Injustice in Java

In the spring of my senior year, I traveled to Jinotega, Nicaragua on a service trip. While there, I visited a coffee plantation to learn about coffee as one of Nicaragua’s biggest exports. The harsh labor conditions of this plantation were immediately apparent- workers were dirty, exhausted, malnourished, and many had their children in the fields to help the parents fulfill the daily quota. After conducting my own investigation once I got home, I learned that most coffee workers are not guaranteed their basic labor rights. 1 I was torn because I didn’t want to support a business that exploited workers, making them labor under abysmal working conditions, but I still wanted my daily roast. That is when I discovered Fair Trade certified coffee.

Fair Trade certified coffee ensures that the farmers who grow the coffee: “1) are paid a fair price for their harvest and 2) are democratically organized into cooperatives that sell direct to buyers in consuming countries.” 2 The guaranteed minimum price for Fair Trade coffee is $1.26 (US dollars) for Fair Trade specialty coffee and $1.41 for Fair Trade certified organic coffee, whereas the world price for conventionally sourced coffee is around 60 cents per pound. By receiving good and stable prices, small-scale producers in developing countries can achieve job and hunger security and farmer cooperatives can “invest in food, shelter, health care, education, environmental stewardship, and economic independence” 3.  The Fair Trade prices also enable cooperatives to engage in environmentally sustainable ways of farming. Additionally, these agricultural exports are crucial for growth and development of these communities and countries. With such benefits, Fair Trade fosters a socially and environmentally friendly relationship between producers, traders and consumers. And, as a result of all this, the Fair Trade business model ensures quality coffee.

In Nicaragua, I witnessed the harsh conditions of workers who did not receive Fair Trade prices. Coffee worker Blanca Rosa Molina said the difference of Fair Trade prices is “the difference between whether my family eats or does not eat… It means our children can stay in school and that we can have basic health provisions.” 4 According to the International Labor Organization, poverty is the most compelling reason why children work. They report that children contribute “around 20-25% of family income” and their contribution is oftentimes just enough to keep their families out of hunger. 5 In fact, in Sidamo, one place where Starbucks purchases coffee, “over half of children between the ages of 5 and 17 work 30 hours a week on their families’ farms.” 6 By working so much, their education and nutrition suffers. However, many other problems arise. I remember hearing over and over about the problems of child abuse and rape that happens on the coffee fields. Fair Trade business practices, as aforementioned, help prevent these harsh realities.

Despite coffee companies knowing fully about these harsh realities, Fair Trade makes up just 5% of the U.S. coffee market. Many companies feature only a few Fair Trade brews, while the rest are conventionally sourced. For example, the top five selling coffee producers in the US are: Keurig, Folgers, Starbucks, Maxwell House, and Dunkin Donuts. Dunkin Donuts is the only purchaser whose beans are 100% FT certified. Less than half of the coffee Keurig Green Mountain buys is Fair Trade Certified. Only 8% of Folgers and 8.4% Starbucks are Fair Trade certified. Kraft does not use fair trade coffee beans with their Maxwell House products. 7

However, these companies, with Starbucks as the biggest culprit, are able to escape criticism by using similar sounding buzz words, such as “ethically sourced” or “organic,” to try to trick the customer into thinking they are buying Fair Trade certified coffee when they are not. I have observed Starbucks promoting their commitment to buying and serving Fair Trade certified and ethically sourced coffee 8. They make consumers believe that ‘‘Every time you purchase Starbucks’ coffee, you’re also making a difference, helping to improve people’s lives, and encouraging conservation where our coffee is grown’’ 9. They use the label “ethically sourced” to essentially trick customers into thinking they are supporting a socially responsible brand. However, hidden behind the label of “ethically sourced” is a much different practice than the ethical behavior necessary to get the Fair Trade certified labels. The former label comes from Starbucks’ in-house program, called CAFÉ. This CAFÉ program is owned by Starbucks and is therefore up to Starbucks own criteria and standards of whether to label the coffee as “ethically sourced.” Starbucks’ advertising strategy to promote their brand as socially responsible is unethical in the very least.

