Isaac Newcomb ’23 spent his spring break on a Massachusetts island, dismantling hundreds of discarded lobster traps, collecting sounds of the island and deepening his understanding of human impacts on marine life.
“I gained a visceral understanding of the waste that lingers in the ocean, found a community determined to enact change and captured an indescribable feeling through the sounds of the island,” said Newcomb, a mechanical engineering major in Cornell Engineering. “Now I’m ready to dissect and organize those elements, much like we sorted through lobster traps and trash, to create a song that never would’ve existed without this trip.”
Newcomb and 13 other students were part of the Music on the Brain Field Study class, led by Annie Lewandowski, a senior lecturer in music in the College of Arts and Sciences. They trekked to Cuttyhunk Island to join a group of conservationists, artists and island residents to clean up traps and other fishing gear that had been abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded – known as “ghost gear” – and washed up on the island’s shores. The project was funded in part by the Einhorn Center Engaged Opportunity Grant.