2015 Fall Newsletter


Fall 2015


Now, methinks, the autumnal tints are brightest in our streets and in the wood generally…. Stand where half a dozen large elms droop over a house. It is as if you stood within a ripe pumpkin rind, and you feel as mellow as if you were the pulp. 

(Henry David Thoreau, Journal, 6 October 1858)

As we welcome the first hints of fall to Walden Woods — crisp early mornings and the occasional bright red leaf of a swamp maple — the autumn harvest is bustling at The Farm at Walden Woods. For those of you who live locally, we hope you’ll stop by our farm on Route 2 eastbound after Sudbury Road in Concord (open Wednesday through Sunday 11-7) for an abundant variety of organic produce, as well as pumpkins and mums!

This edition of our quarterly newsletter describes some of the programs and activities the Walden Woods Project has undertaken in recent months. As our 25th anniversary year comes to a close, we ask you to consider a tax-deductible

gift to the Walden Woods Project that will help our organization continue its important work in the areas of conservation, education, research and advocacy. Thank you for your support.


Kathi Anderson

Executive Director



On October 27th, the Walden Woods Project will welcome Scot Miller, an award-
winning photographer and ardent conservationist, who will give a multimedia presentation about creating the photographs for his new book Emerson, Muir, Thoreau: A Photographic Trilogy of American Wildness. This is the first book to visually connect the philosophies of Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Muir, and Henry David Thoreau. Scot will emphasize the interconnectedness of these three writers/philosophers/activists, and the role that their intertwined orbits played in America’s environmental coming of age. An elegant marriage of image and thought, American Wildness is a graceful reminder of why we should cherish the nature of America.

Scot Miller’s presentation, which is part of The Concord Festival of Authors, is free of charge and open to the public. It will take place at the Walden Woods Project/Thoreau Institute; 44 Baker Farm Road; Lincoln, MA at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 27th, and will be preceded by a complimentary wine and cheese reception sponsored by The Concord Cheese Shop with Scot at 7:00 p.m. Seating is limited so reservations are encouraged by calling 781-259-4707.

For more information on the Concord Festival of Authors, click here!

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Chideo, the charity network, concluded the ‘History of The Eagles Concert Experience’ in July. Winner Gary Verkinnes and a guest received round-trip airfare, hotel accommodations, VIP tickets to see The Eagles live in concert in Atlantic City, an autographed guitar and a meet & greet with Don Henley! $50,000 was raised for the Walden Woods Project. Thank you to all the participants of the sweepstakes!

To learn more about Chideo, go to https://www.chideo.com/ and select our “ambassador”, Don Henley! We’re very grateful to Gary, to The Eagles and to Chideo!

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Ali Taghdarreh had never left his country of Iran until recently. As the first translator of Walden into Farsi (Persian) it had been his dream to stand on the shores of Walden Pond. This was made a reality in July when, through the efforts of friends, Ali got to see America, and America (or at least a small group of Americans) got to see Ali when he gave a talk here at the Walden Woods Project’s Thoreau Institute.

Photo Credit: Matt Burne

Ali was introduced by the Walden Woods Project founder, Don Henley, who said, “The thoughts and words of Henry David Thoreau have reached across the centuries, across the oceans, across geographic, cultural and political boundaries to bring a remarkable man here to us… Ali believes that our poets are the roads, the bridges, the windows and doors that open our worlds to each other-and that Walden is the revival of many lost values.”

During his talk Ali said: “Each personal disaster is a universal disaster. Each individual victory is a victory for the whole of humanity… I have never reviewed Thoreau’s experience at Walden Pond as the solitary act of a hermit who brushed the world aside in favor of his own solitude.” Ali conveyed the importance of being part of the world’s family and how it was the friendships he made with Americans that sustained him in his decade-long effort to translate Walden into Farsi. The Walden Woods Project was honored that the edition Ali chose to translate was that edited by our Curator of Collections, Jeffrey S. Cramer.

Ali’s talk occurred shortly after the signing of the agreement between the American-European-Chinese-Russian negotiating team and Iran on Iran’s nuclear programs. As James Fallows noted in The Atlantic Monthly: “Although the substance of the talk was purely literary and cultural, the timing gave special resonance to Ali’s emphasis on the appeal he thought this classic American work would have to an Iranian audience.”

This was an exceptional evening for all who got to hear and meet Ali, poet, translator and cultural ambassador. Ali spoke with passion and insight about his personal connections with Thoreau’s writings, his reasons for translating Walden, and the delight of discovering Persian poetry quoted in the works of this 19th century Transcendentalist. Thoreau could not have asked for a better or more sympathetic reader of his words nor, a better translator to bring his words to the other side of the world.

A video of Ali’s talk is available here.

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On August 13th David Gessner returned to the Thoreau Institute. He first spoke here in 2011 about the Charles River. This time he talked about the other side of the country, reading from his latest book, All the Wild that Remains: Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner, and the American West. During his talk David juxtaposed these two iconic Western writers, the monkey-wrenching, wild and rebellious Abbey who didn’t know the meaning of politically-correct and Stegner, who followed a more professional, disciplined and proper life as a writer and teacher. His talk, following the style of his book, was part travelogue, part memoir, part literary history and part biography. Intermingled was the story of David’s own personal and very funny quest to understand these two figures and how they might react to the environmental challenges the West is facing but also to understand, as well, his own role as a writer. David is the award-winning author of Return of the Osprey, My Green Manifesto, and other books. He currently lives and teaches in Wilmington, North Carolina.

