15 Years of Engaged Learning at Robert H. Treman State Park

By: Eilis M. Monahan, 
Wed, 10/10/2018

CIAMS is proud to congratulate Prof. Sherene Baugher for the 15th year of her long-running exavations at Robert H. Treman State Park, and for her recent receipt of the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching! This Fall, Prof. Baugher is bringing the students of her Fieldwork in Urban Archaeology course (ARKEO 2610, CRP 2610, LA 2610) out to Robert H. Treman State Park each weekend to continue excavation at the historic 19th century hamlet of Enfield Falls. For the second time, Prof. Baugher is also running her Laboratory in Landscape Archaeology (ARKEO 2620, LA 2620) during the same semester, giving students the opportunity to process and study the artifacts that they are excavating on the weekends. “Students [in the lab course] say they learned so much more being in the field” while the artifacts were being excavated and that students in the field were, “more aware of the significance of what they were finding,” says Prof. Baugher.

The village of Enfield Falls, where Prof. Baugher's research has focussed, was already in decline when Robert H. Treman, an early member of the Cornell University Board of Trustees, purchased the land surrounding Enfield Falls during World War I. He and his wife donated the land to the state of New York in 1920, to create what was the Enfield Glen Reservation and it was renamed in Treman’s honor in 1937. The Civilian Conservation Corps, created as part of FDR’s New Deal, is largely responsible for the park’s transformation into a state park from a hamlet with a 19th century resort owned and run by a woman.  The beautiful 1930s stone paths in the gorge replaced the wooded stairs and bridges that were designed in 1853 by Henrietta Wickham but the current trails still follow Wickham’s original plan. Prof. Baugher’s excavations have included the gendered landscape of Mrs. Wickham’s hotel and her home, plus the village store, the post office, the blacksmith’s home, the miller’s home, and the summer home of a Philadelphia industrialist.

Students in Prof. Baugher’s class also participate in the annual Heritage Days at Treman Park, working with the Friends of Robert H. Treman State Park (a non-profit community organization), several members of which are descended from villagers of the original settlement at Enfield Falls. This year Heritage Day is on Saturday October 13 – so come out and see the excavations and explore the park!  The students in Prof. Baugher's courses also present the results of their research to the descendent community and other supporters of the park, and the community members give students valuable feedback and information about the history of the settlement. In honor of this work, which has made Treman State Park a model in New York State Parks for the positive collaboration between a state park and a university, and supporting the continued publication of the excavations and student research, Prof. Baugher has received an Engaged Learning Grant from Cornell University. She also received a SUNY Chancellor’s award for Excellence in Teaching for her innovative work in community service-learning and student engaged research.

Congratulations, Prof. Baugher, and good luck with your season!

Students present research to members of the Friends of Treman community group