by Andrew Graham
When I first got to school, we were introduced to our Residential Advisors. Mine, a genuinely caring man from Pakistan that we called Subbhan by request, had sparked multiple conversations with me about the Durfee Conservatory during the first week I was at school. I’m not sure if it was the fact that I was from the farmlands or that I had a guitar, record player, and original Polaroid camera by my bed, but I seemed to give him the vibe that a massive greenhouse in the middle of campus would interest me.
And it did.
I visited whenever I could, though it only dawned on me within the last week before spring break to bring my Canon and shoot away. There are four main sections at the greenhouse: a cactus room, a fern/hanging plant room, a small tree room, and the main section with 30 foot bamboo trees and a koi pond accompanied by benches for the ‘earthy-crunchy’ students to use when reading their novels.
When I brought out my camera, between moments of wiping the lens off from condensation in the 90 degree greenhouse, I tried out a few macro filters. Each photo was taken with a 10x filter on top of a 18-35 mm canon lens on my t3i.
The best part about the place is the unique history. Just like the rest of the school, it has been around since the 1860s. In the main tree room, there is a cherry tree that is from the original collection, its offspring passed down through generations for 150 years. The conservation of life is something the University, originally Massachusetts Agricultural College, has taken very seriously. Now, in 2018, the quiet conservatory lives across from one of the oldest houses in Massachusetts and exists to represent how life can be preserved just so we can appreciate it.