Two students receive Philip J. Otis Fellowships

Two environmental studies majors at Bates College have received Philip J. Otis Fellowships to support projects that will promote greater understanding of the connection between the environment and spirituality.

Both juniors, the 2002 Otis Fellows at Bates are Richard Morrill, of Salisbury, Conn., and Noah Tuthill, of Acworth, N.H. They received awards between $5,000 and $6,000 for their projects, which will both be conducted in Canada.

Otis Fellowships support students who have designed exceptional ways to explore the relationship among individuals and societies and the natural world.

Local Knowledgescapes, Richard Morrill’s project, is intended to gain insight into the myriad “knowledges” that inform our understanding of the natural world. Morrill will live in a village in the Northwest Territories and volunteer for the Arctic Borderlands Ecological Knowledge Co-op, which seeks to combine local indigenous knowledge and Western science in order to better understand the region’s environment and how it can best be managed.

Noah Tuthill’s project, Cod Fishing in the Grand Bank and a Sense of Place, will investigate how communities in Newfoundland have responded to the decade-long codfishing moratorium, and in particular how the ban on what had been the region’s economic mainstay has affected these communities’ sense of place. Tuthill will travel exclusively by bicycle and boat hundreds of miles along the coast to visit villages inaccessible by road.

Established in 1996 by Margaret V.B. and C. Angus Wurtele, the Philip J. Otis Endowment commemorates their son, Philip, a member of the Bates class of 1995. A park ranger, Otis died attempting to rescue an injured climber on Mount Rainier in August 1995.

Otis was deeply concerned about nurturing a sense of responsibility for the natural environment, and the endowment sponsors opportunities for study, exploration and reflection by students, faculty and other members of the Bates community. The endowment also supports an annual lectureship on environmental issues and the spiritual and moral dimensions of ecology.

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