My after-Geneseo plans were pretty simple. I was going to graduate in May of 2000, head to a Ph.D. program in September, and be an English professor by 2007. In my free time, I would: adopt a pug dog, start an herb garden, and be a calm human. But as graduation grew closer, I did something that shocked everyone. I decided to turn down a full ride to a prestigious Ph.D. program so I could move to Martha’s Vineyard and waitress.
For 27 years, the Roemer Arborteum has been both a quiet place to appreciate the wild and a natural classroom, where students and faculty conduct research on topics from ant colonies to monitoring how human impact on songbird habitat affects the birds’ behavior. The 20-acre reserve is home to 70 species of trees, shrubs and plants and was a gift from the college by the late Spencer J. Roemer, emeritus dean of admissions, who created an endowment so it will be forever wild.