Since Bucknell is a Starbucks campus, I was curious to see whether our cafes offered any of the few Fair Trade brews on and around campus. I have pleasantly discovered that Fair Trade Coffee is offered in all locations such as Bostwick and the Commons Café. Even the retail locations downtown always have one Starbucks Fair Trade roast a day. Even more agreeably, I have found that this Fair Trade coffee is purchased from a specific coffee plantation and community in Nicaragua. This is all attributed to the Bucknell Brigade, a campus club whose mission is to assist and support of the Nicaraguan people through service trips to Nicaragua, local fundraising efforts, and the importation of Nicaraguan Fair Trade raw beans.

Fair Trade is not only a business model but a global social movement for empowering the poor. Poverty doesn’t have to be an irreparable problem. The Fair Trade business model helps the poorest sectors in the world and it takes on many forms and can be applied to many different products and situations. We can address exploitation and poverty in the global marketplace right here at Bucknell.


  1.  “Coffee the Environment and Labor.” Starbucks / Fair Trade Campaign. Organic Consumers Association, n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2016.
  2.  “Global Exchange’s Coffee FAQ.” Global Exchange. Global Exchange 2011, 2011. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.
  3.  “Global Exchange’s Coffee FAQ.” Global Exchange. Global Exchange 2011, 2011. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.
  4.  Litvinoff, Miles, and John Madeley. 50 Reasons to Buy Fair Trade. London: Pluto, 2007. Print.
  5.  “Working to Help Coffee’s Children.” Tea and Coffee Trade OnLine 2nd ser. 176 (2002): n. pag. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.
  6.  “Starbucks 2006 Corporate IRRESPONSIBILITY Report.” Justice From Bean to Cup. IWW Starbucks Worker Union, 2006. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.
  7.  “Does Fair Trade Coffee Cost More to the Consumer?” Equal Exchange. Equal Exchange, n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.
  8.  “Coffee the Environment and Labor.” Starbucks / Fair Trade Campaign. Organic Consumers Association, n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2016.
  9.  Ruzich C.M. “For the Love of Joe: The Language of Starbucks.” J.Pop.Cult.Journal of Popular Culture 41.3 (2008): 428-42.

Nature’s Influence on Brain Health

Spring is a time of rebirth – of new beginnings, new goals, and new challenges. It is a time where the budding flowers, verdant fields, and sunny weather makes everyone feel alive again. It also signals the end of the school year, serving as a reminder to do things we always wanted to do. With the view of the Poconos from the academic quad, of the Susquehanna flowing by campus, and of the outdoor patio seating at Bull Run, the lure of the outdoors is ubiquitous. Although our studies are our main priority at college, spending time outdoors actually correlates with better test scores. Research shows that people who spend more time outdoors, are not only calmer and healthier but also smarter.

William Wordsworth preaches this in his ballad, The Tables TurnedHe believes that nature, as the ultimate virtuous influence on the human mind, allows for the manifestation of passionate emotion and thought through intellectual and spiritual development. The speaker in the poem tells his friend to come into the “light of things” and “hear the woodland linnet” because this bird’s song contains more wisdom and beauty than any piece of literature. He believes that Mother Nature, with her “world of ready wealth,” purifies our mind and body and brings sweet lore for our “meddling intellect.” Not only does nature create intellectual enlightenments, but nature also creates spiritual enlightenments, “One impulse from a vernal wood/ May teach you more of man,/ Of moral evil and of good,/ Than all the sages can.” The speaker suggests that the scientific investigation of nature can teach you more about humanity, good, and evil than even a profoundly wise person can – experiences affect the human spirit more than words. At the heart of Wordsworth’s Romantic poem is the insistence that nature and the human mind are suitable companions and all it takes it to “Come forth, and bring with you a heart/ That watches and receives.”

