Two groups of Loomis Chaffee students and faculty traveled June 8–19 to Iceland and Peru for immersive educational travel programs organized by Loomis' Alvord Center for Global & Environmental Studies.
Fourteen students and science teachers Jeff Dyreson and Betsy Conger traveled to Iceland to explore the country's unique geological insights, breathtaking natural wonders, and deep commitment to environmental sustainability. Lodging for much of the trip at the Solheimar Eco-Village, the group learned from local farmers and conservationists, participated in organic forestry and greenhouse work, toured a geothermal energy plant, visited and learned about Icelandic turf houses, and hiked through scenery that the travelers grasped for words to describe as they took in vistas that encompassed glaciers, volcanoes, geysers, hot springs, bucolic valleys, and vast expanses of open space.
At the conclusion of their stay in Iceland, each of the students created a personal action plan for living more sustainably upon their return home.
On the trip to Peru, 13 students and faculty members Alison Beason and Maribel Blas-Rangel immersed themselves in the country's culture and history while learning about efforts to grow local businesses, farm cooperatives, and artisan collectives in ways that respect and preserve this cultural heritage and create sustainable economic opportunities. The group also visited communities of traditional Inca weavers, where they learned about the ancient processes the artisans still use to dye natural materials and weave them into intricately-patterned textiles.
A three-day trek in the high altitude of the Andes mountains took the travelers through beautiful terrain, where they camped, soaked in their natural surroundings, challenged themselves physically, and grew closer as a group. The group also visited Machu Picchu, where they learned about the history of this 15th-century Incan estate, its sophisticated construction methods, and its enduring mysteries.
At the end of the trip, the travelers gathered to reflect upon and discuss what they had learned about themselves and how their experiences had widened their perspectives on the world.