Winterlude: Science Nerd Road Trip

By Calvin Grover ’22

Dr. Swenton’s parent’s house, where the group stayed for two nights

I am very proud of the fact that I am a nerd. I also love to take road trips. So when one of my favorite faculty members, Dr. Swenton, offered a science nerd road trip, I was immediately interested. This road trip was a part of a new tradition at Hebron Academy, known as Winterlude. Winterlude consists of three days of experiential learning outside of the classroom, taking place in January, several weeks after students return from winter break. Though the history of Winterlude only spans two years, it has included fantastic activities such as ice climbing in Grafton Notch, watching musicals on Broadway, backcountry skiing in the foothills of Western Maine, and of course, a science nerds road trip to northern Vermont. 

Winterlude provides an excellent opportunity for students to try something completely new with their friends, removed from the stresses of the classroom. In January of 2021, the first ever Winterlude celebrated the ending of an extended period of online classes, letting friends reunite in person for the first time since the fall term. During this time I had the opportunity to pursue ice climbing, trying a new sport and pushing myself outside my comfort zone, all while documenting the adventure in a short video.

Aaron Han ‘23 exploring a frozen Lake Champlain

When Winterlude returned in 2022, I chose the road trip to Vermont, hoping to see a different part of New England with my friends. Again, I brought my camera along, but this time I primarily focused on photography. Visiting the Living Shores Aquarium in North Conway, New Hampshire, our group interacted with various aquatic and avian creatures, such as stingrays and lorikeets. Further north, our party visited the ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vermont, where we learned about the ecological history of the region, through fossil displays, interactive exhibits and a documentary film. 

For me, this trip was a much needed break from the constant pressure of classes and college applications, and still managed to be educational. Winterlude affords students the opportunity to try out new things, visit new places, and learn without expectations or stress. This may be my final year at Hebron, but I have no doubt that Winterlude will continue to enrich student’s experiences for years to come.

Nola Goodwin ‘23 pictured with three Lorikeets
Aaron Han ‘23 pictured next to a fossil specimen at the ECHO Leahy Center

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