Dear OLLI Members,
It has been a great year with OLLI at UVM membership now at 300 and the statewide at 540 thanks to the hard work of OLLI members around the state for putting together such interesting programs for members.
OLLI at UVM has completed the first year, having programs summer, fall, and spring – more than 100 courses and events! Last winter we launched our first travel course to Oaxaca, Mexico with great success. 12 OLLI members experienced 10 days of music, art, and local culture. A highlight was a day at “Seasons of My Heart” where we produced an amazing meal, learned about the cuisine of Oaxaca, and dined together. See pictures and a write up from an OLLI member below.
OLLI members just returned from a 3 day trip to Montreal and this fall there will be a trip to Provence. Stay posted!
Our statewide OLLIs from Newport to Brattleboro continued to offer stimulating lectures and discussions this winter/spring. A sampling of topics include: Egypt’s Three Famous Queens, Do Bats Really Attack Humans?, Practical Buddhism, Global Village in Cambodia, From Whistler to Warhol, Wine Made From Honey, Historic Theatre Curtains, and Gathering Wild Food in Vermont. With a successful fall program, we anticipate our statewide membership to exceed last year.
Cathi Cody-Hudson, OLLI state-wide coordinator and I attended the OLLI National Conference in Illinois in April. It was inspiring to be with such a large group of active and engaged OLLI members as well as learning about the operations of other OLLI’s around the country. I look forward to the coming year as we continue to work together to provide exciting programs for our OLLI members throughout Vermont.
Director, OLLI at the University of Vermont
FROM OUR INSTITUTES
From OLLI at UVM
Mary Lucia Razza, Planner
We’re excited to unveil the latest OLLI trip!
An Insider’s Tour of Provence with Bern Terry – OLLI French Instructor
See Provence through the eyes of locals. Stay in a French home in a small village in the Luberon, visit the local open air market, a winery, a goat cheese farm, an 800 year old abbey, go for a walk near the Mont Ventoux, visit a pottery maker, a lavender field and an olive grove. Cook with locals or try out their favorite restaurants. This is a unique opportunity to get an insider’s view of one of the prettiest areas of France in one of the best times of the year.
September 20 – 30, 2011
Deadline to register: August 5
Number of Participants: 12 maximum, 9 minimum.
We will be based in the Luberon Region in the beautiful perched village of Saignon, near Apt. There will be daily optional French Instruction, private tours of local attractions including museums, food, flower, and antique markets, lavender and olive farms, Roman ruins, small villages and larger cities such as Avignon and its famous Palais des Papes. And of course, the food and wine: locally sourced and produced, and prepared and presented to showcase the culinary glories of Southern France.
Bern has travelled extensively in this area, and knows the locals so we will have unprecedented access to the beauties and adventures the region has to offer.
Interested? Give Natalie a call at 656-5806, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Oaxaca Travel March 2010
In March, a group of OLLI members travelled to Oaxaca, Mexico for 8 days of cultural and culinary adventures. Here are some of my highlights of the trip.
Cooking school with Susana Trilling, expat from New York and author of Seasons of My Heart; what a way to start our Oaxaca adventure! We ascended the long steps framed with blooming bouganvillia and entered a beautiful Mexican dining room and kitchen. 14 of us produced an authentic Mexican meal with the help of Susanna and her staff – including a complicated mole. Many more treats were in store for us including our visit to Monte Alban, the site of the ruins of an ancient Zapotec city. Our guide was wonderful and one of our group members was an art historian who also gave us context and increased our understanding of this vibrant culture. The days that followed were filled with music, food and visits to markets and artisans. Our visit to Teotitlan resulted in some packing challenges as several of us purchased beautiful locally rugs woven by artisans that we met and talked with.
One of our group leaders was a Jazz musician and educator, and in addition to finding interesting music around the city, he arranged a special concert for us featuring Orquesta Pasatono a wonderful Mexican band who will be performing on the Lane Series on September 30.
Another Ollie trip? sign me up!
By Carol Green, OLLI traveler
Birding for Beginners
“Birding for Beginners”, aka (affectionately) “Ornithology 101″, was an interactive and enjoyable learning experience offer by OLLI, Tuesdays, May 24-June 14. Seven enthusiastic students met with Chip Darmstadt, Director of the North Branch Nature Center (Montpelier). We met on the UVM campus, as well as taking field trips to learn about birds and the delight of birding in Vermont, and beyond.
