New Alchemy on Cape Cod by Nancy and John Todd

The Cape Naturalist: 1972


Made from scrap automobile parts, this windmill at the New Alchemy Institute’s farm, north of Falmouth, draws on atmospheric power to charge a storage battery mounted atop the pole. It is flanked by the ancient alchemist’s sun symbol on the vane at left and by the real moon on the right.

The sky over San Diego in California is usually a brilliant blue, but on the rim of the horizon is an ugly band of yellowish brown, and it is hard to watch children playing without feeling frightened about the poisons that they are breathing into their small bodies as they run. Inland, scarred eroded canyon walls attest to the developers’ endless expansion. By the shore, the comic grace of the brown pelican reminds one to ask, “Were there young this year?” for it is common knowledge that the high percentage of DDT and other toxins in their egg shells have made them too thin to permit the chicks to develop. Reminders of the threatened state of the environment are everywhere in San Diego. It was there that New Alchemy was born.

It is easier to forget on Cape Cod. A blurred horizon can mean fog. The woods and fields bloom with wildflowers, birds are everywhere, and usually a discreet row of trees can screen the fact that here too the developers are felling trees, laying roads, threatening the salt marshes and destroying steadily the dwindling acres of unspoiled habitat. And so here too, as everywhere, there is a need for people who would hope to restore the land and protect the seas. This is, in essence, the basis for New Alchemy. Read the rest of this entry »


Environmental Education -The Museum’s Program by Robert Lucas, Educational Assistant

The Cape Naturalist: Vol 1 No 1

June, 1972

Environmental Education -The Museum’s Program

by Robert Lucas, Educational Assistant

Our Environmental Science Program now in its second year, is by no means polished and perfected, but we are proud of our endeavors and we believe that we are making accomplishments in developing an environmental awareness in the young people with whom we work. The program reaches a total of more than 1000 children in attendance at the following elementary schools: Ezra Baker in Dennis, Brewster Elementary, Eastham Elementary, Orleans Elementary, Trinity School of Cape Cod in Yarmouth, Truro Central, and Wellfleet Elementary. We hope to keep you informed of the aims of the program, the principles upon which we are operating, and what we believe have been successes and failures and why.

The term environmental education probably has as many interpretations as there are people who use the words. To some it means nature study, to others it connotes a sophisticated experimental approach to science, and to many it is the instant panacea to our environmental problems. Even the educators currently involved in environmental education would not be in unanimous agreement on a definition of the term, but the majority would probably subscribe to the following: environmental science should be taught outdoors, should involve exploration, and should impart a sense of awareness to the student. The Museum’s program embodies, to varying degrees, the above three principles.

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