One hallmark of The New School’s educational experience are the Intensives, where our students focus on one topic for a three-week period. Generally, we have three different courses during this period: two travel intensives, one heading outside our region to nearby states and the other venturing quite far (and usually are away from campus for a longer time); and one local intensive based on our campus, featuring regional field trips. This year, our travel intensives were all about (1) the ecology of the Adirondack mountain region in upstate New York and (2) space exploration and international relations, stopping at various locations down the eastern seaboard en route to Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral.

Two students traverse a dam created by beavers in the Adirondacks. Mountains and a heavy, snowy sky are in the background.

Courtlynn and Evie cross a beaver dam in the Adirondacks.

For our Ecology in the Adirondacks group, eight students traveled to Vermont, across Lake Champlain to New York State, and then all around the area: The Wild Center in Tupper Lake, museums and art galleries in Saranac Lake, Lake Placid Olympic Ski Jumping Complex, High Falls Gorge, Wilmington, and Ausable Chasm near Fort Kent.

Our trip began with a crossing of Lake Champlain, following a stop at Ben & Jerry’s factory in Waterbury, VT.

Hello from the Adirondacks! We had some delays yesterday morning due to some van trouble, but we made it to our destination safe and sound. After a detour to the Ben & Jerry’s factory, we had to take a ferry across lake Champlain to get from Vermont to New York. Once we got settled in, we made dinner together as a group. Today we are looking forward to seeing the Olympic museum and taking a gondola ride to the tallest point that ski jumpers jump.


Over the next two days, Courtlynn recounted the trips to Lake Placid and hiking to beaver ponds.

We woke up and left the AirBNB at 11am. It was a lovely slow morning, because everyone was still wiped from the drive the day before. A few people went on a walk and found a huge beaver dam! Our plan for the day was to grab some lunch in Lake Placid and then ride a gondola to check out the Olympic ski jumping ramps, so we did just that! A lot of us thought the gondola ride would be longer, but it’s okay because we got to go up a huge elevator and get some awesome views of the surrounding mountains. After that we got an hour to check out some of Lake Placid’s shops before going home and writing in our journals. At 8pm a few of us went back out to the beaver dam and got a heavenly view of the stars. It was magical. We even saw some beavers and a spotted salamander!

Our original plans for the next day had to be cancelled when we got to our location and realized they were closed! Luckily, we had spotted a trail head off the road a ways back called “flume trails” which seemed pretty similar to our original destination, High Falls Gorge. We adventured out to right next to the river, which was so powerful coursing through the rocks! from there, we wandered out to a beaver pond, and spent time along the dam they had made. Between today and yesterday, it’s interesting that there have been so many sightings of beaver presence, and super exciting to get to explore their habitat! From there, we hiked further out around the pond on this big ridge, and looked out over the pond to the mountains, which was a beautiful view. Some of us rambled down the ridge and bog hopped on the more solid bits of the wetland surrounding the pond, and came out onto a little peninsula in the middle of the pond by the beavers home, creating a stunning view of the landscape for us. After that, we headed back to Haiku House (the official name of our AirBnB) to rest and journal for a bit during lunch time.

Well rested and fed, around 4:00 half of our group went out to get some more activity in. Our main goal was to visit the covered bridge in town, which was pretty darn cool. we got a bit lost on our way back, but we got some really good photos of the very rural area so I think it was worth it. Currently, we have a campfire and smore’s going, a perfect end to the day!


The remainder of our time in and around Haiku House was spent on area hikes and a yankee swap on Easter Sunday (with a huge shout out to Max’s mom for being our Easter bunny). While Rex recounts a few of the hikes, our instructors would like to point out that

We did not edit the student perspectives. We have given them more than hot dogs and grilled cheese and diner food and candy.

—Josie and Indigo

Yesterday everyone felt kind of dead but we live to tell the tale. We went out the brunch at this fun little diner style place. After that we went to Walmart and each of the students got twenty dollars to spend on stuff for our Easter Yankee Swap. We then all went home and tried for a hike. Indigo, Josie, Courtlynn, Bear, and Kira were the people who made it to the top! The view was fantastic. we got home and had grilled cheese for dinner.


It sounded like it was delicious!

—Kira, who went to bed REALLY early, like way before dinnertime.

On Easter morning we had homemade crepes for breakfast, and a few people went up to Whiteface mountain to frolic a bit. Later on we had an egg hunt in the backyard of our AirBnB that Josie and Indigo had set up for us, and then an Easter Yankee Swap. The day before we had gone to Walmart and each filled a large egg up with little toys and treats that we used for it. Other than that we mostly rested at our Airbnb, though a few people went out to watch the sunset that night and saw some deer. We had campfire food for dinner, and roasted hot dogs and some bread.