Stewardship Lectures

The Walden Woods Project sponsors the Stewardship Lecture Series to celebrate innovation and creativity in environmental stewardship and to highlight the work of those who are promoting the values and ideas embodied by Thoreau. The Lecture Series features talks, panel discussions or media presentations featuring individuals at the cutting edge of a renewed environmental and social justice movement.  Programs are all free and open to the public, unless specified.

2020-21 Recorded Virtual Events:

Earth Day Lecture with Dahr Jamail: CLICK HERE

Thoreau Q&A with Jeffrey S. Cramer: CLICK HERE

Jeffrey S. Cramer Solid Seasons reading: CLICK HERE

TEDxTheWaldenWoodsProject part 1 with Bill McKibben: CLICK HERE

TEDxTheWaldenWoodsProject part 2: view our selected presentations from Al Gore, HRH Prince William, Amanda Gorman, and more: CLICK HERE.

David Gessner Stewardship Lecture: CLICK HERE. 

Writing Toward Resilience Lyceum: CLICK HERE.

Nathaniel Popkin and Gail Straub: TO REACH THE SPRING: CLICK HERE. 

Thoreau and the Miracle of Poetry: CLICK HERE. 

Earth Day: Ruth Mendelson and The Water Tree Way: CLICK HERE. 

Upcoming Stewardship Lectures

Saturday, September 25, 2021 11:00am-12:30pm 

Where: The Walden Pond State Reservation  


WPSR Parking fees: $8 MA resident; $30 non-MA resident

About the event: 

In 1845 Henry David Thoreau moved to Walden Pond to begin his two-year experiment in simple living in a small, one-room house that he built himself. Thoreau also planted and maintained a garden of “two acres and a half of light and sandy soil” in which he grew beans. Thoreau left the Pond in 1847 and died in 1862; throughout the 19th and into the 20th Century, the exact location of his beanfield was either forgotten by local historians or the site was misidentified.  It wasn’t until the 1990s that historian Bradley Dean identified the exact location of the beanfield.  

Join The Walden Woods Project ( The Friends of Walden Pond) for an interpretive walk to the beanfield with historian Richard Smith and biologist Dr. Amity Wilczek. The first half of the walk will cover Thoreau’s experiences at the field and the history of the beanfield both during and after Thoreau’s time. The second half will cover the biological and botanical history of the beanfield; how it looked when Thoreau was there and how it’s changed since then, including the plants that Thoreau would and would not be familiar with, including invasives. 

About the guides: 

Richard Smith has lectured on and written about antebellum United States and 19th-Century American history and literature since 1995. He has worked as a public historian in Concord, Massachusetts for 22 years, specializing in Henry David Thoreau, the Transcendentalists, the Anti-Slavery movement and the Civil War. As a Living History Interpreter, he has portrayed Henry Thoreau at Walden Pond and around the country since 1999. In addition, Richard has been a tour guide for the Concord Tour Company for ten years. He has written six books, including two about Henry Thoreau, for Applewood Books.


Dr. Amity Wilczek is an evolutionary ecologist whose role as an educator and researcher has been shaped by attention to place, history, and student experience. Her teaching career started at Harvard and Brown before transitioning to Deep Springs College, where over 10 years she served as Herbert Reich Chair of Natural Sciences, Academic Dean, and Vice President. Her work on plant responses to changing environments has appeared in Science, PNAS, Ecology, American Naturalist, and Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.  Amity currently lives in Concord, Massachusetts and serves as trail steward of the Emerson-Thoreau Amble for the town.

A Virtual Lyceum: The Art of Perception

Thursday, October 21, 2021
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Event Details & Registration

Brought to you by: The WWP, The Dial, and The Concord Festival of Authors 

About the event: Perception connects us with our immediate environment, and yet perception is anything but immediate. We learn to perceive, and what we ordinarily perceive is conditioned by what we have learned to pay attention to. Our powers of perception must be cultivated.  During this Lyceum, joined by scholars and artists in various mediums, we will discuss the connection between perception, the natural world, art, and society. Henry David Thoreau’s writing is filled with sense observations and perceptions of the natural world and philosophical perceptions of society. How can the natural world awaken our powers of observation? How can our social lives? Art forms? Why is close observation of all important? 