Wordsworth wrote this in the 19th century when a good amount of people still spent more time outdoors. However, studies now show that, compared to just 20 years ago, people spend 25% less time in nature. When we are taking a break from our textbooks, here are some compelling reasons to spend this down time outdoors:

1. Increases concentration skills

one study took a group of children with ADHD and compared their concentration levels after they were split into two groups. One of the groups spent time in outdoor green spaces, and the other group spent time playing indoors. The outside group showed fewer symptoms of ADHD than their counterparts, even while performing the same tasks 1.

2. ignites creative functions

A study published in the Huffington Post found a correlation between nature and creativity. A team of researchers compared a group of backpackers before and after they spent four days on the trail. They found that the “backpackers were 50 percent more creative after they had spent four days on the trail” 2.

3. Decreases stress levels

After just 20 minutes in a natural setting,the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public health has reported, our levels of cortisol, which is a stress indicator, decrease significantly 3. Seattle-based environmental psychologist Judith Heerwagon tells The Huffington Post. “Just looking at a garden or trees or going for a walk, even if it’s in your own neighborhood, reduces stress,” she says. “I don’t think anyone understands why, but there’s something about being in a natural setting that shows clear evidence of stress reduction, including physiological evidence — like lower heart rate” 4.

4. boosts positivity

A study published by the Proceeding of the National Academy of Science says a 90-minute walk through nature can positively affect your brain. The researchers found that, of the 38 participants, the ones who walked through the park and not the urban environment, “showed lower levels of blood flow to the parts of the brain associated with rumination” 5.  (Rumination is a pattern of thought focused on the negative of oneself). There is also the idea that we respond positively to things that are inherently good for us and our survival, “which is why trees and other natural elements can help lift our moods”  1.

5. sparks inspiration

Humans have always looked to nature for inspiration to solve problems. Think of biomimicry such as prosthetic arms inspired by octopus tentacles, the art masterpieces of Claude Monet who was inspired by his verdant surroundings, or engineering feats such as the Japanese high speed trains inspired by the shape of a kingfisher’s beak – nature is the master of inspiring innovation 7.


In the book Positivity: Top-Notch Research Reveals the Upward Spiral That Will Change Your Life, Barbara Fredrickson observes that nature is so fascinating and soothing, that it takes away your mind from other worries. The beach is the perfect example. When I am driving or staring at my computer, I constantly think of my to-do list. My exposure to nature increases my awareness of surrounding and myself, rather than the other thoughts that occupy my day.


In one study, researchers conducted a brief memory test on University of Michigan students who were then divided into two groups. One group walked around an arboretum, while the others walked down a city street. The researchers then conducted the memory test again and the participants who had walked in nature did almost 20% percent better than the first time. The ones who took the urban route did not improve 8.

These seven reasons (among many more) show the powerful connection between nature and the human mind. By spending time outdoors and boosting your brain power, you can spend less time studying and get better grades. With spring finally here, there is no better time to make this change to your lifestyle. Wordsworth got it right – in this “world of ready wealth,” gain the “spontaneous wisdom breathed by health.”



  1.  Wise, Abigail. “Here’s Proof Going Outside Makes You Healthier.” The Huffington Post., 22 June 2014. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.
  2.  Leader, Jessica. “Nature-Creativity Study Links The Great Outdoors With Positive Psychological Effects.” The Huffington Post., 31 May 2012. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.
  3.  Roe, Jenny J., Catharine Ward Thompson, Peter A. Aspinall, Mark J. Brewer, Elizabeth I. Duff, David Miller, Richard Mitchell, and Angela Clow. “Green Space and Stress: Evidence from Cortisol Measures in Deprived Urban Communities.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. MDPI, n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.
  4.  Wise, Abigail. “Here’s Proof Going Outside Makes You Healthier.” The Huffington Post., 22 June 2014. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.
  5. Goodstein, Eli. “Stanford University Study Says Spending Time in Nature Benefits Mental Health.” USA TODAY College. Stanford University, 09 July 2015. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.
  6.  Wise, Abigail. “Here’s Proof Going Outside Makes You Healthier.” The Huffington Post., 22 June 2014. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.
  7.  “How Nature Ignites Creativity.” THNK The Outdoors Prescription How Nature Ignites Creativity Comments. School of Creative Leadership, 09 Nov. 2015. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.
  8.  Lauren F Friedman and Kevin Loria. “11 Scientifically Proven Reasons You Should Go Outside.” Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 09 Apr. 2014. Web. 19 Apr. 2016

