Ralph Lutts taught at Goddard for 20 years and was instrumental to the Undergraduate program, the Goddard Graduate Institute (serving as one of the key faculty in forming this institute), and to many environmental studies initiatives, college service projects, and more. Here is a poem Goddard Graduate Institute Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg wrote for Ralph to honor him:
The Place That Knows You
In the woods, the trails you helped recover know you.
The trees too, green to green, stripped bare or heavy
with blossom as well as the slow moss that cushions
your familiar steps and patterns of exploring. Layers
of shadow on shadow trace your shape. The light in
between, crowded with fliers and fallers, edges your
stories. The air welcomes you back, and the graveled roads.
The memories in the walls — the Cottage, the Manor,
the Community Building — heard about how Rachel Carson
lit the lantern for us, the trails of the old witch trials,
small towns in the Blue Ridge that made and shops
and gatherings out of the bones of history. The cafeteria
recalls what you said about bacon, being multi-placial
and human scales of home. Dewey dorm carries your tales
of why the mail carrier won’t chance your driveway,
and how you became the world’s expert on Bambi.
The students who threaded the library rows or followed
what you taught in the Clockhouse are better for
being with you. The faculty and staff, the Bohemian
Waxwings in one particular February tree, the snowstorms
that cycled through, the surprising thaws altogether compose
this grateful place that knows you, that will always know you.