Rebecca Stickney

Rebecca Stickney, alumna and trustee of Bennington College died on August 21, 2008. I met Rebecca Stickney when she stopped me near the bridge where the water leaves the pond. From that point on the path we could see birdhouses she maintained and the observatory in her name. She pointed out towards the middle of the pond and told me a boatload about a bird at its center. She told me that citings of the bird were rare in the region and that I was lucky to have seen it. I don’t remember much about the bird or even the name of the species. I was overwhelmed by her enthusiasm regarding the bird.

Much more controversial than any symposium, she is often cited as the woman who literally “cleared the way” for the Frankenthaler Garden by removing much of the overgrown garden that Bennington loved. The garden, originally part of the Jennings estate, popularly known as “the Secret Garden,” and namesake of the Secret Garden Panini, will soon become an outdoor performance space.

No doubt the college will miss her bird-chatter. Her impact on the community will long outlive any memory of the species she spoke of. You may read Bennington’s news release here.


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