David is on the science faculty.
“Putney’s extraordinary setting of woods, streams, trails, and pastures allows hands-on immersion in scientific studies. For example, we’re banding birds of many species in an effort to determine the impact of the house sparrow—an aggressive, non-native but locally-resident bird—on populations of migrant birds like the rose-breasted grosbeak and on other resident populations like bluebirds. Another example: This year in Biology we dissected a calf that had been still-born in the dairy barn. Another: Each year as salamanders and amphibians return to their vernal ponds, we form brigades to conduct counts and actually help them cross Vermont’s back roads. Our counts can be used to identify long-term trends in amphibian populations, and to understand the impact on those populations of development. We’re also keeping honeybees and building bee nests that we hope will attract wild bees. This will help us study the effect of those two populations on each other.
“Our schedule, too, works in favor of hands-on learning. We have long class periods, and our Project Weeks afford students a long leash in pursuing their interests. For example, this coming Project Week one student will dig up a few small trees and make root beer from their roots. One (with talent in both art and science) will work with medical brain scans found in scientific literature and create sketches of nerve patterns of people with post-traumatic stress disorder. Another will do an advanced dissection project. Putney students are closely supported in their pursuits; Project Weeks result in extraordinary creations. But at the same time, students are allowed to learn from their mistakes.”
B.A. Biology, Haverford College.
M.A. Environmental Education, Antioch University