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Things to Know About HF

Wednesday, July 4, 2018, by Monica Velasco
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    If you’re wondering what the experience in the Harvard Forest program is in regard to the research, then you’re in the wrong post. I’m here to talk about the important stuff: people, food, housing, and fun things to do when you’re not working.

    All 25 people in the program, plus the proctors, are incredible people. People came from all over the US and even Guam. Being the only person from California was a little tough at times because I couldn’t just go home on the weekends like others did. Still, I felt like I fit in really well. It was also pretty cool sharing and learning different cultures among one another.

    Now the important stuff… food. It is amazing. Tim, the chef, does a really good job with making options suitable for everyone’s needs. You will never find yourself with an empty stomach, on the weekdays. Over the weekend we get all the leftover food from the week before, which is still tasty. The problem is that all the good food is gone by Saturday evening. We try to make full meals but always end up with some very peculiar lunches and dinners (hamburger patty in between a bagel). Overall, Tim’s cooking will never disappoint you.

    The housing situation is really great. I have two roommates and they are really nice and funny. They were both a lot smarter than me and brought comforters. The first half of the program had really cold nights, and even though the program said linens and comforters would be provided, they’re more like thin pieces of paper. What I’m trying to get at is to bring your own sheets if you don’t want to freeze at night. You should also prepare to spend a good amount of the money you will be making on laundry. Sometimes you will end up having to run the dryer twice to make sure it all dries. I’d say to find a laundromat and go there, but the closest one is 21 miles away. Also, really consider bringing a fan. I live in Southern California; the summers get well above 100°F. You’d think that 90°F Massachusetts weather would be nothing for me. The thing is that it is so incredibly muggy and humid some days in July that all I want to do is stay inside, but there is no air conditioner in the houses. So, over the hot weekends really consider going to the beach or doing some lab work if you want to stay cool.

    If you have free time over the weekends (some weekends you will probably have to catch up on work) there are many fun activities to do. You could take a day trip to Boston or the beach. Both are approximately two hours. Take the HF Prius if you do because they are excellent on gas. You can also go to the Gorge in Vermont if you like to go on a nature walk or hike. Throughout the summer, there are a few festivals that are really fun and inexpensive as well. Even though there is nothing to do in Petersham itself, HF provides vehicles that you could take to any part of New England.

    Overall, the HF program is a great thing to do if you want to explore New England and have a good foundation on proper research.



Monica is a rising Junior at California Baptist University studying Biology/Environmental Science.