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“This program is the future of education.” That was one of the remarks shared by a participant at the conclusion of this year’s “Approaching Walden,”the Walden Woods Project’s six-day intensive professional development seminar for educators, held from July 12-17 at the Thoreau Institute. During the week, 24 extraordinary educators from across the country (we welcomed our farthest traveler ever this year, from Hawaii!) explored the theme of “Sense of Place” through Thoreau’s life, land and literature. As Thoreau lends beautifully to learning across disciplines, we drew teachers from the subjects of English, history, art, library media and IT, biology, environmental sciences, special education and Talented and Gifted.

Organized around a daily theme, each morning began with a session in our Thoreau Institute Library, discussing the day’s readings with our Curator of Collections, Jeffrey Cramer. From there, the days included a combination of excursions through the natural landscapes of Lincoln and Concord, MA. Sessions on natural history and outdoor education were led by Matt Burne, Walden Woods Project’s Director of Conservation (and “Approaching Walden” alumnus!). Thought-provoking workshops were offered by skillful presenters (including Cherrie Corey, local sense of place educator; Janet Burne, retired teacher and “Approaching Walden” alumnus; Brian Donahue; Professor of American Environmental Studies at Brandeis University; and Richard Smith, local historical reenactor). Visits to local educational sites such as the Concord Museum and the Robbins House were a highlight. In a serendipitous confluence of events, this year’s group also had the very special opportunity to hear the talk given by Ali Taghdarreh at the Thoreau Institute on Tuesday, July 13. Ali was introduced by Walden Woods Project’s founder, Don Henley, whose remarks opened with a recognition of the “Approaching Walden” teachers and the important work that all teachers do for our world.

Nobody can describe the power of “Approaching Walden” better than its participants, and one teacher summed it up by saying, “I can’t thank you strongly enough for this experience; thebest professional development of my close to 20-year career!”

We are seeking another group of passionate, thoughtful, engaged educators to join us next year! Applications are currently being accepted for “Approaching Walden” 2016, July 10-15. Go here to get more information or to apply.

More Educational Offerings from the Walden Woods Project:

In partnership with the EDCO Collaborative, we are offering a professional development workshop on Saturday, November 7, entitled “Beyond Walden: Thoreau’s other Writings from the Pond.” We will specifically examine Thoreau’s essays “Civil Disobedience” and “Ktaadn” and his book A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, which were all born out of the two-year, two-month and two-day period during which he took up residence at Walden Pond.

For more information, go here.

In mid-November, we will post the 2015-2016 prompt for our annual “Live Deliberately Essay Contest,” open to youth around the globe ages 13-21. For information on last year’s prompt and to read previous winning essays, go here.

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As the Walden Woods Project celebrates its 25th anniversary year, we thank you for your support and hope you take pride in what we have accomplished together.

We also want to remind you that it’s not too late to make a special 25th anniversary gift to the Walden Woods Project. Please consider donating to our “$25 for 25” campaign by clicking here. We need your help to continue to safeguard the land that inspired the American conservation movement and to foster the next generation of environmental stewards.

While a number of critical goals have been reached since the founding of the Walden Woods Project in 1990, we are energized and optimistic about the important opportunities and urgent challenges that lie ahead:


The Walden Woods Project has protected 170 acres — ten key parcels of land, including an organic farm — but more historic and ecological sites remain vulnerable. We need your support to protect them.


The Walden Woods offers highly acclaimed programs for students and teachers that use Thoreau’s philosophy as a means to encourage natural resource conservation, civic engagement and environmental awareness. We need your support to continue and expand these programmatic offerings.


The Walden Woods Project has become a world-recognized resource for research and general information about the life and legacy of Thoreau. We need your support to keep our library collections current and accessible to people of all ages.


With the 2012 launch of the Walden Woods Project’s Global Environmental Leadership Award and Environmental Challenge Awards, prominent leaders, as well as grassroots organizations and individuals are acknowledged at a prestigious public event for a range of environmental achievements. This prominent award serves to inspire others to seek similar solutions to environmental challenges. Your support will ensure that the work of deserving groups and individuals is profiled and emulated.

All of us at the Walden Woods Project send our best wishes, our thanks and our hope that you will continue your generous support during this special anniversary year.

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The Farm at Walden Woods continues to bustle with energy as we wrap up the Summer and head into the Fall! We are continuing to expand, and this Summer was no exception. We were able to open earlier in the season, at the end of June. It has been wonderful to reconnect with our regular customers and help welcome some newcomers into town! We doubled our plantings and crop yield, allowing us to sell more organic produce out of our farm stand on Route 2 eastbound. Especially notable have been our tomatoes. This season we planted 1,200 tomato plants of 20+ varieties including heirlooms, hybrids, and cherry tomatoes! We continue to harvest summer squash, zucchini, beets, carrots, peppers, and much more. Lastly, in the beginning of the season we purchased a new finger weeder, which has allowed us to more efficiently weed the fields and has provided a bit of a break from hand weeding!

The Citi Spotlight Leadership group at the Farm!


This Summer we welcomed back to the farm the Interfaith Youth Initiative from the Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries and the Citi Performing Arts Center’s Citi Spotlight Leadership Program. We also hosted a first year seminar group from Pine Manor College. All participants spent a morning helping us in the fields, learning about organic farming and its relation to Thoreau and his philosophy. We deeply appreciate the support of these hard-working volunteers!




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The Walden Woods Project is a nonprofit organization committed to preserving the land, literature, and legacy of Henry David Thoreau through conservation, education, research and advocacy. Founded by recording artist Don Henley, the Project uses the land it has protected in Walden Woods to foster an ethic of environmental stewardship and social responsibility, both cornerstones of Thoreau’s philosophy.

The Walden Woods Project is headquartered in Lincoln, MA, in the heart of Walden Woods:

The Walden Woods Project

44 Baker Farm

Lincoln, MA 01773

We invite you to contact the Walden Woods Project at (781) 259-4700 or send us an e-mail using our Contact form.

Please consider donating or becoming a member!


The Walden Woods Project