are Lunder Institute residential fellows and Colby students interested in environmental studies and visual arts.
Left: Zoky Zhou ’24 speaks with Mina Amundsen, Colby’s Assistant Vice President for Facilities and Campus Planning, about campus waste issues
Right: Saffronia Downing creates sculptures using local clay materials
In 2021-2022, Lunder Institute Residential Fellow E. Saffronia Downing is working with Colby students to explore local materials across place and time. She is currently looking to interview a wide range of people about the impacts of Maine’s pulp & paper industry on social and environmental landscapes — for more information, click here. Also, Colby student Zoky Zhou ’24 is working with artist Adriane Herman on campus waste streams issues.
Left: Cal Waichler ‘21 and Helen Bennett ‘22 in front of Maya Lin’s Pin River-Kissimmee (2008) (Colby Museum of Art)
Right: Waichler and Bennett conducting research in the lobby of the Colby Museum of Art
In 2020-2021, Cal Waichler ‘21 and Helen Bennett ‘22 conduct research for Maya Lin on Maine’s ecological history to contribute to Lin’s What is Missing?, a multi-sited, multimedia project devoted to issues of biodiversity and habitat loss. At the halfway point of their appointment, the students spoke to Jessamine Batario, the Lunder Institute’s Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the time, to reflect on their experiences. Read their conversation here.
SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT IN A PANDEMIC
The summer of 2020 was like no other, with a pandemic raging in much of the world. But the Buck Lab carried on, funding student research projects and internships, albeit remote experiences only. We are so proud of our students for designing amazing projects and being willing to intern from home.
Senior Environmental Science major Dominick Leskiw ’21 spent the summer doing a remote internship at Earth Island Journal (see his articles here and here), and researching the material culture of trees.
CLIMATE STORYTELLING PROJECT
The Buck Lab is supporting a collaboration between Colby students and Maine filmmaker Charles Stuart to produce short films that tell stories of grassroots climate action in Maine. In the summer of 2019, students Conor Larkin ’20 (environmental policy major) and Megan Andersen ’22 (environmental science major), pictured below, uncovered inspiring stories from communities all over Maine.
Four amazing films have been made so far! (Click on the links here.)