Expanding Outdoors: New Hire Sara Stockwood Works to Improve Access to Arb

By Charlotte Steele, Contributor

Sara Stockwood, Assistant Director of Outdoor Programs and Manager of the Arboretum. (Photo by Charlotte Steele)

The Magnificent Pine Trail at the Arb.

Henry Pointon ''16 and Cody Mosblech ''17 clear a trail through the Monarch Waystation. (Photos by Charlotte Steele)

Kalamazoo College extends beyond the fair Arcadian Hill; down West Main St. past Meijer, even. Five miles from campus lives the Lillian Anderson Arboretum, affectionately known as “the Arb”.

The Arboretum is a 140 acre wooded property of marshland meadows and four to six miles of trail open for the enjoyment of the community. The Arb is used for both academic classes, and recreationally by students, faculty and community members.

At the edge of the Arb is a small farmhouse where Sara Stockwood, the newly hired Assistant Director of Outdoor Programs, lives. She works in both Outdoor Programs with Director Jory Horner, and manages the Arb with Binney Girdler, Director of the Arboretum.

The trails at the arboretum are maintained by a group of eight students know as the “Arb Crew”. Their tasks include clearing fallen trees and branches, clipping back new trails, erosion control of muddy areas, and invasive specie removal.

“It’s beautiful. Its fall time in the Arb, you couldn’t get much better for work study,” said Henry Pointon ‘16.

Student workers, Pointon and Cody Mosblech ’17, were clearing a trail to a bench at the Monarch Waystation. Henry also comes to the Arb to collect bugs for his entomology class.

“I didn’t expect it to be here,” said Mosblech.

The Arb seems to be a mystery to a majority of the student body at K. Stockwood hopes to make the Arb more accessible to the K College community both recreationally, and for outdoor programs. To visit the Arb, students can request van transportation if they have a certified driver.

Stockwood often starts the Arb Crew in the morning, and then heads to campus to her office in Harmon Lounge to work with Outdoor Programs. A new umbrella program this year, the College’s Outdoor Programs is running trips open to all students as well as LandSea, Outing Club, and Gear Rental. Additionally, the program hopes to offer custom trips for student organizations.

“[Outdoor Programs] provides opportunities to develop leadership and technical skills that you might not have been able to before,” said Stockwood. “We hope to allow students to have increased opportunities for leadership, and get people outside.”

They have two trips and two trainings scheduled so far. Students will travel to Devil’s Lake in Wisconsin over Fall break weekend, and to Everglades National Park for a paddling trip over Spring break.

More information can be found on Kalamazoo College Outdoor Programs page on Facebook. The Arb also has an upcoming tour and workday on the Saturday of Homecoming from 9 a.m. to noon, and a tour on Saturday of Family Weekend from noon to 2 p.m.