New Lewisburg Yoga Studio: Yoga Dear – Interview with Founder Leanne Matullo

Tucked into a little side street off Market Street is a new yoga studio in town. Leanne Matullo, the founder of Yoga Dear, has brought health, happiness, and a new sense of community in this new year to Lewisburg. Her mission for Yoga Dear, an acronym for “Developing self-Esteem And Respect,” is to forge a mind body connection through fitness and individualized practice in a comfortable yogi-centric community. Through the practice of yoga, Leanne believes we have the power to create a unique sense of self and place in the world. I sat down with Leanne to learn more about her background, philosophies, goals, and to discuss the joy that this creative and spiritual movement can bring to all.

When did you start practicing yoga and why? 

I was a dancer in college1434931486428 and after I stopped performing, I wanted to get into yoga. I took my first yoga class in Pittsburgh six years ago and actually really didn’t like it at first. I kept going back though. After a couple of times getting used to the foreign language, crazy poses, and focused breathing, I began to enjoy it.

What do you love most about practicing yoga and yoga itself? 

Yoga offers infinite possibilities. There is always something to work on, there is always something new to master. For me, yoga is a freedom – freedom from your mind, from around you. It is just you and the mat and your movement. That is peace to me.


Tell me about your studio. - What inspired you to open up a studio in Lewisburg?

Everyone asks where “Dear” comes from. I started out teaching for at risk youth and focused on developing self esteem and respect – so that is where “dear” originated. I want this studio space to be approachable, fun, and playful, where we can meet new friends, laugh, and interact with the energetic and enthusiastic students and teachers.

What makes your studio different/better than the ones in the local area or offered at KLARC?

Yoga Dear focuses on a more individualized practice while still building a community with the others around you. I wanted our niche to be a powerful style – we are going to work and we are going to feel it.

Many people in this country still equate yoga solely with movement and do not consider the spiritual aspect. How do you deal with this at Yoga Dear? 

Most people come here for movement but can still benefit from the spiritual aspects especially as they come further and further into the practice. Throughout the class, we weave in pranayama [breathing techniques], ancient yoga texts, philosophy to incorporate meditation and spiritual aspects. It can be a learning practice as well, since we mention the limbs of the eight-fold path to yoga. These are respect for others (yama) and yourself (niyama); harmony with your body (asana), your energy (pranayama), and last four parts [your thoughts (dharana), and your emotions (pratyahara); contemplation (dhyana); ecstasy (samadhi)] which all relate to meditation.

Since yoga combines body, breath, mind and spirit, how can someone gradually increase progress in each of those four areas? 

FullSizeRender_3Yoga is transformative and healing. It is hard for me to explain but after taking 2 to 3 classes a week, I have become more spiritual because of the results I have seen. The book Living Your Yoga explains this.*

What advice would you tell a first-timer attending a private yoga studio? 

Give me three classes and then make a decision. If you come in with an open mind and know it is okay to not know all the poses or fall, that is totally fine. Everyone falls in first yoga class. Most importantly, have a good time and laugh.

What in your opinion are the greatest health benefits of doing yoga? 

In a culture that sits a lot, I believe that overall mobility is the greatest health benefit. Additionally, yoga is a great way to use the mind body connection as a huge anxiety and stress relief. You learn that you not only can watch and observe your thoughts but control them as well.

Do you actively meditate? 

I meditate every morning to set the tone of my day. The practice is very grounding for me since I am such a spiritual person. Sometimes I do it for two minutes, sometimes fifteen, with music or silence, on my own or guided.





After we wrapped up our interview, I stayed to attend the Power Flow class taught by friend and roommate Heather Oros. In such a warm and welcoming space, I felt at ease, allowing for a deeper awareness of the interactions of my body, mind, and spirit. Although the more advanced teaching was distinct, detailed, and serious, the atmosphere remained playful and fun, enabling me to feel comfortable trying new things. By observing and feeling the overall energy in the room during savasana, it seemed that each individual found their own personal level of achievement and reward in their practices.


*Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life by Judith Hanson Lasater Ph.D. is about discovering the “meaning of yoga beyond its familiar poses and breathing techniques to include the events of daily life”


Yoga Dear Beginner, Sunny Side Up (early morning Asana class), Yoga Dear 1 (beginner/intermediate), Yoga Dear 2 (intermediate/advanced), Power Flow, Peaceful Practice, Yoga Barre, Gentle Yoga, and Asana Junkies

Click here for a description of each class

Click here for class schedule

This Friday January 29: Yoga Dear is hosting yoga and happy hour at 5:30 PM. The night is going to consist of a 50 minute yoga class and then happy hour with wine and beer! $15 for members, $20 for non members! 21+ only. Please reserve a space on the Mind/Body Connect app.

Memberships & Pricing

Yoga Dear Memberships:

  • 10 Visit Pass – $120                   Expires three months after activation 
  • 1 Month Unlimited – $100     Expires one month after activation
  • 3 Month Unlimited – $265     Expires three months after activation 
  • Yearly Unlimited – $80/month with yearly contract
  • Also, for a limited time, students can get a monthly unlimited pass for $50.

Drop-in Rates:

  • Drop-in Class – $15
  • Student Drop-in – $10 (Please bring your student ID!)

10% Discount on all services for senior citizens (65+), veterans, and active duty servicemen and women. ID’s required at time of service purchase. 

Student Rates (Please bring your ID!):

  • 10 Visit Pass – $95        Expires three months after activation
  • 1 Month Unlimited –  $90   Expires one month after activation

New Student Referral Program

Bring a new-to-Yoga Dear friend, parent, sibling, significant other to class and you’ll both get $25 off your next service.



Enjoy and Namaste!


Winter Activities in the Poconos

This article features 5 ski/snowboard mountains and winter activities at 8 Pennsylvania state parks.

Winter is the season of hot cocoa, crackling fires, and wool sweaters. For many, it is a place of childhood nostalgia – of skiing, sledding, and some slightly-mad snowday schemes. And even when the harshness of the weather manifests and the biting air, chills, and darkness perpetuate, winter reminds us of the human warmth. However, while at school, when we take ten minutes bundling up to trudge to class only to discover we forgot a mitten, we often curse this season. Robert Frost’s “Dust of Snow,” is the perfect reminder to us that beauty can be discovered in the brutality of the natural elements. In his short poem, a crow’s wings cause snow to fall upon the speaker passing under a tree, igniting “a change of mood” in the speaker’s heart, “and saved some part/ of a day I had rued.” This fallen snow has enlightened this man to appreciate the small things in life rather than seeing it as a lifeless and bleak season. We can all make our day better by appreciating and taking advantage of this weather rather than snowflakewishing for spring. We just need a push to get off campus and remember all that winter has to offer. Provided is an avenue for outdoor activities during cold weather in the Lewisburg and Pennsylvania area.


BLUE MOUNTAIN SKI AREAScreen Shot 2015-12-28 at 3.55.04 PM

Home of Pennsylvania’s highest vertical descent and the most varied terrain, Blue Mountain is the best mountain to visit to get the most out of a ski day. According to Mountain Snow Corporation, the mountain resort has the highest overall rating for best mountain resorts, for terrain parks, and falls second for best all-mountain terrain 1Additionally, as the East Coast’s leader in snow making capabilities, Blue Mountain guarantees snow days even if the weather does not permit.

Apres ski, kick back on the patio of the Summit Lodge Cornerstone or in the warm, festive atmosphere of Last Run Lounge on the top floor of the Summit Lodge or continue the adventure by snowtubing one of the 39 1,000 long lanes.Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 3.53.13 PM

Click here for more information.

Location: 1660 Blue Mountain Drive, Palmerton, PA 18071. 1 hour and 50 minutes



Camelback makes up for it’s smaller size with well-groomed trails and turbo-lifts, enabling you to spend more time on the quality trails. Apart from high-grade terrain, this mountain has the biggest snowtubing park in the US. The resort is also 100% lit for night skiing. This resort is ranked fourth for best all-mountain terrain in all of Pennsylvania.

