2016 Summer Newsletter


Summer 2016


On June 2nd, The Walden Woods Project welcomed an enthusiastic group of curious 4-year-olds from Cambridge-Ellis School, for a Thoreau-inspired morning of exploration in the woods. With their arrival, we exceeded our 1,000-student mark for 2016. Steady growth in attendance has been a hallmark of our educational initiatives.

We attribute this trend to the quality of our programmatic offerings coupled with mounting interest in Thoreau’s relevance to global environmental challenges and human rights issues. We have an exceptional opportunity at hand to engage more students and teachers in some of the major issues of our time through the lens of Thoreau’s writings.

We are also delighted to share exciting news concerning the new Visitor Center at Walden Pond State Reservation that will open later this year. The Walden Woods Project has entered into a formal partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), which oversees the Walden Pond State Reservation. Under the terms of the agreement (described in more detail below) our organization will collaborate with DCR on interpretation, exhibits, programs and fundraising to provide 600,000 visitors a year with new opportunities to learn about the historic, cultural and ecological features of Walden and the worldwide significance of Thoreau’s life and legacy.

Your continued support is needed now more than ever as we seek to take full advantage of these exciting prospects.

With best wishes for an enjoyable summer,

Kathi Anderson

Executive Director


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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 Danny Clinch

The Walden Woods Project is excited to announce its partnership with Charitybuzz, the online platform offering extraordinary experiences to benefit remarkable charities making an impact. By going to the Charitybuzz site and submitting a bid, you may win two premium tickets to an upcoming Don Henley concert of your choice and an opportunity to meet Don backstage – plus, you will be supporting The Walden Woods Project!!

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“A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature,” wrote Henry David Thoreau in Walden. Walden Pond was a place of beauty, introspection and inspiration for Thoreau and it has continued to be so for countless visitors through the years.

Located in the heart of the 2,680-acre Walden Woods outside Boston, MA, Walden Pond is a National Historic Landmark and an international icon — the birthplace of the American conservation movement. The pond and the woods that surround it were the motivation for much of Thoreau’s scientific studies and writings about the natural world, including his literary masterpiece Walden. During the two years, two months and two days Thoreau lived in his small house at Walden he famously spent a night in jail as a protest against slavery. His essay “Civil Disobedience” evolved from this experience and has influenced acts of nonviolent protest and passive resistance around the globe.

Rendering by Maryann Thompson Architects

This coming fall, with the opening of a sustainably-constructed Visitor Center (LEED Silver-Certified Net Zero Building), a new chapter will begin for the Walden Pond State Reservation (WPSR) and for the 600,000 people who visit annually from around the world. The Visitor Center, modest in size as befits Thoreau’s Walden, will be profound in impact. To augment the visitors’ outdoor experience of WPSR, interpretive exhibits in the Visitor Center will offer an introduction to the historic, ecological and cultural history of Thoreau’s Walden and will inspire visitors to walk in Thoreau’s footsteps by becoming more informed and engaged in some of the key issues of our time. An interactive experience called “Where’s Your Walden?” will invite visitors of all ages to identify and share special places in their lives – their “Waldens”- that connect each of them to the planet and to each other.

An exciting new chapter will also begin for The Walden Woods Project (WWP) as our organization partners with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), which manages the WPSR as part of the Massachusetts Forests and Parks system. The WWP has been designated by DCR as the official “Friends of Walden Pond” group. In this context, WWP has entered into a formal collaboration with DCR involving the development of interpretive exhibits, educational programs, artifact displays and other key initiatives associated with the new Visitor Center and with WPSR as a whole. The fundraising component of this public/private partnership will leverage over $7 million in state funds with private funds raised by the WWP to help cover costs of interpretation and programming, universal access to Walden Pond in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and essential environmental restoration and stabilization projects.

“For years, Walden Pond State Reservation has long been a source of inspiration for millions of men, women, and children, who have fostered a deep love for our natural world,” said DCR Commissioner Leo Roy. “The new Visitor Center will build on that inspiration by blending state of the art technology seamlessly with the surrounding environment. I am proud of the great work by all involved, including The Walden Woods Project. I believe Henry David Thoreau would be proud, too.”

Rendering by Maryann Thompson Architects

Kathi Anderson, Executive Director of The Walden Woods Project, said, “We are energized by this partnership opportunity with DCR. As a result of this innovative collaboration, Walden Pond visitors from near and far (including school groups) will have new opportunities to learn about the life and legacy of Thoreau and how his writings guide us in addressing the environmental and social reform challenges of our time. While the WWP will continue to advance its core mission to preserve Walden Woods and to foster a new generation of environmental stewards through educational initiatives, we are eager to work with DCR in engaging an even broader audience in preserving Walden for future generations and in keeping Thoreau’s legacy alive.”