Each of four full sessions, covered a well-planned theme: Introduction to bird identification, using beautiful photographs; a trip to Centennial Woods, where we practiced bird identification in the field; birding-by-ear, learning the fun and importance of bird songs and vocalizations; and then lastly, and sadly, our final field trip to Muddy Brook Nature Area and the Nolan Farm Road, for more extensive bird identifying in the field. We discovered several beautiful and unexpected ornithological treats that awaited our now better trained eyes and ears!
We also learned the value of keeping a “personal birding journal”, and about the extensive birding references and resources available in print and on-line.
“Birding for Beginners” was an amazing OLLI offering. Here’s hoping we are able to have Chip Darmstadt back at OLLI soon!
By Cheryl Hooper-Feeney
Myra Fassler, Chair
Our poet in residence has submitted another of his pieces – enjoy!
Poem for Myra
Monday’s the day and Osher’s the way
For a crowd of seniors to spend the day
With varied lectures on subjects sublime
To please and teach for hours of time.
We come from far we come from near
To hear the scholars with subjects dear.
We chat and laugh and quiet down
To sit and hear our teachers reknown.
Of fifty curious students here each time,
Who will write or tell or even rhyme
About the new ideas for each of us
To hear and wonder and with some discuss?
Why oh why, please tell me why
We aged ascent to learn and try
To gain missed knowledge of the past
And find the likes of it here at last.
On thought the reason why comes clear to me.
As a species it is plain to see
We are a curious and inquisitive creature
And as such we gather to learn as a prime feature.
So please come join us with the rest.
It’s good for all to gather here with zest.
Our leader, Myra will tell you how
The Osher program will fit you now.
Reprinted by Permission of George Whitney, Author, 92 years young
From Central VT
Bob Rosenberg, Co-Chair
We had a rewarding spring semester including several unusual presentations. Two that were surprising – because we had no idea what to expect – was a talk by Barry Genzlinger about bats and one about book collecting by Ben Koenig. In both cases people showed up because they always expect to be informed at OLLI no matter how odd the topic seems, and in both cases we were totally delighted by the speakers. Except for a set of three great films from Czechoslovakia, we tried having a potpourri of programs instead of our usual grouping of several talks together around a common theme. It is unclear if either approach draws a more consistent attendance, but we will use this approach again for the Fall. Under the guidance of program committee chair, Reidun Nuquist, we have been very efficient in lining up our schedules, and so we are all set for the fall.
Millie Marron, Chair
Our Winter/Early spring Series got off to a rocky start in January when snowstorms forced us to cancel our first and fourth lectures. Everything worked out, however, as we re-scheduled these programs at the tail end of the semester.
Though our membership numbers remained high, we did not experience the huge growth we saw in the fall. We contribute this to the large number of “snow birds” not wanting to commit to the entire series.
The series highlight was “Historic Theater Curtains”, presented by Christine Hadsel , held at the Hyde Park Opera House which boasts an antique painted curtain. Here in Lamoille Valley we try to hold at least one lecture per series in another town. We feel this encourages a wider audience attendance as well as greater publicity. This lecture also was our first to be videotaped by a local TV public access channel.
In conclusion, our attendees this series expressed very positive feedback regarding the variety and quality of the lectures. Many verbalized how much they enjoy having OLLI in our area. This is very gratifying to me and my committee. Though it’s taken a few years, we believe that Osher is finally recognized in our area, and has become a valuable asset in our community.
Penny Packard, Chair
Here in northern Vermont and Southern Quebec weather has always played an important role in deciding the dates for each semester of lectures. We consider things like the travelling south of our members, the opening of golf season and the good gardening weather.
These factors are all directly related to the arrival and departure of snow. We have been lucky in this area. Since the beginning of the OLLI lectures at the Newport/ Derby/ Stanstead site in September 2005, I recall only one cancellation of a lecture due to snow.
Last week (April 27th) though we experienced another weather cancellation!! Rain!! Our speaker was from the Burlington area, and though he and our program coordinator searched for over 2 hours, they could not find an unflooded route north to Newport. We had to cancel due to rain!
This semester we also had a speaker who was unable to come at the last minute. As both of these speakers are available and willing, they have been added to the end of our Spring 2011 timetable. This means our normal schedule has been extended with lectures on May 25th and June 1st. It will be interesting to see if golf and gardens interfere with the attendance at these lectures.
