E-News November 2020

Senior College Online

Message from our President

Dear Senior College Members and Friends,

November has arrived and Fall classes are drawing to a close. Many of us have enjoyed a variety of classes and we are extremely grateful to the team of outstanding Instructors who made our first Zoom session a success.

We also want to extend our appreciation to our roster of Hosts. These individuals have quietly worked to assure that the Zoom classes operated smoothly. This is an essential role in assuring Senior College remains vital and viable. It is reasonably easy to become a Host and we would welcome any volunteers. Please email me at nanella133@gmail.com.

There are still openings for the November 19 class taught by Bangor Daily News columnist and food historian Sandy Oliver. Sandy will present What’s For Dinner In 1820: A Bicentennial Look At Maine Food. Perhaps we can all pick up some new ideas for Thanksgiving dinner!

We are happy to announce that Pete Reilly will be presenting War, Protest, and Great Music, a three week session beginning Wednesday, December 2 at 4:00 p.m. Join Pete with a cup of tea or your choice of libation for an entertaining trip back to a time we all remember well. Who can forget the wonderful sound of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young and countless others who made such evocative and memorable music?

We are extremely excited about our new collaborative effort with the Camden Conference. Sue Conard will present a course dealing with climate change beginning January 11. This six week course will be preliminary to the Camden Conference’s topic The Arctic which takes place in February. (Scroll down for a full description of this class).

Finally, I want to encourage each of you to register for a Zoom class. The feedback from participants has been overwhelmingly positive and all believe Senior College classes are a wonderful antidote to the isolation we are all living with today. If you have questions about Zoom please let us know for there are people who are more than willing to help you learn. Visit the website at www.belfastseniorcollege.org to register for the current classes.

In the meantime stay safe, healthy, and connected!

Nancy Perkins


The Belfast Senior College Curriculum Committee in this time embraces both continuity and change: continuity in that we continue to offer a variety of wonderful courses for body, mind, and soul taught by excellent local people, and change in that all our teaching is online for the foreseeable future. It’s hard to imagine what our lives would be like without Zoom in this pandemic where we must isolate to keep ourselves and our communities safe. Meeting online for shared experiences allows us to stay connected and to sustain connections, friendships, and learning. Now, transferring teaching and learning to an online platform also means we need intentionally to find ways to use online resources to best effect. We learn from others who have been deploying online learning longer than we have, including partners in Maine’s Senior College network, and they offer us tools they already deploy successfully. For a preview of Winterim and some Spring courses, please join us online on Wednesday December 2nd from 10:00-11.00 a.m. (link to be sent out closer to the time).

Deirdre Good, Chair


A Winter Outing at Home

Senior College Special Events Committee has arranged for a special live and interactive Zoom presentation from the University of Maine Planetarium in December. The 45-50 minute show, Legends and Lore of the Sky will be presented by the Planetarium Director, Dr. Laatsch at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, December 10th.

We will be guided through the night sky as it appears in our area and hear the stories from a variety of cultures about constellations such as Orion the mighty hunter, Leo the lion, The Great Bear, and Andromeda, chained to a rock along the coast. We will gain a new understanding of the night view from our window.

The presentation is free of charge for a maximum of 50 Senior College members and friends. Registration for this event will be open until Tuesday, November 24th. Click here to register.


Our Changing Climate

Senior College at Belfast, in collaboration with the Camden Conference, will offer a course this winter entitled What is Happening to Northern Climates? This year the topic of the Camden Conference is the Arctic and its focus will be on the geopolitical implications for a changing Arctic region. The Senior College course will highlight the science forcing those changes and projections for the future. The Camden Conference will take place February 20-21, 2021. The College course will run for six one-hour online sessions, beginning January 11th and ending February 15th, 2021. The course will be an excellent tutorial about how and why our climate is changing. As such, it will be a very strong preparatory experience for those planning to attend the February Camden Conference on The Geopolitics of the Arctic: A Region in Peril.

Severe wildfires, southern hurricanes, extreme weather, the warming Arctic, and melting glaciers are all part of our daily news cycle. It is impossible not to recognize that no matter where we live, our world is being impacted by a global transformation. Senior College at Belfast is pleased to offer a course that will help us understand our changing climate. Perhaps more importantly, it will bring home how climate change in northern latitudes affects us locally AND what we can do!

Lectures and discussions will put in perspective – fire, drought, tropical storms, changes in weather patterns, melting permafrost, land ice versus sea ice and so forth. The course will explore effects of changing greenhouse gases, including vegetation change and, of course, sea level rise in terms that we will all understand. The role and attribution of humans in the process will be examined and explored. We are pleased to present this timely and relevant course at a time when this issue is in the forefront of topical issues of the day.

Nancy Perkins, president of Senior College, is also pleased to announce that the online course will be open and free to local Maine high schools. The Environmental Science class at Belfast High School is already planning to attend. According to Nancy, “Belfast Senior College will be celebrating its 20th year in 2021 and it is so right that we will be marking the occasion working with our local high school to foster intergenerational learning.”