For Thanksgiving break I traveled from UVM to my hometown of Poughkeepsie, New York to celebrate with my family. Since being at UVM my view of sense of place has changed quite a lot. Before I believed that sense of place was just about the memories created at that place. Now I understand the importance of keeping in mind the history of the land, the memories I created there, the economy of the area, and the interactions with the land. My hometown has always had a special place in my heart, but over break I really dug deep into the history and economic status of my area. My house is located in the suburbs of Poughkeepsie on a quaint street with many tall pine trees and oak trees. The neighborhood my house is in means a lot to me since this is the place where I grew up and created many memories here such as having snowball fights with my neighbors during this time of year. However, I consider myself fortunate to live in a beautiful house in the suburbs. Many of the people in my community are not as lucky as me. The City of Poughkeepsie itself is a rough area. Many of the people live in homes that look rundown and experience tough financial situations. The economy took a plunge in 2008 because of the housing crisis, also one of the largest companies in the area, IBM, began laying off employees causing many to lose jobs. Despite the situation with the economy in the past, during break I saw many new businesses being created as well as new apartments being built. I have hope that as the city begins to rebuild, more people will spend time enjoying the beauty the town has to offer.
Despite the rundown look of the Town of Poughkeepsie, the Hudson River is the hidden gem. The river is the focal point of the town and is where most people spend their time. Personally, I spent a lot of my time down on the rocks that sit along the Hudson at Bowdoin Park. When I returned for break I visited this spot and realized the importance of the history of my area. I realized that this spot has changed quite a bit. All of the trees have lost their leaves and there was snow on the ground. There was a lot of evidence of human activity, the area was covered with plastic garbage which was extremely upsetting to me. Most people do not consider the history of Poughkeepsie and appreciate the land itself. Native American tribes such as the Mahicans and Lenapes settled along the banks of the Hudson River. They utilized the river for trade and as a source of food. You can find evidence of these tribes through the rocks along the hudson. Small rocks were used to make arrowheads and many had been left behind on the shores. Since coming to UVM I realized the people of my area do not respect the land and understand the importance of it. I want to bring the things I’ve learned from UVM to my hometown to teach the public about the importance of taking care of our area.