2016 Fall Newsletter


Fall 2016

“I am struck by the simplicity of light in the atmosphere in the autumn, as if the earth absorbed none, and out of this profusion of dazzling light came the autumnal tints.”

‐Henry David Thoreau

Dear Friends of The Walden Woods Project,

While we savor the final days of autumn foliage here in Walden Woods, we hope you will enjoy reading our fall newsletter.

For those of you who have been such great friends and enduring donors through the years, we are profoundly grateful for your generosity. Our mission‐driven accomplishments would not have been possible without you – and we hope you will continue to support The Walden Woods Project with a charitable gift between now and the end of the year.

For those who have not yet made a tax‐ deductible contribution to The Walden Woods Project, we encourage you to take a few minutes and browse through our newsletter. It will give you a sense of the compelling nature of our work, our achievements, and the challenges that lie ahead – along with exciting opportunities we can take advantage of with your support.

We are particularly energized by our new partnership with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts involving the Walden Pond Visitor Center that opened in September. By the time we celebrate the Bicentennial of Thoreau’s birth in 2017, the Visitor Center will house state‐of‐the‐art interpretive and educational experiences for the half million people who visit Walden Pond each year. (See the following article for further details.)

With appreciation and warmest wishes,

Kathi Anderson

Executive Director


Join our Mailing List!

The Walden Woods Project preserves the land, literature and legacy of Henry David Thoreau to foster an ethic of environmental stewardship and social responsibility. Join our mailing list and get all the latest information, as well as invitations to our important events.

Photo By Scot Miller


The new Walden Pond State Reservation visitor center

On Wednesday, September 27th, the first, state‐of‐the‐art Visitor Center opened at Walden Pond State Reservation (WPSR). Thus began an exciting new chapter for the 500,000 people who visit Walden each year, including hundreds of school groups and over 125,000 international visitors.

The Visitor Center will house new interpretive services, educational programs and opportunities for visitors to reflect on some of the most compelling issues of our time, framed by Thoreau’s writings and philosophy.

As a result of the environmentally sustainable features of the new building, a Gold certification by the US Green Building Council LEED program will be sought. This certification requires a building to meet or exceed specific environmental benchmarks for design, construction, operation and maintenance.

The opening ceremony was attended by Walden Woods Project founder and President, Don Henley, who stressed the global significance of Thoreau’s land and literature and the need to protect endangered places around the world:

Walden, the book, and Walden, the place, offer a reflection upon simple living in the natural world and the essential communion between humankind and the environment. Together, the pond and the woods were the wellspring of the universal truths that Thoreau asserted. This pond and these woods have become a global symbol for historic and environmentally significant landscapes and the need to protect them. Thoreau’s writings ‐‐ his ideas and his life, here in this place, are inextricably linked. That is why the book is important. That is why the place is important.”

State Sen. Mike Barrett, DCAMM Commissioner Carol Gladstone, Don Henley, State Rep. Cory Atkins and DCR Commissioner Leo Roy at the new Visitor Center opening ceremony.

Also at the opening ceremony, an innovative partnership was launched between The Walden Woods Project and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), which oversees the WPSR as part of the state parks system. The WWP was recently designated by DCR as the official “Friends of Walden Pond” group. This public/private partnership will involve four key objectives:

  1. Visitors will be introduced to the meaning of Thoreau’s life and legacy through a variety of informative and engaging exhibits. The Walden Woods Project is proud to be contributing an interactive exhibit entitled “Where’s Your Walden?”. It will invite visitors to identify their own special places; their own “Waldens” and to consider ways to protect them.
  2. The interest and imagination of a new generation will be captured by encouraging youth to engage in the compelling environmental and social reform challenges of our time. With that in mind, The Walden Woods Project is funding an inspiring film for the Visitor Center, with Ken Burns as executive producer.
  3. A strong and effective advocacy base will be built to care for the pond and to preserve Walden Woods. The Walden Woods Project has protected nearly 170 acres outside the park boundary, but unprotected land abutting WPSR remains vulnerable to development and must be permanently conserved to safeguard Walden’s historic and ecological integrity.
  4. In partnership with DCR, WWP will create a model of public/private financial support to help care for Walden Pond and to enhance the visitor experience.

The Walden Woods Project looks forward enthusiastically to its leadership role as the official “Friends of Walden Pond” group. We hope you will join us as we seek to take full advantage of this exciting opportunity. To make a tax‐deductible donation, go to: https://www.walden.org/support‐friends of‐walden‐pond/

Thank you in advance for your support.

