Bard College at Simon's Rock: the Early College
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Cool Sightings Book Project

Cool Sightings: A Year of Natural History at Simon's Rock is a book project to celebrate the place where we live, work, study, and play. We invite you to participate.

Campus woods

Campus woods, photo by Rachel Shi '15

Project Summary

We invite you to participate in a year-long project that will culminate in a book celebrating this beautiful campus where we live, work, study, and play. Every day there are interesting sightings of birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles, as well as beautiful places we walk and drive by all the time. This project is a community effort to witness and share our experiences of the natural history of our campus through the four seasons. To get an idea of the book being created, see the sample page layout .

Check out this awesome video of four bobcats on upper campus taken by staff member Alec Schmidt!

Timeline: June 2016 – May 2017 (Commencement)

Contributors: A broad reach of the Simon’s Rock community is invited to contribute: students, faculty, staff, board members, retired staff and faculty, alumni, students’ parents.

Project management team:

  • Karen Advokaat, Coordinator of Academic Programs
  • Tom Coote, Director of Sustainability Programming & Faculty in Environmental Studies
  • Brian Conolly, Faculty in Philosophy
  • Chloe Hull, student project intern (spring)
  • KellyAnne McGuire, Instructional Technology and Collection Development Librarian
  • Kalie McGuirl, student project intern (fall)
  • Brian Mikesell, Library Director
  • Hannan Mir, student project intern (spring)
  • Jess Parrott, student project intern (spring)
  • Monk Schane-Lydon, Senior Instructional Technologist
  • Sarah Snyder, Faculty in Biology

Trillim in campus woods Trillium, photo by Anita Ytuarte Oelkers


We envision many different forms of expression coming together in the book and we invite contributions in the form of artwork (drawings, paintings), photography, poetry, prose, and other written and visual ways of expressing your experience of and connection to the natural beauty of our campus.

The starting place for building the content are actual observations, “cool sightings.”

Now available for sale ($15)!
At Commencement or use the order form:


Cool Sightings

Share wildlife sightings, natural history observations, weather effects, special places on campus, beautiful scenes, etc. Based on the cool sightings that we have on campus, we are writing natural history profiles about what we are observing, asking for artwork to go with the natural history information, and prompting our community to write creative writing pieces that explore and celebrate the natural history of this place.

Submit your observations:

Ideas of where to observe:

  • Interpretive trail
  • Walk around the pond
  • A four-season visit to the same place
  • Reflecting pool near Blodgett House
  • Sugar shack
  • The Rock
  • Bridge over the marsh by the Kilpatrick
Grey squirrel on tree

Grey squirrel, photo by Rachel Shi '15

Natural History Profiles

Natural history profiles are being written to accompany many of the cool sightings on campus to illustrate the behavior, ecology, and other aspects of the wildlife and plant life being observed on campus.

We are working with faculty and various classes to help with writing natural history profiles to go with the cool sightings that are being reported. If you want to assist with this kind of content, email us.

  • Details: short pieces are preferable to fit within the scale of the book. Include a list of properly cited (MLA style) source material or works you consulted to write the profile.


We welcome the submission of photographs, drawings, illustrations, paintings, or other forms that would suit a book publication. Photographs submitted via the Facebook page will not automatically be considered for the book, please use the Submission Form to submit photographs.

Faculty – we would love to work with you on specific ways to have a class assignment related to this project. Please contact us if you would be interested.

  • Specs: high resolution digital images; to get a high quality image of original artwork, please contact Monk Schane-Lydon to have a digital image taken that you can submit.

Creative Writing

Fall color on pond

Fall colors, photo by Rachel Shi '15

We welcome a range of written work that expresses your experience with the natural setting of our campus: poetry, vignettes, anecdotes, and short stories.

Faculty – we would love to work with you on specific ways to have a class assignment related to this project. Please contact us if you would be interested.

  • Details: short(er) pieces are preferable to fit within the scale of the book; longer pieces may be edited to fit the scale of the book


We are in layout for the book so we are no longer accepting new submissions.

Full credit will be given to artists and writers and you retain full copyright of your work. All material is subject to editing. If you have any questions or concerns, please email us.

Depending on the volume of material received, not all submissions will be in the printed book however we plan on a web version that can showcase most submissions.


Students working with Monk Schane-Lydon’s Graphic Design course will be involved in the layout of the book. We are working with Quality Printing for the actual printing of the books.