Vermont Arts Council awards grant to Susan Haefner, Expeditionary School

Susan Haefner. Photo provided
Susan Haefner. Photo provided

LUDLOW, Vt. – The Expeditionary School at Black River’s interdisciplinary learning environment leads to creativity for the instructors and a more relevant education for students. With this in mind, the Expeditionary School was awarded the Artists in Schools Grant, made possible by the Vermont Arts Council. Susan Haefner, a Broadway actress and resident of Andover, Vt., will collaborate with Kendra Rickerby, the teaching Head of School.

The “We Are Nature” proposal integrates the performing arts with literacy and environmental science lessons. The fusion of these academic standards is a key feature to how the Expeditionary School’s students are expected to develop informed and integrative thinking skills.

Susan’s expertise will allow students to be involved in all aspects of play production – from developing the script to designing the set, performing, and advertising the production. The live performance will be a culmination of the science content learned during the “Seeds and Trees” lessons as well as the “Birch Bark Ornament” workshop with Fletcher Farm School for the Arts and Crafts.

During the research phase of this project, students will identify which aspects of the globe’s changing weather patterns concern them most. For instance, if the student is worried about the impact intensifying wildfires are having on breathable air, they will be guided toward literature that underscores their concern. Readings will consist of children’s fables, nonfiction, and fiction. The life lessons students take away from these readings will then drive a collaborative development process that becomes the theatrical presentation, “We Are Nature.” A live performance will occur Saturday, Jan. 29 at 2 p.m. at the Heald Auditorium in the Ludlow Town Hall.

The Expeditionary School is equally as grateful to the town of Ludlow for making that real-world theater space available to our students. From its inception, one of the goals of the Expeditionary School’s strategic plan is to strengthen the community. Thanks to the generosity of the Vermont Arts Council, we are one step closer to this vision becoming a reality. Tickets for the live performance can be purchased at the door.

For more information, contact Kendra Rickerby at

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