Click here for more information.

Location: Camelback Mountain Resort, 301 Resort Drive, Tannersville, PA 18372. 1 hour and 35 minutes



Blue Knob, as the highest elevated skiable mountain of all Pennsylvania, offers 100 acres of terrain and 42 acres of night-skiing terrain. The longer runs, steeper terrain, and low crowds make this a favorite among the many Poconos mountains… and a best kept secret. Due to the lack of crowds, this is the best place to find fresh powder after a big snow fall.

Click here for more information.

Location: 1424 Overland Pass, Claysburg, PA 16625. 2 hours and 11 minutes.



This premiere Pocono ski resort makes a somewhat small mountain of 600 vertical feet feel large by having spread out trails. The black diamonds are some of the best in the Poconos, getting more advanced as you head towards the west side of the mountain. The glades, scattered between the groomed trails, range from intermediate to advanced and are the best in the region. If you want a good challenge, try the elevator, off the backside of the mountain.

The parking lot, located at the top, influences you to take more and more runs because when you try to call it quits you are already at the summit, so why not take one more run?

Click here for more information.

Location: 357 Big Boulder Drive, Lake Harmony, PA 18624. 1 hour and 23 minutes


xlargeJack Frost’s partner Big Boulder is considered more of the “snowboarders’ mountain” of the two. Jack Frost has longer runs and a higher vertical drop but Big Boulder, about five miles away, trumps Frost with their three main parks: Big Boulder Park, LOVE Park, and Freedom Park. There are various slopes for all levels but the main attraction is the terrain parks. Click here for more information.

Location: 434 Jack Frost Mountain Road, White Haven, PA 18661. 1 hour and 16 minutes

Note: You can get a double pass for Jack Frost/Big Boulder for $350. Just ask alumnus Doug Bogan who went out twice a week and weekends through January, February, and half of March. He claims the pass was “his best Christmas present” yet. Still not convinced? Ask anyone on the Bucknell ski team. Expect to be recruited mid conversation.

**make sure to use College ID for discounts on tickets 

Cross-country skiing, ice skating, hiking, snowmobiling, and more at PA state parks:

 Ricketts Glen State Park


Cross-country ski, snowmobile, or hike through this coniferous wonderland or escape the dense woods to ice skate and ice fish on Lake Jean. The 26 hiking trails offer views of 22 free-flowing waterfalls, diverse wildlife, and a beautiful terrestrial ecoregion of old growth timbers.

Click here for more information.

Location: Ricketts Glen State Park, 695 State Route 487, Benton, PA 17814. 1 hour and ten minute drive.

Bald Eagle State Forest


The Bald Eagle State Forest, named after the famous Native American, Chief Bald Eagle, is 193,424 acres and offers over 200 miles of hiking trails, 300 miles of state forest roads and trails open for snowmobiling, and 24 miles of Nordic ski trails, some beginning at R.B. Winter State Park.

Click here for more information.

Location: Bald Eagle State Forest, T420, Bellefonte, PA 16823. 1 hour and ten minutes away.

Colonel Denning State Park

Alumnus and avid hiker, Doug Bogan, raves that the views from the overlook of Flat Rock Trail, “are are amazing. You can see for maybe 30-50 miles on a clear day!” You can also cross-country ski on the hilly and mountainous terrain to catch a glimpse of these vistas, although there are no formal cross-country skiing trail system. Or skip out on the inclines and ice skate while still admiring the rugged beauty of the mountainous landscape.

