Former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass '63 attributed his appreciation for nature to studying in SMC's Integral Program during a reading at Austin Peay State University in Tennessee that was reported in an article in The Leaf-Chronicle.

Hass was quoted as saying he realized the "richness and complexity of the physical world" while peering through binoculars during a biology course at a huge bird plunging into the lake near Saint Mary's to catch a fish.

"Having in my hand a book so that I could find the name of the bird, and then teaching myself more about the names and the habits of birds I'd been seeing all my life, was a revelation to me," said Hass, who now serves as an advocate for the protection of natural resources in addition to writing and teaching.

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