Professional Development Workshops

The Walden Woods Project offers a wide variety of one-day workshops for educators, conservation professionals and the general public.  Below, you will find a description of each of the workshops we offer regularly and upcoming dates, if applicable.

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Vernal Pools Workshop for Educators and Conservation Professionals (held in late spring/early summer)

Educators will learn about vernal pool natural history and ecology, identification of common animals found in vernal pools, field and classroom activities, Vernal Pools 1271 Massachusetts Vernal Pool and Rare Species on-line reporting and more.Attendees receive extensive resources for bringing vernal pools into the classroom and developing curriculum units that incorporate vernal pool study into a wide variety of subject areas including: A Field Guide to the Animals of Vernal Pools, posters of vernal pool species, wall map of school and surrounding landscapes with vernal pools, PowerPoint presentations and extensive image resources.

Conservation professionals will cover topics such as the ecology and value of vernal pools; the art and science of identification, delineation, and protection; regulatory frameworks for protecting vernal pools in Massachusetts; the Vernal Pool and Rare Species Reporting System and more.


Beyond Walden: Thoreau’s Other Writings from the Pond

Spend one day of the April break exploring Thoreau’s time at Walden Pond by looking at texts—other than Walden—that emerged from that two-year, two-month, and two-day period of his life. While Walden makes it onto numerous high school reading lists, teachers often talk about the challenges of teaching such a multi-layered, commanding text to teens. In this workshop, staff from The Walden Woods Project will introduce you to Thoreau and his time at Walden Pond through other texts that were born from experiences he had between July 4, 1845 and September 6, 1847, focusing on the essays “Civil Disobedience” and “Ktaadn,” as well as excerpts from the book A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (the writing of which was his main purpose for going to live at Walden).  Those who are not educators, per se, but are interested in the topic are very welcome to join us! Note that “Beyond Walden” will probably not be offered again until 2018.


Sense of Place Workshops with the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum

Since 2014, we have offered an annual one-day workshop in partnership with the deCordova, titled, “Sense of Place: An Interdisciplinary Exploration through Art, Literature, History and Science.”  This workshop is always an energizing day of art, nature, and local history complemented by online sessions exploring “sense of place” applications for the classroom with educator directors from deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum and The Walden Woods Project. Participants engage with at least one site within the Walden Woods (Walden Pond or “Thoreau’s Path on Brister’s Hill,” for example) and either the current exhibition at the deCordova or the outdoor sculpture park.  Henry David Thoreau and the featured artists act as our models for critical observation of and connecting deeply to both nature and society. The excursions and discussions offer place-based, interdisciplinary access points for these sites – and also ideas for how to engage with the sites that surround your own school or neighborhood.