Click here to learn more about Colonel Denning State Park.Scenic-Winter-Mauch-Chunk-Lake-Park-PoconoMtns_7749abe7-7213-4056-86d5-ca6cb2ca45b2

Location: Colonel Denning State Park, Newville PA. Click here for detailed instructions. 1.5 hours away

Worlds End State Parktravelers-backpacks-walking-along-road-forest-winter-mountains-view-snow-covered-conifer-trees-60547392

Discover a 20-mile trail network perfect for Nordic skiing in the heart of Pennsylvania’s mountainous landscape. Apart from cross-country skiing, enjoy hiking or snowmobiling through the terrain. The Canyon Vista Trail is a 4 mile loop that challenges hikers with rocky, steep sections leading to a stunning view of the Loyalsock Creek Gorge. Before descending, explore the rock labyrinths adjacent to the vist.

Click here for more info of the Hiking Trails at Worlds End State Park.

Location: 82 Cabin Bridge Rd, Forksville, PA 18616. 1 hour and ten minutes.

Tioga State ForestPAGC_HLO_LLOUS_2

Praised as one of the best rail trails in the North East, Pine Creek Trail, one of the many trails in this state park, offers Nordic skiers a verdantly dramatic 61-mile journey through the area known as the “Grand Canyon” of Pennsylvania. There are also over 170 miles of snowmobile trails.

Click here for more information.

Location: The trail’s northern terminus is on State Forest land approximately one mile south of U.S. Route 6 on the Colton Road near the village of Ansonia (1 hour and 45 minutes). The southern terminus is on Pennsylvania Route 414 two miles south of Blackwell (1.5 hours).








A 15,990-acre park stretching across the Poconos Mountain doesn’t only offer 40 miles of great hiking but has an ice skating, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling. 

Click here for more information.

Location: 3613 State St, White Haven, PA 18661. 1 hour and 6 minutes. Click here for detailed driving directions. 

Raymond B. Winter State Park

For a quick morning and afternoon adventure mid-week, explore this park that is an easy drive from campus. With 700 acres of the Appalachian mountains, this park offers cross-country skiing, hiking (Rapid Run is my favorite), ice-fishing, and snowmobiling. The 300 miles of snowmobile trails leads all the way to aforementioned Bald Eagle State Forest.

Click here for more information

Location: Raymond B. Winter State Park, 17215 Buffalo Road, Mifflinburg, PA 17844. 28 minutes away.

Crystal Lake Ski Center

Recommended to me by the head of Bucknell’s Outdoors Club, Crystal Lake Ski Center specializes in Pennsylvania’s finest cross country skiing. For an additional fee, experienced Nordic instructors are ready to guide you from beginning through skating and racing techniques.

Click here for more information

Location: 1716 Crystal Lake Rd, Hughesville, PA 17737. 1 hour away.  Click here for driving directions.


And if I can’t convince you, maybe William Wordsworth will sway you

The Tables TurnedScreen Shot 2015-12-28 at 4.48.07 PM
Up! up! my Friend, and quit your books;
Or surely you’ll grow double:
Up! up! my Friend, and clear your looks;
Why all this toil and trouble?
The sun above the mountain’s head,
A freshening lustre mellow
Through all the long green fields has spread,
His first sweet evening yellow.
Books! ’tis a dull and endless strife:
Come, hear the woodland linnet,
How sweet his music! on my life,
There’s more of wisdom in it.
And hark! how blithe the throstle sings!
He, too, is no mean preacher:
Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be your teacher.
She has a world of ready wealth,
Our minds and hearts to bless—
Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health,
Truth breathed by cheerfulness.
One impulse from a vernal wood
May teach you more of man,
Of moral evil and of good,
Than all the sages can.
Sweet is the lore which Nature brings;
Our meddling intellect
Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:—
We murder to dissect.
Enough of Science and of Art;
Close up those barren leaves;
Come forth, and bring with you a heart
That watches and receives.
Any questions? Please email me at


  1.  “Top Rated Pennsylvania Ski Resorts | OnTheSnow.” OnTheSnow. Mountain News Corporation, n.d. Web. 28 Dec. 2015

The Power of a Good Night’s Sleep: The Correlation Between Quality Sleep and Academic Performance

