Liz Gesner - "Moondust"

Core Contribution: "Teacher of Excellence"

Sitting around the circle of lanterns in the forest at Sunship, everyone mesmerized by the Moondust’s Journey Home story, the master teacher weaving her web of learning in young minds with careful preparation and skill, exquisite attention to detail and great passion for inspiring others with her leadership. One example and symbol of so many years of so much effort in so many roles.

Leadership Contributions: 1991 - ongoing

So many years, so many ways, starting as a participant at summer day camps. Seven years at Sunship, five at Vision 20/20 (several as team leader) and Mysterious Encounters plus day camps, Cycle Savers, Women’s hiking programs, Ducks Unlimited, LEAD, HEAT, etc.

[I started] at Summer day camp I’m pretty sure – as a camper with no siblings and well-meaning parents who knew I was tired of playing with white glue under fluorescent bulbs in the city’s other offerings. I don’t remember much, except the dark shadows of the center, the green & white Outdoor Center sign, and feeling like I was having a fun and interesting time.

Personal Reflection

I think my ‘Science Teacher’ poem says a lot about how the AEC has influenced me and met & meshed with other parts of my life. Knowing I was supposed to write something for this, I thought often on the tree plantation block (cut-block of no trees looking for new little plugs to be planted by calloused gloves) what else I might say… and I kept coming back to the smells – how a Vision morning smells before the camp is awake; how the lake smells from the as team leader) and Mysterious Encountersback of a canoe on a Sunship afternoon; how the gravel-grass paths smell in the evening in that time in-between, right before the next excitement gets underway… but I can’t bottle them on this page, so I offer last spring’s reflective poem.

The Science Teacher…?

I am from the science of life – from the third eye & the whiff cup.

I am from the bean plant in the cupboard and the other in the window, uncertain, mildly tortured, learning from Mum how damp paper towel imitates nourishing earth.

I am from the smell of the woods after a rain; or Sol’s jewel, the unpiloted sunship that is beyond comprehension.

I am from the understanding that lost languages mean lost healing – the replacement of wonder with infatuation.

I am from icebreakers and raided chocolate stashes to melt in the mouth while stacking endless steaming cups; from Vision spots, and peacock face paint, and so many layers at night.

I am from the wild trail blazers with non-stop schedules and toque-wearing falcons sitting high up the tree by the lake, waiting to protest with Death.

From papers folded in pockets full of golf pencils, cool glass hunks of water, and yellow wheels.

From the morning fox; and mild green rain boots with small fissures in place of a tongue, carved out from the constant stress of being a smidge too big, but the same as search & rescue wear.

I am from a dusty textbook full of the ideas of men I’ve never lived like, and a sharp scalpel that makes me shiver with the empiricism of displacement.

From a heart and mind that melt through the self-loving barriers of disciplines.

I’m from Halifax – with no remembrance of cod; brilliant red granite barrens; and trees only thick enough for pulp.

From the boyfriend who was going to take physics, the insectivorous bog, and the autumn I went to Ontario instead.

I am from lakes & stream & ocean & pond, and hot pink answers that say, “Do you mean how many questions I’ve asked, because I don’t think I can count that high.”

From an increasing inability to sit still;
a continuously broken heart;
and the memory of the smell of the woods after a rain.