The May 1984 issue of Dartmouth Alumni Magazine detailed a weekend symposium organized by the College’s earth sciences alumni. “A Gathering to Celebrate the Excellence of John B. Lyons and Richard E. Stoiber” had drawn 140 graduates to Hanover the month before. Drawn back by a “love for Dartmouth and geology,” the alumni represented more than 50 classes.
For many, the shared experience included participation in the Stretch, a term-long off-campus field study program for undergraduates. Many had accompanied Stoiber ’32, Professor John Lyons, and a lengthy list of other Dartmouth faculty to conduct research in locales near and far, including Occom Pond, the Catskills, Arizona’s Lake Powell, and Guatemala’s Pacaya volcano.
Pineo has fond memories of both trips—highlights of which included “exploring Guatemala City on foot, negotiating in the central market, riding for hours through the countryside in the back of a government deuce-and-a-half truck in tropical sun and nighttime darkness, climbing active and recently active volcanoes, and collecting geological data.”
“The physical beauty was and remains beyond compare, and the athletic challenge suited me and gave me satisfaction for work well done,” says Carr. The impact of the program on his life was “pretty much total,” says the recently retired professor, who earned a PhD, focusing on volcanology, after graduating from Dartmouth.
The Stretch’s original goal—to teach students geology by bringing them directly into the field with practicing teacher-scholars—remains at its core. “Studying comes alive for students when they can work with faculty members on the sites where we actually are ‘doing our thing,’” said Stoiber in an article from Dartmouth Alumni Magazine’s June 1973 issue. “In that way, our students learn not only what we’re doing but how to engage in scientific inquiry by helping us do it.”
One of the College’s most popular off-campus programs, the Stretch continues a tradition of enabling scholar research and student mentorship in its development of the next generation of geologists.
Photos are courtesy of the Department of Earth Science and are taken from larger collages hanging up in Fairchild Hall.
In the fall of 2018, Stretchies, as participants are known, logged almost 3,000 miles as they traveled to field research sites that included Alberta’s Athabasca Glacier, Wyoming’s Bighorn Basin, Utah’s Dinosaur National Monument, and the south rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona.