Over break the Macalester College GeoClub went to Martell, Nebraska outside of Lincoln. Eight students, accompanied by two geology faculty members Ray Rogers and Jeff Thole, went to Robinette Farms. Robinette Farms is owned by two married Macalester Alums, Alex McKiernan and Chloe Diegel. Earlier this year McKiernan was in a car accident that left him with a serious spinal cord injury and unable to work on the farm.

Members of the Macalester GeoClub help Mac alums Alex McKiernan and Chloe Diegel. This year, McKiernan suffered a spinal injury in a car accident that left him unable to work, leaving a backlog of unfinished field preparartion.  Photo courtesy of  Jeff Thole.

Members of the Macalester GeoClub help Mac alums Alex McKiernan and Chloe Diegel. This year, McKiernan suffered a spinal injury in a car accident that left him unable to work, leaving a backlog of unfinished field preparartion.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Thole.

James Lindgren ’15, Vice President of GeoClub, took the initiative to plan this trip, “because two of our alums needed help.”

“The opportunity was presented to me by Ray Rogers, and we ran with it. We went to help Alex and Chloe Diegel on their organic farm with work that had fallen behind,” Lindgren said. “Robinette Farms is one of the largest organic CSA’s in the Lincoln area. But after Alex’s injury, they had to give up all their livestock and draft horses.”

While on the farm, students spent time helping with everyday farm chores that had fallen behind and backlogged field preparations. “Many of our tasks were very miscellaneous, including unloading a trailer of horse-drawn equipment,” Lindgren said.

GeoClub found time to add in a side trip to the nearby Ashfall State Park, which has immaculately preserved fossil beds.

Overall, Lindgren felt his spring break was time well spent.

“The experience was amazingly rewarding. It was great for the GeoClub to get off campus and complete this important service project,” Lindgren said. “We hope this will set a precedent for student groups to interact more with alums.”

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