Caroline Randall Williams is a multi-genre writer, educator, performance artist in Nashville Tennessee, where she is a Writer-in-Residence at Vanderbilt University. She is co-author of the NAACP Image Award-winning cookbook Soul Food Love. Her debut collection of poetry, Lucy Negro, Redux has been turned into a ballet by the Nashville Ballet — Caroline performed her poetry as an integral member of the cast, all set to an original score by multiple time grammy nominee Rhiannon Giddens. Named by Southern Living as “One of the 50 People changing the South,” the Cave Canem fellow has been published and featured in multiple journals, essay collections and news outlets, including The Iowa Review, The Massachusetts ReviewCherryBombe, Garden and GunEssence and the New York Times. Most recently, she was ranked by The Root as one of the 100 most influential African Americans of 2020. 


Jeffrey S. Cramer is The WWP Curator of Collections and resident Thoreau scholar.  Jeff’s works include I to Myself: An Annotated Selection from the Journal of Henry D. Thoreau, The Portable Thoreau, Solid Seasons; The Friendship of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, among others. He is a winner of a National Outdoor Book Award and a co-winner of the Boston Authors Club’s Julia Ward Howe Special Award. 



Justin AtwellDr. Justin Atwell currently works as an Instructor in the Program for Writing and Rhetoric at the University of Colorado-Boulder where he teaches various courses including Writing on Science & Society and Technical Communication & Design. He holds a Master of Arts in Literature from Iowa State University and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture from North Dakota State University. Because of these and other work and life experiences, his research interests are varied, including the rhetoric of science and medicine; working class rhetorics; and, whenever possible, hip-hop music. This last interest, combined with a longstanding love of Henry David Thoreau’s philosophy, led Dr. Atwell, early on in his academic career, to write his Master’s Thesis, “The Transcendentalist Hip-Hop Movement,” which explores various philosophical legacies of the 19th-century Transcendentalists through 20th and 21st-century hip-hop music. 


Garrett Allen (moderator) is a writer and teacher living in Los Angeles. He was a philosophy and Greek instructor at the University of Chicago, where he earned a master’s degree. He writes a weekly newsletter of short essays called Footnotes. He is primarily interested in everyday philosophy; in this vein he draws inspiration from ancient Greek philosophy, American transcendentalists and American pragmatists.



Join us via zoom Thursday, October 21, 2021 7:00-8:15pm EST.




About the event:

The world is never done catching up with Henry David Thoreau. A prophet of environmentalism and vegetarianism, an abolitionist, and a critic of materialism and technology, Thoreau even seems to have anticipated a world of social distancing in his famous experiment at Walden Pond. In Now Comes Good Sailing (Princeton University Press), twenty-seven of today’s leading writers offer wide-ranging original pieces exploring how Thoreau has influenced and inspired them—and why he matters more than ever in an age of climate, racial, and technological reckoning. Join The Walden Woods Project, contributors, and the editor for a lively discussion about the collection, their individual essays, and how Thoreau continues to move, challenge, and provoke readers today. 


Andrew Blauner is a literary agent and the editor of seven previous anthologies, including Coach: 25 Writers Reflect on People Who Made a DifferenceThe Peanuts Papers: Writers and Cartoonists on Charlie Brown, Snoopy & the Gang, and the Meaning of Life, and In Their Lives: Great Writers on Great Beatles Songs. 



 Zoë Pollak is a doctoral candidate in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Her writing has appeared in AGNI and Women’s Studies, and is forthcoming in the Hopkins Review and Sonnets from the American: An Anthology of Poems and Essays.



Michelle Nijhuis is a project editor for the Atlantic and a longtime contributing editor for High Country News, is the author of Beloved Beasts: Fighting for Life in an Age of Extinction. After fifteen years off the electrical grid in rural Colorado, she and her family now live in southwestern Washington.



Jeffrey S. Cramer (moderator) is The WWP Curator of Collections and resident Thoreau scholar.  Jeff’s works includeI to Myself: An Annotated Selection from the Journal of Henry D. Thoreau, The Portable Thoreau, Solid Seasons; The Friendship of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson,among others. He is a winner of a National Outdoor Book Award and a co-winner of the Boston Authors Club’s Julia Ward Howe Special Award. 



Join us via Zoom Tuesday, November 16, 2021 7:00-8:00pm EST.





View videos of previous Stewardship Lectures:

Lincoln (MA) Public Television frequently records our in-person Stewardship Lectures and makes them available to the public. Please visit their site to see a selection of some of our past Lectures (select “Walden Woods” in the menu on the left side of the page). Refer to the top of this page for 2020 virtual recordings.