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“Who shall say what prospect life offers to another? Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?” This is the Henry David Thoreau quotation, from Walden, that youth from around the world were invited to reflect on in this year’s Live Deliberately Essay Contest, by sharing a time when they have either witnessed or experienced the type of miracle Thoreau describes. For the first time in the Contest’s history, participants had the opportunity to submit their response in the form of a traditional essay OR with a visual essay, comprised of an original visual image (photograph, painting or other) and an accompanying statement. We received about 300 entries in total, and this year’s winners reflect the truly global nature of this contest, with youth from India, Nigeria and places in the United States that span from California to Maine.

Each essay was reviewed by at least two reviewers, from a group of volunteers including educators at both the high school and college levels, published authors, a journalist, an art educator and a former textbook publisher. Please visit our Essay Contest page here to see the winning submissions! We thank all contestants – and the educators or family members who, in many cases, urged them to submit – for sharing with us how Thoreau’s legacy is alive in their lives and in the world.

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Since 1997, educators have gathered at The Walden Woods Project’s Thoreau Institute in Lincoln, MA on or around Thoreau’s birthday each July. They come to Walden Woods for instruction and inspiration that help them teach about Thoreau, transcendentalism, sense of place, environmental and social responsibility and a number of other topics that emerge from the life and work of Henry David Thoreau. The program consistently receives rave reviews from participants and, for the past couple of years, applications to participate in Approaching Walden (the current iteration of our summer professional development program for educators, offered as such since 2001) have steadily risen. This year, we received stellar applications from more than twice as many educators as we have traditionally had spaces in the program. In an effort to make the impactful experience available to as many eager, engaged educators as possible, we were extremely fortunate that we found a donor who stepped up to support enough spaces this year to expand the program by 50%–from 24 to 36!

Joining us from July 10-15, this year’s participants will hail from 15 states and teach disciplines that range from English and history to biology and photography. As a result of the place-based six-day seminar, participants will use the knowledge and experience gained to develop a curriculum unit.

We are currently accepting applications for our 2017 program and it should be a remarkable year to participate, as there will be a wide range of local events offered throughout the summer to commemorate Thoreau’s bicentennial. If you are – or know – an educator who would benefit from attending Approaching Walden, please find more information here.

Speaking to the continued interest from and engagement by our Approaching Walden alumni, we will also hold Approaching Walden Part 2 in August. While here, educators will share both successes and challenges in implementing the curricula that grew out of their previous experience at Approaching Walden, dig more deeply into topics related to Thoreau, and reclaim the inspiration that comes from being in Walden Woods.

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Over the last several years, The Walden Woods Project has benefited from a great relationship with the Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School. Graduating Seniors are encouraged to participate in a Service Day, organized by Susan Frommer, on which they volunteer their time to give back to the community, working with a wide variety of local charities and organizations on a range of different projects.

This year, The Walden Woods Project had two groups of students, more than 25 in all, working on the Farm at Walden Woods and helping to clear the path of a new walking trail that we are building on Bear Garden Hill. The students arrived ready to work, and helped us accomplish some big tasks.


The group of students working on the Farm planted several rows of vegetables that had been started in our green house and were ready for transplanting, as well as taking care of some weeding that seems to always need to be done. Our trail crew was working to pull the invasive shrub, Glossy Buckthorn, from the route of our new trail on the Bear Garden Hill and Boiling Spring properties that border the Farm.


Both groups put forth significant effort and were a pleasure for staff to work with. They accomplished a lot of work in a short time, and we’re once again impressed by their commitment and enthusiasm in giving back to the community.

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“When I witness the first plowing and planting, I acquire a long-lost confidence in the earth,- that it will nourish the seed that is committed to its bosom.” – Thoreau

Written March 28, 1857, in his Journal, vol. IX, p. 310

After a long spring, summer has finally come around the corner in Walden Woods. The Farm at Walden Woods opened for its ninth season this weekend. We loved seeing lots of familiar faces and many new!

This Spring filled The Farm at Walden Woods with new life. The fields have become a haven for sparrows and killdeers to stow their nests. We have been cautious to work around fragile eggs and baby chicks while busily planting and preparing for the season. This Spring was the first we were able to use our green house as a season extension. This allowed us to jump start our tomato crop and we are excited to be able to offer a wide variety of fresh heirloom, cherry, and hybrid tomatoes for sale within the month! We also tried our hand at pac choy, kohlrabi, sweet corn and parsnips for the first time this year. Stop by the farm stand to try them out!


We are continuing to grow organic beets, carrots, summer squash, zucchini, cucumbers, onions, leeks, garlic, peppers, eggplant, peas, kale, chard, lettuce, and much more. We will also continue to sell local honey, cheese, eggs, milk, maple syrup, jams, pickles and beef jerky. You can find us on Route 2 eastbound in Concord. We are open Wednesdays – Fridays 11:00 am – 7:00 pm and Saturdays – Sundays 10:00 am – 6:00 pm until the end of October. We will also be open on all Monday holidays from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm. We look forward to seeing you!

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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.

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