Back To Top…


We recently completed a new recreational trail on our Bear Garden Hill/Boiling Spring property in Concord. The short loop trail brings visitors to a section of this 42‐acre site, that has largely been unexplored by the public. Bear Garden Hill is the first land The Walden Woods Project protected.

It is a very popular destination for walking and running during much of the year, and for snow shoeing and cross‐country skiing in the winter. On‐site parking abuts an extensive trail network on Fairhaven Hill and the Wright Woods in Concord and Lincoln.The trail loop will enable visitors to further explore the property, and provides easy access to the Farm at Walden Woods, for those in need of a quick snack of healthy, organic produce and local fruits and cheeses during the farm stand’s open season (June – October).

Find more information and a trail map at walden.org.

Back To Top…


The Walden Woods Project is excited to announce the Thoreau Bicentennial Statewide Read in celebration of the 200th birthday of the great American writer and philosopher Henry David Thoreau. With our partners ‐‐ The University of Massachusetts Lowell Honors College, Massachusetts Center for the Book, and Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area –‐ we are encouraging every town or city in Massachusetts to participate by coordinating at least one public event in 2017 that brings community members together to read a work by Thoreau. Each town can choose when to schedule their event in 2017; how they want to implement it (book group, public reading, surrounded by a day of activities, etc.); and which Thoreau piece they will read. For libraries and schools that may need assistance, students from the UMass Lowell Honors College will be trained to facilitate discussions and activities. If you need help from a student volunteer, contact us and we will arrange to have one of them get in touch with you to coordinate. We have created a Thoreau Bicentennial Statewide Read Toolkit, which offers access to a wide range of information for those who are planning or participating in the statewide read.. “Books are the treasured wealth of the world,” Thoreau wrote.

Please join us in 2017 as we explore together the wealth of Thoreau’s words.

Back To Top…


The Walden Woods Project is very pleased to announce a completely revised and updated website at www.walden.org.

It continues to feature exclusive content by and about Henry David Thoreau, as well as information about Walden Pond and its surrounding lands, our education programs, and The Farm at Walden Woods. The site is easier to navigate and has improved functionality on mobile devices.

An added feature is The Thoreau Log: A digital documentary of the life of Henry David Thoreau. The log will grow as we fill in details about Thoreau’s life.

Our collection of text, images and other media will be digitized and shared in the Special Collections and the Multimedia Collections.

Learn more about our full range of educational programs for students, educators and the general public here.

To learn more about the latest news at The Walden Woods Project, including announcements of new website content and features, subscribe to our mailing list.

Back To Top…


On Monday, September 12, The Walden Woods Project was honored to welcome Terry Tempest Williams as a featured speaker for one of our Stewardship Lectures. She discussed her new book, The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks. Williams used a powerful combination of personal anecdote, inspirational prose and relevant research to introduce us to the twelve National Parks featured in her book and to stress the importance of these wild places.

On Thursday, October 27, Laura Dassow Walls, another highly‐acclaimed author and scholar, joined us for a Stewardship Lecture as part of the 2016 Concord Festival of Authors. Walls talked about her forthcoming Thoreau biography, Henry David Thoreau: A Life, which will be released on July 12, 2017‐ Thoreau’s 200th birthday. Walls gave the full crowd—a mix of Thoreau scholars and novices—a colorful taste of what’s to come in the book, seamlessly intermingling her insights on Thoreau with his own words.

Back To Top…


From July 3‐7, 2016, Jeffrey Cramer, the WWP’s Curator of Collections, and Whitney Retallic, Director of Education, were doing something they often do—talking with students about Thoreau. But these particular students were nowhere near Walden Woods—they were in Northern Ireland. Cramer and Retallic were asked to join the teaching team to launch a year‐long course for a dozen students at the University of Ulster, Coleraine. Dr. Willa Murphy, Lecturer within the University’s School of English and History (originally from North Andover, MA) coordinated the course, having secured a grant from the University that supported the week‐long seminar and will also fund the creation of one to three Walden‐inspired spaces on campus that the students will design.

Dr. Murphy said of the project, “The idea is to bring students from Catholic and Protestant backgrounds to read Walden together and explore ways of bringing its ideas to life on the campus. For most of them, arriving at university is their first opportunity to socialize with members of the other community. The Walden project will ask them to work together to design a learning space in the underused natural landscape of the campus.”

As the course continues to run throughout this year, we look forward to hearing about the space(s) they design to get their peers thinking about Thoreau’s messages and engaging with nature on their campus.

Back To Top…


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. We are located in the heart of Walden Woods.

The Walden Woods Project

44 Baker Farm

Lincoln, MA 01773

We invite you to contact us at (781) 259‐4700 or send us an e‐mail using our Contact form. Please consider supporting our mission. Thank you.

The Walden Woods Project