English dramatist Thomas Bekker once said, “Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.” However, for many college students, we underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. Between balancing academics, extra curriculars, and a social life at college, we view sleep as a luxury rather than biological necessity that rejuvenates us mentally, physically, and emotionally. On average, most college students get 6 and a half hours of sleep per night, almost two hours less than the recommended amount of sleep 1. While the importance of a good night’s rest may seem obvious, sometimes people aren’t aware of the benefits reaped, especially when it comes to academic performance. With finals in full swing, the very qualities we aggrandize in order to perform well on tests, such as recall, concentration, and alertness, are decreased when we suffer from sleep deprivation.

professor-foster-effect-of-sleep-deprivation-on-brain-tasksScientists have recently been able to manipulate sleep to conclude the high correlation between sleep and learning and memory processes. According to the National Science Foundation, sleep allows the brain to organize, sort, and store our learnings and experiences of that day, making it simpler to recollect at a later time. Sleep plays a role in the consolidation of memory, which is essential for learning new information. It can even help us expunge irrelevant information and help us “make connections between our memory and information we learned that day, even if we have not made those connections while awake.” Researchers found information can be better retained with reinforcing stimuli delivered during sleep, helping us gain a better understanding of the material and absorb the information more efficiently 2

At the National Science Foundation, scientists conducted a study to determine which information gets retained and what gets wiped away. The first experiment involved participants learning two pieces of music in a format similar to the game Guitar Hero. During the post-learning nap, only one of the Guitar Hero songs was softly played, selectively reinforcing the memory of that singular tune. The second experiment involved locations of 50 objects on a computer screen, with each location coupled with different music. Similarly, in the subsequent nap, the sounds correlating with 25 locations were softly played. In the reinforcement experiments, the nappers outperformed the non-nappers. The comparison of results proved that through selective enhancement, sleep provides an effective alternative to conscious rehearsal of memorized material 3

Prolonged lack of sleep, even just after three days, can also lead to many health issues by impacting the immune system. Study after study has revealed that people who sleep poorly are at greater risk for a number of diseases and health problems since we decrease our ability to fight off infections. We are much more likely to catch the flu or a cold or other upper respiratory infections 4. In the long run, sleep deprivation is associated with a heightened risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and depression. Research has discovered that sleeping less than six hours a night regularly makes you 12% more likely to die prematurely than someone who sleeps up to eight hours. Although finals week won’t put the nail in the coffin, this statistic is something to keep in mind.

To quote Arianna Huffington’s TED Talk, we can quite literally sleep our way to the top. Although for some my article may be useless or wishful thinking, but for others who have the chance to utilize their time wisely during the day, do it. Unfortunately, the irony of the loss of sleep we have during finals week can work against us. As the vehicle in which we rejuvenate ourselves mentally, physically, and emotionally, we must work, rest, and refresh 

As creatures of habit, establishing a regular and healthy images-5sleep cycle can be hard – especially during finals. Even when we hit the hay, our head may be spinning with what we need to do next. Here are some ways to wind down your mind and body at night:

  1. Create a soporific environment that is dark, tranquil, comfortable, and cool.
  2. Eat dinner at least 2-3 hours before going to bed.
  3. Exercise. It can help reduce stress and increase focus allowing you to study more efficiently. Regular exercise can also help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep 5.
  4. Don’t overdrink caffeinated drinks (caffeine remains in one’s system for 6-8 hours).
  5. Don’t study in your bed. Create a separation between your bed and academics.
  6. Consume foods rich in chemicals to help you fall asleep such as salad, almonds, walnuts, bananas, whole-grain cereal, and complex carbs.


  1.  “Research Areas.” Sleep & Memory. National Science Foundation, 14 Jan. 2013. Web. 07 Dec. 2015.
  2.  “Research Areas.” Sleep & Memory. National Science Foundation, 14 Jan. 2013. Web. 07 Dec. 2015.
  3. “Research Areas.” Sleep & Memory. National Science Foundation, 14 Jan. 2013. Web. 07 Dec. 2015.
  4.  “Sleep Rocks! …get More of It!” University Health Center. University Health Center, n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2015.
  5.  “Exercise: 7 Benefits of Regular Physical Activity.” Healthy Lifestyle Fitness. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, n.d. Web. 7 Dec. 2015.