2012 Lake Andrews Ice Out Results

As the ice on Bates’ campus pond rapidly turned to water over the warm weekend, it became clear that the 2012 Lake Andrews Ice Out Contest wouldn’t last past the final day of winter.

All remaining ice tucked in the southeast quadrant of Lake Andrews was long gone by 4 p.m. on March 19, giving ducks full-access paddling opportunities.

And by early afternoon on Monday, March 19, aided by a warm breeze, the Puddle was clear of ice, revealing four contest winners out of 129 entries:

  • Mara Tieken, assistant professor of education, who guessed March 19 at 1:15 p.m.
  • Matt Hanson, director of principal gifts with Advancement, who guessed 1:45 p.m., adding panache to his entry with the exclamation “Mark it!”
  • Bommy Cha ’12, a politics major from Placentia, Calif., who guessed 2 p.m.
  • John Moyer, communications officer and dispatcher with Security and Campus Safety, who guessed 2:30 p.m.

The four were the only ones to guess March 19, though contestants did a good job overall, clustering most guesses near the correct date (see chart).

This chart shows the distribution of ice-out guesses for the contest. Most guesses were correctly clustered around the ice-out date of March 19 (yellow), though only four contestants guessed that date.

A time-lapse camera mounted in Lane Hall, plus the judge’s site visits on March 19, determined the mid-afternoon ice out (I would’ve tried to call an exact time but it was time to get back to work!)

Each winner will receive a handsome vintage copper plate negative, mounted on wood, from Bates Magazine around 60 years ago. Thanks to all who entered!

When ice out occurred March 26, 1973, it was deemed the earliest on record (see clipping). This year’s ice out beats that by a week, though we don’t have recent records to say whether March 19 is the earliest ever.

In 1973 the Lewiston Evening Journal reported an early ice out for Lake Andrews: March 26, apparently a record. When will ice out be this year on Lake Andrews?

Retired Bates plant engineer Phil Meldrum says that ice-out record-keeping was likely done by the Facility Services staff, since their offices used to overlook the Puddle, on Andrews Road. The staff, already in tune with the changes in campus season to season, probably took an avid interest in this annual harbinger of spring. In the 1990s, Facility Services, now Facility Services, moved to the periphery of campus.