We are beginning to work on the fall 2011 semester, but we also must work on adding to our steering committee. Many of us have been on board for a number of years, and with many of us having extensive travel plans we need to encourage others to join the committee.
I wish all a happy and healthy summer season.
Pat Goetz, Co-Chair
The Rutland OLLI group had a wonderful, eclectic Winter session which started out with a very well-attended series called “Vermonters Doing A World of Good” which featured four local speakers recounting their foreign adventures setting up ophthalmology training centers in Tibet, fresh water for Honduras and Haiti, medical clinics in Peru, and building Habitat for Humanity houses in Cambodia. The talks and slides were excellent and our guests were really transported! Our second series was a real change of pace; Four Flying B’s looked at birds, bats, and bees. The fourth lecture on Butterflies was cancelled because of weather, a frequent winter occurrence in Vermont. The last leg of lecture program was a serious presentation on sustainability, “How Vermonters Will Live Tomorrow” and featured some dynamic speakers who tried to put a positive spin on some very intractable, looming topics. In our planning for the Osher lectures, the board is always looking to balance informative, mind-stretching programs with lighter, enjoyable fare.
From St. Albans
John Newton, Chair
Another successful semester is “in the books”. In terms of finances, our income just exceeded our expenses, which after all is our goal. In terms of attendance, we were definitely off. Some of this we attribute to the fact that our Spring series has historically had less attendance, probably due to the ‘snowbirds’ leaving Vermont for warmer climes.
One of our programs was a bit of a surprise in attendance and interest. The “Ready to Research Your Ancestry” presentation by Sheila Morris, President of the Vermont French-Canadian Genealogical Society, was a big hit. It struck a chord with this writer too, as it has started both my wife and myself on a voyage of ancestry hunting. There seems to be no end to the discoveries to be found in cyberspace.
We did have to cancel our opening presentation because of the “groundhog day” snowstorm. The speaker was unable to make up the presentation the week after the conclusion of the Spring series. So we have scheduled this presentation, “Orphan Trains in Vermont” for the week of August 24, a week before our normal Fall start time. Any subscriber for the 2011 Spring or Fall series may attend this lecture without charge. All others at the usual $5 fee at the door.
Our lectures are at 11:00 AM on Wednesdays starting 8/24/11 at the St. Albans Historical Museum, 3rd floor auditorium. All are welcome.
From St. Johnsbury
The St. Johnsbury OLLI had a wonderful array of program topics this spring around the theme of “Northeast Kingdom’s Agricultural Renaissance.” Members learned about the organic evolution from Richard Wiswall, how to make wine from honey with Mark Simakasi, and community composting systems presented by Tom Gilbert. Always an added bonus for members is the wonderful luncheon prepared by the St. Johnsbury Academy Culinary Arts students. Food for this semester’s lunch was locally sourced. Plans are underway for the upcoming fall program – make sure to check it out!
Pat Graves, Program Committee
As an employed teacher I thought how wonderful it would be to avail myself of the enrichment opportunities that OLLI had to offer. Now as a retired teacher I have found out how truly wonderful these programs each fall and spring really are. The balance of genres is an art accomplished by a small group led by Marita Johnson.
One of the highlights the past several years has been the presentation by Steve Stettler from The Weston Playhouse. He has offered background information on a number of plays that are held in the summer. It is, of course, a plug for their program, but attendees of OLLI have a one-upmanship when it comes to being fully prepared to enjoy the show.
A co-sponsor of a program each session is the Springfield Garden Club. This year the program was on Loon Conservation in Vermont: People Make a Difference. These ladies make a difference in helping to cover the cost of great nature programs.
It is an encouraging sight to see the number of men and women in their 80s and 90s who come quite regularly to the presentations. A friend of mine in her mid-eighties is so excited when I arrive to pick her up and always has such good critiques of the talks afterward.
OLLI is a superb addition to the Springfield area offerings. Keep up the good work.
This newsletter is published monthly by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes of UVM. Since 2003, Adults 50 and better have enjoyed a diverse offering of intellectually stimulating courses and programs from Newport to Brattleboro as part of a national network of Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes (OLLIs). In 2010, the Bernard Osher foundation /granted additional funds to the University of Vermont /to establish a new OLLI on the UVM campus. OLLI at UVM provides members with access to the many resources of the University and new opportunities for lifelong learning in Vermont.